If I went to a conference or an event even five years ago and asked marketers about the biggest problem they were facing, they would talk about content creation and ideation.
Where am I going to get my next blog post?
Where am I going to get a great video?
How do I put together a white paper?
This concept of building trust by creating content that wasn’t product-related but tied to our audience’s interests was foreign to a lot of companies.
When it came to filling the content creation gap, some people looked outside to agencies or marketplaces they could outsource it to. That’s where companies like Skyword and Scripted came to the rescue to address the problem of fueling content demand.
Many mid-to-large size companies, on the other hand, decided to build a team in-house—with writers, designers, and a culture of content—to create this content internally. That’s what we did at Uberflip.
Solving one problem reveals another
Now that we’ve been focused on creating marketing content for the last 3 to 5 years, with solutions cropping up to change the way we source and coordinate content creation too, we’re at the point where we need a solution that provides more accountability for our content marketing spend.
A CEO or CMO who’s looking at a P&L statement is going to be saying, “We’re spending a lot of money here. Is it working?” or “I know it’s working, but I don’t know what’s working. What do we replicate?”
Now the problem is answering these questions. But if we take a look back in time, this problem isn’t exactly new.
From social media to content — history repeats itself
The same thing that’s happening with content happened with social media 10 years ago (remember, Twitter was only founded in 2006). It was only at that point that companies started thinking, “We need to have a voice. We need to be on social media.”
So, as was the case with content, they either outsourced social media creation or they hired some 22-year-old kid to sit down at a desk all day to do it—to tweet, to post, whatever the verb was. The only thing companies knew back then was that they had to be doing it.
But as the focus and spend on social media grew, because we knew it was working, solutions were needed to make it work better. We needed a way to ensure accountability—a way to measure the effectiveness of a company’s voice on social media—in order to understand what was working and what wasn’t so that we knew where to focus.
That’s when solutions like Radian6 and Hootsuite were created in order to fill that void, to become the system of record that provided accountability for your voice on social media and answer the question, “Was it worth it?”
And that’s exactly the point we’re at now with content. Hootsuite and Radian6 became the system of record for social media. But marketers now need a system of record for content marketing: to manage and optimize the use of everything we’ve created.
A system of record for content marketing
Whether we create content internally or source it externally, we need a system of record to maintain accountability. Otherwise, we’re just hitting publish and it’s on to the next piece.
Content management isn’t only about creation and distribution. With social media, we never had to think much about the user experience, since your social content lives on third party sites, in feeds where people love to spend their time anyway. But you own the content you create for marketing, so you need to consider the way you deliver it—the experience visitors are consuming it in.
A system of record for content should allow marketers to not just manage content on third party sites, but store it on their own site, streamline day-to-day scheduling and publishing, and organize it around meaningful topics—not just by format—so that the experience speaks to your buyers from the moment they land.
Organizing content in a more strategic way is the first step in creating a path to conversion. The next step is deeply integrating with our marketing automation tools, so that we can track the visitor journey, score content and understand its performance, not just in terms of engagement, but which content is generating leads and which content is moving our business forward.
The beauty of having a system of record in marketing is that it takes us full circle. With a framework in place to understand the impact of everything we do, we can better focus our efforts the next time we publish.
Closing the loop
The system of record closes the loop on the journey from content consumption to customer, and informs how we go about all other aspects of content marketing in the future, from producing to managing to optimizing the experience and back again.