Though it is a staple of any marketing department, content marketing is nothing new. Its forms have changed over time with the advancement of technology and new ways to reach customers.
One of the first known instances of content marketing is from 1732 when Benjamin Franklin promoted his printing business by publishing the Poor Richard’s Almanack. From there, we’ve seen everything from free recipe books to advertisements in magazines to blogs and YouTube video series.
Content marketing has become so important to companies that there are dedicated roles to researching and creating new, fresh content for various platforms. And to help these content marketers is a marketplace that has become saturated with tools to help create, manage, and post content. There are tools that focus on composing the content (writing, creating graphics, editing videos); distributing the content via various channels (such as email, social media, blogs; content scheduling; influencer marketing); or measuring the results (website analytics, social media analytics, SEO). It can all be overwhelming.
So how do you decide what is best for you and your content needs? It involves a lot of Q&A.
Ask Yourself the Right Questions
Choosing the right tool is a tedious process. Before you start researching and shopping around for tools (or before you start consolidating and getting rid of some), create a list of details and criteria that will help guide you during the process. When looking for content marketing tools, you need to consider the following:
What is my budget?
The budget is one of the biggest deciding factors when it comes to selecting a content marketing tool. While there are free options or built-in features (such as those for Facebook Page managers or Facebook Creators), these are usually limited and can only take you so far in terms of usability. It is also best to determine your budget ahead of time so you do not get set on a tool that is priced beyond your available resources.
How many people will be using this tool?
This consideration is two parts. First, you need to find a tool that fits within your budget and offers the appropriate number of accounts you’ll need for each person using it. The second part to consider is if you are the only person using this tool, does it offer enough features to help you streamline your content marketing and make you work more efficiently? If you are the only content marketer, you’ll need to optimize everything as much as possible.
How many ______ do I need to manage?
From social media accounts to blogs, you’ll also need a tool that has the capability to manage multiple content streams. There are few companies that maintain only a blog. A strong content marketing strategy will use blogging, advertising, social media (including an account on different platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube), and more.
How many tools am I willing to have?
While there are some great tools packed with a handful of useful features, you will likely not find a tool that has exactly everything you want and do it how you’d like to get it done. So it’s important to know how many tools you’re willing to spend money on and take the time to learn how to use.
To help you find all the features you want, determine what you need (more on this below) and create a square graph to check off what tool has what features. That way you have an easy visual that lets you know what combination of tools (or what single tool) gives you everything you’d like to have.
What do I know will (or won’t) work?
Knowing what has and hasn’t worked for you, your team, and/or your content marketing strategy in the past will help give you a better sense of what you want (and need). Think of tools or processes previously used and write an overview statement for each (this could be as a paragraph summary or a list of pros and cons). You will be able to quickly remove possible tools during your search and find a solution faster.
Will this offer a good ROI?
When it comes to selecting a marketing tool, you want to make sure that you’ll get more out of the tool than you put in. You don’t need just a tool that will help you create and post content. You need something that will work for you, providing you with insights into your audience and their interests, making your content more successful.
What do I need?
Your needs are another big influencing factor when you’re searching for a content marketing tool. As previously mentioned, you need to make sure that whatever tool you’re using will offer the features you need to help streamline your job. Jot down a list of all the features your ideal tool would have and go from there. Some core features to consider are:
Analytics—A good content marketing tool will do more than spit data. It will tell show you what pieces of content performed the best and for what topics so you can strategize your content development and continue to engage your audience.
Content Management—When you’ve amassed a repository of content, you’ll need to be sure you can find what you need when you need it. Capabilities to tag and index will be crucial in finding the content you need easily right when you need it (which is great for real-time marketing efforts).
Performance Tracking—You cannot determine if you’re getting a decent return on investment if your content marketing tool does not track your content’s performance. Having the capability to track your web and social content performance is non-negotiable. At best, it will be able to compare your performance against competitors.
Again, what you’ll need largely depends on your company’s needs and your resources, but these are the top features that you need to keep in mind.
These questions are not exhaustive, so be sure to take the time to think about your current situation (and tools if you are already using some) and identify the necessary criteria that will guide your tool selection.
The CONCURED Solution
CONCURED was developed with these questions in mind and more. Its features are meant to help your content marketing better by making you a better content marketer. Think of it as an extension of your team—a member who can do everything from recall a specific piece of content out of your hundreds of pieces or find the topics that will resonate best with your audience at the exact moment it is most relevant.
With CONCURED, your content will work for you as it should. Here’s how:
You can audit your content database to find content as you need it and promote it in real time. CONCURED will tag by topic, score by performance, and more.
Coming up with fresh content ideas can often pose a challenge, so CONCURED’s research capabilities will make your content planning easier. In addition to learning what topics are of most interest to your audience, you’ll also see how your content performs against competitors. And instead of just publishing content for the sake of publishing content, you’ll have content that will be of benefit to your audience.
Having a content marketing plan means you’ll always have new, engaging, and well-research content that is ready to publish for your audience. But you’ll also be able to create briefs that prove you are getting a return on your investment.
Trends can change in a moment. As a content marketer, you know you need to be able to distribute at a moment’s notice—real-time content marketing increases audience engagement by 76% and results in better conversion by 25%. This tool can help you identify your best content across the web so you can promote it when it matters.
Finally, your content marketing can only get better when you have an idea of its performance across your website and social platforms. And by gaining insight into your competitors’ performance, you’ll be able to create even stronger content that can put you at the top.
Cut Out the Confusion
With a market inundated with tools that aim to make content marketers’ lives easier and their content marketing strategy stronger, how do you know what is the right tool for you?
Ask yourself insightful questions (and be honest with the answers) to discover what you’d like to see in a marketing tool and identify areas where you need some extra help. Once you have this information at your disposal, you can begin the process of elimination until you find the tool—or team of tools—that will help your content work most effectively when it comes across your audiences’ screens.
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