It’s important to select the right content marketing platform for your blog. Here are six essential steps for making the best decision for your business.
Does your organization struggle with publishing high-quality content consistently? Are you efficiently repurposing it? Are you looking for an improved way to monitor the performance of your content assets and track content marketing ROI? Do members of your content marketing team find it challenging to collaborate with each other?
If your answer to any of the above questions is a resounding yes, it’s high time you try using a content marketing platform (CMP) that’ll help you deliver consistent, high-quality content, measure performance metrics effectively, and collaborate more effectively across teams.
An easy-to-manage CMP allows you to create and update content in bulk—which saves you time and energy, reduces the risk of mistakes, improves content quality, and expedites your publishing process.
Outlining a great content marketing strategy on paper is one thing. But effectively implementing it to ensure it has an impact on your revenue is a different ballgame altogether. Sure, you can publish a few blog posts on your own, but consistently executing your content marketing plan requires a consolidated approach.
The Challenges of Content Marketing
Content marketing should be at the forefront of your digital marketing strategy.
It’s a truism for any business today. Content marketing is, without a doubt, one of the best digital marketing strategies that your company can deploy. It helps build trust, authority, and credibility, which translates into traffic and leads.
But how do you ensure that your content marketing efforts will actually turn into a solid return on investment (ROI)? The answer lies in a comprehensive content marketing strategy that strategically promotes your message across a range of channels.
Implementing successful content marketing is more than just creating unique quality content. It requires an integrated and coordinated approach across multiple media outlets.
You need to use a diverse array of tools to create, curate, promote, track, and manage content assets across different channels. But, wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to integrate all these tools to streamline and optimize your content marketing workflow? That’s exactly what a content marketing platform does for you.
Nevertheless, the sheer variety of content marketing solutions available online can leave you with decision fatigue.
Most content marketing platforms offer a treasure trove of useful features including automation, analytics, project management, etc. So, it’s essential to select the right content marketing platform that best fits your needs. Otherwise, you’ll fail to use the platform to its full potential.
So, how can you go about finding the best content marketing platform for your blog? In this article, we’ve outlined a six-step process to help you make an informed decision. But before getting there, let’s first unpack the benefits of deploying a content marketing solution.
Why You Need a Content Marketing Platform
Content is the currency of the digital landscape, but creating it can be costly, complicated, and time-consuming. Content marketing provides your audience with unique, high-value content that will in turn make them want to learn more about your brand. It is a very important part of the lead generation funnel and can help you nurture your prospects with the right content at the right time.
That’s where a content marketing platform comes in. A content marketing platform consolidates all the best components of your content marketing efforts into one single hub. This saves you time and empowers you to create compelling content consistently. From research and production to distribution and analytics—a CMP holds your hand through every step of implementing your content marketing strategy.
Typically, a content marketing platform offers features such as:
- Content auditing
- An editorial calendar
- Scheduling, distribution, and promotion
- Project management
- Asset (images and video media) library management
- Content creation templates
- Sales enablement
- Analytics and reporting
- Social media and email marketing integrations
- SEO and readability checklists
Today’s CMOs allocate nearly 33% of their marketing expense budget to marketing technology. –Gartner
If you’re mulling whether your organization needs a content marketing platform (CMP), here are a few more benefits of using one.
One of the biggest challenges content marketers face is to consistently publish high-quality content. Most CMPs provide you with a way to manage and organize your content assets across various channels. This, in turn, makes it easier to repurpose existing content assets into other engaging formats. Consequently, you can publish top-notch content more frequently and efficiently.
Also, a content marketing platform lets you easily create and implement an editorial calendar. It gives you a glimpse of your overarching content strategy and helps optimize your content marketing plan. This makes it easier to prepare and follow a timely content distribution schedule.
Improved Collaboration and Coordination
With an ambitious posting schedule, your content marketing efforts have the potential to fail spectacularly if you adopt a go-it-alone approach. If you want to create and promote content across multiple channels, you need a rock-solid team that has embraced your vision. Without a proper system, however, it might be difficult to have all your content team members on the same page.
