By Ann Gynn published June 25, 2019

What’s Missing From Your Content Marketing Tech?

Content marketing experts are a unique bunch.

When we asked Content Marketing World presenters about what’s missing in most content marketers’ tech stack, some waxed poetic, others imagined the possibilities, and others got practical, talking products and output.

That’s why we love them – a diverse group of answers means a diverse group of thinkers.

“Every content marketer is missing something from their tech stack. Content marketing is a delicate, interconnected ecosystem – you have to have the right technology for each aspect of the process,” says Scott Spjut, assistant vice president, social and digital content, Fifth Third Bank.

Every #content marketer is missing something from their tech stack, says @scottspjut. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

To tackle this, we’ve divided this post into three categories:

  • Tools you can use now.
  • General concepts for tools that exist or should exist.
  • Non-tech ideas that affect (or should impact) your content tech stack.

Whether you’re looking for a new tool, imagining tools to create (or wishing they existed), or think tech is overrated, these responses will resonate.

13 content marketing tech tools you can use now

For pulling third-party content

A great news aggregator like FeedlyMichaela Alexis, LinkedIn speaker, trainer, and co-author of Think Video

For identity, insight, governance

A data lake to bring together data from web analytics, marketing automation, and CRM – and tie it to an identity, plus:

(Disclosure: those three are Velocity clients but we’re huge believers.) – Doug Kessler, co-founder, Velocity Partners

For indexing and security

Index Checking is a good way to see whether a page is indexed or whether you’re blocking it (sometimes developers forget to remove a noindex used during a redesign).

SSL Check is helpful for sites that move toward HTTPS but have page elements like images that aren’t in secure directories. The tool discovers the pages with issues. – Mike Murray, president, Online Marketing Coach

For Instagram scheduling

Planoly for scheduling out Instagram posts – Griffin Thall, CEO and co-founder, Pura Vida Bracelets

Griffin Thall of @PuraVidaBrac picks @Planoly as a favorite tool for #Instagram scheduling. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

For real-life talk

Talking to customers, where the tool involved is called the telephone. Of course, one could also use Skype, Zoom, and related tools. I like to build a complete picture of my customers, including aspects of their jobs (or lives) that extend beyond the use of my products or services. – Dennis Shiao, consultant, Dennis Shiao Consulting

For all to see

Microsoft Excel or Tableau – a platform that gives marketing visibility into the other business units, such as sales and insights. – Christine Michel Carter, creator, Mompreneur and Me 

For project management

I use Trello as a workflow and project management tool. Every project needs a tool or space that is a single point of truth – here’s the latest version, here’s all the related commentary, and here are the next steps – as at-a-glance as possible. – Jonathan Crossfield, chief consulting editor, Chief Content Officer magazine

21 content tech tool concepts

Artificial intelligence

I see marketers shy away from AI-powered marketing technology and startups until the adoption is higher. But now is the time to embrace the speed, insights, and agility AI-powered technology has to offer and get ahead of competitors. – Jeff Coyle, co-founder and chief product officer, MarketMuse

Embrace the speed & agility AI-powered technology has to offer & get ahead of competitors. @jeffrey_coyle ‏ Click To Tweet

Bots-plus

Co-bots are technologies designed to work best when paired with humans’ empathy, intuition, and judgment. In contrast, black-box robot technologies are hard to explain or learn. Once set up, they tempt people to stop thinking and work on autopilot. That’s why robots can be dangerous. – George Stenitzer, founder and chief content officer, Crystal Clear Communications

Content management

Marketing operations need to consider a solid CMS. Along with providing a place to document and track workflow of content production, setting up a CMS with the proper information to track for each piece of content developed can provide insight into the activity of published content, as well as a road map to content planning for the future. – Pamela Muldoon, campaign and content strategist, The Pedowitz Group

Organization and collaboration

I don’t think there are enough brands focused on the efficiencies a CMP can bring to your organization. Being more organized and collaborative helps you create better content. – Zari Venhaus, director, corporate marketing communications, Eaton

