Great content requires talent and skill to pull off; it requires a human touch, with a dash of artistry and a hefty serving of creative know-how. To put it simply, content is not something you can automate.
However, that is not to say that our content strategies can’t benefit from a little automation. In fact, marketing automation platforms can provide a serious boost to our content marketing endeavors. Everything from strategy creation, to content positioning, flexibility, and analysis can be assisted by applying marketing automation.
Read on to discover more.
Strategize your way into the future
Don’t live your content marketing life on a “hand to mouth” basis; it’s a waste of time and resources. Instead, have the bulk of your content scheduled way in advance, giving you the opportunity to plan ahead of time and integrate content directly into your long term goals.
The key here is to balance evergreen content with time-specific content, gaining the best from both worlds. It is likely that this time-specific content is going to need to be produced on the fly and delivered in a precise and timely manner directly where and when it’s needed. Your content teams should be able to handle this endeavor but will find it difficult if the content queue is jammed up with additional, evergreen content pieces.
This should never happen. Instead, everything should be planned out well in advance and scheduled ahead of time. This is a major labor-saver, freeing up your content team to produce great pieces of time-specific content when it’s needed.
Modern customers don’t just want convenience; they expect it. This has altered the landscape of traditional content marketing somewhat. Perhaps, once upon a time, it was enough for businesses to react to the needs of the customer, or to provide solutions as and when required. This is not the case any longer.
Now, business owners need to be proactive. They need to understand the needs of the customer ahead of time and position themselves in a way that enables the direct implementation of a solution. Automation can help us to achieve this.
Marketing automation provides us with the data we need to really get to know our customers. By using this data, we can start segmenting customers into different groups and provide proactive services via our content strategies.
Use marketing automation platforms to store data from each and every customer interaction. This includes data on purchase groupings, access points, and search queries. By commissioning reports from this data, we can begin to understand the different people who interact with us, and their different motivations. This enables us to provide content of genuine worth.
This is really not possible without marketing automation, and provides another example of a time when marketing automation helped us to go the extra mile for customers.
Respond quickly and easily
True greatness – in the sense of content marketing – is achieved with flexibility and responsiveness. We’ve discussed the importance of being proactive, getting our content into place before the user even realizes they need it; but this is not always possible.
Part of the reason why business is such a beautiful and rewarding – if occasionally infuriating – discipline to get into is its unpredictability. We can use data and analytics to make predictions, and we can set Strategy A, B and C in place to safeguard our actions, but the market or wider social conditions affecting our industry will always throw us a curveball sooner or later.
This is why we need to be able to respond quickly and easily. Marketing automation enables us to do this by handling the heavy lifting for us, leaving our content teams the swiftness and freedom required to get in quickly.
An extreme example of this is found in the automotive industry, when a manufacture suddenly issues an emergency recall. Without marketing automation, we have to manually locate customers who are affected, divert other content initiatives while emergency content is drafted, and deploy the content where it is required.
With marketing automation in place, we can swiftly access a database of the affected customers, contacting them directly via pre-programmed messaging. Our content teams are already free to draft up the important public service piece for hosting on our site and social media, and the content delivery architecture is already in place. The word spreads, and it spreads fast. Our goal is achieved.
As mentioned above, this is an extreme example, but the fundamental principles translate across the board. Give yourself the ability to respond quickly and effectively when required.
What’s the point in implementing a strategy without metrics to measure its success? Without such metrics, we can’t tell if our strategies have worked or failed, we can’t know if we are going forwards or backwards, in fact, we can’t be sure of very much at all.
Fortunately, with the right kind of systems in place, the metrics we need to apply to data are within reach.
There are many different ways to achieve success in the content marketing game. Many marketers set their sights on boosted traffic via inbound marketing channels, while others are aiming for enhanced brand authority and social media shares. Some may aim to garner improved customer lifecycle value via content-based support.
Decide which outcome suits your organization and then what you will do to accomplish your aim. If boosted traffic was your target, analyze referrals and search engine keywords among visitors to your site to gauge if you have been successful. If enhanced brand authority and social media shares were your desired outcomes, use plug-in tools for your analytic software to assess whether these have been achieved.
Alternatively, if enhanced support was what you wanted to provide, commission reports on data from your customer feedback channels to check on this. Use the data and the functionality at your disposal; then set about planning the next steps of your content strategy.
Over to you
Have you used marketing automation to assist in your content marketing — creating both strategy and goals? Share your experiences in the comments below.