This is where a CMP steps in. With its powerful project management tools, these facilitate uninterrupted to-and-fro communication between your team members. This, in turn, helps them monitor the progress of various content assets even if they work in different locations. Additionally, you can assign key responsibilities to individual team members and make sure they know exactly what’s required of them.
Apart from improving coordination within your content team, a content marketing platform also facilitates collaboration between departments, such as sales and customer support. You can monitor the status of leads generated through various content assets. This helps you create more personalized and valuable content to nurture these leads and convert them.
Effective Content Distribution
One of the most crucial steps of content marketing is to effectively distribute and promote your content. Moreover, you need to share your content at the right time on the right platform to garner maximum traction. Manually sharing your content across multiple platforms can be tedious, inefficient, and time-consuming.
Things can become particularly challenging when you publish multiple pieces of content every day. A content marketing platform provides you with tools to automate repetitive tasks such as sharing your blog posts on social media. Likewise, you can integrate a CMP with your marketing automation software to ensure your content assets feature in your scheduled newsletters, for example.
While creating and distributing valuable content is essential, it’s just as important to monitor performance. How else can you determine whether your content marketing plan is effective?
Most CMPs offer robust analytics tools to monitor and measure the performance of content assets. This affords a comprehensive view of the impact your content marketing strategy is making on your business’s overall growth. It further helps you identify gaps in your strategy so you can optimize specific areas for improved outcomes.
Now that you are familiar with the many amazing benefits of using a content marketing platform, you must be eager to get your hands on one. It is, however, essential to find a content marketing solution that best fits your organization’s specific needs.
Examples of top content marketing platforms include:
How to Select Your Content Marketing Platform
Every CMP comes with its own unique set of pros and cons. You need to evaluate the features of each and determine whether a given CMP is suitable for the organization.
If you make the wrong choice, you’ll likely end up spending thousands of dollars without yielding any significant changes in your content marketing strategy. This is on top of the time and resources you’ll spend to train and onboard your team members. That’s why selecting the right content marketing software is of the utmost importance.
Step 1: Assess Your Needs for a Content Marketing Platform
Novice marketers often confuse a CMP with other solutions such as a content management system (CMS), email automation software, or project management software.
Even before you start looking for the top content marketing solutions around, first establish whether you need one in the first place. In other words, you must determine whether a CMP is a solution for your content marketing needs. If you only publish a handful of blog posts every month, for example, using a CMS like WordPress would be a better choice. Likewise, if your sole aim is to improve team coordination, you’d be better off using project management software such as Trello or Asana.
This is also a good time to take a look at your content marketing playbook and re-evaluate your strategy. If you haven’t created one already, get a free content marketing playbook online.
The key is to identify the gaps and deficiencies in your content marketing strategy. Start by dividing the process of content creation and distribution into small manageable tasks:
- Audience research
- Keyword research
- Content audit
- Topic selection and validation
- Content curation
- Content repurposing
- Distribution and paid promotion
- Tracking and analysis
Next, consult your team members and identify pain points. This can go a long way to help you determine whether you need to deploy a content marketing platform. If you decide you need one, you’ll have a better idea of the features you need to look out for.
Step 2: Set Your Budget for a Content Marketing Platform
Of course, you need to spend money to purchase a reliable and high-performing CMP. The cost of a CMP can vary between $8,000 to $100,000 every year. That’s why it’s essential to analyze your marketing budget and decide how much you’re willing to spend on a CMP.
It’s important to consider that purchasing content marketing software isn’t a one-time expense. You’ll likely have to renew your user license every year. Moreover, as your business grows and you need more advanced features, you might need to switch to a pricier membership plan.
Once you purchase a content marketing platform, you also need to spend to onboard your team members and train them to use the software. These factors should be taken into account while allocating your budget.
