We use a lot of digital tools—to do our jobs, to organize our lives, to communicate with friends and colleagues. And as technology sneaks into more of our work and home hours, we’re spending even more time and money on these tools.
In one month, we use on average 26 different apps for about 30 hours and 15 minutes, and Americans spend the equivalent of 17% of their monthly mortgage or rent on technology. Technology is also changing the way we operate as marketers. By 2017, CMOs are expected to spend more on technology than CIOs—traditionally seen as the largest buyers of technology solutions.
But it can be overwhelming to sift through all the options—particularly when it comes to content marketing tools. So we put together a shortlist of the essential tools you need to do your job.
1. An Updated Editorial Calendar
Before working at Kapost, I didn’t have an editorial calendar. And I struggled. I struggled with content delivery timelines (when they even existed), campaign launch dates, and the consistent release of new content. At a different company, we once had a webinar with a big player in our industry attended by only four people (yes, four) because our email, social, and blog calendars got mixed up. Major fail.
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Your editorial calendar needs to be up-to-date, visible to all players, and clearly categorized.
At the time, I was on a small team, and we needed that editorial calendar. For large teams, particularly at the enterprise level, the calendar is even more important. You have a lot more to keep track of, and a lot of different people working on those initiatives. You simply can’t keep it all in your head.
To be useful, your editorial calendar needs to be up-to-date, visible to all players, and clearly categorized. Otherwise, it’ll collect dust and you’ll just experience the same problems time and time again.
2. An Organized Content Library
I think back to the stressful days of looking for content stored in folders within folders within folders, and of assets labeled something like “Most_Useful_Content_Ever_v17″ right next to “Most_Useful_Content_Ever_v17_FINAL.” What? Then, spending 15 minutes comparing them side by side to make sure you have the right one for that paid promotional email. Headache.
The Shortlist of Content Marketing Tools by @amurphias
If your team can’t find the content your team has created, then it’s not going to get used. You’ve got to keep a running inventory of all final content deliverables, including where they currently exist online and any channel-specific URLs you use to track analytics for each published asset.
How many times have you had to go through your email to find that whitepaper or eBook for a sales rep? How sure are you that you have the latest version of that case study or analyst report?
An organized content library solves these problems. And ask your internal stakeholders—demand generation and marketing operations, sales, customer success—how they search for content. It might be by persona, content related to product types, or themes. This will help you organize your content library.
3. An Accurate Analytics Dashboard
There’s doing your job, then there’s making a business impact. An accurate analytics dashboard bridges the gap between the two.
Content marketing tools that tell you whether or not your content is driving traffic, leads, and revenue—and deliver that information to you in a clear dashboard—justifies how you spend your time. It’s what proves that the hours of content strategy, creation, and distribution are worth it. As someone who spends every day focused on content, this is probably the most essential tool.
Your dashboard should be broken down by the things you care about most. At Kapost, we organize our content dashboard by production, engagement, performance, and content scoring analytics. These can then be spliced and diced by author, persona, theme, sales stage, call to action, and other filters we’ve set up.
Get to know—intimately—how your content marketing is performing. Otherwise, you won’t be able to improve.
A note on this post:
We don’t include brands of tools here, because there are many different options depending on your budget and level of use. Instead, we go over the functionality that each tool should provide. Specific tools could look different for an enterprise marketer with a team of 10 content creators compared to a one-person show creating content for their small business. Regardless of the size of your company, if you’re doing content marketing, these are the three results your tools you need to provide in order to see returns on your content marketing investments.