Kapost counts leading media companies including Fortune magazine, Gannett, Discovery Communications and CBS as customers for its application that manages content workflows.
But Kapost also has made a big ‘pivot,’ in Silicon Valley jargon. A shift in core strategy is not atypical in venture-backed startups. Groupon began as a platform for collective social action, not as a local coupon business. PayPal started in 1999 as a way to move money between mobile devices. Twitter was born from a podcasting startup.
Kapost began life as a platform for traditional media and content companies, allowing them to manage pitching, assigning writers, editing and paying contributors. Today, Kapost views brands-turned-publishers as its primary business opportunity.
Marketers seek out technology solutions
As brands evolve to become media companies, many technology companies have rushed in to provide solutions that tie together media and marketing.
Marketers at major brands that have embraced content marketing in a big way soon find out they need a structured business process to support their content marketing efforts, says Toby Murdock, Kapost CEO and Co-founder. And volume is key.
Interviews with content marketing experts in Chief Content Officer magazine support this idea: Brands already practicing content marketing now face the challenge of scaling their activities to the enterprise. To do this, marketers are seeking out technology solutions, whether related to editorial workflows, social media monitoring, or content marketing analytics.
Marketers must ‘pivot’ to think like a media company
Kapost has found their ideal prospects are companies that have brought journalists on board—an indication of a serious and fairly sophisticated commitment to content marketing.
“Being a publisher is foreign to marketers,” said Murdock. “Where in the past staffs might have been required to produce two to three items a month, now it is two to three, or more, each day.”
That requires both efficient business processes and different skill sets. “Journalists know audiences, deadlines, consistent delivery,” said Murdock.
“The big dynamic is marketers getting used to not talking about themselves,” said Murdock. “Isn’t this supposed to be about us?” is an instinctive question.
In a recent interview, best-selling author, David Meerman Scott echoes this view. “The biggest hurdle marketers face is this: You need to recognize no one cares about you, your company or your product,” says Meerman Scott. “We marketers tend to come at things from an egotistical perspective, but customers don’t really care. They care about themselves and solving their own problems.”
Content marketing and media find common ground
Media is about audiences. Marketing is about prospects. Audiences can play a direct role in creating prospects at the top of a sales funnel. But audiences are not simply collections of prospects.
Content marketing goals might shift a bit in 2012, Murdock believes. “Brand awareness still is important for B2C firms, but not good enough for B2B companies.” In other words, there is growing pressure to demonstrate a financial return.
“Page views are leading indicators, but what really matters is leads, opportunities and sales,” Murdock said. Where the industry is moving is the ability to “close the loop” from content activities to sales.
Disclaimer: Kapost is a sponsor of Content Marketing World 2012, a business unit of the Content Marketing Institute.