Life is full of big, impactful and memorable moments. Here’s one: If you’ve been married, you know that actually standing there and looking somebody you love in the eyes and saying your vows of commitment makes for one of those “Oh, wow” moments that sticks with you forever.
While buying into a content marketing platform for your company or agency may not be quite so dramatic when compared to those life-changing moments, it is still a major commitment that is not to be taken lightly. “For better or for worse” doesn’t need to apply when you hitch up with a content marketing platform, because you can always back out and head another direction. But that can be challenging to do once you’re “in.”
So what’s the solution? Asking the right questions up front, before setting up house.
Pose these 10 questions to the content software service providers you’re considering. BrandpointHUB, Brandpoint’s easy-to-use content marketing platform, shapes up favorably against all these inquiries. No matter which partner you choose, you’ll want it to do the same.
1 – Can I Try Before I Buy?
You should be able to take a test drive and see if you like the software before you buy. A content marketing platform needs to integrate smoothly and seamlessly with the way you do content. Any content software provider worth its salt is going to let you try out their product first, before you buy. You’ll need at least a few weeks, and probably a full month, to go through a production cycle and get to know it.
2 – Is the Platform Easy and Intuitive to Use?
Here’s another reason to try before you buy. If you can’t dive into that content software and learn the basics of using it in a couple of hours, it’s probably not for you. Example: I mastered the essentials of BrandpointHUB in about an hour, and I am not the biggest techno-geek on the block by any means. Look for similar results: You want to get in and create great content, and lots of it … you do not want to waste hours figuring out how to use the tool.
3 – What Kind of Technical Support Do I Get?
When questions pop up, you want answers and insights, and you want those solutions fast. Are you going to be able to talk to someone to get some quick help? Or are you going to end up searching through digital piles of articles and “help” content to locate your answers?
4 – Does the Platform Help Me Capture All My Ideas?
When we developed BrandpointHUB, our conversations with potential users remained consistent on many points, and one of the most common was this: Everybody wants to be able to manage their ideas – capture content concepts, get them stored safe and sound, and have those ideas right there at their fingertips later. In short: it should eliminate the piles of random post-it notes on your desk or in your mind.
5 – How Does the Platform Help Me Organize My Content Life?
Nobody needs a big dumping pot where all your content resides in one big swirl. Everybody needs a tool that organizes content by campaign and by content type. Perhaps your company has different product lines or messaging campaigns. Or maybe your agency has different clients to manage. Either way, your content tool needs clear, simple and reliable methods for separating various classifications of content.
6 – How Do I Manage Keywords for My Campaigns?
Take a close look at the platform’s keyword tool. Is it easy and intuitive to use? Is it simple to edit your keyword lists and keep them up to date? Don’t just assume this is a “gimme” in any content tool. While they all have the feature, the key is this: Will you use it?
7 – Can I Do More than Just Enter and Store Content?
The content process involves so much more than writing and editing. There’s a front end far upstream of those steps, and a back end that actually puts that content in front of the eyes you need to see it. Does the content marketing platform you’re looking at help you:
- Plan your content out?
- Create and consolidate that content in one place?
- Review and collaborate on the editing process?
- Publish your content to the platforms you use?
- Measure results so you know what traffic your content is generating?
8 – Does It Have a Built-In Workflow and Approvals Tool?
When we researched how we were going to build BrandpointHUB, one immense pain point emerged among every content marketer we talked to: They were all fed up with trying to get content approved through a workflow of endless e-mail trails, Excel files, and messy Word documents with revision tracking turned on. Your platform needs a workflow tool that streamlines that process in one easy place and eliminates all the pain and suffering associated with reviews, revisions and approvals.
Braggy but true note: BrandpointHUB is based on Brandpoint’s proprietary software that we developed and perfected while creating millions of pieces of content for our clients since 1996. One of the HUB’s hallmarks is the workflow tool that automates approvals and offers one source of truth for tracking and revisions.
9 – Does the Software Smoothly Integrate with My Publishing Platforms?
Everything we’ve talked about is important, but none of it matters if the content doesn’t get published easily, and/or you have to go back out and use another tool. Take a close look at the platform’s integrations, and test it out by publishing directly to the platforms that are important to you – WordPress, Facebook, Twitter, HubSpot, etc. If a media platform you use isn’t included in the integrations, ask about it. It shouldn’t be hard for a provider to hook you up.
10 – What Is the Cost and What Is My Commitment?
After confirming and understanding the pricing structure, ask: Am I starting out on a discount that’s going to disappear after some period of time? And how long am I committed for? You know what you can absorb cost-wise, but we only recommend going with a provider that lets you be in charge of how long you’re going to stay with the platform. Here’s the thinking: If it’s a good product and works right, you’re going to love it and stick with it anyway.
Whether you’re searching for your first content marketing platform or looking to switch to something that’s easier to use and more efficient with your time and resources, start your evaluation process with the 10 questions posed here.
During your search, we’d even suggest taking a look at BrandpointHUB and trying it out for free. We’ll help you get started and teach you some of the ropes (it’s easy, fun to use, and you’ll get productive in just a few short weeks). Then you can decide if it’s for you.
We may be a little partial, but it could be a match made in heaven.