Automate or die.
As dramatic as that might sound, these words speak volumes about the digital world we live in. Looking at the field of marketing, alone, 51% of businesses currently use marketing automation. Further, 58% of B2B companies plan to adopt such technologies.
Image via Email Monday
Considering that 91% of businesses use content marketing, it comes as no surprise that the automation bug has bitten this industry, too. Whether it’s basic pre-scheduling of posts or constructing an email marketing funnel, every business uses content marketing automation in some form.
And while there are a lot of advantages to content marketing automation, businesses aren’t exploring its full potential. More often than not, they restrict themselves to simple email marketing and customer relationship management hacks.
But relying on such simple hacks simply won’t cut it in today’s intensively competitive markets. If you want to be a leader in this domain, these content marketing automation hacks will help you get there.
For the ease of understanding, we’ll split these up into three broad buckets – content creation, content curation, and content distribution.
1. Content Creation Hacks
Artificial intelligence and machine learning have come a long way in recent years. So much so that you can get your entire content written by a computer. The only issue with that such technology can’t produce the kind of deep and insightful content consumers typically prefer.
84% of consumers expect brands to create content around themselves and their offerings. But 60% of brand content fails to live up to customer expectations. Automation will only make matters worse.
While such a “set-and-forget” strategy makes content creation a lot easier, it does nothing to establish your thought leadership. So, perhaps creating your entire content via an automation tool isn’t a viable option.
There are, however, some parts of it you can still leverage it for. Here are a few of the best content marketing automation hacks:
Ideation is easily one of the most challenging and pivotal aspects of content creation. Your content needs to be relevant to your industry as much as it should interest your ideal audience.
Ever so often, though, content marketers find themselves hitting a roadblock when hunting for topics to address through their content. Here’s where content marketing automation can make your life easier.
Content explorers can simplify the ideation process by recommending ideas and topics for you to create content around. BuzzSumo, for instance, helps you identify blog pieces (related to specific keywords) that have performed well in the past.
Image via BuzzSumo
Now that you have a few topics around which you want to be creating content, the next step is measuring potential interest in them. One way to do that is to use tools like Headline Analyzer to gauge audience interest.
Considering your headline is what grabs a potential reader’s attention, you should try measuring their effectiveness. Tools like these give your headline a score as well as analyzes words patterns to suggest ways you can improve your headlines.
Image via WordTracker
Another aspect of your campaign you can involve content marketing automation is the lead nurturing and management process. Let’s look at your email marketing efforts to demonstrate the benefits, here.
Getting a site visitor to sign up for your newsletter is only the first step of the lead nurturing process. It’s where things go from there that matter more. Establish triggers in your automation process to ensure your campaign sends out appropriate emails to your subscribers.
For instance, if a particular subscriber doesn’t open your email, you can send them a reminder about your latest newsletter. Similarly, if they did open your email, you can shoot them a complimentary content piece entice them into making a purchase decision.
Such dynamic emails can prove highly beneficial in delivering critical information at the right steps of the purchasing process. At the same time, such relevant and targeted content goes a long way to keep your audience engaged. Not to mention it works wonders to establish your thought leadership in your industry.
2. Content Curation
The second bucket where you can apply content marketing automation hacks is the content curation aspect of your campaign. We all know the importance and value of content creation and building a strong social media presence is concerned.
In recent years, social media has caused a meteoric rise in the amount of content that is being consumed online. Try as one might, relying on content creation, alone, won’t help to meet the increasing demands for content. Here’s where content curation can help you remain relevant and in the eyes of your audience.
Content curation, however, often proves to be a rather laborious task when done manually. Particularly so, if you have a presence on multiple social media tools. What’s the solution then? You guessed it. Content marketing automation is the solution. Not only will you save a lot of time and effort, but will bring in a factor of consistency in your curated content, as well.
