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The state of content marketing landscape

Content marketing can have multiple benefits for a business. Its growing demand brings a plethora of content marketing platforms. Here’s what you need to know about the state of the market.

Content marketing has become one of the most effective ways to increase awareness, engagement and leads through the last years. Many companies have invested in content, from creation to distribution, to build a successful content machine that brings them closer to their business goals.

The rise of marketing technology was also another reason that marketers have discovered new ways of making their jobs easier. However, as more options show up every day, how do you choose the best one for your goals?

What makes a content marketing platform special and how is it different from other marketing technologies?

The need for a content marketing platform

One of the biggest challenges for content marketing is to measure ROI during a campaign. Moreover, the growing content needs make it harder to keep up with the creation and the promotion of new content.

A content marketing platform aims to facilitate a content marketing strategy by blending all its diverse elements in one software.

The goal is to fill the gaps of everything that’s missing for each company and is not fulfilled through other tools:

  • Analytics
  • Strategy
  • Distribution
  • Production

The concept of content marketing platforms is to identify new opportunities for a business while facilitating the implementation of the tasks.

These tasks can vary from:

  • creation
  • curation
  • planning
  • distribution
  • optimization
  • measurement
  • competitor analysis
  • creation of personas
  • analysis of the sales funnel
  • audits
  • workflows

According to CMI’s latest report, the most popular reasons marketers use technology as part of content marketing are to:

  • analyze the content’s performance
  • involve email marketing
  • manage their content through CMS
  • facilitate their tasks through automation

However, the answers indicate the diversity of all the different tasks that content marketing includes. The answers lead to the need for various tools to improve productivity and their decisions depend on their priorities.

What makes content marketing platforms special

What differentiates a Content Marketing Platform (CMP) from other marketing tools is the fact that it blends all the skills in one standalone software. Although there are many other platforms that include all marketing tasks in one place, they may lack the content focus to be helpful for specific tasks.

Thus, although a popular marketing automation platform may be able to help with the content calendar or the distribution, it may still lack the option to improve the content strategy or the optimization that might be needed.

In a similar case, a CMP is different from a content management system, as it goes beyond the creation of the content and its optimization to the marketing aspects that involves it in a complete buyer’s journey. This brings a holistic view of the marketing goals and how content can fit in them.

The difference between a content marketing platform, a marketing automation suite and a content management system led to the rise of the content marketing platform ecosystem.

They are created to provide strategic and scalable solutions to improve any content marketing goal. They can improve the team collaboration, favoring the transparency among all content goals and how they affect a business. They manage to blend content creation, content distribution, marketing automation and sales enablement in one platform, offering new opportunities to modern marketers.

Analyzing the content marketing landscape

The increasing need for content has brought the growth of the content marketing market. Branded mobile content, videos and social media were among the main reasons for this growth.

The global content marketing revenues grew at 14.4% in 2016, reaching $28.1 billion. The US was the first in generating content marketing revenues in 2016 with $12.4 billion, while Germany came second at $2.2 billion.

It’s no surprise then to read the forecast of the global content marketing market will grow at a CAGR of 16.12% in the period of 2017-2021. 

According to PQ Media, the global content marketing revenues are expected to grow by 14.6% in 2021. What’s interesting is the fact that this statistic is way above the growth rates for marketing and advertising spending. This proves the growth of content marketing and the need for marketers to invest in it before it’s too late.

CMI’s latest report indicates that 38% of B2B marketers are planning to increase their content marketing spending. An additional 46% of the respondents will maintain the budget at the same levels, while only 3% of them are planning to decrease it.

The complexity of the content marketing technology landscape

It’s not an easy attempt to analyze the current state of content marketing technologies. The biggest challenge is to decide on the platforms to include in this analysis and how they differentiate from marketing automation suites.

The fact that many platforms blend marketing automation with content marketing, or even content management systems, makes it harder to focus exclusively on content marketing platforms.

However, as we’ve already mentioned the reasons to invest in a content marketing platform, we will present the most popular choices in content marketing platforms. The decision to narrow down the options may leave aside some popular options, such as Hubspot and Marketo, as they go beyond content marketing. They may still offer some very useful features for content marketers, but they can be viewed as more complete marketing solutions, so they can be part of a wider marketing technology analysis.

The most popular options in content marketing technology

Curata has created a very useful graphic that analyses the marketing technology ecosystem. This is an easy way to present the complexity of including some platforms in only one category.

Thus, following the same thinking, we are focusing on the standalone content marketing platforms in an attempt to help content marketers decide on how to allocate their budget depending on their needs.

This doesn’t mean that there are not more vendors, in the marketing technology ecosystem, but these choices focus more on content marketing and the challenge of mastering it.

Curata

Curata offers solutions for the curation, planning and the measurement of content’s impact. The platform can help you with the strategic, but also the practical creation of your content marketing efforts.

It can be a useful addition to analyzing your marketing and sales pipelines and how content can help them. Its focus on data-driven content marketing is aligned with the rise of data-driven marketing strategies and the idea of relying on data to create the right strategy for each target audience. This way it’s easier to improve ROI, while knowing which types of content work better, depending on each business goal.

Moreover, it allows you to get organized with content production, while it also receives good reviews in facilitating content curation.

As a platform that was specifically built for B2B marketers, it seems to understand the importance of using content to drive leads and revenue and it is one of the most popular options in content marketing technology.