If you can’t afford a CMP, it doesn’t mean you can’t organize and manage your content marketing strategy. Here are a few content marketing platform alternatives:
Step 3: Consider Time and Ease of Implementation
You’ve found the most outstanding content marketing solution for your company. Great! However, when you start implementing the software you realize your team members aren’t particularly comfortable using it. Instead of raising efficiency and productivity, the CMP is slowing down your content marketing campaign.
A sophisticated CMP with an impressive array of advanced features seems irresistible. But it won’t serve its purpose if your team doesn’t extract maximum benefit. That’s why you must carefully weigh up whether your team is ready and well-equipped to use a CMP.
If you feel that your team doesn’t have the right skills, consider training them. You could recruit new team members with specialized skill sets who are more adept at using the software. It’ll help you strike a balance between the features you want and the level of complexity your team can handle in a CMP.
Alternatively, hire the content marketing experts, WriteForMe to help you scale your content marketing efforts.
It’s worth mentioning here that irrespective of how user-friendly a CMP is, your team will need some time and help to transition. You’re bound to experience a few initial hurdles once you start using the software.
Carefully consider the following questions before you start looking for options:
- Would you prefer a CMP that comes with a dedicated account manager? Or would you prefer complete control over how you implement the software?
- How much time are you willing to give your team to transition from their manual workflow?
- What mode of training would your team members prefer?
- What would be your preferred customer support channels?
Step 4: Weigh Your Options
By now, you should have a better idea of the type of CMP you need. Time to look at the various solutions available.
A simple Google search for the term “top content marketing platforms” will throw up a long list of options. Carefully evaluate the features, pricing plans, reviews, and ratings as you sift through them.
What to look for in a content marketing platform:
Once you’ve shortlisted a few options, it’s time to check out their ratings and reviews. Explore their websites and look at their client testimonials. Try to find if they’ve showcased any recent case studies.
Check out user reviews on websites such as:
Step 5: Schedule a Demo
At this stage, you’ve likely shortlisted the top two or three content marketing solutions for your blog. But you’re not ready to finalize your decision. The easiest way of making up your mind is to leverage a free trial or live demo.
Head to any of the shortlisted CMP’s websites and check out whether they offer a free trial. If not, get in touch with their sales team and ask them to schedule a live demo. The key is to ‘test-drive’ what the platform can accomplish and determine whether it fits your needs. Pay attention to factors such as user-friendliness, accessibility, customizability (and hidden costs) during the demo. If possible, have conversations about the product with existing customers.
Step 6: Consult Key Stakeholders
Now that you’ve interacted with the various CMPs, you’ve likely settled on one. However, before making a final decision, make sure you consult your team members who will actually use the software.
Let them be part of the demo while they focus on their respective domains. For instance, writers and designers should evaluate how well a platform lets them optimize content production. Marketing strategists and data analysts on the effectiveness and usability of various analytics tools and reports.
Post-demo, ask for their no-holds-barred feedback and assessment. Is there a particular feature that is missing or could be improved? Which of the shortlisted solutions is their favorite? Talk to the respective vendor and find ways to incorporate your team’s feedback. Once you reach a consensus, you can make a final selection.
Content Marketing is Serious Business
Content marketing is a hot topic right now, and for good reason.
Brands are increasingly turning to content (text, images, video, audio, and infographics) as an alternative to advertising. But while these branded updates and posts are intended to drive user engagement, foster a sense of community, and build brand loyalty, they can be challenging to produce at scale and effectively reach audiences.
Marketers realize that content marketing can help them engage their customers better, build a stronger brand image and generate more leads. They’re well aware that content marketing is one of the best ways to make a company stand out from its competitors.
A robust and reliable content marketing platform streamlines your content creation and distribution efforts and helps measure content marketing ROI. Start by identifying the must-have features you’ll need in your CMP. Set aside a dedicated budget. Next, shortlist a few options and evaluate them on various aspects such as affordability, scalability, compatibility. Don’t forget to involve your team members throughout the selection process.
Need a content marketing partner to help you create consistently compelling content? Contact the WriteForMe team of marketing experts today and let us help you revitalize your content marketing strategy.