As organizations are moving towards a more integrated approach to communications, i.e. trying to ensure brand consistency across all channels and align communications with their business objectives, they are reviewing their content tech stack as well.
There’s an abundance of tools out there focusing on specific segments such as content marketing. The content marketing tools often aim to cover the entire range of content production with a strong focus on publishing on social media.
And different generic task or project management tools are being used by different teams across communications and marketing, typically for very specific jobs such as task management or content planning.
On their way to a more integrated way of communicating the following challenges usually arise:
- More teams, more users: The tools must be designed to handle larger numbers of users and their actions. Think about sorting a list in a Google Sheet – what if five users want to sort it differently at the same time? Access rights are another typical area where simple tools fail.
- Diverse needs: The more diverse the teams and their job descriptions the more diverse their needs. Publishing to Facebook is important for content marketing, but is it for internal comms?
- Heterogeneous content tech stack: While the publishing tech stack is somewhat uniform in content marketing (e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.) there are a plethora of tools being used by teams - different content management systems (CMS), digital asset management systems (DAM), newsletter and analytics tools.
Focus on over-arching functionality
In a bid to tackle the challenges most organizations tend to opt for all-in-one tools or try to find a tool that can address all the issues. The challenge is that there is no such tool that can address the needs of your integrated communications strategy and do it well. Your best bet is to find a tool whose core features are relevant to all and not a tool whose features benefit a few users.
So what does this actually mean when you are selecting a content calendar tool not just for content marketing, but for all teams working in the content production and publishing process of an organization? You have to look out for certain criteria:
Flexibility & adaptability of content lists
With several teams using the same tool content lists must be easily adaptable to their heterogeneous needs. This relates to content lists with different time horizons, filtering and sorting options as well the possibility to easily create and edit the fields.
While such a tool can and should help the organization in a consistent and structured way, in practice it turns out that Investor Relations typically does not really work like Content Marketing. Thus the need for flexibility and adaptability.
Content strategy & campaign planning
The operational and short-term content plans may vary, but when it comes to the strategic and tactical level (e.g. campaigns) that’s where everyone must be on the same page and the needs of all the teams must be addressed.
Turning your content strategy into action i.e. breaking the strategic initiatives and tactical levels of your strategy is the bracket that holds all communications activities together and is a feature everyone uses.
A focused content calendar tool
Tools focusing on teams like content marketing tend to become a Jack of all trades. While this may in certain circumstances succeed and address the needs of such teams IT history has shown over and over again that in markets with growing functional needs software suites cannot keep up.
As different tools become ever easier to integrate with each other companies are moving to a more modular system landscape as advocated by the MACH Alliance, for instance. Emerging terms like “Composable CMS” are a clear sign of where things are heading with such systems becoming an easily and yet tightly integrated network of different best-of-breed solutions.
Open architecture & integrations
There are a million tools out there connected to Facebook and other social media tools. How about a connection to your newsletter tool and that on-premise content hub from that small vendor you selected years ago?
The more teams are working with a content calendar the more important it will become over time you integrate with at least the most important ones of those tools. Make sure your content calendar vendors have extensive experience in integrating with such tools and do not try to sell you their own software modules.