Tools are essential for ensuring quality, consistency and enabling scale when it comes to just about any kind of digital marketing. Content Marketing is no different.
There are a variety of content marketing tools, services and applications available, each promising to save the day for everything from persona development to editorial planning to content management, amplification and measurement.
When I was at Content Marketing World a few weeks ago, I moderated a presentation by last year’s “Content Marketer of the Year”, Joe Chernov from Kinvey, who presented on a substantial project he undertook regarding content marketing tools.
The presentation and accompanying slide deck possessed several key characteristics of the most successful content: Thoughtful, structured, empathetic with the audience, uniquely and creatively packaged. It also includes case studies for each tool.
Joe made a point to not focus on the most popular content marketing tools like, Outbrain, Zuberance, InboundWriter, Kapost, Compendium, SkyWord or Curata. Rather, he focused on a collection of tools that warrant attention outside of the mainstream content marketing mix.
Researching tools is something every marketer appreciates but few actually do it in a meaningful way. I reached out to Joe about this:
Very few people do the honest analysis you did with the tools included in your presentation. Do you have a model or process for evaluating new tools? (Especially for companies with limited resources.)
I pay for pain-killers; I make my own vitamins. For example, I work at a start-up and we don’t (yet) have a critical-mass of influencers who are aware of us. So for me, engaging with relevant influencers is a pain. So to cure that, I’d invest in something like Little Bird (fortunately, as an advisor, I can use the tool for free).
Conversely, while it would be nice to be able to dip into a marketplace of writers and use a simple system for managing production and payment, at our size, that’s a luxury — or a “vitamin” — that I don’t need to pay for. Instead, I’ll manage that process myself. For a larger company that already has a significant following a more efficient system for sourcing and managing freelance writers might be a pain-killer. So for them, investing in a platform like Contently might be the higher priority.
The importance and demand of tools for helping digital marketers make more of an impact with their content marketing is rising at light speed. To help meet that demand for information, I’ve taken some what Joe shared in his presentation and combined it with a few of my own findings for each of the 10 tools he reviewed. Enjoy.
What it is: Real time content marketing platform.
Percolate sources, curates and schedules content for brands to share on the social web. Also uses insights to suggest new content creation. Through Percolate, a brand can publish content for and engage with audiences on Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, WordPress, and Drupal-based .com.
A tool like Percolate is useful for community managers at big corporate brands who are often overwhelmed with finding content to share across divisions, business units, geography. After a “calibration” period of identifying a brand’s key interests, visual guidelines and events, Percolate indexes owned assets globally.
Percolate supports a “cradle to grave to reincarnation” approach to content creation that helps companies identify the topics of interest for a target audience and then promote that social content across social channels.
Case Studies: IBM, Stella Artois, MasterCard, Samsung
What it is: A visual storytelling platform.
LookBookHQ is not unlike Pinterest and Slideshare in that you assemble content (original and curated) including web pages, files, images and video that then become “embeddble” and sharable on social networks. Essentially, LookBookHQ is a way to make your content marketing more visual. Content is displayed in what looks like a Pinterest board. You can annotate images within it and connect them to each other. Some of the content behind the tiles can be gated while other content is open access. Analytics are available to measure engagement and you can integrate with leading marketing automation and CRM solutions.
Example: 20 Women Who Rock Content Marketing 2013
What it is: Like Flipboard or Slideshare on your own domain name.
Uberflip is responsive-design curator feature for content in just about every format from video to social to PDF that can be published as a hub. Conversion functionality is built into the hub, with customized call to actions. This is a great example of a platform that will help a brand create a “best answer” hub for a topic they want to be known for.
Case Study: The C100
What it is: A Journalist Marketplace
Connects brands with access to a large pool of newspaper and magazine journalists including management tools for content creation, workflow and payment. Offers a freelancers a place to catch extra work and brands a combination of talent network, content creation tools, workflow tools, publishing, sponsorship and distribution features.
Case Study: Rackspace (gated)
What it is: Influencer and Content Discovery, Engagement
Little Bird is a platform that helps companies find, engage and subscribe to real influencers on any given topic.
What it is: A real-time content distribution and engagement platform
Shifts conversion from the brand site to the content itself using an upload once, share anywhere approach. Includes a dashboard that offers channel specific analytics that let you know who is reading your content, which channels they came from, what else they have read and any insights they share. Also includes an engagement dashboard for nurturing and direct interaction.
Case Study: Intel (social login gated)
What it is: Facilitates Employee Sharing of Content
Standardizes, prioritizes content and messaging and offers employee level analytics. Identifies who is representing the brand on the social web, supports content suggestions to employees for sharing and analytics for performance optimization.
Helps alleviate employee concerns about what to share, what to say and whether what they’re doing has impact.
What it is: Platform for Recruiting, Mobilizing, And Recognizing Brand Advocates
Platform for building an advocate community though ramification: customers complete challenges to earn points and recognition. Integrates with CRM, social networks and marketing automation platforms.
Case Study: Act-On
What it is: A/B and Multivariate Testing Tool
Very easy to use testing tool. Test anything from button colors to order of assets, offer copy and many other variables. Track engagement, clicks, conversions, sign ups, or anything else. No coding abilities needed but if you have them, it can be customized even further.
Case Studies: EA, Liftopia, ZAGG, USTREAM,
What it is: Competitive Intelligence Platform For a Competitors Ads and Content
TrackMaven shows how each piece of content is performing across paid, owned, earned media in real time. Create alerts, easy competitor tracking set up, provides one feed for every one of your competitor’s content marketing channels.
You can track display ads, SEO, PPC. traffic data, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, RSS Content, news and press. Compare your marketing stats with competitors for benchmarking.
Here’s the full deck Joe presented at Content Marketing World organized by category.
If you’d like to learn more about content marketing tools and successful content marketing, you’ll really want to be at MarketingProfs B2B Forum this week in Boston.
Among many other outstanding presentations from top B2B brands and industry thought leaders, Joe Chernov and I will join Joe Pulizzi from the Content Marketing Institute, Ann Handley from MarketingProfs and Michelle Kessler from Qualcomm Spark for an afternoon panel discussion “Content All Stars Share Their Secrets“. Follow along on Twitter using the hashtag: #mpb2b
This is by no means a comprehensive list of content marketing tools, so please share: Which tools do you rely on in your content marketing planning, implementation and measurement?
Top image: Shutterstock