Last week I kicked off our SaaS marketing tactics series with attribution planning. Since most SaaS marketing is content marketing, assets are the foundation of success. Managing those assets at scale is incredibly challenging. For those reasons, my tactic du jour is asset tracking. So let’s get to it.
Content Marketing Assets are the Foundation of Your Marketing Value Proposition
In content marketing, assets are the things of value that you have to exchange with prospects over the course of their journey. Some of those assets have higher value than others. Many are timely, others are timeless. Some must evolve over time, while others are evergreen and shelf stable. One thing is for sure, even a nascent startup SaaS will create hundreds of assets per year. And, planning, tracking, and managing those assets is a bear. Do it well and your content marketing thrives. Do it poorly and you’ll lose control in a heartbeat.
Types of Content Marketing Assets
This is by no means an exhaustive list of the types of assets in a content marketing arsenal, but it’s a start:
- Blog Posts (owned, earned)
- White Papers
- Research Reports
- Interactive Tools (calculators, assessments, report cards, quizzes, configurators)
- Presentation Decks
- Videos (demo, testimonial/endorsement, promo, educational)
- Case Studies
- Collateral (company, product, solution)
There are a lot of different types of content to track. But what do we need to track?
Asset Tracking Axes
Why do you care about tracking all these assets? Because fully leveraging them means they get pumped through your owned media channels, extended through earned media, and amplified through paid media. Translation — they get used everywhere. Asset distribution gets tracked as part of attribution so we don’t need to duplicate that effort.
Maintenance & Performance
And, most assets need to be maintained, which is super painful if you don’t know where they are and how they’ve been used. On top of that, measurement is critical to evaluate their relative performance. Again, where and how they’ve been used is tracked as part of attribution, so we don’t need to rehash that.
Every asset has a birthday and an owner. Some assets have a sundown or expiration date. Others need regular reviews and updates on a more or less frequent cadence. Some have customer or partner implications. Many have pricing, packaging, or promotional significance.
The content-specific threads that impact an asset’s lifecycle management are legion. This is the missing piece of the puzzle that’s not part of attribution tracking and consequently, routinely neglected.
SaaS Content Marketing Asset Tracker
So we’ve established that asset tracking should happen. And that there are a lot of things to track. But it’s not rocket science. It’s really just an organized, living list of assets. Yet most organizations I see don’t seem to have a handle on what they’ve created and how those things are being used. To that end, I’ve created a Google Sheet version of a starter asset tracker.
The sheet includes columns for tracking asset instance titles, owners, authors, media, usage/expiration/retirement dates, tracking codes, maintenance and authorization requirements, pricing/promo flags, featured customers or partners, source location, public location, and notes. In my experience, if you have a process that documents these basic meta fields on every instance of every asset, your ongoing management and maintenance will go quickly and smoothly. Without this layer, things can quickly devolve into chaos.
One more note. Most content marketing programs generate a huge number of asset instances. If you don’t have a dedicated tracking or management tool and you’re using sheets like mine for large-scale tracking, consider how to scale that process. For example, you may want a sheet for each type of asset, or each year, or quarter, or even month, or for each owner. How you scale the system is dependent on how you use the system. As long as you have a system, you’ll stay ahead of the chaos. Good luck, and please let me know how you make out.