Update: we’ve added a comparison chart to at the end of this post to give you a detailed and visual overview of the difference between marketing automation software and content marketing software.
Today, content marketing is an indispensable practice for marketers, with 88% of B2B marketers using it to generate traffic, leads and revenue. But while it’s an effective technique for marketers to use to grow their businesses, it’s also a highly-complex process with a lot of moving parts. Content marketing today is about much more than simply producing good content. It’s neither a one-off campaign nor a specialized task. It’s not writing a few good blog posts every once in a while or scheduling a few Tweets. Rather, content marketing today is a continually evolving, ongoing process that requires optimization at every step of the larger content marketing picture in order to succeed and generate results.
So in this post, we’ll start by summarizing the value of marketing automation software and then will go into the 3 essential parts of content marketing that require specific software not provided by marketing automation
- Getting help creating content more efficiently
- Distributing content to maximize its reach
- Measuring content performance and deriving actionable insights to improve its ROI
The value of marketing automation software
As busy marketers, marketing automation software is enticing in its ability to automate many of the repetitive yet necessary day-to-day operations of our jobs: including attracting visitors, converting them into leads through landing pages and forms, and effectively nurturing them down the funnel into paying customers. All while saving us massive amounts of time in the process, allowing us to focus on more exciting, creative ways of driving business.
But marketing automation software is limited in what it can do when it comes to covering all the complexities of content marketing.
Let’s use HubSpot as an example. HubSpot is the market leader a widely recognized inbound marketing automation platform that offers an impressive range of integrated marketing features and capabilities, including content and social. We personally love it here at Scoop.it, and avidly use it ourselves for landing pages, for marketing automation to create email workflows through which to nurture leads, and we even use its CRM. It also has great dashboards that we use to help us create conversations around content marketing.
So why not do everything in HubSpot? It’s tempting!
At first glance, it’s easy to believe that there may be in fact nothing that HubSpot doesn’t do. And you wouldn’t be crazy to think this. That said, let’s take some time to examine what content marketers need to do, what the limits of marketing automation software are when it comes to content, and how dedicated content marketing software like our own Scoop.it Content Director can help.
For the remainder of this post, we’re going to explore why leading marketing automation platforms like HubSpot aren’t sufficient for content marketing.
1. You need help to create better content and do it faster
The first success factor for content marketing success is – by HubSpot’s own findings – to publish consistently and frequently. But while HubSpot does provide you with a blog platform, it doesn’t help you with finding, researching, or creating content. So just like any blog platform including WordPress, it’s an empty shell.
For original content creation, it’s essential to research relevant topics and evaluate content on those topics that already exists – what content has been popular on your keywords, when it’s been published, what formats have worked – something HubSpot doesn’t provide and that Scoop.it Content Director’s curation engine does.
In addition, if you’re a small marketing team, it’s very likely that you won’t be able to create all the content you need. You’ll therefore need to supplement your own content with freelance writers’ content, guest bloggers or curated content.
HubSpot doesn’t provide any help here. But Scoop.it Content Director provides you with abundant content to curate and easily turn into curated blog posts on your HubSpot or WordPress blog. Curated posts are 4-8x faster to create (15-30’ vs 3-4 hours) so while they’re not a substitute to create your own original content, it’s a great way to scale and add credibility to your blog.
2. You need to save time distributing content. Ensure you’re systematic about it so you don’t waste your investment in content:
Sure, HubSpot lets you share content. But sharing is not engage: you need to promote it.
To generate results with content, it’s just as important to distribute well than to create good content. Sharing content only once is not enough considering the fact that the organic reach of Tweets and Facebook pages these days has dwindled to just 2-5%. You need to be able to quickly build a promotion program for each post, which means multiple social media messages over a few days/weeks for each of your social channels. You also need to leverage your email list as much as you can, which means creating emails fast and adding relevant content to it (again curation helps there too).
– HubSpot lets you post one message at a time which means you’ll either spend a lot of time distributing content or you’ll stop doing it systematically as you’ll have more urgent things to do. This is precisely why we built social media distribution tools dedicated to the needs of content marketers that let you create dozens of social messages in a few minutes and take care of scheduling them efficiently for you,
– Same problem with email. Many content marketers tell us they would send more emails to promote their content if they had more time on their hands. Our email editor lets you generate email in 5-10’ through simple drag and drop to distribute your content:
Typically our clients who’ve used HubSpot (and we use it too so we verified this) tell us the above distribution tasks used to take them a few hours a week with HubSpot compared to dozens of minutes with dedicated content marketing software like Scoop.it Content Director.
Beyond the time it takes, the other question is: how do you keep track of what you’ve done vs what’s still left to do with each new piece of content? HubSpot doesn’t bring any answer to that.
On our end, we’re bringing you 2 things:
– First our calendar creates visual reminders for each of your channels (blog, social channels…) highlighting when you need new content or when you need existing content to be distributed (note that HubSpot has a calendar but it’s not designed specifically for content; it’s a coordination tool to assign general marketing tasks to your team, keep track of events, etc…).
– Second our dashboard automatically creates reminders for each post telling you things like “these are the 7 posts you haven’t promoted at least 10 times” or “these are the posts that are not converting enough so you might want to check their CTA’s”.
3. You need to measure the performance of your content but beyond that, you need to know what to do to get even better results
Finally, on the measurement side, HubSpot is excellent to keep track of leads but that’s not what helps marketers improving their content or getting more results from performing content. What content marketers need is a content centric view of their content: knowing that such and such leads saw such and such blog post is interesting for the sales person having a conversation with them. But content marketers need to know the performance of each post in terms of traffic, distribution, conversions, leads, etc…
Specifically this is what we built to address that in Scoop.it Content Director:
– A granular view of performance (traffic, shares, leads, conversion rate) for each of your post so you can quickly identify what doesn’t work,
– Opportunities to get more mileage out of successful posts based on their historical performance and the action you took with them. For instance, posts which have a good conversion rate that you haven’t shared in a while (and that would generate more leads if re-shared based on historical performance). Or posts that still generate traffic but have a low conversion rate and that you’d therefore want to revise the call to action of.
This latter point is essential. Crunching data is not necessarily the most fun part of the marketing job. So having tons of data is not the point. You need to have the main KPIs for each post but perhaps more importantly you need to easily be able to figure out what to do based on this data which is precisely the layer of intelligence we specifically built in the new Scoop.it Content Director and which the above table is an example of.
To be clear- it’s because we are avid users of HubSpot ourselves that we were able to see its limitations when it comes to content- and thus design around them. Most of our own clients have HubSpot as well, and use our software as a complementary solution for content marketing.
So here’s a table that summarizes all the above differences between a marketing automation system like HubSpot and content marketing software like Scoop.it Content Director:
At the end of the day, you can choose to use marketing automation software to run your content strategy, in the same way that you can use Excel to manage your finances. But do it only if content marketing success is not a critical mission for you or if you have enough time and resources on your hands.
Back to you
Want to create better content in less time? Get more results from your existing content? Find out how artificial intelligence is changing the content marketing game by providing marketers with actionable predictive insights to help them create better content that generates more traffic and leads!
Find out how to use the new Scoop.it Content Director to help you become a smarter marketer!
Image by America Pink