What Is Content Automation? Definition, Marketing Best Practices, and Top Platform

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“Content automation is defined as a digital marketing technique that predefines workflows to reduce human effort for certain marketing tasks. Content marketing automation can be applied to activities such as email marketing, content curation, proofreading, social media sharing, etc.”

Content automation can effectively reduce the time and effort needed for iterative marketing activities. In this primer, we share best practices for automated content creation and platforms that can help you make automation a key part of your digital marketing strategy.

Table of Contents

What Is Content Automation?

The demand for unique and impactful content is increasing every day, with consumers logging in from multiple devices, platforms, and digital interfaces. But it isn’t always possible to meet this ever-growing demand with only human efforts. Content automation cuts down the effort needed for iterative activities, freeing up marketers for more strategic tasks.

Content automation is the process of predefining workflows across the content lifecycle, from curation, creation, and proofing to sharing and monitoring. As per these workflows, a content marketing automation platformOpens a new window can complete tasks on behalf of a human marketer, triggered by either a specific event or a schedule.

For example, instead of manually sharing a post on various social media networks, content automation can simultaneously post on different channels – allowing the marketer to devote their attention to the quality of content and strategy. In this case, you can define a content automation rule that shares a post on Facebook as soon as it is shared on Instagram (or any other social media network). This is an example of event-triggered automated content activity.

On the other hand, you can create a detailed monthly calendar with every post carrying a specific date and time – that’s how scheduled content marketing automation works. Apart from schedules and events, automation is now sophisticated enough to impact a variety of marketing tasks, even those once relegated to marketers. One such area is proofreading and automated content creation. AI-based proofreaders can edit content at lightning speed, finding errors that are easy to overlook.

There are also advanced automated content creation tools that possess specific tags and keywords to create marketing content.

Learn More: What is B2B Content Marketing? Definition, Strategy, Trends and ExamplesOpens a new window

Why do you need content automation?
Automating marketing content can drive several benefits. These include:

  • Improving the accuracy and impact of marketing content
  • Increasing your coverage for curated content, aggregating ideas from a wide pool of sources
  • Adhering to schedules, maintaining regularity and optimal frequency
  • Optimizing content for search engines, increasing visibility
  • Sharing content across platforms without effort duplication
  • Reaching a large audience with minimal human effort

In a world where marketers are constantly pushed to scale initiatives even as consumer attention spans continue to wane, automation can be of great help. In fact, an end-to-end manual approach to managing the entire content lifecycle simply isn’t really feasible anymore.

What to Automate: 5 Best Practices for Marketers

Representation of the Best Practices of Content Automation

There are a plethora of tasks on your marketing stack that you could automate – with the right level of technical skills, you could introduce automation at nearly every stage of the marketing pipeline. Ready-to-use martech software is making content marketing automation available to a wider audience so that every campaign can gain from tech-driven efficiencies.

Here are five content marketing automation best practices that you should remember when using technology to optimize your content strategy:

1. Automate bulk email campaigns

This one is a no-brainer. Given the size of a standard email list and the frequency of content sharing, it’s almost impossible to imagine a manually driven emailing process. Automation can take available customer data, personalize the different content elements (subject line, greeting, etc.) for each customer, and send out content at a pre-defined schedule.

Using AI, you can even access the best sending timeframes where the customer is most likely to engage with your content. Salesforce’s AI email marketing toolOpens a new window is one such content marketing automation platform.

Learn More: Top 20 Content Marketing Strategies For Your 2020 PlanOpens a new window

2. Leverage an AI-based proof-reading tool

If you’re sharing multiple long-form content pieces every day, it’s easy to overlook small errors in the copy. But this could significantly dent your credibility on readers. Instead of manually proofreading the copy – or even in addition to human intervention – it is advisable to leverage an AI tool, for example, Grammarly.

Premium users of this content marketing automation platform can access a plethora of features such as automated plagiarism checks, engagement level gauging, and tonality assessments.

3. Link social media handles to content automation

Social media is another area where automation is commonly applied. That’s because social sharing can be extremely effort-intensive, requiring marketers to spend a lot of time and effort on optimizing the same content for multiple platforms.

A social media marketing automation platform can simplify this task, thanks to predefined schedules, bulk content uploads, and multi-channel integrations. Platforms that can help you achieve this include Buffer, Hootsuite, and many more.

Learn More: What is Social Media Automation? Definition, Best Practices and Top ToolsOpens a new window

4. Automatically curate content ideas

To maintain a steady flow of traffic, marketers must constantly refresh their websites and social handles with new and relevant content. This means curating the most topical ideas in a specific category, almost every day.

Automated content curation scans popular websites, news, and other prominent publications to extract shareable third-party content. For instance, Scoop.it generates a ready list of engaging content in your required category. Other platforms to do this include Feedly, BuzzBuilder, and Swayy, among others.

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5. Automate content workflows for individualized requirements

Workflow automation is critical to any digital marketing strategy, drastically lowering the time for completing everyday tasks.

For example, If This Then That (IFTTT) Platform lets marketers configure business rules that trigger an automated reaction to every event. IFTTT has a wide range of integrations enabling automated content creation on almost every channel. A similar platform for content marketing automation is Zapier, integrating over 1500 apps to automate workflows.

