Content Marketing Software Dev NewsCred Gets $42M, Plans Hiring Surge

NewsCred announced Wednesday it raised $42 million, just about doubling its total funding, for its content marketing management software at a time when marketers continue a pell-mell frenzy to keep the audience’s attention.

Frankly, it is getting harder to make content from brands stick with the increasingly jaded and disinterested masses who change their media consumption habits. The broadcast and cable television industry, for instance, continues to cope with viewers switching to services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, which flout old marketing norms.

Content marketers across many different mediums are dealing with a shift in dynamics, says NewsCred CEO and co-founder Shafqat Islam. Many people ignore online display ads, he says, through ad blockers or other means. “Consumers are tuning out most of the noise,” Islam says. “The traditional marketing playbook is outdated or underperforming.”

Further complicating efforts to reach the audience is the proliferation of different channels, such as e-mail, social media, and websites. Offering marketers a software-as-a-service platform to try and more deeply engage the audience is a fair enough plan, but they still need content to draw attention. Islam says New York-based NewsCred also has a marketplace for content, including custom content from a network of journalists, artists, bloggers, and designers, as well as licensed images and articles from some 5,000 publishers.

Understanding whether the message gets through to the audience, and generates real returns on investment, however, is not simple to measure, Islam says. Some marketers cobble together different pieces of software to do the job, but their attempts to put together meaningful analytics can come up short. “Most marketing metrics today are fairly broken,” he says. “People measure page views, shares, and ‘likes,’ but none of those things matter if you’re not reaching the right audience.”

To provide a clearer picture of the audience, Islam says NewsCred’s software identifies the type of people who discover and interact with the content, the kind of work they do for a living, and what their interests are. Companies including Pepsi, Barclays, Dell, and Visa use NewsCred’s software to source, publish, and measure the results of the content they try to get in front of the public.

Despite, or perhaps because of, the turmoil in content marketing, NewsCred has won over more backers. FTV Capital led the latest funding round, with earlier investors FirstMark Capital, InterWest Partners, and Mayfield Fund participating. Including today’s announcement, NewsCred has raised $88.8 million since its founding in 2008. Thanks to the new funding, Islam says new hires, especially for the sales team, are on the agenda to grow its 200-person staff. “I wouldn’t be surprised if, in the next twelve months that number is closer to 350,” Islam says.

Further development of the software is also in the works. In addition to the New York headquarters, NewsCred operates out of offices that include Dhaka, Bangladesh, and London.

NewsCred faces an already deep field of rivals, though, that approach content marketing management from many different angles. Contently, Percolate, and Zemanta are just a few of the names that come to mind. There are also much bigger companies, Islam says, such as Oracle, Adobe, and Salesforce that also offer platforms for managing content marketing campaigns. Consolidation and attrition maybe inevitable with so many rivals in the sector—yet he is looking to scale up his company fast. “We’re headed towards a collision course, but that’s exciting for us,” Islam says.

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