Nearly 10 years after the founding of our company, we were thrilled to see NewsCred score the highest in Forrester’s November 2017 report on B2B content marketing platforms.
As NewsCred’s Co-founder and CEO, I was proud to see the recognition from one of our industry’s most reputable analyst firms that has covered content marketing since the early days. We are the market leaders and here to stay!
The journey wasn’t easy; good things in life never are. I thought I’d take a moment to tell the story of how we built our content marketing platform, what it means for the industry, and most importantly, what it means for customers.
NewsCred was the first enterprise content marketing company. We had the unique challenge of creating a company and a category at the same time. In 2011, when we raised our Series A round from Amish Jani at FirstMark, “content marketing” wasn’t yet well-known. Our early investors took a chance on us, based on our vision of where marketing was going. As marketers started doubling down on digital channels (web, email, social, marketing automation, mobile), we saw one thing that all of those channels had in common: They were hungry for content. Based on that insight, we tackled the problem of content creation and curation head-on.
Offering the Largest Licensed Content Marketplace and Best Original Content
Starting with a licensed content marketplace, quickly followed by a premium original content offering (now called the NewsCred Content Studio), we quickly established ourselves as the player when it came to licensed and custom content. We had the world’s largest marketplace for premium content, and some of the most talented creators (writers, designers, infographic artists) on the planet.
But as demand for our content proliferated, we quickly stumbled on another challenge: Marketers were struggling to keep up with the pace and demands of scaling a content operation in-house. As more of this work moved from agency to brand, marketers found themselves in a predicament: They needed more fuel for their marketing channels, but they had no engines.
Building a Content Marketing Engine
We set out to build that engine. In 2014, the first version of our content marketing platform was born. In hindsight, I’m pretty sure it was the industry’s first. My co-founder and I sketched out the initial product vision on the back of a napkin in my New York apartment. Six months later, we launched it to the world. We focused equally on both B2B and B2C customers, with a mission to solve all the operational challenges of scaling a content marketing program within a brand. That meant content ideation, planning, creation, publishing, distribution, and analytics. From the early days, our product vision was ambitious – we wanted to build an end-to-end product with the hypothesis that marketers would not want to stitch together a myriad of point solutions. Of course, a complete product meant we had to build a bigger feature set, so we created the largest engineering team in our space, across multiple offices.
Helping Content Marketers Work More Efficiently
As the industry matured, we focused exclusively on the enterprise, solving the biggest challenges of large global brands that had multiple products, lines of business, markets, and languages. Our goal was to use technology to simplify that complexity. Over the years, as our platform helped these companies operate more efficiently, we realized there was also a big opportunity to help marketers prove business outcomes. At this point, brands had made huge investments in content marketing. It was now time to justify those budgets to the CFO.
Proving Content Marketing ROI
Over the last couple years, we built the industry’s leading analytics and attribution technology, tying content directly to revenue and showing the impact of content on leads, opportunities, deals, revenue, and sales. Content marketing attribution (the holy grail of marketing) was now in our product, and our customers loved it. According to the Forrester report: “NewsCred’s focus on helping B2B marketers measure content performance with segmented metrics against customer journeys led 75 percent of its surveyed users to express delight with its content analytics.”
That leads us to today. Forrester published its Q2 2017 Wave for Content Marketing Platforms, which was focused on B2C use cases. It then took that data and weighed it for B2B marketers for this current report. The result: NewsCred ended up with the highest score. As you can see, this was an overnight success 10 years in the making. I couldn’t be more proud of my team.
But I’m most thrilled for our current and future customers. We don’t build software for industry recognition. We build software to help solve our customers’ most pressing problems. And we want to do it in a way that delights them. Our customers allow us to work on the stuff we love to work on every single day, and for that, I want to thank them. I hope our current and future customers are equally proud to come on this journey with us. Onwards!
Shafqat Islam is NewsCred’s Co-founder and CEO.