Not enough brands focus on the efficiencies a CMP can bring, says @zvenhaus. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

CMS focused on sales

Sales-oriented content management systems that allow for appropriate seller tailoring – Seleste Lunsford, chief research officer, CSO insights, research division of Miller Heiman Group

Texting

Given the adoption of messaging by people (consumers and business professionals), a text messaging platform that is owned will be important for conversational marketing programs in the near term. And you’ll want it to be yours, rather than Facebook Messenger – grow your own opt-in list/audience. Chat is great. SMS/MMS can take it up a level when done well. – Ardath Albee, CEO and B2B marketing strategist, Marketing Interaction Inc.

Away from the internet

Offline sales or traffic attribution is a big investment, but we are too far into the data-driven future to still be guessing at how we place our media or how we evaluate our digital campaigns. Walk-in traffic verification or look-back attribution matching can help us know what really drove the number we care about most: sales! – Jessica Best, vice president of data-driven marketing, Barkley

Walk-in traffic verification or look-back attribution helps us know what really drove sales. @bestofjess. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

All-in-one engagement analytics

One-stop engagement platform that would pull in all engagements, regardless of where they occur, social, web (own), web (third party – think guest posts), etc. would give the content creator a perfect picture of their most engaged fans. – Tom Martin, president, Converse Digital

All-in-one project management

A tool that truly integrates all channels and workflows. – Christoph Trappe, chief content officer, Stamats Business Media

Process analysis

Something that’s missing way too often is a tool that offers the ability to measure and optimize the process of content marketing. It might be a project management tool, an Agile tool, or just a good old-fashioned whiteboard, but having access to basic efficiency data is shockingly rare for content marketers. We need to know how long things take, where the bottlenecks are, who’s holding us up – pretty much just a snapshot of how our operations are going. Without that basic level of information, we’re stuck when it comes time to try and figure out how to do more in less time. – Andrea Fryrear, Agile marketing coach and trainer, co-founder, AgileSherpas

Audience knowledge

Audience data collection and analysis to drive story topics, execution, and distribution are needed. Marketers often don’t have access to audience insights and are thus engaging in guesswork about what will resonate with their intended audience.

At The Washington Post, due to our state-of-the-art tech and audience surveys, we are fortunate to have access to data about audience behavior and interests. We then use this data to inform the entire creative and promotion process, from selecting the right story topics to type of content to distribution strategy. It’s all about the marriage of science and art. Our program for Destination Canada illustrates this. We found that people who are engaging in travel content are also reading a lot of food and history content. This guided our decision to focus the story on a chef traveling to Canada to learn about his culinary roots. Annie Granatstein, head of WP BrandStudio, The Washington Post

Reverberation

Without a doubt, the ability to know what content is resonating, either by individual channel or by owned media content. This is a giant blind spot I experienced for myself, and one of the reasons I wrote software for Trust Insights to fix it. – Chris Penn, co-founder, Trust Insights

Full-picture understanding

More and more marketers express a desire for a smarter, more in-depth understanding of their metrics, but most have not invested in the tools (and customizations) to bring all their data into one cohesive system. If your information is in three places and you can only look at them in PDF form, are you really getting the full picture? Can you answer the important questions your organization needs to answer? – Zontee Hou, co-lead of consulting, Convince & Convert

Most marketers have not invested in tools to bring all their data into one cohesive system. @ZonteeHou #CMWorld Click To Tweet

Buyer journey analysis

Few content marketers have the technology in place to accurately implement multi-touch attribution and understand all the points of contact in the buyer’s journey. And that’s a bummer because it means we are too often giving too much or too little credit to pieces of content in our library and making decisions based on partial data. – Erika Heald, marketing consultant, Erika Heald Consulting