The biggest challenge, of course, when it comes to content curation is how do you discover relevant, curatable content. I’ve found tools like DrumUp to be particularly helpful in this regard. It provides you with content recommendations for each of your social media accounts. Simply peruse through them and decide which ones you want to be curating.
Image via DrumUp
The tool also allows you to edit the original post, add images, and schedule it to be shared on multiple accounts. It even recommends relevant hashtags you can use, set custom publishing times, and more.
If you’re using such content discovery tools for your content marketing automation, do remember one key thing. These discovery engines rely on keyword search to provide content recommendations.
The issue with that is, not all recommendations are those of high-quality pieces of content. So, always remember to review the suggestions and don’t let your tool work in auto-pilot. Moreover, some of the content may not reflect the values of your business or worse still, promote your industry rivals.
These tools are meant to be used in an effort to reduce the energies you need to divert to these activities. They aren’t designed to completely eliminate the human aspect.
So long as you’re mindful of that, your content curation automation efforts will benefit your brand. No wonder more and more companies are adopting tools to automate their content curation.
3. Content Distribution
Another rather important aspect of content marketing is how you distribute your content to your target audience. The success of your campaign rests on whether or not you’re able to deliver the right content to the right people at the right time.
Even the most brilliant piece of content you produce won’t do your business a lot of good if you don’t have a holistic content distribution strategy. Despite optimizing your content to be discoverable by search engines, you may not be able to reach as many people as you’d like.
That’s why it’s critical for you to step up your game and not rely solely on old SEO hacks to improve your content engagements. That’s why owned media and paid media are an important facet to consider when devising a content distribution strategy. Newsletters, email subscriptions, ads, and social media are very effective channels you can use to amplify your content.
Luckily, there are a few content marketing hacks that can help you with this.
You’ve produced a great piece of content, shared it on your blog, on social media, and other avenues. But how do you get the word out about it? Often the simplest solution is the best solution. Just let them know that you’ve published a new piece of content that you think they might be interested in reading.
One content marketing automation solution you can employ to improve your content distribution is to use tools like MailChimp. Simply notify all your readers about your latest post and watch as your readership increases. Automated tools like these ensure that your content always reaches the right eyes and ears, that too all at once.
Most automation tools have pre-designed templates that you can send out to users at various stages of the sales funnel. For that matter, you can even create your own custom templates to use. So, for instance, when a new user subscribes to you, the tool automatically sends out a welcome email to them.
Image via MailChimp
You can use such content marketing automation tools to follow up with your customers, source feedback, and more. These tools empower you to sell more, build customer loyalty, and improve productivity.
Social Media Marketing
Another great content marketing hack is to use tools to automate your content distribution on social media. Social media is, of course, one of the best channels for you to promote and distribute your content on.
By sheer number alone, the potential audience you can find on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. runs in the billions. No matter how niche a market you might be targeting, you’re sure to find an audience for yourself on it.
Having a proper posting schedule for your content sharing on social media is a good plan to have. Figure out your optimum posting times so as to maximize your engagement on individual platforms.
But it isn’t always possible to share your content around those optimal timings. So, what do you do then? Here’s the part where content marketing automation hacks come handy. A social media management tool like Sprout Social’s content publishing tool is a great example.
Image via Sprout Social
It allows you to post your content on multiple social media accounts at once. But more importantly, you can use their calendar to schedule your content pieces to be published according to your optimal posting times. It serves as a great content management and optimization tool to automate your content distribution.
While there are a plethora of marketing tools out there, let’s be clear on one thing. Marketing can’t ever be truly and completely automated. That’s particularly true in the case of content marketing, the aim of which is to engage audiences with authentic and organic content.
That being said, the hacks we’ve discussed above will help you save time and resources. This way, you’ll be able to stay more focused on other aspects of your business.
Know any other content marketing automation hacks? Feel free to share them in the comment section below.
Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant who specializes in sales funnels, targeted traffic, and website conversions. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities.