Content-Marketing Firm Gets $9 Million From Google Exec, New York Times

Growing Crowd of Specialists Offering to Help Marketers With Content Marketing

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Keywee (not Kiwi) is part of a content-marketing cottage industry.
Keywee (not Kiwi) is part of a content-marketing cottage industry. Credit: Wikimedia Commons
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A company called Keywee, which helps brands distribute their content-marketing efforts, has raised $9.1 million in Series A financing from several investors, including Innovation Endeavors, whose founding partner is Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, The New York Times and Marker LLC.

Keywee, which was founded in 2013, plans to use the money partly to grow its sales and marketing team, the company said Tuesday. It's looking for a head of sales in New York.

The company is just part of a cottage industry built around the white-hot world of content-marketing. Marketers are expected to spend about $4.3 billion on content-marketing tactics this year, according to a report from eMarketer. That's a 34% increase over the previous year. The influx of cash has given rise to companies that provide services -- including software, analytics and freelance writers -- to brands for their content-marketing efforts. And many of these companies have attracted sizable investments. Last year alone, NewsCred raised $25 million, Percolate got $24 million, Contently nabbed $9 million and Simple Reach scooped up $9 million.

For its part, Keywee focuses on distributing content across paid media such as Facebook, Yahoo, and Reddit. Basically, it uses an algorithm to try to determine where a certain piece of content will attract the most engagement.

The company has more than 60 customers, including the Times, a Keywee spokeswoman said. The list of customers also includes brand advertisers, she said, but she declined to name them.

Keywee's service speaks to a pain point among marketers and media execs, more than a third of whom said in a recent Content Council survey that "breaking through the clutter" -- in other words, finding an audience -- was the biggest challenge for content marketing. However, more than half of respondents also cited "lack of budget" as their chief concern, which could be a bad sign for companies like Keywee vying for those dollars.