Content marketing has a lot of moving parts. Even a small content marketing operation needs to do content creation, curation, social media promotion, social media interaction, analytics tracking and reporting.
That’s just the day to day. You also need to check in once in a while and see what’s working and what’s not. This can be in the form of a content audit, an SEO audit, or both. You’ll have to take what you learn from that audit and adjust your entire content strategy (and your job) to optimize all your other work.
And yet, content marketing is not an impossible job. Hardly. Some of us actually like it. Some of us can get downright effusive about how cool the whole thing is when it works.
Because when it all works, content marketing can feel like a fantastic symphony of good content, good marketing, and good will. But it takes a lot of management. A lot of tuning, if you will. One botched URL in a promotion can have embarrassing consequences. And I don’t have to tell you how fast the news of a faux pas can spread on social media.
Because of all this, most of us who practice content marketing rely on at least some kind of content marketing software. We’re software people by nature, so it’s only natural we’ve got a thing for digital tools. Of course, it is possible to stay on top of your content marketing work with just Excel and Google calendar. But at a certain point you’ll want to graduate to something more robust.
How do you know when you’re ready to graduate to a more sophisticated tool? Well, have you started to think, “There’s got to be a better way to do this” even once a week? If you have, then you’re already there.
By the time you realize the way you’ve been doing things is no longer cutting it, you’ve probably already started searching for a solution. Maybe you want to manage just one piece of your content marketing, like social media promotion. Maybe you want better control over planning the company blog. Maybe you want to find good stuff to share faster. Whatever it is, there are certainly plenty of tools to choose from,some of them are even free.
But not all of them. As you start looking into the specifics of different options, you’re going to run into some costs. Enterprise level content marketing software can start at $10,000 per month, and go well past $15,000 a month. But that’s the enterprise versions – as in Starship Enterprise.
You may not need the Starship Enterprise version to get the job done. In fact, sometimes the deluxe version has so many setup headaches that until you’re absolutely sure you need something that complex, it’s best to stay away from it.
It’s also important to not over-automate. Efficiency is fabulous, but it’s the human element of social media and content marketing that makes it work. You can’t just set up a beautiful system and walk away.
That’s because you’re actually the most important element of your content marketing, not the software. Software is just a tool. Your company hired you and trusts you to make the play-by-play decisions about what your audience likes and dislikes, about when and how to talk to them, and when to leave them alone. Until we see some serious artificial intelligence advancements, you’re always going to be the most important element.
So no software is going to replace you. But that doesn’t mean you don’t need some good tools. Your competitors certainly have them, that’s for sure.
No matter what you decide on (The Starship Enterprise, or a nice sedan), you’re still going to have a talk with your boss. You probably can’t just leap in and change how you do your job (and how other people do their jobs) on a whim. So here’s how to approach that conversation. Because simply telling your boss you want something may not be enough.
1. Think about what your boss wants.
Your boss has a whole assortment of agendas that are different from yours. He/She has a department to run, people to please and his/her own vision for your organization. You may not feel that those things are directly relevant to you. But if you want your new software, they are. You’d do well to hook up how giving you new software aligns with and supports all the things you boss wants.
2. Show your boss how this new purchase will help achieve their goals.
Again, for the moment this is about their goals, not yours. It’s a great start to think about what your boss wants and to be able to articulate how your new marketing software can deliver that. But talk is just talk. If you want to get through your boss’s filter (they get asked for a lot of stuff all the time, remember), you’ll need to demonstrate how this purchase will help their larger goals.
Typically this means a bit of research, and some numbers to back up your assertions. Maybe this new software can cut your time on social media down from twelve hours to three hours a week. If it can, try to really “paint a picture” of that so your boss can clearly see how this specific tool can make a difference. Then pivot into what you might be able to do with that extra time.
3. Offer something in exchange.
If you got this new software, would you be able to do something your boss wants you do to, but that you can’t do right now? Maybe it would give you more time to work on something that’s important to him. Or maybe this new software would let you do something better. In that case, the “thing” you can give them in return for this is, say, higher engagement rates, or a 50% improvement in ROI.
4. Be ready for some pushback.
Your boss may say no. He/She might be the nicest, sweetest person in the world, and still say no. Bosses have to say no a lot – it’s part of the job.
Or they may just ask to think about it. Be ready for this. Let them think about it. Then obliquely remind them of the benefits of getting the software about once a week.
Note that: I didn’t say ask for your software once a week. I said remind your boss of the benefits of getting that software once a week. Your boss is not dumb. They know what you want. Reminding them what you want over and over again is just annoying. So use a light touch. Lay off your “reminders” for a week if you get a look when you mention them.
5. If your boss says yes, be ready.
Sometimes everything works. You get want you want… and then you aren’t 100% sure what to do with it. So be ready. Your boss may want a transition plan. They’ll need to know you’ve thought through exactly what it will take to shift into this new software. That could mean a little work over one weekend, so you can pick up your usual duties with the new software without skipping a beat. Be ready for all this. Your boss is more likely to say yes if they can see a clear path to how this all gets done.
Those are just a few ideas to help you get what you need, all while keeping your boss happy. Have you ever pitched your boss for new content marketing software, or any kind of software? Or for any other marketing tools? How did it go? What tipped them over to saying yes? Tell us about it in the comments.