Implementing content marketing software solutions for your business
The importance of digital marketing has exploded in recent years. More than 60% of companies surveyed in 2019 planned to hire additional staff to their digital marketing team, according to research from McKinley Marketing Partners. Although accelerated by the extraordinary demands of the COVID-19 pandemic, the rapid evolution of digital technologies even before the public health crisis has put immense pressure on businesses to compete and deliver.
In response to that pressure, marketers have begun to implement sophisticated content marketing software to facilitate complex marketing campaigns at scale, helping companies stay ahead in a crowded business environment.
What is content marketing software?
Content marketing software is a broad category of technology solutions that enable marketers to complete a wide range of marketing tasks, including planning, reporting, content creation, distribution and more. In 2021, Gartner found that 68% of chief marketing officers expected their marketing technology budgets to increase.
Content marketing software is critical for businesses operating in today’s digital landscape. Customers have higher expectations than ever, and their choices are seemingly endless. Marketers are under pressure to deliver highly relevant and personalized experiences that meet (and exceed) these expectations. This enables businesses to build lasting customer relationships that generate value for both sides, while keeping them nimble in a constantly changing business environment.
The content marketing software most used today
There are numerous content marketing software solutions available that can help better achieve your marketing and business goals. Some of the most common (and effective) include:
- Editorial calendars: Editorial calendars help you plan your content marketing campaign with precision. They make it easy to schedule the publication and distribution of blogs, whitepapers, e-books and other content in a way that maximizes engagement and exposure. They also help you look ahead to key dates like holidays or industry events to plan content production accordingly.
- Social media management tools: Maintaining an active presence across social media platforms is a demanding commitment. Users expect multiple relevant posts per day, and your social media strategists need time to determine where to focus their resources. Social media tools make it easy to centralize the oversight of your campaigns, streamline post writing and automate scheduling, helping you stay connected with your customers while limiting resource spend.
- Email marketing solutions: Email is still one of the most effective ways to share content assets, connect with prospects and nudge them down the sales funnel. Email marketing solutions are equipped with a number of features that facilitate the creation of impactful email campaigns. Email segmentation, automated posting, content personalization and campaign reporting all help you connect with your subscribers and drive leads from your email campaigns.
- Data analytics software: Use data analytics software to quantify the performance of each of your assets, pages and campaigns. Analytics solutions give you insight into where traffic is coming from, how many users are viewing your content, who’s visiting your pages and which prospects are closest to converting. This information helps you identify opportunities to test elements like copy, design, timing and cadence for campaign optimization.
This is only a sampling of the possible content marketing software solutions available to today’s B2B marketers. For a more comprehensive selection, check out our blog on how to build a MarTech stack.
The main challenges content marketing software helps marketers solve
The digital economy is a constantly evolving landscape with many moving targets, and marketers frequently struggle to build quality marketing campaigns that connect with customers and drive results over time. These are the top challenges marketers face that content marketing software can help them solve:
Creating relevant, quality content
We live in an attention economy, and that means companies are vying daily for the few precious seconds consumers are willing to give to reading a single piece of content after searching a query. Content consumers have extraordinarily high expectations, so missing the mark not only causes you to miss a critical business opportunity, it might keep you from winning that customer in the future.
Identifying the content opportunities that will encourage engagement is one of the top challenges content marketers face. It’s difficult to know exactly what type of content assets your target audience wants to consume and what subject matter they consider most valuable. Worse still, those preferences can change from month to month, or week to week.
Tracking campaign performance
There’s an age-old adage that “if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” That’s especially true in content marketing. Many marketers struggle to accurately measure the performance of their campaigns, making it difficult to identify opportunities for improvement.
Not only does that mean it’s hard to quantify the returns you’re receiving from your campaigns (which can hamper future ROI reporting), it also means you’re not able to make the adjustments needed to drive results in future campaigns.
A compounding problem is the inability to connect goals with the right key performance indicators (KPIs). You might ask, “If lead generation is my objective, what KPIs should I be tracking?” It’s not always straightforward, and you might run the risk of inaccurately measuring your campaign performance.
Gaining search visibility
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a central part of most marketers’ content marketing efforts today. More than a quarter of surveyed marketers consider SEO to be their top marketing channel, according to HubSpot. A solid SEO strategy helps you get in front of the customers that are most likely to be interested in your content, products and services, driving more engagement with your website and increasing the chances of building profitable customer relationships.
However, it can be challenging to know whether your SEO strategies are actually working. Not only do many companies have hundreds of web pages they need to track, they also have innumerable keywords they could be ranking for. Missing this information can make it difficult to assess your website and content performance and find the opportunities to increase search visibility.
