Everyone Is Talking About Automation but What Does It Mean and What Are the Benefits of Content Automation?
Sales, marketing and branding for businesses underwent a seismic change in the 1990s with the advent of the world wide web. Businesses and marketers were compelled to reinvent the wheel as they tried to master and exploit the vast potential of online publishing.
With traditional brick and mortar stakeholders out of the way, businesses were able to generate content faster and at significantly lower costs. Over time, a new status quo took shape. However, the emergence of commercial broadband, blogging platforms, mobile technology and social media triggered a slew of new demands for businesses as they try to keep pace with an increasingly more sophisticated audience.
Today, companies are faced with the challenge of creating dynamic content for multiple markets at regular intervals to maintain and improve engagements with their audience. This is where content automation comes in.
A Definition of Automation
Automation is essentially the process of mechanising routine processes using technology. This enhances process efficiency since computer programs or machines can perform repetitive tasks faster and with higher accuracy.
Automation helps to increase productivity, reduce operating costs and improve product and service quality.
The definition of automation should not be confused with automaton, which is a self-operating machine or device programmed to perform a specific number of tasks.
What is Content Automation?
Content automation is the process of using software applications to create, design, edit, proof, review, publish and distribute content. The content automation workflow can be designed to function for individual staff or in collaborative environments.
A content automation platform can be integrated anywhere across the content lifecycle. However, for optimal result, it should be integrated into your entire content creation, delivery and marketing framework.
While it’s easy to get excited about content automation, you may find it difficult to know exactly where to start. To help you develop a new strategy for your organisation, we’ve outlined below seven content automation workflows that will ensure you start off on the right foot
1. Identify Content to be Automated
The secret to engaging content is relevancy. If you’re going to automate content, you have to make sure that your target audience will be engaged. There are several methods which you can use to identify relevant content.
For organic traffic, use data from Google Search Console. You will be able to see what type of content attract the attention of your audience. Extrapolate the data using other Google products such as Google Keyword Planner and Google Trends. You can also use paid tools like Wordstream, SEMrush and Ahrefs to further develop your editorial direction and more advanced SEO content strategy.
For social media traffic, give tools like BuzzSumo, Social Animal and Feedly a spin. They use algorithms which effectively track popular topics on most social media platforms.
Your research here will take the guesswork out of your content strategy and provide a strong basis for your content automation strategy. As a bonus, the mined data can also be used to guide your ad campaigns.
2. Implement Content and Translation Automation Processes
Mile-long email chains or busy Slack channels are not examples of an effective content creation or publishing process. These legacy platforms are outdated and will disappear into the ether before too long. Automation of workflow processes is no longer an optional novelty. It is a vital element for modern companies that want to grow fast and have the ambition to be global players.
What you need is a robust, scalable and intuitive content automation solution. At Contentor, we provide software solution that helps our clients produce and translate multilingual content from anywhere around the world. We offer API integration and some ready-made connectors for any modern platform.
After a quick and simple installation process, your team members will be able to send, download, view content status, assign personnel at every stage of the process and publish content remotely via your e-commerce platform or CMS.
Workflow automation has never been so simple!
3. Social Media Sharing
There are 3.5 billion social media users in the world today. The various social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter cumulatively account for a quarter (25.6%) of all internet traffic. Is it any wonder that social media ad spend is projected to grow to $84 billion in 2020?
Considering the enormous influence and revenue potential of social media, you have to allocate sufficient resources to fully take advantage of its potential. Rather than just make periodic ad hoc posts on a couple of platforms, implement a cohesive and comprehensive posting and sharing strategy across all major social media platforms.
And instead of tracking everything using a complex Excel file managed by a three-man team which reports to a committee every fortnight, simply use social media marketing automation tools like Hootsuite, Buffer and TweetDeck.
With such tools, you can create posting schedules on every platform. Every authorised personnel can then log in to the dashboard and view every post statistic, ranging from engagement to clickthroughs. They can even generate reports to measure the efficacy of ongoing marketing campaigns.
4. Automating Emails
If your organisation still does not have an email automation process, then you’re behind the curve. Email marketing can generate ROIs of 3,800%. Let’s not even talk about plain old birthday emails – they generate up to 342% higher revenue compared to promotional emails!
In the realm of automation processes, email automation is probably the simplest to implement. The tools, both paid and free, are widely available. You can choose all-in-one solutions like HubSpot, Aweber or Mailchimp, or single-function tools like Litmus or iContact. They are all easy-to-use tools suitable for businesses of all sizes – so you have no excuse!