NewsCred

NewsCred is considered one of the leading options in enterprise content marketing technology. It aims to help brands manage their content marketing process through all stages, from operations to analytics. It blends content creation, curation, distribution, measurement, offering a holistic view of the content marketing efforts.

The platform’s goal is to help large organizations streamline and scale their content production, saving time and becoming more effective.

The option of licensed content curation allows organisations to source and publish fully licensed articles, reaching the biggest publications. This way it becomes easier to focus on successful content, improving the marketing demands and facilitating a good customer experience.

It stands out with its interface and the easy way to set up workflows, while it’s also very helpful in team collaboration among large departments.

Skyword

Skyword’s all about “moving stories forward”. It blends the power of storytelling with a community of thousands of freelance writers and videographers who are ready to help a brand explore new content opportunities.

The platform makes the content planning easier, helping a team organise the set tasks while optimising and distributing each piece of content. It blends the tasks of production, management, optimisation, distribution, and measurement, aiming to simplify the content marketing process through all the stages.

Moreover, its professional services aim to help brands find the best uses of the platform to take their content marketing strategy to the next level.

The fact that the platform blends both the creative opportunities but also the right technology makes it a useful addition to any company interested in investing in content while managing it in the same platform. In a data-driven world, this platform serves as a good reminder of the importance of storytelling, blending it with analytics and content management to help brands produce successful content marketing.

Kapost

Kapost is a complete B2B content marketing platform that helps marketers in producing, managing, distributing, and analyzing their content. It aims to facilitate content marketing in an attempt to drive more traffic, engagement and targeted leads.

The platform makes collaboration easier to improve productivity, while workflows, editorial calendars and a visual approach to content marketing enhance efficiency.

Moreover, its tagging system improves the management of the content depending on the campaign, the personas, or the buying stages it serves. This leads to the right content for the right context, making a content marketing strategy successful.

The platform also allows marketers to spot content gaps and create the right content that will fit their strategic plans.

Although it can be helpful among small teams to create more effective content, it can equally be used for larger teams trying to organize the tasks among them, through workflows, calendars and the visualised content strategy that keeps everyone accountable for their tasks.

According to Forrester’s analysis on content marketing platforms in Q2 2017, Kapost is ideal for “mature B2B marketers who want to orchestrate content across their online and offline endpoints”

Percolate

Percolate allows you to organize all your content plans in one place, streamlining your content marketing efforts to increase visibility and communication in a team.

It is one of the most popular options for B2C companies in managing all content marketing activities, aligning them with marketing and customer experience.

It’s useful for every person in a content team, improving the production of new content, the analysis of the existing one and how the future plans fit the wider marketing goals.

It facilitates the coordination of the content to keep everyone up-to-date, helping the manager of each project to keep track of its progress. The approval process and the workflows it offers improve the efficiency of content management, favoring the transparency in a large company.

Contently

Contently’s platform aims to help marketers among all stages of the content lifecycle. It supports brands in “telling great stories”, blending storytelling with data and insights to improve the content’s effectiveness.

The goal is to create successful content that improves the brand experience and facilitates the marketing goals. It involves different content tasks, from creation, approval, distribution, up to its measurement.

Content management becomes easier through workflows and a simplified approval process, while it also increases the visibility of the team. Moreover, its real-time analytics can provide useful insights on the content’s performance, improving engagement and ROI.

Moreover, its global talent network offers additional help for brands’ content needs, with a community of over 100,000 freelance writers, designers, videographers. Their network reaches 20 different markets, making it easier for communities to scale their content and tell the story in the most engaging way.

This is a different aspect of content marketing, blending storytelling with effective technology to create a more inspiring and appealing content presence.

ScribbleLive

ScribbleLive can help you manage your entire content lifecycle to plan, create, distribute and measure your content. Its focus on data science aims to provide the insights that will boost your content strategy, improving the reach and the engagement of your efforts.

The platform’s simplicity provides an end-to-end content marketing solution that relies on different tools to help you along the marketing journey.

Its most popular features seem to be content creation, its design, along with the option to create interactive content.

Engagement becomes easier with the use of ScribbleLive, as it focuses on improving the content experience, with many reviews highlighting the live engagement and the option to explore live content. As more brands explore live content, it becomes a very useful addition to monitor and track live interactions in the most successful way.

Moreover, as it supports content through all the stages, it can be used for many different purposes, from brand awareness to employee communication, storytelling and customer retention.

Overview

What we can learn from the analysis of the current content marketing technology landscape is that there is a great number of solutions. The market is not expected to stop growing, which will bring even higher competition.

The positive aspect of it is there will be a higher level of specialization in various features. Thus, marketers will be able to benefit from a vast number of options, with each one excelling in another area.

Moreover, as content marketing changes year by year, adaptability will be crucial for the most popular platforms. Companies are expecting from these platforms to be able to keep up with the latest trends with new features, but also new integrations.

As for the decision on which platform to choose, this depends on:

  • your content needs
  • your budget
  • the current marketing platforms you’re currently using
  • the gaps you want to fill in your strategy
  • your target audience

The challenge is still present in defining the content marketing technology landscape, but this doesn’t mean that we’re not already experiencing a very exciting era in the content marketing world.

Technology will certainly play a key role in shaping up its future, aiming to improve the much-desired content marketing ROI.

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