Building efficient workflows
Marketing campaigns are complex projects that typically require numerous stakeholders, tasks, responsibilities and other moving parts. Keeping track of each component can be extremely time-consuming, sapping your team’s bandwidth and causing confusion around project assignments and deliverables.
When team members aren’t clear who needs to do what, you run the risk of missing deadlines, making critical mistakes and, ultimately, failing to achieve your shared goals. This is especially true for larger campaigns that span several months (or even years) and could involve dozens of stakeholders.
Driving results and revenue
At the end of the day, content marketing is about driving results and generating revenue. Unfortunately, for many marketers, their campaigns simply don’t work. Whether that’s because they’re connecting with the wrong people, populating the wrong channels, or siloes are hindering their distribution capacity, many struggle to create strategies with lasting value.
This can have serious downstream consequences for the business at large. Bloated marketing budgets that deliver few tangible results can tie up resources that could be devoted to other areas of the business, while poor quality leads coming from the marketing department make it harder for everyone else — especially sales — to do their own jobs.
The benefits of content marketing software
The right content marketing software solutions help you address and overcome the above challenges (and more) and potentially realize a number of important objectives. Some of the top benefits of using content marketing software include:
Optimize content creation and workflows
Content marketing tools enable you to build a deeper understanding of your target audience’s preferences, interests and challenges. This information serves as a guide for your content marketing strategy, helping you identify the most compelling, engaging topics you should be creating engaging content around. This maximizes the chances of clicks, downloads and goal conversions.
You can also use project management tools to create intuitive workflows that make it easy to assign tasks, identify stakeholders, track progress and submit deliverables. Not only does this give managers and team leads oversight of all content in progress, it also ensures projects and assignments don’t slip through the cracks and fall by the wayside.
Measure the impact of your campaigns
Data analytics solutions give you the tools to track the performance of each of your campaigns. These tools allow you to select from a variety of performance metrics to assess each campaign, whether you’re trying to generate leads, drive website traffic or increase revenue. By selecting the appropriate KPIs from the very beginning, you can define success in your terms and ensure that the software is showing you the results you’re looking for.
Analytics software also gives you a bird’s eye view of each of your campaigns to help you more easily understand whether your campaigns are delivering. Reading the trends in your data lets you better pinpoint new opportunities for growth and build marketing campaigns that continue to deliver results even as your customers’ preferences and behavior change.
Optimize your content for search
SEO and SEM software tools help you conduct incisive keyword research into the terms and phrases that your target audience is most interested in. Further, this class of content marketing software gives you insight into the search performance of each of your pages, helping you identify potential keyword opportunities to further increase search visibility.
An SEO tool also gives you insight into your competitors’ websites and the performance of their campaigns, granting you a view into the keywords they’re targeting and a better understanding of the successes (or failures) they’re experiencing. This is a wealth of information that can complement your own data, helping you learn from your competitors’ mistakes (and successes) to better position in the market.
Automate routine tasks for greater efficiency
Content marketing tools are typically equipped with automation software, allowing you to streamline some of your most resource-intensive administrative tasks to increase efficiency, optimize content performance and eliminate mistakes. Marketing automation tools also facilitate faster, more effective internal processes while empowering stakeholders to devote more time and effort to other high-value responsibilities.
Automation enables you to more easily handle (and integrate) a large-scale marketing campaign that includes such varied components as content creation, social media, email, design and more. This gives you the capacity to create deeply engaging content experiences for customers while reaching them across a wide range of digital touchpoints.
Drive better campaign results
A well-organized content marketing strategy is best equipped to drive the results you’re looking for and create value for your business (and your customers). The combination of the above advantages — automated workflows, performance tracking, SEO optimization and content creation enhancements — helps to improve the performance of your content while bringing your marketing costs down.
Marketers that deploy the right content marketing software find that they’re better able to drive traffic to their websites, increase brand awareness and put their content in front of leads that are most likely to convert. Not only does this enhance the value of their content and boost engagement rates, it also lowers customer acquisition costs and shortens sales cycles, leading to leaner budgets and healthier sales funnels.
Best practices: Using content marketing software to enhance your marketing strategies
Content marketing software is only as good as those who use it. The following are some best practices you should adhere to when implementing content marketing software to help you achieve the best results:
Understand the key features of your software and use them to the maximum extent
Updating your marketing techstack is a serious time and financial investment. Make it worth it. Research from Gartner found that just 42% of marketers are utilizing the full capabilities of their marketing technology.
