Every day, we talk to marketers doubling down on content. They’re hiring content teams, testing new channels and formats, and building campaigns around major content assets. Organizing all of these moving pieces manually can be tricky. And as content marketing goals and operations expand, budgets for content marketing platforms are increasing.
But when’s the right time to invest in technology to manage your efforts? If these five signs hit home, you’re ready for content marketing software.
Sign #1. Complex Workflows
Process is one of those potentially frustrating, but insanely important things that enterprise marketers deal with on a daily basis. You might hate it. You might geek out over it. But either way, process makes for more effective—meaning higher conversion rates and saving $12,000 per acquisition—content marketing.
Organized tasks and timelines need to be in place to ensure on-time creation, editing, approval, and distribution of content assets. This is especially true in enterprise companies with large teams, global marketing operations, and regulated industries. Efficient, communication has to happen between multiple people and departments (for example, legal or regional teams), and it must be mapped to set timelines. A single bottleneck can hold up an entire project or put a campaign launch at risk.
If these five signs hit home, you’re ready for content marketing software.
Content marketing software allows teams to standardize workflows for content types and marketing campaigns, including task assignments, cascading dates (X needs to happen 3 days after Y), and deadlines for completion. But it also allows for flexibility. After all, no two campaigns are exactly the same.
Sign #2. Extensive Brand Guidelines
If you’re working in a regulated industry, you probably have a lot of legal guidelines you need to follow for each piece of content you produce. And regardless of industry, you should have a style guide to ensure consistency across content assets.
Those guidelines need to be accessible to all of the parties creating content for your organization. If everyone is aware of requirements from the beginning, it will cut down on editing and approval time. And if someone violates these brand guidelines, you can quickly point them in the right direction.
Content marketing platforms house all of these guidelines in one central, easily-accessible location. Also, you can require specific fields to be filled out before submission or publication. For example, if a content contributor doesn’t add the appropriate disclaimer to the bottom of a blog post, software can automate reminders when they try to submit that article.
Sign #3. Vast Network of Contributors
If you have a lot of people involved in the content creation and approval process, then it’s worth looking into software to help manage these contributors and their individual tasks or deadlines. Usually, there’s someone who “owns” content in an organization. On our team, it’s Jesse Noyes, our Director of Content Marketing. If he wants to look into how his team is doing on a certain campaign, or the status of a content asset, he has immediate access to that information. He doesn’t need to send an email about it or “check in” with a project owner.
Also, internal contributors—who hail from departments like sales, support, or account management—are incredible resources for content, but they don’t live and breathe brand guidelines or content processes in the way we marketers do. Software streamlines the onboarding process for new contributors by relaying guidelines, setting requirements, and managing invoices.
Sign #4. Content Drives Critical Objectives
You know that marketing teams are responsible for meeting lead, opportunity, and revenue goals. Well, your content marketing team should be held accountable for those exact same goals. If they’re not, then how will you truly know that content is doing it’s job—driving revenue for your organization?
Right now, marketers “do their best” to measure attribution. And between all of the marketing technologies now considered must-haves for organizations (web optimization software, social platforms, sales force and marketing automation, etc.), we’re getting much closer. But these technologies need to integrate with one another to truly see a full picture of activity.
The same goes for content marketing software. It pulls all content efforts into the equation, showing which content assets are generating traffic, leads, opportunities, and sales. It helps to prove that this whole “content marketing thing” is actually working for your organization.
Sign #5. Content Variety and Scale
People consume information in different ways and in different places. A big piece of content marketing is producing and testing new content types, and figuring out which ones resonate best with target audiences and networks. With that in mind, marketers shouldn’t limit themselves to just one type of content. And if you use the content pillar approach to build out campaigns (we do this, so does Marketo, Birchbox, and Content Marketing Institute), it’s easy to produce multiple types of content—and lots of it.
So if your organization is focused on producing some combination of videos, blogs, webinars, presentations, eBooks, interactive content, infographics, emails, social updates, etc., then you should take a look at software. Not only does it help you manage multiple content types and campaigns, but it also publishes content to your distribution channels (blog, CRM, marketing automation, Facebook, Twitter, SlideShare, YouTube, etc.) and pulls metrics from each.
If these points resonate with you, it’s time to take a closer look at a content marketing platform. And while you’re doing your research, here are five questions to ask the sales rep. After all, you want the right tool that aligns with your goals as a content team and marketing organization.