What is Content Marketing Software?
Content marketing software offers tools to help marketers with content creation, curation, publishing, distribution, tracking, and sourcing. These platforms are designed to enable a content marketing strategy. The goal of content marketing is to attract and nurture a target audience by providing useful content, rather than directly pitching a product.
Content marketing software generally supports a variety of media types including text, images, videos, infographics, and interactive content. Marketers use these tools to build a repository of marketing assets to be distributed or available for prospects to self-explore.
Content Marketing Strategy
Content marketing addresses a common pain point of traditional advertising or batch-and-blast marketing campaigns. Such campaigns can seem disruptive and irrelevant. So, content marketing aims to present the material that it is informative, timely, and relevant to the end-user.
Content marketing positions a brand as authoritative by freely offering helpful information without a sales pitch. It is somewhat similar to native advertising. But consumers are increasingly wary of the hidden sales pitches in native advertising. Content marketing aims to raise brand awareness and increase trust among your audience without annoying them.
Content Marketing Platform Features
Content Creation Software
Not all content marketing platforms address content ideation and production. Those that do commonly have the following features:
- Ideation: Tools for creative development, such as ideation workspaces, guides to certain topics or channels, briefs, recommendations, and/or access to agencies.
- Approval workflows: Ability to create and track workflows for content approval.
- Content collaboration: Ability to edit and update content in real-time and in tandem with other users.
- Content calendar: A calendar used for planning out and scheduling content posting to social media profiles, blogs, or other websites.
- Network for content licensing/production: Access to a database of content that can be licensed or a talent network for content production.
- Payment/resource management: Allows users to budget for content creation costs and/or make payments to contractors or agencies.
Content Marketing Publishing Platforms
Most content marketing tools involve publishing, sharing, or other mechanisms of distribution. These capabilities help marketers organize, distribute, promote, and contextualize content for publication. Features may include:
- Content hub: A central repository, or library, for organizing all content.
- Forms / gated content: The ability to set up forms for lead generation, which can be used to gate content.
- Embedded CTAs: Forms or links embedded in the content
- Content distribution: Allows users to push content to different channels, such as social media or websites. Sometimes handled via integrations.
- Content promotion: Ability to promote content by connecting to paid and earned media channels.
- Content automation: Ability to set up automated distribution, personalization, and/or curation.
Content Marketing Reporting Tools
Reporting and analytics help marketers understand the impact of content on the buyer's journey. They also help marketers understand, segment, and target their audiences. The focus is usually on content engagement.
However, some platforms also look at production costs and trends. Content marketing tools may also integrate with web analytics and other marketing analytics software. Common features around content reporting and analytics are:
- Audience profiling and targeting: Profiles—types that can be used for segmentation—based on audience behavior or demographics. Helps deliver targeted content via website personalization and/or marketing automation campaigns.
- Closed-loop tracking and reporting: Tracks the impact of content on the buyer’s or customer’s journey and ROI.
- Performance reports & analytics: Insights into how individual pieces of content are performing. Measured by engagement and/or conversion.
- Campaign optimization dashboard: Quick view on content performance. Allows users to make changes to which channels and which content is being promoted or displayed.
- Content production analytics: Analytics on time and money spent on content production.
- Page-level engagement analytics: For a granular look at content performance.
- Integrations: Connections with third-party software that allows information to flow between the two systems.
Most content marketing tools do not cover the entire content lifecycle. Therefore, it's important to explore how a content marketing tool will fit into your tech stack.
Content marketing platforms commonly integrate with content management systems, social media management tools, marketing automation software, email marketing software, CRM systems, social media platforms, and/or third-party analytics software such as A/B testing, social media analytics, and web analytics tools.
Content Marketing Platform Comparison
Before deciding to invest in one or more content marketing tools, consider these three key factors:
1. What type of tool do you need?
There are many types of content marketing tools available, with the different types of tools corresponding to the feature groups above. For example, content creation, publishing, and analytics software. So before spending money on three tools that all cover a different part of the content marketing lifecycle, figure out what your business needs right now and start there.
2. Does it fit your budget?
As mentioned above, content creation, publishing, and analytics can be an expensive endeavor. You need to pay for the labor, advertising, as well as the software. So make sure the content marketing platforms you're considering fit your budget.
3. Is it easy to use and integrate with the rest of your Martech stack?
Two important things to keep in mind are how user-friendly the software is and whether it will fit with the rest of your marketing tech stack. Usability is important because it can impact how widely used and adopted the tool at your organization. Your marketing team will warm up to a new, but easy-to-use, tool much quicker than a tool that required a lot of training.
A tool that doesn’t integrate with the other marketing software you use will make getting information out of one tool and into another harder than it needs to be.
Content Marketing Pricing
Often a content marketing program’s biggest investment will be in time or resources for creating the content itself. Another big investment might be in paid campaigns for distributing content.
For content marketing tools, pricing varies depending on feature complexity. Simpler planning and publishing tools might cost somewhere in the range of $100 to $500 per month. Though limits might be placed on storage or users. Platforms that cover the full spectrum of features range from $3,000 per month up to $25,000+ a month.
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