What are Content Marketing Platforms and Why You Need One

Let’s go on a journey down memory lane. It’s the year 2010, before anyone even knows to ask the question, “What are content marketing platforms?” You’re playing Angry Birds, listening to “Bulletproof” on repeat, and loving every product Google releases. As a marketing manager, you’ve embraced Gmail, and Google Docs has changed the way you collaborate with your team.

You have an internal marketing team, and you manage a team of freelancers—writers, designers, editors, etc. Email and Google Docs are your go-to forms of communication and collaboration. Unless your freelancers don’t have Gmail accounts, then the system breaks down. Freelancers can’t access your documents, so you have to email company assets. But those documents are constantly being updated, and you never remember which version you sent to which freelancer. So, you have to search through countless email threads to find the right one.

Now, instead of doing important work, you’re just retracing your steps to determine who knows what and what needs to happen next.

Alright, our journey is over, and you’re safe and sound now back in good old 2024. While this scenario was typical for marketing teams in 2010, many who haven’t discovered the wonder of content marketing platforms still experience these headaches. Perhaps you’re whispering to yourself: “Shoot, that’s me! What is a content marketing platform?” If so, that’s okay, we’ll bring you up to speed.

What are Content Marketing Platforms?

A content marketing platform (CMP) is an online software solution that allows businesses and marketers to collaborate across teams to strategize and streamline their content marketing processes.

I know what you’re thinking: That sounds a lot like a content management system (CMS). Sure, they both deal with content, but they serve different purposes in the overall content lifecycle. Here’s a quick breakdown of their differences:

Content Management Systems (CMS)

A CMS is a broader tool used to publish and distribute marketing content. It allows non-technical users to easily publish content across channels, edit webpages, and manage layouts (e.g., platforms like WordPress and Magento).

Content Marketing Platforms (CMP)

A CMP is a more specialized marketing tool designed for the entire content marketing process. This includes planning content strategy, creating content, scaling content production, analyzing performance, and distributing content across various channels.

Essentially, the biggest difference is that a CMS is primarily for publishing content to your website, while a CMP is for planning, strategic alignment, content creation, and optimizing content performance.

How do Content Marketing Platforms Work?

CMPs act as a central nervous system for your marketing efforts, helping your team streamline the content marketing process from strategy to results. Here are some of the specialized tools CMPs provide to improve your content marketing process:

Strategic insight: Develop a data-driven content strategy with features like keyword research tools and competitor analyses. Easily identify content gaps and potential audiences.

Organizational alignment: Store, update, and distribute your marketing strategy in one centralized location, effectively breaking down silos between internal and external teams, like freelancers and full-time employees.

Content calendars: Visually map out your content plan with dynamic, drag-and-drop calendar features. Keep your team aligned and organized with a unified calendar to schedule content creation, distribution, campaigns, and project deadlines.

Campaign management: Create and manage multi-channel campaigns within your CMP. Ensure all marketing activities (blog posts, social media posts, email blasts, etc.) align with overall strategy.

Workflow management: Assign tasks, track progress, and set clear deadlines for content creators, editors, and other team members.

Collaboration tools: Share documents, provide feedback, solicit feedback from company executives, streamline legal review, and communicate with your team using built-in messaging, text editors, and task management tools.

Our new dual-editing feature is a real-time collaboration tool that boosts the speed and ease of collaboration when several people are working on a document. Contently is the only CMP that enables real-time collaboration in-platform.

Content performance tracking: Analyze content performance across various channels using detailed analytics.

Team coordination: Keep your team aligned with notifications on project progress, campaign performance, and team activity.

Why Do I Need a Content Marketing Platform?

Every business and marketing team is different. So, is it fair to say they all need a CMP? Yes. Yes, it is. You just need to find a CMP with the right features for your team. So, let’s talk about the benefits of CMPs and what you should look for when shopping for a CMP:

Increased Bandwidth

Marketing teams are always spread thin. But what if you could double, triple, or even quadruple the size of your team? With a CMP, you have access to a powerful network of vetted writers, copy editors, designers, art directors, photographers, videographers, and much more. Suddenly, your marketing team is able to focus on strategy while producing more content.

Without a CMP, marketing teams are forced to pause content creation and publishing while they focus on strategy. But CMPs allow teams to maintain their momentum and continue operations while finalizing their marketing approach.

What to Look For:

Not all CMPs offer a talent network. While some CMPs integrate with freelance marketplaces or offer features to collaborate with external contributors, a built-in talent network of freelancers is not a standard feature.

But the best enterprise content marketing platforms will provide trusted freelancers within their platform. For example, Contently has vetted and trained each of their 160,000+ freelancers in their talent network.

Gain Strategic Alignment

Every good campaign starts with a good strategy. With a CMP, you can document your strategy upfront, create alignment within your team, and provide visibility to your in-house team and freelancers. With custom analytics, you can track each of your audiences, determine how your content is performing, and measure your progress against key performance indicators (KPIs).

What to Look For:

Look for a user-friendly platform that allows each of your team members to customize their dashboards. Whether it’s your CMO or marketing manager using the platform, they can create a dashboard that shows the information and metrics most important to them.

You also want a platform that allows users to provide story briefs or specific instructions to individual freelancers and internal team members. Share insights into audience personas, voice, and strategy without having to attach a 70-page brand book to every assignment. Contently also allows users to templatize their story briefs, so they don’t have to start from scratch with each project.

For your freelancers, use a CMP with a quick link to content strategy, so they can quickly reference goals, audience, and tone with a click of a button.

Scale Content Creation

CMPs can function like growth serums for marketing teams by eliminating repetitive tasks, like scheduling social media posts or resizing images for different platforms. Content templates and pre-designed workflows allow teams to quickly create content consistent with brand guidelines and established processes.

With detailed analytics, teams can see which content resonates with audiences and quickly make improvements. This data-driven approach accelerates the optimization process and helps teams focus on high-performing formats and topics.

What to Look For:

To improve your optimizations and increase ROI, make sure your CMP allows you to test different monetization channels, perform A/B tests, and personalize your content and marketing campaigns using customer data.

For marketers looking for a way to justify their content spend, Contently offers the Content Value Tracker. It actually calculates how much your organic traffic is worth in dollars.

Achieve Brand Compliance

Streamline brand compliance and ensure consistency by incorporating legal and brand requirements into your project briefs, templates, and workflows. Even with strict brand guidelines, you can use brand management tools to flag blocklisted words and phrases and apply a uniform style and tone to each piece of content.

What to Look For:

The best content marketing platforms will include automated quality control features. These tools can scan for plagiarism, assess content for reading level, correct grammar, and optimize for SEO. The best CMPs will also provide AI-generated recommendations on writing quality, such as misused words and double verbs.

Contently’s workflow tools also ensure each team member knows what is required of them and when their tasks are due. Once a freelancer completes a task or meets the project requirements, they are paid automatically through Contently.

Ask The Content Strategist: FAQs About Content Marketing Platforms

How do content marketing platforms facilitate communication between external freelancer and internal teams?

Content marketing platforms often provide features like built-in messaging, task management tools, and collaborative document sharing to facilitate communication between internal teams and external freelancers, ensuring seamless integration regardless of the tools they use.

Can content marketing platforms assist in identifying and filling content gaps in a marketing strategy?

Yes, content marketing platforms typically offer features such as keyword research tools and competitor analyses, allowing users to identify content gaps and potential audiences, thereby aiding in refining and filling gaps within the marketing strategy.

Do content marketing platforms offer functionalities for brand compliance and legal requirements within content creation?

Many content marketing platforms integrate legal and brand compliance requirements into project briefs, templates, and workflows, while also offering automated quality control features such as plagiarism detection and grammar correction.

If you’re ready to make your work life immeasurably better and add a CMP to your content marketing process, start your search here.

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Aleksandr Merg

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