While taking the time to understand all the features during the buying process is an important first step, you should also encourage employees to test and experiment with their new technology and share their findings with the team. You might be surprised at the hidden features you uncover that could transform your marketing strategies beyond what you thought was possible.
Integrate existing solutions into your content marketing software
Many users need to be convinced that a new technology will actually help them. That’s also true for your employees. Ripping and replacing your entire tech stack every few years can be jarring, and employees might not be willing to trade the tools they understand for a few degree increases in productivity and output.
It’s important to consider implementing software solutions with extensive integration capabilities, enabling your teams to continue using their current tools for a seamless transition while reaping the benefits of technology upgrades.
Use technology to augment your strategies, not take the lead
As digital technologies become more sophisticated, users become stuck in a balancing act between tech automation and human intervention. In a marketing context, technology should be used to support the real humans leading your strategies, not have the last say in how you run them.
You understand your target audience better than anyone (or anything) else does, especially your technology. While content marketing software can help uncover new insights about your prospects, it’s important to ground yourself in what your customers have already told you they want and need.
For example, an SEO tool might tell you that customers are asking a set of basic questions around a specific target keyword. However, your target market might be a niche audience with deep industry knowledge that wouldn’t benefit from content that only covers the basics. The SEO information can help you shape certain elements of your intended asset, but the content itself should still be person-oriented.
How to decide which content marketing software solutions to implement
Researching the market and selecting content marketing software solutions that actually support your marketing team requires time and deliberation. Here are the steps you should follow to make the best decision on software for your marketing team:
1. Identify your goals
Any large-scale decision that affects the entire marketing department should begin with a complete assessment of your marketing goals. Defining those goals from the very beginning will help you narrow your search and select software solutions that are best equipped to help you achieve those targets.
For example, if you want to enhance your search engine optimization efforts and drive more organic traffic to your site, you should consider SEO tools that enable keyword research, competitor keyword analysis, website audits and web page performance tracking. On the other hand, marketing teams that want to unclog bottlenecks during the content production process might be best served with a project or content management platform that provides oversight and centralization.
2. Find your shortcomings
While this one is listed as step two, it should really happen alongside step one. Take the time to conduct a complete audit of your marketing department to build a comprehensive understanding of your functions, channels, strategies and other components of your marketing efforts. This will help you identify possible shortcomings in your overarching marketing strategy that could be enhanced with technology.
Perhaps your audit has revealed that your video content team is under-resourced and therefore unable to deliver the added results that come with producing video content. You might also find that you don’t have an easy, streamlined approach to assessing the performance of individual web pages, meaning you could be leaking revenue through out-of-date metadata, unoptimized web copy or lack of multimedia.
3. Explore the market
Once you have pinpointed your goals and your needs, it’s time to take to the market. While it can be a good idea to learn from colleagues from other companies about what works for them during your fact-finding process, it’s important to remember that every marketing team is different, and a software solution that’s perfect for one organization might not be right for another.
Take the time to balance your needs with your budgetary restrictions. Most marketing departments don’t have the slack on the financial leash to spend on expensive software. Moreover, many marketers simply don’t need solutions with a comprehensive set of features. Understand which features and benefits are most essential to your current marketing needs and weigh those against the likely financial costs.
4. Test the technology
Take your time with your decision. Making a bad choice runs the risk of overtaxing your budget and adding unnecessary hurdles to your internal content marketing processes, creating more problems than are solved.
Many software providers offer free trials that give you a limited time to implement and test the technology with live settings. This gives you a chance to understand the functionality of the software to determine if its features boost your content strategies. It also helps you gauge how users interact with the technology, helping you determine if it adds meaningful value to their job functions.
Even if software providers don’t offer free trials, it’s still smart to request live product demonstrations. You can use these sessions to pose questions to software providers and understand the technology’s functionality without deploying it across your organization.
5. Make a decision
Purchasing the best content marketing tool is about more than signing on the dotted line. Once you’ve evaluated the advantages and disadvantages of your shortlisted solutions, you have to win buy-in from other stakeholders on the team.
If you aren’t the final decision maker (or the only decision maker), it’s important to keep other key leaders abreast of all developments. The buying committee needs to be properly appraised throughout the entire sales cycle — from research to sales demos — so they can help you make the best decision for the team and the company.
Use intent data to drive your content marketing strategies
Implementing the best content marketing tool is the first step. Feeding it quality data to deliver real results is the next. At CONTENTgine, we provide B2B content marketers with a host of high-quality intent data they can use to identify new markets, build relevant marketing campaigns and find conversion-ready prospects.
Check out our website for more content marketing insights, and contact our team today to transform your content marketing strategies.