When you think of automation, you probably imagine machines whisking away the work, leaving humans to live in a utopian society with endless free time. While that’s not quite what we have in mind when we talk about automating content marketing, done right, it can save you time to focus on other areas of your business.
Whether you opt for full-on digital workforce automation or just scheduling your social media posts, automation is key to making your content strategy a little more streamlined. Here’s why.
Why is content – and automating content – so important?
A study by PWC determined that 75% of US customers think a positive experience with a brand is a more important deciding factor in whether they would shop there again than great advertisements.
One of the things today’s buyers look at is their overall experience with a company. Does the brand tell a story? Do they represent the same morals as the customer? Are they keen to make themselves the go-to provider in their category?
Content can play an essential part in the brand experience. It allows a brand to connect with a customer, becoming a thought leader in their field or just showing a little humanity to endear them to people. Options like automated computing can even help to boost flexibility within teams.
However, content can be a time-consuming experience. Your content needs to be well-written and put together. On top of that, it has to be relevant, timely, and seen by the right people.
Whilst, in general, automation is no substitute for an excellent content team, it can help with some of these issues. Getting your content out regularly is one of the best ways to generate organic traffic – and an easy way to save some time.
Building an experience
One key area that marketers often ignore is the post-purchase customer journey. Customers – especially in this age of experience – are great at detecting when a company is just after a sale.
To counteract that impression, alongside a meaningful customer journey pre-sale, you must continue to develop the relationship after an action has been taken. This is the step that turns one-time customers into loyal ones, and potentially even brand advocates.
Now, obviously, you don’t have time to send each individual customer a follow-up, but using automation, you can create a setup that does it for you.
Drip marketing is a method of email marketing that involves setting up what is essentially a flow chart. It can be as simple as three sequential emails, all triggered by one action and set up to send after a set period.
Day 1: Customer purchase
Day 3: Email – how to set up your new ___
Day 5: Email – getting the most out of your new ___
Day 7: Email – let us know what you think!
More complicated versions can be triggered by multiple actions along the journey; if a customer goes on to make a repeat purchase, a different email chain is triggered, for example. You can even pop in video campaigns and keep track of who is watching them.
Most email marketing platforms will let you set up this kind of automation. It might feel like a lot of work to start with, but it should only take a few hours to implement, and once it’s in place, your post-purchase customer journey will be improved immeasurably.
Social skills & blogs
Social platforms are brilliant for building a following and gaining potential leads. However, if you’re relying solely on content (as opposed to investing in paid ads), you’ll need to post fairly regularly.
One key area where automation can make your life easier is by scheduling social posts in advance. Programs like SproutSocial, Buffer, and Hootsuite all include options to post across the main social channels and offer the chance to schedule these posts.
Not only does scheduling mean you’re more likely to hit those regular posting targets, but it means you have a much more cohesive strategy across weeks and platforms. You can plan out your posts in advance, avoiding that last-minute scramble for ideas.
Some platforms, including Buffer, even offer the ability to schedule posts according to when your audience is most active – you don’t even have to determine this for yourself! Team one of them with a secure Digital Asset Management (DAM) platform and you have a social strategy that can be accessed – and altered – by remote workers everywhere.
Blogs are also brilliant for sharing knowledge and building SEO for your site. As with social posts, planning and scheduling your blogs in advance can mean they form coherent series or even just have similar tones of voice.
Most content management systems, like WordPress, have scheduling features. It can be very reassuring to upload a months’ worth of content at the beginning of the month, then forget about it until the next batch is needed!
By sitting down and brainstorming content in one go, you save time – both in the fact you’ll be more focused, and because you won’t spend time fretting that you don’t have any illuminating ideas for upcoming posts.
Where could content automation take us?
In all honesty, there aren’t many downsides to content and marketing automation, especially if you stick to these simple measures. If, however, you go for something more advanced – like RPA – you’ll need some specialist tech on your side, such as intelligent document handling.
As we continue to embrace technology, content automation could become even more sophisticated. For now, it seems silly not to utilize these ideas: they save time, leave your strategy looking more cohesive, and create a better experience for your customers. We’d call that a win!