Content Marketing Software is a relatively new product category with roots in CRM software, marketing automation, analytics suites, and social media tools. What makes content marketing software so powerful is that it brings together a number of different tools to help you put all the pieces of your content marketing strategy together. So what are some signs that it’s time to invest in a single platform, rather than stringing together a host of completely different tools that don’t talk with each other?

  1. Your analytics are meaningless to you.

Let’s face it, Google Analytics provides so much information that it can be tough to know where to start. Additionally, Google Analytics only provides tracking of anonymous visitors to your site. With content marketing software, you can identify individual visitors by their IP address, track leads across your site, and see more actionable analytics data than Google Analytics offers.

  1. You have no idea if social media is working for you.

Social media can be kind of a black hole if you’re relying on Twitter notifications and Facebook page stats to tell you what’s happening. With content marketing software, you can see in a single dashboard how many likes, clicks, shares, retweets, and visitors all of your social posts are getting. With some software, you can even curate and schedule your posts ahead of time so you maintain a constant social media presence throughout the day–without spending all day on Twitter!

  1. You don’t have time to import leads here, set up campaigns there.

This is a common complaint among people using several different solutions. You may collect leads in one place, create campaigns to track those leads in another place, and then interact with those leads in yet a third place. As with marketing automation software, content marketing software allows you to create campaigns, landing pages, forms, emails and even nurturing programs all in one place so you can save time managing leads and track everything all in one place.

  1. You can’t tell if the content you’re creating is actually worth your time.

Creating content is expensive from a “time is money” perspective, so you need to be able to tell if what you’re making is producing the desired results. With content marketing software, you can assign a cost to a particular asset, and then using forms and landing pages, determine if the leads generated justify the cost of creation. Some content marketing software even includes an ROI calculator so you can compare your best performing content to your worst performing content and look for patterns.

  1. You need help building forms and landing pages to capture leads.

Landing pages and forms are essential for converting visitors on your site into leads. However, creating forms and landing pages from scratch or even inside your CMS presents an issue–you then have to transfer those leads into your CRM and/or your email marketing software. A good content marketing platform not only allows you to create forms and landing pages directly within the platform, but also makes this process ridiculously fast and easy. If you are using a CRM, look for content marketing software that can also integrate with your CRM to further save time and keep your records consistent.

  1. You’re having a hard time keeping your site fresh and up-to-date.

The freshness factor is all the rage with search engines today, but it’s tough to keep your site updated all the time, especially for individuals trying to juggle every other aspect of marketing for their companies. Content marketing software can help. Some content marketing applications come with editorial calendars to help you schedule new content, assign it to different members of your organization, and track progress. Some will even tie past content assignments to existing collateral and track pageviews right in the calendar.

  1. There’s room for improvement with your SEO, but you don’t know where to start.

Content marketing software goes beyond other analytics tools in a number of ways. Depending on which software you choose, you may be able to track the traffic to your site from both inbound links and referral sources, keywords (including keyword density on your pages and how you currently rank for keywords), and search terms that are currently being used to get to your site. Some content marketing applications even have SEO scoring for your pages and sites to help you ensure that you’re meeting the basic SEO requirements across your site.

  1. You want to do some A/B testing but don’t have the technical skills.

One of the greatest tools at a content marketer’s disposal is the A/B test. Simple A/B testing can help you determine which messages, colors, fonts, layouts, and other variables work best on your site. Some content marketing software offers the ability to perform elegant A/B testing on your site or on landing pages to help you optimize your content.

  1. You want to automate some personalized communications with prospects.

Sending personalized emails to your prospects shouldn’t require expensive email marketing platforms or tedious one-off emails by you (or your intern). You can automate the process with a content marketing software application by sending mass emails that are customized with any number of personal lead fields. Combining this functionality with all the other tools available in content marketing software is a no-brainer.

  1. You are tired of trying to pull together a dozen different applications in order to get a clear picture of what’s working and what isn’t.

Because there are so many companies doing content marketing these days, you really have to be one of the best for your efforts to pay off. That means you can’t waste your time piecing together reports and leads from a dozen different applications. Content marketing is the future of marketing software because it ties together so many different pieces to help you get a cohesive picture of what’s working and what isn’t.

2014 is the year of Content Marketing. Can you afford not to be the best content marketer in your industry?