What is a content marketing platform and how to choose one
Content marketing is one of the most fruitful and cost-effective way to generate leads, with nine out of 10 businesses including content in their marketing campaigns. Perhaps that’s no surprise, when you learn that content marketing generates more than three times as many leads as traditional marketing – while costing 62% less.
Despite content’s popularity, building, distributing, measuring, and optimizing its performance is a struggle for marketers. That’s reflected in the data; three quarters of blog posts get fewer than 10 social shares and zero backlinks.
So, how can a business ensure their content marketing efforts receive robust results, rather than languishing, unvisited and unshared, in the darkest corners of the internet? The answer can be found in using a content marketing platform. Content marketing platforms help marketers optimize their content marketing processes and consistently create high-performing content that resonates with their target audience.
What is a content marketing platform?
A content marketing platform is a software solution that marketers use to support their content strategy and production – from start to finish. Content marketing platforms vary in terms of the capabilities they offer, but typically include dedicated features to help marketers create, optimize, monitor, and measure content. One key theme that connects all content marketing platforms is enabling the efficient creation of high-performing, brand-compliant content that drives real return on investment (ROI).
Who should use a content marketing platform
With content now being the primary way customers and prospects interact with a brand, using a content marketing platform will benefit nearly all marketing teams. In particular, investing in a content marketing platform is advantageous for:
- Teams with complex or multiple websites: Effectively managing content across large or multiple websites is challenging for even the most advanced content marketing teams. A content marketing platform is a good way of centralizing assets in one place – essential for teams coordinating content production and optimization on a global scale.
- Teams with few resources: With more than three-quarters (78%) of businesses having a team of three or fewer content specialists, automating workflows, streamlining content processes, and increasing productivity are compelling reasons to use a content marketing platform.
- Teams that lack domain knowledge: Teams that do not have the required level of expertise to successfully manage content creation, quality checks, and performance monitoring across different content verticals. This roster might include SEO, content creation, branding compliance, web content accessibility, and PPC. In this case, they should consider using a content marketing platform to bridge the skills gap and see their content efforts really take off across all verticals with the assistance of practical recommendations and automation.
- Teams who want to prove content ROI: Nearly half (44%) of marketers say measuring the ROI of their demand generation initiatives better is a top priority for 2021. Teams that want to more clearly link their content efforts to business outcomes can really benefit from the advanced and structured performance measurement and campaign tracking capabilities provided by a content marketing platform.
- Teams who want to up their content game: Marketers who want to prioritize delivering reader-centric, high-quality content experiences on their website will find the content auditing, analysis, and optimization functions of content marketing platforms invaluable for taking their content to the next level.
What are the benefits of integrating content marketing tools?
Many content teams rely on a mix of marketing technologies to support their content strategy; with different solutions in use for content auditing, editorial calendars, search engine optimization, analytics, ads, reporting, publishing content, and more. Yet this approach is too often inefficient, expensive, and requires multiple rounds of onboarding and training to fully understand and get the most out of each tool. In particular, content marketers run the risk of siloing their data across disparate platforms – making it harder for them to connect the dots between content campaigns, track success, and zero in on areas for improvement. Backing this up is research from Gartner, which shows that just one in three organizations believe their MarTech stacks effectively meet their business needs.
Instead, it’s recommended that content marketers streamline and simplify their MarTech stack with a combined technology solution.
By opting to use an all-in-one content marketing platform rather than single-purpose solutions, marketers can swiftly connect the different components of their content strategy, streamline their workflows, and more effectively grow awareness, engagement, and conversions with inclusive content that is accessible to everyone. Here’s how:
- Get executive oversight: Get a consolidated view of all your content assets across your content marketing campaigns in a centralized location. Align your designers, developers, content creators, and other stakeholders and members of your content marketing team with a single content marketing solution to eliminate operational silos.
- Monitor performance in one place: Gain end-to-end visibility of your content marketing campaigns in one place using built-in performance-tracking features like shareable dashboards, custom reporting, and progress monitoring over time.
- Work to the same high standards: By bringing everyone onto the same platform, you ensure all website contributors are adhering closely to the same standards, using the same data, and are visibly accountable for their area of expertise.
- Make data-driven decisions: By interconnecting all your campaigns and data in one platform it becomes easier to uncover patterns in data and get a clear view of the bigger picture. This facilitates data-driven decision making when it comes to content marketing strategy planning.
- Create inclusive digital content: Create an inclusive website experience that is accessible to all visitors – and increase your addressable market too. At the same time, using a content marketing platform with an accessibility checking feature can reduce your legal risk by ensuring your content doesn’t violate US anti-discrimination legislation, like the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act.
- Get practical recommendations for complex processes: Many content marketers are generalists who must wear many hats to do their jobs. Demystify complex processes such as SEO, PPC, and accessibility compliance with actionable insights coupled with in-platform support. This enables non-experts to act without being constrained by lack of knowledge.
- Reduce wasted time: Increase marketing efficiency with automated checks that are critical to maintaining high website quality and time-saving CMS integrations. Time formerly wasted on switching between tools, carrying out resource-intensive tasks by hand, and sharing data manually can be reallocated to high-level planning.
What to consider when looking at content marketing platforms for your business
Choosing a content marketing platform that meets your team’s unique needs is essential for getting the most out of your investment. As the exact mix of required features will vary from platform to platform, it’s a good idea to think about how your team is already working to provide a superior website experience to its visitors.
You should then nail down your recurring pain points; they might include challenges like a lack of clarity on what a high-quality website experience is and how to achieve it, no oversight of content, website contributors being spread across an organization and failing to meet centralized quality standards. Or perhaps your core challenge is a lack of expertise and domain knowledge that presents an obstacle to delivering a positive visitor experience and meaningful interactions with content.
Whatever your team’s specific circumstances, you should pay close attention to the following considerations when picking a content marketing platform:
1. Content marketing platforms capabilities
Does the platform have a broad range of features and functions? If you’re a small team that only wants to check for broken links and misspellings across a few hundred pages every now and then, it makes little sense to purchase a tool with advanced SEO and paid search auditing capabilities. On the other hand, a global content marketing department with a comprehensive content marketing strategy will need all the advanced website experience and growth features an enterprise-level content marketing platform provides.
Content marketing roles are often spread out among a team – perhaps even on a global scale. A collaborative content marketing platform will help to unite multiple stakeholders onto a single platform so they can all rely on a single ‘source of truth’. If this is your priority, look for platforms that offer task assignment, progress tracking, data-sharing, custom reporting, shareable dashboards, and role allocation functions.
While all platforms require an initial ‘settling-in’ period, if your tool is too complex – or alternatively too simple in scope – your results could be curtailed. Remember, the platform will be used by multiple contributors, so it needs to take into account a range of experience and expertise levels. Platforms with built-in tool tips, actionable recommendations, and education resources are a good way of levelling the playing field.
4. Content marketing platform integrations
You probably already have a range of tools your team works with. So, does the platform support and seamlessly integrate with your existing MarTech stack? Could it even go as far as streamlining your stack by replacing some of your existing technologies?
5. Platform support and training
Properly understanding how to use a tool can make the difference between average and outstanding results. Does the software vendor provide in-depth training and support to help you meet your content marketing goals? Or is the support superficial or self-service only?
Does the platform offer custom dashboards and report generation that can be tailored to your team’s reporting needs?
Does the platform offer the chance to scale up your content marketing operations as your business grows and evolves? You might not be focusing on a certain element of content marketing now, but that could change in the future; so, is there an option to bolt-on additional functions at a later date? Can you add more users to your subscription? Is there a limit on data crawled and analyzed? And crucially; is the software vendor continuously investing in upgrades to their platform to match updates to search engine algorithms, the introduction of new technologies, and other progressions in the world of content marketing?
When considering which content marketing platform to use, you should also factor in your budget. While there are free tools available to help content marketers elevate their efforts, they often come with limited support, user allowances, and functions.
How Siteimprove can help you with content marketing
The Siteimprove Intelligence Platform offers several content modules that help you create, optimize, and monitor your web content, ensuring it is always polished, up-to-date, brand-compliant, and inclusive – all from one platform. And because MarTech integration is a key issue for many marketing teams, it also aligns with your tech stack for greater efficiency.
You can’t improve your content if you don’t know what – or where – it is. Gain complete visibility of your assets with a full, automated library of your web content. The Content Inventory feature shows you a clear breakdown of every page, link, and media file located on your website.
Content quality auditing
According to an Edelman study, 81% of consumers say they need to be able to trust a brand to buy from them. Content marketers can build trust and loyalty with their audience by consistently producing high-quality, error-free content that meets their needs. Spelling errors, broken links, and dense, badly-written copy can all detract from a brand’s trustworthiness. That’s where making sure that your content marketing platform has a website QA testing feature– that spots errors before your visitors do – comes into play.
Siteimprove Quality Assurance makes this easier with a range of content-boosting features:
- Content readability: Rid your site of hard to comprehend copy and match your visitors’ reading level by testing your content against one of seven internationally recognized readability tests.
- Misspelling checker: Scan your web content for embarrassing, trust-eroding spelling errors.
- Broken links checker: Identify and fix broken links in your content so your visitors don’t encounter experience-killing dead-ends.
- Brand dictionary: Create a custom, brand-specific dictionary to speed up your content checks – you can say goodbye to your brand name constantly being flagged as a typo!
Automated branding compliance audits
It’s obvious to most content marketers that your content needs to be fresh, well-written, and optimized – but it’s easy to overlook the importance of ensuring it is consistently on-brand. In fact, consistent presentation of a brand can increase revenue by a third (33%). Yet with the frequency of website rebranding, business acquisitions that incorporate new (and conflicting) content to a site, and differences in style between teams, branding can easily become outdated or diluted – making your brand unrecognizable and potentially unrelatable to your visitors.
