5 Steps You Need to Take Before Adopting a Content Marketing Platform
Marketing Content Strategy

5 Steps You Need to Take Before Adopting a Content Marketing Platform

Brands’ adventures into content marketing have to start somewhere, and rarely do they begin on a content marketing platform. Often, the beginnings are far more humble. Originating from an already-overworked marketing team, one employee will be tasked with creating content to publish online. Maybe it’s a blog, maybe those posts are shared on social media, and maybe Google generates some traffic over time.

Things start to go well, and the company wants more. Additional people are added to the initiative. Content is increased—not just in terms of volume, but also form. Short blog posts are joined by longer thought leadership pieces, which coexist alongside infographics and short social snippets. Soon, content is churning out everywhere. Demand can hardly be met, individual pieces are constantly in progress, and a once-modest side project has evolved into an unwieldy digital behemoth.

Sound familiar?

For marketers of enterprise brands, this story is well known. Maybe that scene played out half a decade ago, or maybe it’s been occurring over the past few months. Whatever the timeline, the destination is the same: Eventually, companies reach a point when their content demands can’t be met in-house. Eager to save time, money, and resources, companies look outward for a solution able to improve its content product while simplifying the process of its creation.

That’s where a content marketing platform (CMP) comes in—a technology tool designed to enable consistent content creation, publishing, improved content analytics, and everything else necessary to sustain a program that drives leads and generate ROI. For those brands, it’s an exciting and encouraging milestone, and a new chapter in the story of their company. But for all the desire and anticipation of running their content through a CMP, brands shouldn’t take this move lightly.

Before adopting a content marketing platform, brand marketers should complete certain prerequisites so they can make the most of a CMP. As is often the case with such a big change, preparation is key. Before transitioning your company to a CMP, check these five tasks off your to-do list.

1. Assess Your Current Workflows

On a purely functional level, one of a CMP’s best features is its ability to manage a large, complex workflow. If your company could benefit from this service, you’re likely already aware of it—painfully attuned to this need, in many cases. Still, it’s worth reviewing your current workflow to make sure a platform could solve some of these operational problem, which often it does. As the Content Marketing Institute has noted, workflow is one of the most common foils of good content, and many companies involve double-digit numbers of employees in the production of a single piece.

Assessing your workflow could also uncover other needs for your content strategy, and these needs will be very relevant when it comes to seeking out a CMP. Bear in mind the importance of building a use case for such a platform when speaking with brand executives and leaders. If you can point to problems in workflow, you can offer a tangible problem with a ready-made solution waiting to be implemented.

Story books2. Sell Your Marketers on a Story-Centric Outlook

In today’s content landscape, brands need more from CMPs to ensure that content is engaging enough to bring back visitors. A sharp storytelling strategy needs to be baked into your company’s content plans within any CMP’s operations. As platforms become more aggressive about positioning storytellers as leaders within editorial, brands must also be ready to embrace this new story-centric outlook.

Before implementing a CMP, brands should begin preparing for this shift in mindset. Among marketers, this means understanding the importance of emotion (and logic) in storytelling, and their impact on content results. It also means educating both marketers and content creators on story elements and story structure. Engagement is key, and deeper, long-term engagement can be driven by better storytelling.

3. Identify Content-Minded Staff to Oversee the CMP

While content will be managed through a platform enlisted to support your company, in-house staff will still be required to manage the company-platform relationship. Given the new emphasis on brand storytelling and narrative-centric content, companies will be wise to move story-minded marketers into these roles.

A savvy for narrative and a keen sense of how the brand wants to tell its story will be marketers’ best tools as they bridge the gap between their company and their content platform. Without the right talent in place, the performance of your content could suffer.

4. Accept the Need for Content Marketing Training

A team of brand marketers is a great asset to a company. Where content is concerned, though, these individuals will need to refine certain skills. The elements of brand marketing can certainly inform content marketing practices, but training on brand storytelling, content creation, and overall content strategy will provide workers with the specialized skills needed to support new content initiatives.

As found in Skyword’s 2016 research report, “A Study in Brand Transformation,” 39 percent of enterprise marketing departments currently invest in content software, but only 28 percent have a content marketer on their staff. This employee misalignment can be a huge roadblock for brands hoping to dive headfirst into content marketing.

There’s no sense in waiting for CMP adoption to start this educational work: Instead, get a jump on these trainings and help your marketing team master their new on-the-job skills.

2016 Skyword Research Report

5. Outline Your Content Needs and Desires

A CMP is only as effective as the content marketing strategy behind every brand. Even if you have a strategy in place, it’s time to revisit that blueprint given the new opportunities of a strong content platform. As Curata suggests, brands should sit down and consider their top objectives: engaging audience, driving leads, and generating ROI. Companies should identify what they need from their content, as well as what they want. They can bring these lists to a prospective CMP and figure out how that vision might be turned into reality.

No matter the contents of these wish lists, it’s important that brands have specific features and services in mind when shopping for a platform. Without concrete goals to pursue, it’s much harder to figure out what content platform satisfies your needs. Once these preparatory steps are taken, brands will be more ready than ever to leverage the benefits of a strong CMP—and to finally take control of their story.

Want to learn how Skyword’s content marketing platform can drive leads and generate ROI for your brand? See how we do it.