Efficient and effective distribution

Despite tagging and other methods of ordering content, I feel there is a huge need for a platform that can sort and deliver the right content at the right time. This (likely AI) platform would access all your content (blogs, podcasts, videos, whitepapers, etc.) organize and sort it, and then deliver the perfect piece of content to the sales professional depending on who they are engaging on what level of the buyer’s journey. I spend far too much time sorting through my own blog and YouTube channel to find exactly the right article to deliver when I see a buying activity online. – Viveka von Rosen, chief visibility officer, Vengreso

Listening

Social listening, specifically for smaller companies with smaller marketing budgets. Social listening is a great tool not just for understanding the sentiment surrounding your business but also for being able to act on that, including creating the right kind of content. In the rush to create and to publish, this is something that can get missed. – Dan Hatch, founder, Typeset

Script crafting

Script creation is important if you’re doing video and animation work because crafting good content for the visual medium is different than just straight-up content writing. – Ben H. Rome, manager, marketing and communications, AIHA

Idea generation

Content marketers need tools to help them understand what content to create. – Michael Brenner, CEO, Marketing Insider Group

Dollars and sense

A tool to quantify the ROI of content. It’s important to ensure the back-end is integrated so that you can see the content the sales team uses and the content prospects read. – Pam Didner, B2B marketing consultant and author, Effective Sales Enablement

Integrate the back-end so you can see the #content the sales team uses AND prospects read. @pamdidner #CMWorld Click To Tweet

Revenue effect

I think most marketers are missing a tool that helps measure the impact of their content on the revenue they generate… what tool is it? Unfortunately, I don’t think that tool exists. – Andrew Davis, author, The Loyalty Loop, Brandscaping, and Town Inc.

Content value chain

I haven’t found a tool to measure the whole value chain of content marketing as it relates to business goals. We’re awash in data and analytics but I’ve found nothing that allows you to measure the activity and results in your content marketing ecosystem against business goals. Sarah Mitchell, founder, Typeset

A few less-techy thoughts

Measure for now

Are your KPIs still stuck in the sales funnel developed in 1924? Or are you considering the modern buyer’s journey? (Today’s buyer has been described as “adlergic” and many are reading blogs before interacting with a sales rep.) Make sure you’re gauging content marketing success with the right tools and with KPIs that fit today’s buyer, not yesteryear’s. – Julia McCoy, CEO, Express Writers

Connections

Authentic engagement is the tool that is most often lacking in the content marketing effort. – Yadin Porter de Leon, global executive content strategist

Universal buy-in

Most of us have the tools we need. The struggle is getting cross-functional buy-in to use those tools in a collaborative and effective way. – Amanda Changuris, manager, social media marketing, AAA – The Auto Club Group

Look before you buy (again)

Instead of looking at what’s missing from your tech stack, look at what you’re using and how you’re using it first. More isn’t always the answer. And remember even the biggest, best platforms won’t work miracles on broken content. – Anna Hrach, strategist, Convince & Convert

Remember even the biggest, best platforms won't work miracles on broken #content. @annabananahrach #CMWorld Click To Tweet

What content tech do you want?

If you could sit at the drawing board with content tech innovators, what would you have them design? Let us know in the comments.

Or if you already have the perfect content tech tool, we’d love to share the good word. Add it to the comments.

Please note:  All tools included in our blog posts are suggested by authors, not the CMI editorial team.  No one post can provide all relevant tools in the space. Feel free to include additional tools in the comments (from your company or ones that you have used).

Join these experts and many more at Content Marketing World Sept. 3-6 in Cleveland, Ohio. Register today using code CMIBLOG100 to save $100.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

Author: Ann Gynn

Ann Gynn edits the CMI blog. She also serves as the Tech Tools editor for Chief Content Officer magazine. Ann regularly combines words and strategy for B2B, B2C, and nonprofits, continuing to live up to her high school nickname, Editor Ann. Former college adjunct faculty, Ann also helps train professionals in content so they can do it themselves. Follow Ann on Twitter @anngynn or connect on LinkedIn.

Other posts by Ann Gynn

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