Originally Published on Ad Age Digital
Kapost started out with a simple goal: Build a software-as-a-service that helped media companies manage the pitching, assigning, editing and payment workflow for a large group of editorial contributors. But like fellow TechStars graduate Contently, Kapost is betting that the bigger opportunity lies in providing tools to nonmedia brands publishing more original editorial as part of the growing content-marketing industry.
Kapost has just closed a $1.5 million Series B financing round. The lead investor was Circle P Capital, followed by Highway 12 Ventures and High Country Venture. Associated Content founder Luke Beatty is joining the Kapost board.
Kapost co-founders Nadar Akhnoukh, Mike Lewis and Toby Murdock
Kapost Co-Founder and CEO Toby Murdock said that it’s become clear in talks with marketers that more and more brands are willing to invest significant resources in producing original editorial content because a customer’s lifetime value is typically much higher for them than for media companies.
“When I look at some big brands, they are hiring editor-in-chief types,” Mr. Murdock said. “They’re not doing this as a kinda-sorta thing on the side.”
But Mr. Murdock believes that brands need assistance managing a content-production process that’s often completely new to them. Kapost has worked with companies such as L’Oreal and TripAdvisor, as well as media entities that include Fortune and Mashable. But while Kapost will continue to work with media companies as clients, this funding will allow the company to build software features that may appeal specifically to brands-turned-publishers.
One of the workflow features Kapost will release later this month will make it easier for different departments within an organization to approve content before it is published. Another feature in the same software release will let brands publish content to several new distribution channels, including YouTube, SlideShare and Google+. Users can currently push content from Kapost only to content-management systems such as WordPress and Drupal, as well as Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter.
Mr. Murdock said Kapost is also working on software features that will help brands manage relationships with key influencers in their industries who can help promote content. The plan is to build a module that suggests influencers to brands and tracks email interactions with them, as well as influencers’ sharing of a brand’s content on social networks.
“You can see which influencers have given you links and which writers are really being successful in breaking through with influential players,” Mr. Murdock said.
“In a nutshell, we want to win content marketing,” Mr. Murdock said. He said the goal is to build Kapost into a platform that can be for content marketing what Buddy Media has been for social-media marketing and what Marketo and Eloqua are for marketing automation.
Jeremiah Gall, co-founder and chief operating officer of TripAdvisor’s vacation-rental site, Flipkey, said Kapost has already paid dividends for the company. Flipkey began using Kapost in September to ramp up the original content it publishes on its blog.
“We wanted to provide more relevant and timely articles for travelers by increasing the number of contributors we use and the amount of content we produce, but we could not take on the additional managerial workload,” Mr. Gall wrote in an email. “Kapost eliminated that added managerial time and replaced more than a handful of separate tools we were using. Now, Kapost manages all of the assignments, editorial calendar, distribution and payment tasks. This enabled us to boost the efficiency of our contributors and content production and traffic has risen correspondingly.”
Kapost charges clients a monthly subscription fee for the software.
In addition to upgrading the software, Kapost will use the capital infusion to add full-time employees. It previously raised $1.1 million in a Series A round. The company, based in Boulder, Co., and with eight full-time employees, was founded by Mr. Murdock, Nader Akhnoukh and Mike Lewis.