The Top Content Marketing Automation Platforms

Now that you know what is content automation and the best practices you should follow to get it right, there are several software options that you could explore. In today’s dynamic technology landscape marketing automation is an exciting area of innovation, attracting investments from a large number of vendors. If you’re new to content automation, we recommend the following platforms to get started:

1. SalesforceOpens a new window

Salesforce is a leading cloud-based CRM app with powerful automation capabilities. The platform uses the salesforce AI engine, Einstein to automate tasks such as lead generation, content interactions, and impact monitoring.

2. MailChimpOpens a new window

MailChimp is a popular content marketing automation platformOpens a new window , focused on email content. There are templates available to automate content creation, integrations with social media, and detailed analytics.

3. IFTTTOpens a new window

IFTTT is a pure-play automation platform that can be leveraged in a host of scenarios – even outside of content. You can integrate different devices and configure specific actions based on customer behavior/intended impact.

For example, you can define a workflow according to which any topical article published in The New York Times is shared to your Twitter feed automatically.

4. CoScheduleOpens a new window

This is a free automated content creation app that checks your headlines for traffic, shareability, and search engine optimization. While it might seem like a minor content element, content headlines are the first impression builder and are integral to reader engagement. CoSchedule ensures this vital asset of your content is conducive to readability and lasting impacts.

5. MentionOpens a new window

This is a useful add-on to social media marketing automation, updating you every time your brand is mentioned on social media. You do not have to manually scan different platforms for customer reviews, feedback, or relevant posts. Mention automatically runs through the selected platforms to keep you abreast of important mentions that need immediate responses or resolutions.

6. QuillOpens a new window

Quill is an automated content creation platform by Narrative Science that’s widely used by enterprises across the globe to automate report generation. Reports are highly dense, technical, and content-heavy, requiring significant manual effort from marketers. Quill uses its Natural Language Generation software to auto-create reports from your analytics dashboards. Quill is also SOC 2 Type II certified, ensuring compliance.

7. WordsmithOpens a new window

Automated insights’ platform, Wordsmith, simplifies the creation of short-form content in a variety of use-cases. From customer updates to product descriptions (clothes, shoes, etc.) you only need to enter a few basic details to generate a short summary. Wordsmith is a handy automated content creation platform for marketers in the e-commerce space.

8. GetResponseOpens a new window

GetResponse is a customer interaction enabler that boasts of robust, easy-to-use automation features. You can quickly define workflows using a drag-and-drop interface, simulate hundreds of customer journey types, and schedule automated content for website visits, cart abandons, and completed purchases.

These are only a few tools that you can leverage to build an effective content automation strategy. Remember, this space is constantly evolving, witnessing new ideas and disruptive solutions every day, so keep an eye out for technology that is best suited to your unique needs.

The Future of Content Automation Content automation technology has evolved in leaps and bounds, going beyond simply the optimization of marketing tasks. Some of the key trends to keep an eye on are:

1. Automated image and audio generation

Google has pioneered the generation of images using textual inputs, in what is arguably an industry-first. The company’s DeepMind AI technology can take keyword heavy text, plot it against existing image repositories, and “learn” from the embedded data to generate an absolutely original image.

There have also been instances of AI-powered audio generation – specifically, in the area of music. While this is still in its nascent stage, marketers using video or television ads could significantly gain from automated audio content creation.

2. Automated content recognition

Automated content recognition (ACR) is redefining television experiences by mapping content as per customer consumption behavior. Customers can quickly view additional information around the content on any ACR compatible device, without needing to insert any further inputs.

Automated content recognition makes for a more interactive experience, extracting data right from the video or audio media being consumed.

3. Automated content extraction

Automated content extraction is a highly advanced technology that enables the extraction of data from audio and image sources. In many ways, automated or automatic content extraction is the precursor to technologies like ACR and OCR.

These advancements in content automation have taken marketing capabilities beyond effort reduction and timeline optimization. By embracing automation, you can add genuine value to your campaigns, achieving what might have been impossible using only manual efforts.

Learn More: Top 20 Content Marketing Online Courses and Certifications to Enroll in 2020Opens a new window

Getting Started With Content Automation: The Way Forward for Marketers

Once you know precisely what content automation is and the platforms you can use to implement it, the next step is to build a solid foundation for tech-driven content interactions. Interestingly, automation isn’t just meant solely for iterative tasks – applied intelligently; it has the potential to add value in every track of your marketing strategy. Here’s our five-step roadmap to getting started:

  1. Identify automation-ready areas in your marketing pipeline as well as on the customer journey
  2. Conduct thorough research and select the best-suited platform for each use case
  3. Explore workflow automation to integrate standalone content automation platforms
  4. Consider paid content for your strategy, to enable targeted reach and better ROI
  5. Use Google Analytics to monitor automation performance, highlighting the effectiveness of each platform

Remember, content automation isn’t a set-and-forget process. With time, siloed activities will become integrated into a single stack and certain automated efforts will need to be retired. With a dynamic and ever-evolving content automation strategy, one that balances everyday efficiency with your overall vision, you can be better equipped to take your marketing strategy to the next level.

Have you tried content automation? Which platforms have proved most effective for your organization? Tell us on LinkedInOpens a new window , FacebookOpens a new window , or TwitterOpens a new window !