These days, content marketing is a major force in the quest to drive sales. In fact, in the current environment, content is the currency of digital and social media marketing. Illustrating this point, the Content Marketing Institute found that 70% of consumers surveyed actually prefer branded content like blog posts and articles over advertising when looking for information about a company.
In addition, many of us want to learn about a particular product through written and video content. Tutorial videos, from TikTok briefs and YouTube shorts all the way to detailed YouTube demonstrations, are often popular with consumers, especially since these help them make the best selection. For this reason, brands need to create a lot of content to remain relevant. Using a content marketing platform is one of the best ways to stay on top of your strategy and creation. Let’s look at a few.
What are the types of content marketing?
In one of my recent posts, I identify over twenty different types of content marketing. This variety underscores the importance of having a good content marketing platform since the platform helps you manage all the moving parts. With all that said, a birds-eye view of content types lets us break them down into categories.
- Long form content: These are the longer items, such as YouTube tutorials, blog posts, and podcasts.
- Social media-based content: These are the items that are mainly consumed on social media, such as live streaming, photos, short videos, and engagement text.
- Text-based lead magnets: largely intended to educate decision makers, such as case studies, white papers, long and short-form education tools, checklists, and webinars.
- User-generated content: this includes everything from influencer marketing to reviews and even interviews.
- Other: This is a catch-all category including items like infographics, brand communities, and presentations. In other words, the options are endless.
What does a content marketing platform do?
In short, a content marketing platform enables teams to create faster, repeatable processes to deliver high-quality digital content. In this sense, a good platform (or two) makes your marketing team’s job easier. However, there are other features which you may need. For one thing, they give you a data-driven supply chain by telling you what works and what doesn’t. Then, they help you with content strategy, planning, and results reporting. Finally, you can customize workflows for each content type.
Common content marketing platform features and functionality.
As you will see from our top content marketing platforms, while there are some comprehensive options, others focus on certain aspects of content marketing. In this case, you’ll want to choose a content marketing platform that best meets your needs. That being said, some of the most common features include:
- Content Planning: Deciding your strategy, both overall and on a more specific level. For instance, you might decide to do a webinar on marketing techniques and put out a case study.
- Content Creation: This encompasses a large variety of content output options. For instance, it can mean curated content, hiring writers through the platform, or creating content in-house through supporting large team collaboration. In some cases, you can even facilitate influencer marketing from your content marketing platform.
- Content Optimization: The major example of content optimization is SEO copywriting. However, there are a few techniques that involve SEO for video and photo-based content.
- Content Distribution: Distribution involves using social media, landing pages, marketing automation, or other options through integrations. Here, your choice of content marketing platform will significantly influence your options.
- Content Marketing Analytics: Finally, the analytics functions of your content marketing platform will help you see how well each piece of content or campaign performed. From here, you can tweak your strategy as needed.
The Top Content Marketing Platforms to Consider.
Here are the top content marketing platforms. Some are more comprehensive, while others only focus on certain aspects. However, all should be considered to aid your content marketing efforts. As you review each content marketing platform, you’ll find that it is easier to determine which one, or which combination, is right for your brand.
Comprehensive Content Marketing Platforms
These platforms have the most comprehensive coverage, addressing most aspects of content marketing. The advantage of this is that you might not need a second platform. However, each still has its strengths and weaknesses, so you’ll need to weigh these.
As a comprehensive content marketing platform, StoryChief has a little bit of everything, including blog writing software. However, the real standout feature is the over one thousand software integrations. These include everything you need for multi-channel content distribution. That capability is so powerful that you can schedule a whole bunch of content in five minutes.
RockContent (formerly ScribbleLive)
Rock Content has comprehensive tools for content marketing. However, this isn’t where the content marketing platform is strong. Rather, they excel at web hosting, consulting, and concierge services. In other words, you can hire someone from RockContent to do a lot of the work for you. Think of it as a cross between a platform for teams and a content agency.
A lot more than just a content marketing platform, HubSpot is a comprehensive marketing solution. Simply sign up for the tools you need, such as their marketing hub. This hub actually integrates with their CRM hub for extra efficiency. Best of all, you can get started for free.
Kapost (by Upland Software)
Kapost is geared towards the B2B brand. It combines CRM capabilities with comprehensive content creation and distribution. But its special sauce is the content recommendation capability: it recommends more content to a viewer based on prior habits and information in the CRM. This way, customers are more likely to see what you need them to see.
Sales Enablement Focus
These platforms focus more on social selling through sales enablement, equipping your salespeople – and customers – with the right content to serve at the right time throughout the buying journey. So, you should choose a content marketing platform from this list when boosting sales is the primary focus, as opposed to raising brand awareness.
Seismic (formerly Percolate)
Seismic is a content marketing platform that gives your sales team the information they need to pitch a customer, while they’re pitching the customer. In essence, the idea is to bridge the gap between sales and marketing that many companies suffer from. For instance, sales might not always know what marketing has already put out. With Seismic, you don’t have that problem. Plus, the integrations help your team distribute content as appropriate.
