Customer Experience,13 Content Marketing Tools That Can Improve Your Content Marketing Processes
You can use your web content management system to do content marketing, but are there better tools out there to fit your needs? Robert Rose, and the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), analyzed 13 new solutions for content collaboration. Here's his take on this disruptive market.

The report, Content Collaboration Tools: An Analysis of 13 Technology Solutions in a Disruptive Marketplace, is good. Not just because it provides a look into 13 technology solutions that support the ever challenging content marketing strategy, but because Rose steps back and looks at the real challenges for B2B marketers when it comes to content. Looks like it's not as straightforward as some may think.

The Real Content Challenge for B2B Marketers

Rose starts off with two big challenges B2B marketers say they are facing today based on research CMI has been doing the last few years. These are:

  1. Producing content
  2. Producing the kind of content that engages.

What CMI found after interviewing 50 Fortune 5000 companies though is that these challenges are symptoms of a bigger problem -- how can the organization "align with and scale to the level of content velocity they need to be at from a process standpoint."

The truth, CMI found, is that many organizations aren't proactively creating optimal processes for content creation, but rather finding them -- or "stumbling" into them. As a result, we are seeing a whole new class of content marketing technologies for content collaboration.

The Benefits of Content Collaboration Tools

You could use your web content management system to create and manage content. But the reality for many is that these platforms are too big, may be too cumbersome, workflows too complex. This has left room for a new breed of tools that have:

  • Easy, collaborative workflows
  • Internal team and task management
  • External team acquisition, management and payment
  • Team membership and analytics

In the report, Rose covers 13 of the most visible players in the market. These include:

  • Compendium
  • Contently
  • DivvyHQ
  • Ebyline
  • GatherContent
  • InboundWriter
  • Kapost
  • Scripted
  • Servio
  • Skyword
  • Textbroker
  • WriterAccess
  • Zerys

This is not an exhaustive list of tools that offer the capabilities listed above, and not every tool listed in the report has all the functionality noted, but they are good examples of how technology can be built for the purpose of content marketing without the heavy weight (and price point) of a Web CMS.

The solutions aren't ranked, we aren't looking at a Forrester Wave type report, but instead offer a good overview of the product/company and the strengths of the solution. Rose, who is CMI's Chief Strategist, conducted briefings with the companies and performed unbiased examinations of each tool.

What you get is a good understanding of the company, what the tool offers, how much it costs and how it can be leveraged. One of the things I like is a sidebar for each tool pointing out what Rose sees as its unique feature(s) -- calling out what's special about the tool.

A few examples from the report:

  • Compendium is a full featured content management platform (the only one in the report), with content marketing capabilities and wants to be "content marketing in a box."
  • Contently puts a lot of time into the writer side of the content marketing equation and offers an easy way to source large numbers of writers.
  • Divvy HQ includes an editorial calendar and contributor collaboration, with an easy to understand interface.
  • Ebyline offers both self-service and full service content marketing, and accept topic suggestions from freelancers.
  • GatherContent supports large distributed teams by offering a central location to collaborate on and store content, and then distribute to a range of locations/properties. The repository can be downloaded in Word or PDF format for archiving.
  • InboundWriter helps optimize copy for search, and it will show you how it determines a particular topic/term was identified. It can be used to analyze existing content and to help create new content going forward.
  • Kapost is focused on B2B content marketing workflow, offering integration with marketing automation software like Marketo and Eloqua.
  • Scripted offers brands a marketplace of writers, and is one of the largest pools of writers with over 80,000 currently registered.
  • Servio provides content at high velocity and in large quantities. It's a service that integrates with your organization/IT team on the backend, and is a good fit for B2C companies trying to manage large repositories of content (like product information).
  • Skyword is a cross between an editorial collaboration tool and a writer network service, including importing your own private team of internal writers into the tool to manage and analyze.
  • TextBroker is a service that provides writers for high velocity content production, and is the only solution (other than Servio) that offers content in multiple languages.
  • WriterAccess is a writer marketplace, that helps writers manage their careers. It not only allows you to collaborate with writers online, but also over the phone.
  • Zerys has both a writer marketplace and tools for managing the content marketing process, the tools of which are free. It also have a white label version for agencies.

These points just scratch the surface of the information provided for each solution in the report.

The Overall Content Marketing Process

According to Rose, people often ask CMI if tools like these are really all that different. What it found is that no one really stratified the market well, so that's what it did. In its book (which I recommend for every person interested in understanding content marketing), they mapped the content marketing process in four steps.

For each step in the process, there are tools and technologies used today that support it. Then there are tools like these content collaboration solutions that fall in between the lines of some steps, offering more flexibility and capabilities specific to these new content marketing processes.

CMI, content marketing, digital marketing

As you can see from the diagram above, CMI sees a number of disruptive technologies falling "between the lines," in addition to content collaboration. So we can look forward to more research and analysis on what these tools are and how they fit into the content marketing process.