Siteimprove Policy transforms brand management into a simple, automated process. Utilize pre-built ready-to-go policies – or customize your own – to detect and resolve trust-sapping branding and style inconsistencies across the breadth of your website. You can even set standards for commonly misspelled terms, to fix common content issues, like missing alt text and overly-long page titles, and to locate old content that should have been scrubbed from a site.
SEO content audits and technical audits
You might be creating excellent content, but unless it’s optimized for search engines, it won’t help you meet your broader business objectives.
Clearing these findability roadblocks is easy with an enterprise SEO platform such as Siteimprove SEO. Your content marketing platform should also be able to automatically audit your website’s technical SEO to find issues that are impacting your site’s search visibility, then you can use Siteimprove's prioritized SEO recommendations to tackle the most business-critical problems first. Once you’ve removed any technical issues, you can focus on auditing your on-page SEO and using those learnings to make your content more search engine-friendly. Siteimprove SEO flags common issues with on-page elements like page titles, meta titles and descriptions, images, and headers.
The Duplicate Content Finder feature helps you identify and purge duplicate content – so you don’t have to spend time manually combing through your content assets to prevent a ranking penalty.
Keyword research, keyword discovery, keyword monitoring
For the best results, it’s important to incorporate keyword research into your content planning and creation process. Siteimprove SEO takes the guesswork out of this step. It demystifies organic search by helping content marketers better understand their search audience and generate more high-quality organic traffic by better matching their search intent and zeroing in on untapped keyword opportunities.
Expose unexplored content marketing opportunities by discovering new keywords to target with Siteimprove SEO’s keyword research capabilities. Keyword discovery and keyword suggestion features help you understand the areas for opportunity for current keywords – and learn how to reach prospects with new ones. From here, bringing structure to your content with these keywords insights is a straightforward process.
Knowing your SEO competition is the best way to beat them. Use Siteimprove SEO’s competitor analysis capabilities to track the competitive landscape, identify new search competitors, and reveal the best-performing websites in your niche for your target keywords. You can then use this information to bolter your own SEO strategy.
Automated accessibility checks
Your content marketing assets might pass all the quality assurance, branding, and SEO checks, but if they’re not accessible, they’re not inclusive, and you risk alienating a large business demographic. And the number of people who need a more accessible digital experience is larger than you might think. In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports (CDC) reports that 61 million adult Americans are living with some form of disability.
Making your content accessible isn’t just the smart, business-minded, and ethical thing to do; web accessibility is also a serious legal matter. Removing accessibility barriers not only provides an inclusive content experience; it also helps you comply with legislation like the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act.
Use Siteimprove Accessibility to locate and fix accessibility issues in your content with on-page highlighting and actionable guidelines for making your content more accessible for all readers, with fixes like descriptive alt text and anchor text, transcripts for media content, and formatting content with a logical heading system.
Paid Ads audits
While SEO is a great way to create evergreen content with no upfront spend, there are some occasions where PPC is the most effective way to reach your target audiences. But optimizing paid ads campaigns is often a time-consuming and thankless task. Fortunately, marketers can reclaim wasted time and get more out of their paid search campaigns by using a content marketing platform coupled with a PPC management software such as Siteimprove Ads. Use this tool to automatically audit your Google Ads campaigns and maximize your ads, landing pages, and budgets with clear recommendations.
Landing pages are where the magic happens for most content teams, so use this tool to automatically check them for more than 40 different conversion blockers. From here, you can jump straight into your CMS with one of Siteimprove’s popular CMS plugin to fix the issues and achieve better results.
Marketing teams all have their own preferred MarTech stack. No matter how your team works, Siteimprove’s range of integrations, plugins, and even an API integrate with your workflow for greater efficiency, enhanced insights, and silo-busting. Siteimprove connects integrates seamlessly with more than 40 industry-leading solutions in the following areas:
- Content management (CMS)
- Business intelligence
- Marketing automation
- Task management
Creating content with a content marketing platform is just one part of your content strategy. Without measuring and analyzing its performance using key metrics like visits, downloads, SEO rankings, and conversions, you can’t hope to take your content to the next level and grow your business.
Learn how visitors find your content, where they come from, and which content they’re engaging with most with Siteimprove Analytics. Use these insights to tailor your content to meet their needs – and prioritize underperforming content for improvement.
- Use Siteimprove Analytics visitor insights features to see first-hand how your readers interact with your web content. Look at data from heat, click, and scroll maps to find areas for optimization and remove conversion blockers from your web pages.
- Discover and examine your best and worst-performing pages to learn where your content is hitting – or missing – the mark. Audit those pages to glean insights for crafting better-performing content.
- Set custom content KPIs and monitor your content’s performance over time.
Data is presented in a simple, user-friendly way that is easily understood by everyone, meaning content marketers don’t have to rely on data analysts to make sense of their content performance. You can even tap into one of Siteimprove’s MarTech integrations to see your web analytics data where it makes most sense.
Siteimprove support and Siteimprove Academy
With Siteimprove, you don’t just get a tool. You also gain a trusted technology partner. Siteimprove customers have access to educational Siteimprove Academy training and world-class customer success and support teams to help you get more out of your content marketing platform.