Content Curation Focus
These platforms focus on tools that aid in curating content from the Internet to serve as an integral part of your content marketing. The types of content you use often depend on your focus, but many brands curate inspirational quotes and user-generated content. For the second option, the curation can be non-sponsored creativity or done as part of an influencer marketing campaign. It’s a great option to help build social proof or inspire customers.
Curata is a relatively simple content marketing platform. It curates content from a wide variety of sources, then filters results so only useful examples are forwarded for your attention. In addition, you can create templates for each social media destination. Finally, Curata helps with content distribution. For this, you can add your own content and distribute everything from Curata. Or, you can export your chosen curated content to different software where it is distributed.
With this content marketing platform, the options are broader. ContentStudio is great for curation, but it also can handle content creation. While less powerful than many comprehensive marketing suites, you can still do most of your content marketing tasks from this particular app. You can customize your publishing and discovery tasks, delivering the right content at the right time. It even has broad collaboration and client approval facilities. For this reason, it’s a great choice for agencies and companies that have large marketing departments.
Content Planning & Writing
Part of content planning is understanding what content to create. These platforms are equipped to help you do just that, with some helping you in the actual content writing process as well. Supports often include analytics that helps you see the strengths and weaknesses of your current marketing campaigns. In addition, you can more easily identify opportunities to boost sales, brand awareness, engagement, or any combination of these goals. If the content marketing platform also helps you create content, this is an extra bonus.
If you want to do influencer marketing, check out this content marketing platform. BuzzSumo has four basic functionalities. First, there’s standard content curation and discovery, which dishes up material for the next great social media post. Second, they have a “content research” functionality. This looks for new content in your industry but selects items you might not want to curate. If you’re doing influencer discovery, then the research function is great.
However, BuzzSumo doesn’t stop there. They offer comprehensive analytics which let you see what works best, and where your strategy needs work. Finally, there’s a social monitoring capability that assists with engagement tracking and spotting problems before they get worse. All of this is wrapped up with easy integrations, so you can publish in-app.
Think audience research is hard? Think again. SparkToro crawls the internet to see what your audience likes to do online. This includes social profiles, media consumption, and more. Then, the information is aggregated into consumer profiles: buyer personas on steroids. In turn, the program will tell you which podcasts or other channels to place sponsored content on in order to reach a particular customer base.
In addition, SparkToro tells you what your competitors are doing, and where their visitors hang out. This means that you can see exactly where to go in order to compete for the same eyeballs. This way, it’s easy to maximize your content marketing success.
SEMrush is a content marketing platform in that it has all the tools you need for success. However, it is so much more. The application was initially developed as a search engine marketing tool, including SEO and paid search functionality. In addition, they have excellent social media management capabilities. Considering that there’s a lot of overlap between content and social media marketing, this is a huge bonus. Even more so if you have influencers or a significant social presence.
Hemingway is a simple program that helps you write and edit copy. It’s useful for the written content of all lengths, including product descriptions and blogs. With Hemingway, you type copy with basic word processing capabilities, or cut and paste it into the app. Then, the app gives you editing suggestions. These include simple items like spelling and grammar, along with more advanced issues like too much passive voice or low readability. As you correct the problems, it gives you up-to-date metrics.
Content Creation Focus
If you’re looking to outsource your writing as part of your content marketing efforts, these platforms include content writing marketplaces that will help you do just that. For instance, you can hire a copywriter to fine-tune your case study or whitepaper. Or, you could get a great video producer to make the latest release on your product for YouTube. In many cases, you can post the content directly from the content marketing platform.
This content marketing platform is known for what they call “teamlancing.” This is where they assemble a team of freelancers who collaborate to produce content. In addition, you can use their collaboration tools to let freelancers work alongside your in-house staff, similar to the way a temp agency employee would come in and work alongside your own people. Or, you can pay ClearVoice to manage the freelancers for you. Finally, you have the analytics, social media management, and other tools found in comprehensive solutions.
Think of Contently as a content marketing platform that acts somewhat like a marketing agency. They boast about having some of the best freelance writers available. In addition, you get comprehensive content planning and analytics capabilities. However, you keep full creative control over the content that’s put out while not having to perform many of the management tasks.
Content Planning & Distribution Focus
You need to collaborate when you’re working on a big team in terms of content planning as well as content distribution. After all, you need to ensure that the right-hand knows what the left hand is doing. In addition, unified results tracking is a major bonus for ROI maximization. If that is you this is the perfect content marketing platform for you.
I think the word “schedule” in this content marketing platform’s name says it all. In short, CoSchedule lets you coordinate all of your marketing projects and campaigns in one place. It helps you post content, manage social media, purchase advertising, monitor results, and more. About the only thing it doesn’t do is help with content creation. Nonetheless, this is a truly great tool for larger teams, and it also works well if you do a lot of influencer marketing.
No matter what kind of content you put out, it’ll be much easier with a content marketing platform. From content planning to publication and results tracking, having everything you need at your fingertips is always beneficial. Best of all, one of these tools is sure to meet your needs.
Hero photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash