Consistently producing relevant content is crucial to business success. It allows you to develop relationships and build trust by answering your audience’s questions and helping them find their needs. Content enables you to drive customer intent, ushering them to learn, engage, or buy. When you can influence customer intent, you can generate and nurture leads, ultimately improving conversions.
However, with everyone pursuing attention, engagement, and traffic, it can be challenging to produce content that resonates with audiences consistently. Moreover, content marketing can be time-consuming, requiring skills and resources to implement effectively. Fortunately, technological advancements now allow marketers to automate many areas of content marketing.
This article discusses everything you need to know about content automation—what it is, what tools are available, and how you can use them to implement an effective content strategy.
What is content automation?
At its core, content automation is about making the jobs of everyone in the marketing department easier by leveraging a wide range of AI tools to minimize time spent on manual, repetitive, and time-consuming tasks. A comprehensive content automation strategy can address the following areas of content marketing:
- Managing content: Researching the questions people are typing into search engines, identifying topics and trends, and addressing content gaps
- Creating content: Using the data above to create everything from blog posts and landing pages to email and multimedia content
- Distributing content: Using tools for omnichannel content distribution
- Content analysis: Monitoring how the audience engages with content and adjusting accordingly
- Repurposing content: Tracking the performance of different content to see what resonates with your audience, allowing you to repurpose content into preferred formats, like turning blog posts into shorter animated videos
Marketers face similar problems—not having enough time to identify relevant topics and create content or being too consumed with content creation that measuring its performance takes a back seat to other priorities.
What are the types of content automation tools?
Creating an effective content automation strategy starts with understanding the types of available tools.
- Workflow management
If you have a high volume of tasks, a good workflow management tool can help streamline your processes. This type of tool can make the following much easier:
- Delegating tasks
- Tracking the progress of different projects
- Reviewing automated content
Project management tools also allow businesses to identify bottlenecks in the workflow, improve collaboration, and ensure transparency.
- Social media marketing
Social media marketing automation tools help with aligning the distribution of content. For example, when you publish a blog post, these tools can trigger a social post linking to the page. It can also send automated emails informing subscribers of the new content. Such automatic distribution tools can help your content gain a wider reach.
These tools can also schedule posts, helping you organize your content calendar and capitalize on seasonal trends, holidays, and special events.
- Email marketing
Email marketing automation tools help with nurturing leads and guiding them along the different stages of the customer journey. For example, you can use an automation tool to create email drips triggered by subscribers’ actions on your website. So, if a customer visits a product page X number of times, it can send an automated email enticing them with free shipping if they buy now.
In addition, these tools help segment your mailing list, helping you send content relevant to where the subscribers are in the customer journey. This personalized presence allows you to stay on top of the customer’s mind, ultimately helping you improve conversion rates.
- Data and analytics
While every platform offers native analytics, making sense of the numbers from multiple data points can be challenging. A good content automation analytics tool designed for content marketing can help you filter out the noise and haze.
Automated analytics removes the guesswork from performance evaluation, allowing you to get insights on every piece of content. Some tools can even conduct automated A/B and spam testing, ensuring your content resonates with and reaches your audience. These insights empower you to make more informed content marketing decisions and make timely adjustments accordingly.
What can content automation do for you?
There are several use cases where content automation can come into play. And when these different areas are aligned, it becomes a powerful marketing tool.
- Topic identification
Content automation tools use natural language processing (NLP) to perform keyword insights, analyzing related words to identify the most relevant and best-performing topics for different segments of your audience. Additionally, some tools can help with content ideation, suggesting topics based on the target keywords you input.
- Content generation
Content creation tools can generate the following:
- Templates for product descriptions designed for specific platforms
- A structure for blog posts
- Text for headlines, captions, email subject lines, ads, etc.
While the tools won’t always come up with a finished product, these tools can save the content team a lot of time, allowing them to focus more on strategic pursuits.
- Proofreading and editing
Beyond grammar and syntax checks, automation tools can also analyze a piece of content’s style and tone, ensuring it’s aligned with brand voice, messaging, and goals. On top of this, these tools can also check if the content adheres to industry regulations and guidelines.
