Content automation: easier is not always better

Let’s face it, no one has ever got poorer by selling products that make life easy for people. This is borne out by the number of companies introducing systems to help produce content.

The latest addition to the family is Content Hubs, a new product from content management service Livefyre. Essentially, it comprises a series of mobile and web templates that allow marketers to put out content quickly. The templates themselves cover a variety of scenarios, such as live events, breaking news, on-going campaigns and evergreen content.

Each boasts useful features: for example, the live events template allows you to broadcast video; the campaign template offers voting.

There is little information on how much interactivity this system brings beyond that of off-the-peg options. And one would assume that the CMS is simple and largely based around dropdown lists. Complex web applications usually require JavaScript – and if you’re going down that route, you might as well hire a developer.

Here’s what Livefyre chief executive Jordan Kretchmer has to say: “The top three challenges marketers face with their digital marketing efforts in 2016 revolve around content: quality of content, having enough content and the cost of creating content. Livefyre’s Content Hubs solve all three challenges by making it painless to create engaging experiences for their audience. With Livefyre, global brands and agencies now have the leading solution allowing them to design and deploy targeted, relevant and on-brand content that produces higher-quality customer experiences and drives real engagement.”

The big concern when resorting to templates is that they all tend to look alike. However, the examples on Livefyre’s site – including PlayStation, Ubisoft and IndyCar – seem different enough. But there is limited information about how difficult it is to produce something new.

Of course, everyone would like to bring in a developer to create something innovative. But that costs. The key question is how much time and money has been spent in planning your marketing campaign? If the execution and production are being left to the last five minutes, or the research has sucked up the budget, then maybe you need some software to help plan how you allocate resources.

On the other hand, this sort of system can be helpful for research or to get you out of a hole. Something quick and dirty, in other words. Not something you’ll use to manage a long-running campaign.

In this case, there are a number of things you should try and do to make the message stand out. Firstly, ensure the content you add is of a high standard. This includes pictures, infographics and copy. Secondly, look at what else has been done and attempt to be different. Lean heavily on your own brand identity to try and own the page. Lastly, and perhaps most important, do not feel pressured to use all of its capabilities. Today’s CSS can quickly look dated if you’re going evergreen. Sometimes less is more.


Content automation: easier is not always better is part of Content24, the online magazine for London content marketing agency FirstWord.

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