In the last decade, marketers have experimented with new technologies, building the pipes to connect with their online audiences. Modern CMOs cultivate a blend of digital media, including emails, blogs, tweets, posts, and other forms of social media. While using these tools has elevated marketers to an even more central role in many organizations, it has also challenged them to keep engaging with an increasingly demanding audience. Marketers have created a beast, hungry to devour new content at a blistering pace.
Feeding the beast is where content marketing comes in. Consumers are looking for high quality content, but it typically has a very short life span. (Think of a beast with a fast metabolism!) Fortunately, we are starting to see some new tools that can help marketers generate measurable ROI from their content strategies.
We have identified five key elements of an effective content marketing strategy, along with a list of applications to help marketers execute on each element:
• Curation: There’s no shame in repurposing existing third-party content on relevant topics. By doing so, you become the trusted channel where audiences go to find high quality and relevant content, without all the noise. Companies such as Percolate and Trapit can help marketers identify relevant content and repurpose it for their own audiences.
• Creation: It’s hard to have a content marketing strategy without some original content, and marketers have become increasingly comfortable relying on a blend of internal and external writers. Original content can be long-form (multiple paragraphs or pages) or short-form (140-character tweets). New companies such as Contently and Scripted allow marketers to find great writers about topics ranging from cell phones to trampolines.
• Workflow management: Editorial calendars are critical, particularly when multiple writers and divisions are collaborating around content. Marketers also need to manage revisions and approvals. This is where workflow management platforms such as Kapost and Zerys can help.
• Distribution: After the content is created, it needs to be published through multiple outlets: blogs, contributed articles, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc. This distribution is not trivial, given the multiple formatting restrictions and the varying preferences for each audience. Companies such as Tapinfluence and Papershare come in here.
• Analytics: This entire process will be repeated multiple times, so measuring effectiveness is critical. You can’t improve what you can’t measure, so having an analytics solution is the only way to close the loop and generate a self-reinforcing cycle. Companies like Simplereach and Awe.sm help marketers track ROI.
Content marketing is a relatively new industry, and currently we see multiple companies focusing on different pieces of the value chain. Within several years, I predict that there will be consolidation, as marketers simply can’t deal with five different vendors to manage their content marketing strategies. There will be category winners that expand into other parts of the content marketing cycle, but it’s still too early to tell which companies will emerge on top.
by Santi Subotovsky
Santi Subotovsky is a principal at Emergence Capital, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm focused on cloud-based, technology-enabled services.
Courtesy of MediaPost