Content marketing has a lot of moving parts. The good thing is there are a thousand ways to customize it, re-imagine it, and gain an edge on our competitors. The downside? It’s a lot to manage.
Fortunately, marketers today are way luckier than the marketers of yesteryear. We’ve got computers! We’ve got a thousand tools to create, manage and promote our content with.
The trick is to manage all those tools and the work they facilitate as nimbly and effectively as possible. This is why you need a content marketing software. You need one unifying tool or system to manage all the moving parts. Otherwise you’re working with a patchwork of systems, constantly trying to fill in the gaps between them.
Enter the maestro
Consider an opera performance. Imagine it’s a bit like your content marketing department.
The individual content marketing tools are the instruments of the orchestra and the stage (the props and lighting, etc.). Each task is shaped by the music score – which is your content marketing plan. The strategy is the movement of the plot. Some members of the content marketing team step in to play an instrument (a particular content marketing tool) at just the right moment. Other team members get right up on stage in front of the audience, to perform according to the content marketing plan.
It’s all held together, directed and perfected, by the conductor: Your content marketing software maestro.
Now imagine you don’t have a conductor. You’ve still got the music, and the players, and the instruments. But there’s no unifier. There’s no one and no place for everyone to look to, to take their cues from.
That’s what too many content marketing departments look like. It may be why so few content marketers struggle. They struggle to prove ROI, to develop engaging content, even get home to dinner.
Here’s a chart from a recent survey of marketers about what they do all day. As you can see, they only get to do their actual work about a third of the time. The rest is spent on managing and negotiating and communicating about that work.
We all have to do better. And we can do better. We just need a good conductor.
Every core content marketing function can be made more effective with content marketing software. If you’re a content marketer, don’t feel threatened by that. Trust me, there will always be PLENTY of work for you to do. With content marketing software you’ll just end up managing your system less, and doing your own work more.
Time is the main reason why you need a content marketing software
Content marketing relies heavily on timing. There are a bunch of content marketing tasks that either succeed or fail based on how the timing works:
- Creating content.
You gotta make that deadline… and give the designer enough time to make it look good.
- Planning content.
You need to sync your content creation with your content strategy. That means you may need to plan out what you’re going to publish months in advance.
- Content promotion.
When you’re promoting content, the results of your efforts often end up being a bit like 1+1=3. That’s because if members of your audience end up seeing your new content in one place, and then again in another, they’ll start to think your content’s everywhere. And that’s a good thing. It makes your company look like an industry leader when your audience sees your stuff “everywhere”.
- Content conversions.
Every salesman knows how critical timing is for the sale. That’s why we all talk about sales funnels and the buyers’ journey. Knowing when people convert – even with “microconversions” – gives marketers some of their best insights.
- Content updates.
Just found a blog post that needs to be updated? Got a key whitepaper that needs to be updated every year? Better stay on top of that.
- Saving your time.
There’s timing, and then there’s creating more time. What would you do if you had more time to work on what you wanted?
Content marketing software helps with every one of these systems. Computers are great for managing dates. Why not let them manage the dates your content relies on?
The automation part
For some marketers, the automation part of content marketing is so huge that, for them, content marketing software is automation software. That’s OK, but as we saw above, good content marketing software does more than just tell a system when to send a triggered email, or when to post a Facebook update.
But all those actions are critical. Pretty much every marketer knows they couldn’t possibly manually post every social media update. They rely on automation software to do that.
The most sophisticated marketers now have their automation plans hooked up to all their analytics, their content management and their content promotion. After all… the whole point of automation is results, right? After the time saving benefits, of course.
The tracking and ROI part
Everybody’s got Google Analytics running, right? But can you answer these questions with a “yes”?
- Have you set up goals?
- Are you tracking those goals?
- Do you know how much each conversion (and type of conversion) is worth to you?
- Do you know how many conversions you’ve gotten from each piece of content? For example, do you know how many downloads, signups and demos each blog post you’ve published has generated?
- Do you know how much you paid for each piece of content?
If you can’t track ROI for your content marketing, you’re not alone. But “nobody else knows if they’re profitable or not” is not a good explanation. It’s definitely not going to help you look good in front of your boss.
As with the other areas here, content marketing software excels at tracking (aka analytics) and calculating ROI. And just to prove that it really does make a difference, consider this: Aberdeen Research did a study that showed “companies using content marketing software platforms convert their website visitors to leads at a rate that is 44 percent higher than non-users.”
If that’s not enough to convince you why you need content marketing software, I’m not sure what would be. What would it mean for your company’s profits if you increased your conversion rate by 44%. What would it mean for your future?
The collaboration part
Content marketing involves a lot of people. From your VP of Marketing’s view of content strategy, to your content marketing manager, your community manager and your analytics guru, down to the freelancers you hire for writing and design, everybody has to be in the loop. It’s not uncommon for up to ten people to need to know information about a piece of content at any given moment.
That means a spreadsheet isn’t going to cut it. Just like you need a content hub, you need a communication hub – a system where everybody can find out what they need to know, contribute the updates and ideas they need to share to do their job, and to let other employees know when its time for them to step in.
Email isn’t enough. Email is a dead medium for some people, simply because too many people insisted on trying to use it for project management.
If really want to succeed with content marketing, it’s time to go past a patchwork system and invest in content marketing software. You need the results it delivers… and goodness knows you need the extra time.
Image by Phil Gibbs.