- Content personalization
As mentioned earlier, email automation platforms can send personalized emails in line with specific subscriber actions. In addition, some tools can factor in other considerations like the time audiences engage with content most and how customers interact with content on different platforms.
- Content coordination
Apart from scheduled posting, content automation tools can also perform the following tasks:
- Coordinate content across platforms (blogs, social posts, ads, etc.)
- Send automated replies to messages
Content coordination ensures pieces of content across different communication channels are aligned. Consistent messaging, no matter the platform, increases engagement and interaction, better lead nurturing, and improved customer experiences.
- Audience building and data segmentation
Some content automation tools can analyze customers based on historical data, engagement levels, and demographics, among other relevant factors. This information helps segment your data to develop content based on behavioral trends.
What are the benefits of content automation?
As you can see, content automation tools have reached a point where they can have a wire-to-wire impact on your content marketing strategy. Its primary benefits include the following:
- Improves efficiency and productivity: With content automation tools, you’ll never get stuck coming up with ideas. And even if you don’t follow every suggestion, improving on them will still be more time-efficient than pulling them out of the air.
- More effective lead management: When you can reach your audience with the information they need on their preferred platforms, you can generate more leads and nurture existing ones. When done consistently, it can establish your thought leadership and breed loyalty from your audience.
- Improved content analytics: Content automation tools provide more detailed insights into how different content pieces perform. This enables you to be quick in optimizing underperforming ones and craft better content strategies for the future.
- Frees up resources: Without having to worry about repetitive tasks, the content team can focus on more business-critical objectives like strategizing and executing marketing initiatives.
With content becoming a vital part of digital marketing efforts across industries, content automation can significantly impact your bottom line.
How do you implement content automation?
It can be overwhelming to start implementing a content automation strategy from scratch. With the number of available tools, each promising seamless integration, efficiency, and success, it can be tough to pinpoint an appropriate jump-off point. The tips below offer a simple approach.
- Identify areas for optimization
Auditing your content marketing strategy and its workflow allows you to identify areas that automation can optimize. Start with menial tasks like sending welcome emails and content distribution. Once you take the repetitive tasks off your plate, you’ll find more complex areas to integrate automation tools.
- Find the right content automation tools for your business
Different industries will have varying content automation needs. For B2B companies, content distribution, lead generation, and nurturing will be more significant needs. Meanwhile, a clothing brand might require tools that help with brand awareness and expanding reach. Understanding what you want to accomplish lets you find the tools that perfectly complement your goals.
- Leverage analytics
As you go along your content automation journey, keep a close eye on the available analytics tools. Doing so enables you to monitor performance, identify loopholes, and bridge content gaps.
What are the potential challenges and pitfalls?
For all the benefits content automation brings, it won’t always be a seamless endeavor. Be wary of the following challenges:
- Predictability: There are times when automation tools can suggest content topics that, while good, may be too predictable. Closely monitor user engagement and other related metrics. When bounce rates increase and engagement dips, it could be time for a strategic pivot. To avoid predictability in content, continually analyze the content’s performance and engagement metrics and to incorporate human creativity and insights into the content planning process.
- It can dehumanize the brand: There will be instances when automation can make your content strategy appear too strategic, making the brand feel impersonal. While keyword insights and behavioral trends matter, don’t overlook your brand voice and values—they’re the primary elements your audience connects with. To maintain a human touch, you can combine automated content with personalized messages and human-curated pieces.
- Spam risk: Content automation tools can be prone to producing repetitive content, particularly when working to build more backlinks and incorporate SEO practices. To avoid spam risk, businesses should ensure that their content is valuable, informative, and unique, while adhering to SEO best practices.
While it’s unlikely you’ll be able to avoid all the potential pitfalls of content automation, awareness is vital to addressing them when they do occur.
Developing a sustainable content automation strategy will be an ongoing process as technologies like AI, NLP, and other automation tools continue to advance. You don’t have to develop a comprehensive plan right away. You can identify smaller workflow gaps, gradually opening your business to the immense possibilities content automation tools can bring.
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