Any content marketing effort requires at least a few tools to run effectively. To be strong in this component, we need two things:
- We need access to the right tools to create efficiency
- And we need expertise in utilizing them
If you think of every piece of software you touch in the course of a day to do your job, the average is 17. That’s a lot of software. So the challenge is, how do we find the right tools for us?
Well, it turns out that you have a lot to choose from. This is what the marketing technology software tool landscape looks like today. There were 150 software tools available to marketers in 2011. One-hundred and fifty. Should have been enough, right? Today there’s over 5,000! Now, that’s a lot of complexity, right, when I look at that, it’s kind of a crazy infographic. So let’s try to create simplification by breaking these tools down into [five] essential categories that every marketing team is going to need.
1. Content Management System (CMS)
The first is your Content Management System or publishing platform. Obviously, you need a website in 2018. You need a place to host all of your digital content. Here’s the key to this tool group. If you have to talk to somebody in IT to make a change to your website, you need to move to a new platform —tomorrow! It’s 2018. Marketers need to make changes. So that is a key, a must have.
2. Customer Relationship Manager (CRM)
Next is your Customer Relationship Management software. Although the CRM is primarily used by the sales team, there are some powerful insights in your CRM for marketers. A big insight that your CRM can help you understand is what kinds of content are most effective in moving prospects through your funnel. You guys all want that data. A CRM is also really helpful in creating alignment between the sales and the marketing team.
3. Content Marketing Platform (CMP)
The Content Marketing Platform. How many of you have more than one person involved in the production and approval of content before you publish it and put it into use? Does anybody have to approve things? Yeah, just about everybody. A CMP is going to be your best friend, if you were raising your hand. So, a CMP simplifies your entire content creation process and gives you one central location that you can collaborate as a team, manage workflows and manage the publishing of your content.
If anyone thinks that this isn’t an essential tool, consider this: According to Gleanster research, companies who don’t invest in some type of content marketing workflow software spend $120,000 more per year to produce the same amount of content as companies who do use this type of software. So, it can be a big savings.
4. Social Media Management (SMM)
Social Media Management. If social media plays a role in your content marketing strategy, a social media management tool is really a must-have. It gives you both a place to create and publish your social content and it also allows you to track your KPIs and your engagement, your traffic and referrals, social listening.
5. Marketing Automation and Email
Finally, your Marketing Automation or email platform. Now, one of the things that I like about marketing automation is, I think it can really help deliver on content marketing’s core promise, and that is providing value and relevance to your audience through content and then nurturing them along their journey to becoming your customer. Marketing automation platforms can get a little complex — for those that said you use them, you know what I’m talking about — but the right tool is really worth the investment here.
When it comes to marketing software tools, more isn’t always better and it can create complexity. So, when you’re considering adding new marketing tech, keep this in mind: The resources that it takes to use each tool effectively and whether or not that tool really serves your core business and marketing goals.
The Content Marketing Operating System is a six-part actionable guide to help you build a foundational and systematic content marketing practice.