We know that content is one of the single most important pieces of modern digital marketing. Get your content right, and you’re halfway to attracting, convincing, and converting your audience.
But exactly how do you get your content right? While the answer to that question requires more than any single platform, implementing the right content creation software is a great place to start.
And that’s exactly what we’ll discuss below. In this guide, you will learn the basics of content creation tools, from what it is to how you can find a platform that benefits your content creators and the entire marketing team.
What, Exactly, is Content Creation Software?
As its name suggests, content creation software enables businesses to efficiently and successfully create marketing content for their campaigns and channels. Content can include anything from social media posts to videos, images, and SEO-optimized web copy.
Beyond that basic definition, the details of content creation tools vary. They may:
- Focus on content planning
- Focus on content creation
- Highlight and facilitate collaboration
- Be calendar-based or task-focused
- Be marketplaces that help to hire freelance content creators
- Focus on content marketing strategy and distribution
You can even find content tools to manage your influencers or curate relevant industry content. Opportunities range widely; in fact, according to a survey we conducted in 2020, 78% of marketers use 5+ tools to plan, manage and execute their marketing campaigns.
That’s why it’s so crucial to find the right content creation platform for your needs.
6 Features That Content Creation Software Needs to Include
In a wild west of marketing tools, how do you find the one that threads the needle? The type of content creation platforms you find might vary, but all of them should at least share these five characteristics:
1. Intake and Kickoff Help
Look for tools that help you ease into the start of any new project. That might include anything from streamlining new requests from internal needs to pulling information from service-level agreements.
For SEO content, it should also include some initial keyword planning capabilities to get your copywriters started on the right track.
2. Content Creation Workflows
Your content will likely flow through a variety of steps after intake, including various levels of reviews and adjustments. Can your content platform help to ease that process, flowing from one step to the next while keeping your team in the loop and reducing manual project management load?
3. Collaboration Capabilities
Creative work is best when silos are broken. Designers talk to copywriters, art directors chime in, and brand managers have a say as well.
Good tools accommodate that collaboration, making it easy for marketing teams to connect, check in, and run ideas past each other.
4. Content Optimization Capabilities
Creative work is inherently subjective, but you can assign some objective measures (like readability and accessibility scores) to help optimize it. The right tool can help you accomplish these goals with optimization integrations, maximizing your team’s effectiveness and reducing steps in the creative process.
5. Brand Compliance Checks
A related, but separate, piece of content creation is ensuring that every piece leaving the shop works within the larger brand of the organization. Find a content creation tool that allows for adherence to brand guidelines as well as any potential licensing checks, ensuring compliance across all channels and assets.
6. Distribution Integrations
Naturally, the creation process is only the beginning of your assets’ journey. While your creation tool doesn’t necessarily need to also include distribution systems and flows for social media, your CMS, and others, it should at least integrate with common distribution tools to easily flow from your internal team into the real world.
The degree to which the tools you’re evaluating use these features will differ. But don’t fall for software with slick marketing that completely ignores every one of them—they’re likely not worth your money.
6 Steps to Find the Best Content Creation Tool for Your Marketing Team
The basics alone weed out quite a few contenders. Now, it’s time to get specific.
After all, you don’t just want a good tool to add to your marketing tech stack. You want the perfect content creation software to help your marketing team and content marketers implement your marketing plan.
It’s actually pretty simple. Just follow these 6 steps to get started.
1. Define Your Content Needs
Just like a marketing campaign starts with a goal, so should your search to add a new tool to your toolbox. In this case, that means defining exactly what you need the software for.
As you can probably imagine, your needs will cover a variety of variables, including:
- Help with content ideation, the creative process behind coming up with new, great content pieces
- The type of content you’re looking to produce, from blog posts to video and more
- The frequency with which you produce that content—volume will affect what makes a tool perfect
- The size of your team, or the number of users that will use the tool on a daily basis
- The purpose of the content you typically produce—an agency will likely have different needs than an in-house team
These are the basics, but you might want to add other variables as well. That way, you have a clear idea of exactly what the content creation software needs to include to help you create quality content.
2. Build a Sample Project Workflow
How do creative projects typically flow through your team? What happens as the asset makes its way from an idea to a graphic on social media?
Not every project is identical, but the general flow is likely pretty similar each time. Building out a sample workflow and laying our your marketing metrics, even sketched out in a Word document, helps you evaluate potential solutions against how well they’ll help you streamline and implement that flow.
3. Evaluate Your Integration Needs
If you’re like most marketers, chances are you already have a pretty established tech stack. Ideally, your content platform doesn’t live in isolation among them, but integrates to make life easier for your team.
To make sure that’s the case, start the process early. List out your MarCom stack, along with notes on which types of integrations each tool would benefit from.
This will give you a nice, simple checklist to use when evaluating content creation platforms.
4. Research Potential Content Marketing Tools
Between the three steps above, you should have a good foundation that allows you to evaluate a number of different tools. Now comes the research.
Search far and wide for content creation platforms. Don’t discriminate at first, but simple list them all.
Aggregators like G2’s lists can help. Don’t just rely on those, though. Some strategic Googling, along with checking within your professional connections to find out what other teams might be using, can expand your list.
Once the initial list is created, check it against the criteria you’ve established using the above steps. That helps you weed out the finalists that are worth pursuing further.
5. Ask the Right Questions
Give your finalists a call, or schedule a demo. When you do, make sure you ask questions that can help you get beyond the jargon and into the actual needs of your team. Those questions might include:
- What’s the learning curve for your software?
- What’s the price, based on my business situation?
- What support do we get when we need help?
- How does the platform typically roll out updates?
- What does the onboarding process look like?
- Do you have examples of other teams like mine succeeding on the platform?
- How are you planning to improve your software in the future?
Of course, these are just some examples. In addition to the base criteria you’ve established, these questions can go a long way towards minimizing the chances that you end up with a dud.
6. Test it Out
Beyond the demo, and once you get your questions answered, pick your favorite content creation software and test it out. Most platforms offer either a free trial or (like Welcome) a free version for limited users.
Whatever fits your needs, take advantage of its functionality. Only agree to any paid plans once you know they will fulfill your needs and help you improve your content creation process.
Ready to Streamline Your Content Marketing Process?
For most marketers, content and asset creation is the #1 bottleneck across all marketing initiatives. From requesting work to ideating, creating, editing, and reviewing, it takes up most of the average working day.
Content creation software can help to reduce your workload. You just need to know how to find a platform that covers the bases and can be optimized for your specific needs.
Yes, finding the right platform can be complex. It might even get frustrating at times.
But one thing is certain: when you get it right, your content team will thank you. And your customers will thank you too by taking advantage of better content from your channels.
Why not get started with a system designed specifically for marketing teams? Welcome has content creation software that integrate seamlessly with our project management tools, and might just be perfect for you.
Ready to give Welcome a free try? Get started by creating your free Welcome account today.