Krista LaRiviere has got her content marketing campaigns down to a science.

As the CEO of gShift Labs Inc., a company that provides metrics and data analytics for content marketing, she doesn’t launch a single piece of content without doing her homework.

First, she taps into the available data to see what her clients’ audiences want to read about. She and her team also put a lot of time into researching keywords for the search engine optimization (SEO) side, ensuring the content they’ve made will get found. Nor does the research process stop there – she and her employees will also delve into the content of the competition, checking to see what others are doing and how they can best them.

And for LaRiviere, that entire process is the difference between what she calls content marketing that is smart, versus content marketing that is dumb.

“A smart piece of content is one where you’ve used data to help create it. What keywords are your prospects actually using to help find the products and services that you sell?” LaRiviere says. “[With] competitive intelligence, content intelligence, and keyword intelligence … it’s about understanding when and where to distribute that content.”

LaRivere is a member of the international board of directors of the Search Engine Marketing Professionals Organization (SEMPO), which will be holding a free event in Toronto, sponsored by Bing, on both paid search and content marketing on Wednesday. A second event will be held in Montreal on Thursday.

While her background was originally grounded in SEO, LaRiviere has been working on building better content marketing for the past two years. In her mind, it’s a trend that’s not going to slow anytime soon, as she predicts it’ll be going strong in the next three to four years. Among her own clients, she’s seen a surge in the number of brands realizing they need to invest in content, rather than putting all of their money into Google AdWords, SEO or paid search.

Still, even with more marketers catching onto the importance of content, it can be difficult to figure out how to craft the good stuff. That’s where ad tech can come in, LaRiviere says. She points to the three panelists at the SEMPO event as examples of ad tech providers.

For example, there’s Atomic Reach, which helps marketers separate their audiences into different segments. From there, they can write content that’s tailored towards those audiences’ interests and preferences. Another panelist is SqueezeCMM, which helps marketers track their metrics and build conversion funnels for their leads. And then there’s InNetwork, which helps marketers figure out when and where they should be promoting their content, once it’s published.

“Do marketers need these tools? They don’t need them. They can go and push content onto their website, and they can push it out through HootSuite – that’s great,” LaRiviere says. “But if you want to have the biggest impact and have the most successful content marketing strategy where that content is actually producing leads for you, then you need innovative ad tech solutions.”

The problem is, Canadian marketers have been slow to adopt ad tech, and they’ve been slow to figure out what solutions might help them make better content. Canada is behind the U.K. and the U.S. in terms of adoption, as Canadian marketers are risk-averse and hesitant to spend their budget dollars on content marketing tools, LaRiviere says.

Still, that’s a mistake, especially since Google has changed its algorithms to reflect the need for better content, she adds.

“I live this space, I breathe this space, I even sleep this space … My DNA is yes, SEO, but it’s also very much content,” she says. “Google has taken the emphasis away from gaming the search engines to putting an emphasis on marketing – and you can’t do marketing without content.”

To register for the SEMPO event in Toronto on Wednesday, attendees can sign up here.

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