Content marketing is a lot like the ocean.
On the surface, it appears calm and straightforward. Just a flat, blue horizon.
All you have to do is sail gently across, publishing blog posts on your company’s blog.
But look below that calm surface, and you’ll see the deep, dark depths you’ve yet to dive into.
There, you’ll be met with a thriving, changing world more complex than you can imagine. Ecosystems alive and bustling with various lifeforms. Numerous tasks, projects and new strategies, all with different deadlines and required skillsets.
New SEO strategies emerge and old ones die out. Your audience evolves, demanding more captivating ideas tailored to their needs and interests. Company branding is tweaked and marketing goals shift. Data swarm. There’s a give and take between the many stages of content marketing—from keyword research, brainstorming and writing to editing, promoting and analyzing.
Effective content marketing requires you to be a like an astute biologist, observing all these new discoveries and figuring out how they work.
That’s where Contently comes into play.
It’s a platform that strives to simplify the entire content marketing process by allowing you to connect with other professionals and delegate work to freelancers.
What Is Contently?
New content marketing tools crop up all the time, each promising to “make the marketer’s life easier” or “cut your work time in half.”
Some of these promises are empty. Others, like Contently’s, can actually deliver.
Contently is an online content management tool built for organizing and assigning content marketing tasks.
Its elegant software allows you to organize the many steps of content marketing—from brainstorming and delegating work to editing and promotion—all in one place.
I know I tire of bouncing around from Google Doc to Google Doc, to internal management software back to Google Doc. Just trying to keep track of every stage of my projects drains precious mental energy I could be using to write, publish or promote.
Consolidating your work in one place can instantly make your life easier.
Contently is unique from other content marketing organizational tools in one key way. It hands you a network of freelance professionals eager for delegated work. You can search through a database of professionals to find the perfect person for your given project. Find individuals in your budget offering the exact skills and experience you need.
Regardless of whether or not you take advantage of this feature, Contently can help at every step of your content marketing strategy.
Contently is designed to be a high-end, large-scale content marketing tool. It’s in a league of its own, separating itself from smaller scale systems like Basecamp and Asana.
Contently Review: How to Become a Serious Content Marketing Machine with Contently
Step 1: Brainstorming
This is my least favorite step. Some marketers are blessed with a unique take on the world, allowing them to generate fresh article angles and cutting-edge ideas. If like me, you struggle with idea generation, Contently can lend you a helping hand.
You can get content ideas in three ways within the Contently platform:
1. Pitch ideas for collaboration. Know what you want done? Send out your best and brightest idea and let your staff improve it or run with it as-is.
2. Gather pitches from your staff. Get your money’s worth from the geniuses on your team. You chose them for a reason. Utilize their brain power and let them submit ideas through Contently.
3. Get ideas from Contently’s hub of creatives. Their network is teeming with some of the most innovative freelancers around. Not everyone is a goldmine, of course, but the right one may land you that perfect article idea.
I find the presence of these different avenues for different projects liberating. Even just knowing I can outsource the brainstorming takes some of the brainstorming pressure off.
In some cases, freelancers may be the best people to brainstorm ideas. Freelance writers dabbling in article writing all day long may offer the freshest, most interesting and unexpected story angles—especially if they’re specialized in your industry, as they’re exposed to what your competition is doing on a daily basis (and can offer better article ideas as a result).
Whenever the time is right for delegation, you can do so with Contently.
Other content marketing tools can assist you in some, but rarely all, of these brainstorming avenues. As a result, you end up bouncing around to all your different tools. Contently allows you to keep all the brainstorming in one area.
Step 2: Assigning
Just because you can write that article doesn’t mean you necessarily should. I know it can be painful handing over the reins to someone else to run with your idea, but other more pressing tasks may be calling your name.
Get the story off your plate so you can shift your focus to business management tasks requiring your attention.
Contently sets itself apart from other smaller content marketing tools with its option to delegate posts to a variety of people. You can easily assign the story idea to one of your staff members or to one of Contently’s creatives. With other tools, you’d need to rely on services like Upwork to hire people and delegate work. This leads to bouncing between different tools to keep track of everything. Contently brings it all to one place.
When assigning work on Contently, it’s easy to set up dated milestones and tasks (like writing or editing) for any given piece of content. I enjoy deadlines and breaking up projects into smaller pieces, so this is a nice feature to have.
Step 3: Publishing and Promoting
Once your wonderfully-crafted content is published, you need to share it with the world.
Contently offers easy integration with your blogs, social media and email. It can connect to your Facebook, LinkedIn, MailChimp, Twitter and WordPress. This broad spectrum of integration options is hard to find in other content marketing tools.
One limitation of Contently is that it’s not integrated with Hootsuite. As a lover of Hootsuite’s easy-to-schedule social media offerings, this is a strike against the product for me—but something that’s easily overcome for many others.
Step 4: Analyzing
This is my favorite stage. It requires the most analytical brainpower to identify what works and what doesn’t. And it’s so satisfying when you see results drive by analysis.
For effective analysis, you need data. Contently curates analytics and reporting for you based on the posts created through its system.
Get access to a variety of data points including:
- average attention time per person
- where people discover your article (social media, search, direct, email, internal) and their corresponding engagement rate from each source
- number (or percentage) of stories completed by contributor
- comparing each article to your average
- tracking engagement rates and views for a given article over a period of time
- heatmaps to see where eyes and cursors went
Other marketing tools that focus on content creation either don’t offer such rich, extensive data. For most marketers, Contently offers you all the data you’ll need.
One drawback, though, is Contently doesn’t link to Google Analytics, which many content marketers rely on to give a full, thorough picture of their marketing efforts. That could be a plus or minus for you, depending—but the reason is mainly that Contently offers tons of data, even surpassing what Google Analytics has to offer in some areas.
The Cost of Contently
You won’t find the cost of Contently on its website. The cost will vary depending on your company’s needs.
Contently requires a yearly subscription to access its software, and this can range anywhere from $30,000 to $150,000 a year—or even significantly higher.
No, that isn’t a typo. This system will cost you several thousand dollars to run. It may exceed the cost of some of your staff members’ salary (or, painfully, even yours).
Then there’s an added cost of hiring freelancers within their network if you go that route.
This shockingly high cost rules Contently out for most content marketers. Many of us dream of the day where we can justify spending so much money on one content marketing tool.
That’s not to say it’s never worth it, of course. Just that Contently is only worth it for a narrow niche of content marketers.
Who Benefits from Using Contently
If you’re in the narrow—but powerful—margin of content marketers who can afford Contently, congrats! This system may be a worthwhile investment for you.
Contently is best fitting for large businesses with a few traits:
- Well-established. As in, not vulnerable to a drastic content marketing budget cut at any point throughout the year. No content marketing team wants to scramble to find money for paychecks after the recently-cut budget is devoured by a product subscription.
- Reliant on content marketing. All businesses can benefit from content marketing, of course. But only those heavily building and gaining from their content marketing need to make such a significant investment. If your target audience responds well to content marketing, it may be a viable investment for you to make.
- Actively looking to improve its content marketing quality and workflow. Contently can make the lives of your content marketing team so much easier. If your content marketing efforts feel held back by ineffective management systems, Contently could be the perfect solution. If you’re consistently doing fine, there may be other ways to spend this chunk of cash.
All in all, Contently is a unique product that many content marketers find worth the investment.
Not everyone is in a position to benefit enough from Contently to justify the high cost, but those who are can stand to gain a significant amount by taking the plunge.
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