5. Integrate All Your Content Automation Tools
Instead of switching between nine different automation tools every day and struggling to make sense of the various reports, why not integrate all of the tools inside a single application? Automation platforms such as Integromat, Zapier and Microsoft Flow allow users to integrate their apps, CMS platforms and systems.
How Does Content Automation Work?
Let’s be clear about one thing: content creation still requires manual work. You still need wordsmiths to craft compelling and informative content to reach and retain your audience. However, the process is often chaotic, and consumes a lot of time and resources. What’s worse, poor editorial direction and time management can lead to the production of content that is neither relevant nor timely.
This is particularly true for audio visual content such as videos, podcasts and infographics, since the level of preparation and coordination is much more time-consuming.
By implementing process automation, you will be able to streamline your processes, create realistic goals and deploy resources efficiently. The first step involves identifying repetitive tasks in the creation and marketing chains. These may include SEO legwork (especially keyword research), image search, statistics research, publishing and social media posting.
The cited elements can be performed by most automation systems. After setup and deployment, your content creation process will immediately consume less time and resources. As a result, your content will be written, published and promoted faster.
But that is just the first part of the process. There are many other aspects across the content lifecycle which can be automated.
Your subsequent steps will involve:
- Implementing a CRM system that will automate visitor tracking and analysis.
- Implementing an email automation system will handle marketing, sales confirmation, service advisory, etc. using email templates.
- Implementing a lead management system that will track opt-ins, sign-ups, purchases, conversion rates and A/B testing on your website.
- Implementing a social media automation system will automatically schedule advisory and promotional posts on all platforms – even during weekends.
As you delve deeper into the world of automation, you may even begin to experiment with tools which create customer and audience profiles based on data collected by your existing tools. These tools use next-generation AI technologies that make intelligent guesses and assumptions to build customer models. Constant refinements of value propositions and user benefits of products or services can help create more accurate models.
Such models can be tweaked to achieve different objectives, including, but not limited to, improving retention rates and enhancing brand loyalty. A recent study by McKinsey noted that companies which adopted AI modelling reported an increase in revenue and a reduction in operating cost.
You can speed the process along by creating editorial calendars, notification features and much more. These additional guidelines and information will not only improve your automation process, but it will also help your staff provide more effective internal support.
However, please be strategic in your automation implementation. Build up your presence gradually instead of implementing radical, across the board automation. You might increase the risk of running into compatibility issues, as well as diverting too much resources into internal training.
At the end of the day, automation should not come at the cost of your company’s growth. Ideally, implement automation in proportion to your growth. Remember that quite often automation is needed when you have a high volume of work, tasks or incoming traffic.
Benefits of Content Automation in Numbers
Content automation is poised to revolutionize the content creation, copywriting and content marketing industries. Let’s explore why.
1. Workflow Automation Breeds Success
Let’s get down to hard numbers. Data suggest that marketers who are more organised and set goals are 397% and 376% more inclined to report success. Marketers who proactively plan projects and have documented strategies are 356% and 313% more likely to report success. In addition, marketers who utilise agile project management tools tend to report success 252% more compared to their peers.
These numbers tell us that marketers who plan ahead of time and execute cohesive strategies have a significantly higher potential for success.
Beyond that, automation helps to reduce errors by 62% and improve strategic decision making by 55%.
2. Automation of workflow saves time and converts more
You hear this all the time – automation saves time. But by what factor? According to a survey by Adestra, by as much as 74%. The same survey also noted that content automation increases engagement rates by 68% and enhance upsell opportunities by 58%. Moreover, marketers who use automation tools generate 80% more leads and have a 77% higher conversion rate.
Keeping these statistics in mind, Contentor have developed our content automation platform with the aim of providing our customers with the same advantages, i.e., less administrative work, which translates to more time to grow their e-commerce revenue.
If you’re a data-driven decision-maker, these numbers are reason enough to give content automation platform a test drive today! One more reason to say ‘yes’ to automation with Contentor – it’s absolutely free, including our technical support.
3. The Flexibility of Automation Solutions
A study by McKinsey noted that as many as 45% of 2,000 work activities across 800 different professions can be automated using existing technology. This basically means that almost half of workplace duty can be delegated to automation tools. In a follow up study, McKinsey forecasted that these tools could free employees’ time by as much as 30 percent, which would allow them to take on new responsibilities in the organisation. Can you imagine the kind of savings this could generate for your organisation?
