Automation Comes to Content Marketing
Content marketing, the catch-all phrase for brands becoming publishers, has created a new set of tech startups looking to cash in by bringing efficiency to the process.
A raft of technology companies has sprung up to help brands automate pieces of brand content. There are companies like Contently and Percolate, which want to apply technology on the content-creation side. Contently taps freelancers to help brands create content. Percolate helps brands create and find content to share across the social Web. Then there are the distributors, such as Taboola or Outbrain, that let brands generate traffic to a brand’s piece of content via other sites. The bet all are making is that some degree of tech is needed to make this scale.
“People are really starting to believe the banner will die, which is interesting to debate,” said Michael Brenner, vp of marketing and content strategy at SAP. “But the fact of matter is it will evolve from something that’s useless to something that’s useful. That’s the evolution these companies are trying to help brands navigate.”
That’s the point. The banner ad has 99 problems, but scale isn’t one. Content marketing is by definition a craft activity, not a scale one. But that doesn’t mean that tech can’t bring efficiency to the creation and distribution process.
“If you look at current landscape of agencies and their skill sets, there isn’t historically a lot of focus on this area,” said Paul Marcum, director of global digital marketing and programming at GE. “Look at media buying or distribution rhythms; there’s not a tremendous amount of growth there. What’s emerging now are startups looking at platform plays to eat into that space.”
But there’s certainly more rigor and data analysis needed. According to Mastercard’s vp of global digital marketing, Adam Broitman, many marketers start with the goals of ranking in search and getting their content to go viral. This a backwards approach. Given that so many brand marketers are still walking blindly through the forest of owned media, startups are swarming. They’re ready to lead those marketers who lack the type of vision it takes to make and distribute content.
“Automation of content curation can create significant efficiencies, though content curation alone is not a robust content-marketing strategy,” said Broitman. “It will not ultimately lead to the types of results that a 360 content-marketing strategy can yield — some of the pitches from content-marketing startups would lead you to believe otherwise.”
When brands evaluate these types of startups, they tend to focus on how they will add value. That value is connecting a brand’s commercial efforts with its audience or it’s helping to surface a brand story in a way that’s perhaps unserviceable in other channels like TV. Marcum said this is why GE has been so active in the content-marketing game. GE uses Percolate to find content for its Tumblr.
While these startups are filling a need for brands in the content arena, it’s still early days. Most important, brands still need to create the content. And that takes humans, not machines.
Image via Shutterstock
‘Shopping patterns will feel longer and flatter’: Gap’s CMO on preparing for holiday campaigns
Mary Alderete on the upended marketing calendar and Gap’s plans to lean into the extended holiday season this year.
‘Race to deliver’: Pernod Ricard CMO Pam Forbus on a new anti-hate speech initiative and how the coronavirus changed the company’s marketing
Like many marketers, Forbus had to figure out what to do about the Facebook boycott as well as how to pivot the alcohol giant's marketing amid the coronavirus.
As YouTube adopts new standards, the transition from brand safety to suitability is accelerating
YouTube is currently working on a brand suitability fix based on standards defined by the Global Alliance of Responsible Media.
SponsoredBrands are rethinking content strategies to make personalization pay off
When it comes to providing a differentiated customer experience, content is king; customers will not hesitate to switch to a competitor if they aren’t engaged by the information that matters most to them. Top performing brands know that they need to provide the personalized, relevant information their customers need at every point along their journey […]
Bridging AI to agility, empathy and purpose will accelerate marketing’s deep consumer and client relationships
IBM CMO sees important links between technology like artificial intelligence and natural language processing with human management traits.
Ahead of the ANA conference, marketers take stock of coronavirus-induced changes to consumer behavior
ANA attendees, industry observers say marketers are focused on driving growth and meeting consumers wherever they are now.