Content is at the heart of everything we do as modern B2B marketers. And it’s much more than blog posts and eBooks: Today, content encompasses everything from sales emails to social media to customer advocacy campaigns.
Because creation eats up so much of marketing teams’ time, it also often eats up a major chunk of our budgets. And rightly so. Collaborating via email and spreadsheets just won’t cut it in the complicated, omnichannel world enterprise B2B marketing organizations live in today.
For better or for worse, the MarTech world has responded to our increasingly complex needs—and then some. There are myriad options out there, ranging from simple point solutions to full content marketing platforms (CMPs) that take on creation as well as planning, distribution, and analysis. How do you know which one is right for you?
Many essential features, like calendaring and workflow management, will look similar across vendors. Differences begin to materialize, though, when you consider how different content platforms encourage collaboration across teams, support personalization and idea sourcing, and integrate with key tools that allow contributors to do their jobs in a single place.
What you need to find out: How do the content software vendors you’re considering help you manage work and assets, avoid silos and duplication, and deliver on the plans you’re juggling across all of your teams, content types, and distribution channels?
If that sounds like a big question, don’t fret. We’ve broken it down into a list of more specific key questions to ask when it comes time to create a request for proposal (RFP) for your chosen CMP vendors.
Here are the eight questions you’ll probably want to ask:
How does the platform manage workflows?
Why it matters: Repeatable, templated workflows boost both efficiency and quality.
They ensure creators don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time they start a new project and give project managers peace of mind that essential steps and SLAs are always properly followed without them needing to micromanage.
Some content creation platforms allow admins to require certain workflow steps, for example, so that no content can be published without the completion of essential tasks. Many highly-regulated industries, like pharma and financial services, find this kind of oversight especially critical to staying compliant and ensuring all published content has passed by the necessary reviewers.
How can we use your platform to facilitate cross-channel production and allocate resources?
Why it matters: If you’re managing several projects or creators simultaneously, keeping on top of everything can be insanely difficult, especially when you’re trying to do it all from a static spreadsheet.
Being able to see what’s in-flight across live campaign views, however, makes it a simple task to ensure projects are on track. This kind of view also makes it dramatically easier to assess resourcing when assigning new projects, which keeps work well-distributed and never overloads particular teams or contributors. The result? Happier employees, fewer lagging projects.
How can stakeholders collaborate in your platform?
Why it matters: Creating a single source of truth for your content is essential to keep content up-to-date and accessible. But to do so, creators, editors, designers, reviewers, requesters, and the rest must all be able to work together in real-time.
Beyond knowing when it’s their turn to contribute to a particular project, everyone should be able to chat, annotate, and edit directly inside a content creation platform—without worrying about whether they’re accessing the latest version of an asset.
What are your translation or localization capabilities?
Why it matters: Instead of perpetually starting from scratch, globally distributed teams are best served when they can quickly adapt existing content for their particular audiences.
To do so, centers of excellence lean on in-app or integrated translation and localization tools to do more with less. With these capabilities, content made by a central team can be adapted or translated to meet the needs of teams dispersed around the world.
Does your platform support the creation of interactive content?
Why it matters: Many B2B content teams are embracing interactive content in order to boost engagement and stand out from the noise.
Note: Not many content platforms support this yet, so you may need to consider how significant of a priority this is to your business, or whether you can achieve your goals through integrations.
Does your software let us personalize content or create snippets?
Why it matters: Automating the personalized messaging customers and prospects receive is much easier than manual segmentation.
Similarly, snippets, (for example, boilerplate language) that can be easily inserted into new content or updated across an asset library, keep content on-message without a heavy lift.
How does your software help us effectively execute on repeated cross-channel programs like events or product launches?
Why it matters: Like standardizing your workflow templates, templatizing campaigns helps ensure consistency of best practices across the organization. Doing so allows teams to do better work, faster, with the confidence that nothing crucial is falling through the cracks.
Which creation tools do you integrate with?
Why it matters: No content software will replace all of the tools creators rely on (think Adobe Suite, Microsoft Office, etc.). And it shouldn’t! The best offerings seamlessly integrate with these programs rather than attempt to disrupt them. Done right, your CMP will sit as the central hub that connects all of the marketing tools in your tech stack, from automation to customer intelligence.
Ready to go find the right content creation software? I wish you luck, and also recommend downloading our full guide to buying a content platform. It will walk you through building a buying group, as well as all the questions you should ask to ensure you find the best possible platform for your business.