But that’s not all! Only 29%, or less than a third, of work activities require direct human-level performance. So, automation could potentially handle up to 71% of workplace activities. On top of that, more than a fifth (20%) of CEOs’ tasks could be automated as well!
Needless to say, automation tools will never take a sick day and will work around the clock with nary a peep!
What Content Should You Automate?
We’ve already covered parts of this earlier, but if you’re suddenly feeling super motivated and would like to start automating processes in your workplace, here are several to get the ball rolling.
1. Content Research
While the bulk of writing will still need the presence of human writers, you can help shave a great deal of time by providing your writers with relevant data using automated research. These include topics (check out Scoop.it and Swayy), statistics, keywords, images, etc. Writers would love this – it’s like having a sous chef of their own. They’d be able to focus on the creative aspect of the job instead of spending hours online trawling for the perfect photos or reading reports.
2. Dynamic content
Dynamic content are components of webpages that frequently change based on content updates (such as pricing, periodic promotions, etc.), customer personalisation (cookies’-based targeting) and in-session behaviour. You obviously can’t assign a team of writers to constantly change snippets and paragraphs of web copies manually – it would take too long and consume too many resources. Luckily, there are numerous omni-channel content personalisation software around – such as Barilliance, Qubit and even Contentor’s in-house solution.
3. Product descriptions and category texts
How much time and resources do you spend to update product descriptions and category texts as you expand your product range? Do you think Amazon employs an army of writers to write product descriptions and category texts for the 353 million products listed on its pages?
What if we tell you that content automation can take over such mundane and tedious tasks in just minutes? Imagine how much faster you’ll be able to scale up your e-commerce business once you remove this bottleneck.
4. Editing and proofing
There are plenty of tools in the market right now that can help with the mundane tasks of editing and proofing. Whitesmoke, ProWritingAid, Grammarly and Ginger are just some of the better-known options. If readability is an issue, you may want to consider the Hemingway Editor. Integrating such tools in your content creation process will definitely speed things up.
Nonetheless, please keep in mind that these solutions are powered by AI systems. And based on our 12 years in the content marketing field and over a thousand clients, we’ve learned that there’s no AI technology that can replace human editors just yet.
However, as a content and translation technology company, we continuously strive to synergise the individual strengths of technology and human power to create optimal content solutions for our clients. Using our content automation platform, you can choose what type of content you want to send for editing and proofreading, and once it’s done, you can forget about manual work. We guarantee that from a single line to thousands of words, the only effort you need to make is one click.
5. Competitors’ Research and Data Analytics
As any marketing executive will tell you, competitors’ research is a repetitive, tedious and mind-numbing task. However, tools like AhRefs, Alexa, Majestic and SEMrush can generate such analyses in a fraction of a second. You will be able to find out your competitors’ top-selling products/most visited pages, referral links, keywords, geographic appeal and much more with just a click.
6. Social Promotion
Social media is not just where the cool kids hang out. It’s a thriving, constantly evolving and very lucrative landscape. Don’t self-handicap your business just because you’re intimidated by the Kardashians. We promise, it’s very unlikely for you to ever stumble across them.
However, before wading into the various platforms, get one of the many outstanding social media management tools out there. Applications such as Sprout Social, Hootsuite and Sendible can help you build a social media presence that could eventually lead to massive referral traffic and improved brand recognition.
7. Email Marketing
We cannot stress this enough. If you haven’t developed an email marketing strategy for your company, do so yesterday. If you already have, scale it up. Email marketing is a simple yet exceptionally lucrative way for organisations to increase their revenue and market share.
Don’t wait for Joanne from Sales to type out the latest promotion to be mailed to your clients.
Don’t wait for Steve from Marketing to finish designing flyers to mail out to your clients.
Instead, use ready-made templates to periodically (and responsibly) send out marketing materials to them. Use opt-in plug-ins to get them to sign up with your mailing list. Send everyone a birthday or festive greeting automatically. Thank everyone for every purchase. Speak about current issues or to show solidarity.
You can have all this and more simply by installing an email automation application. It couldn’t be simpler.
Do you want to stay one step ahead of your competitors? Tailor your templates and news by delegating this task to professional copywriters. Build and automate workflows using a content automation platform and then integrate this solution into your email marketing tool.
Global research giant Forrester estimates that marketing automation spending will grow to $25 billion in 2023. Can you really afford to walk away from this?
We know there’s a lot of new information to digest here. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, we’re here for you to answer all your questions and clear all your doubts. Drop us a line! What do you have to lose?