NEW YORK: The growing popularity of content marketing is attracting a number of tech start-ups to provide agencies with greater efficiencies in the process of content creation and distribution.

"If you look at the current landscape of agencies and their skill sets, there isn't historically a lot of focus on this area," Paul Marcum, director of global digital marketing and programming at GE, the conglomerate, told Digiday.

"Look at media buying or distribution rhythms," he said. "There's not a tremendous amount of growth there. What's emerging now are start-ups looking at platform plays to eat into that space."

Marcum also stated that GE used one such company, Percolate, to find content for its Tumblr.

Percolate assists brands in sharing content across social media, including real-time marketing. Another business operating on content creation is Contently, which helps connect freelancers and brands.

On the distribution side, outfits like Taboola and Outbrain enable automated solutions for brands to generate traffic to a piece of their content via other sites.

But Mastercard's vice president of global digital marketing, Adam Broitman, issued a note of caution to this approach.

"Automation of content curation can create significant efficiencies," he said, "though content curation alone is not a robust content-marketing strategy."

He argued that relying on this approach would not achieve "the results that a 360 content-marketing strategy can yield".

But many do not have such a strategy. The Warc Toolkit 2013 noted the results of an Outbrain survey in the UK which found that 93% of client-side marketers expected content marketing to become more important but just 38% had a strategy in place.

One simple step the Toolkit suggested was to align content marketing with search marketing by ensuring that videos, for example, were optimised against relevant keywords.

Data sourced from Digiday; additional content by Warc staff