Just like a construction worker can’t build a house without his toolbox, a content marketer can’t build a successful campaign without their own toolbox.
There are 5 types of content marketing tools that every marketer should have. Nothing in this world is a one size fits all so make sure you explore the different tools available to you and find the one that fits best with your own strategy.
In an effort to clear out all the noise and to save you time from running a very tedious Google search we’ve come up with this list of content marketing tools.
This is by no means an all comprehensive list because there are just too many tools out there for that. This is a list of some of our personal favorites and tools.
Tools for Visual content creation
Often, readers will click on a blog post because it sounds interesting but upon opening the window discover that it doesn’t look appealing.
No one wants a big block of text coming at them. Besides breaking up text in to headlines and digestible paragraphs, the best way to make content visually appealing is with relevant pictures and graphics. Because of copyright laws it’s great when you can make them yourself.
While there are tools to create visual inserts for pieces of content, there are also tools to present an entire piece of content visually.
- SlideShare is especially fantastic for any content marketer in the B2B space. You can simply create a visual presentation on power point and upload it to SlideShare. The basic SlideShare plan is free and it’s fairly inexpensive to upgrade to the plan that allows you to include a lead capture form. Great and easy way to generate new leads!
- Meme Generator is a must have for anyone who partakes in visually driven content, especially humorous visually driven content. Memes are the most shared content types so why not try one out. It’s free, quick and easy.
- Easel.ly is another free tool that allows you to make professional and simple graphics or even infographics. You don’t need to be good at design to use this tool as it is very user friendly. From pretty graphs to a simple graphic with words, create something different to make a point and liven up any information you’re trying to convey in your next post.
- Gimp allows you to retouch and manipulate images and photos. It’s like a “dumbed down” free version of Photo shop.
- Whatfix.com - What if not only your posts and ebooks were visually enticing but your guides and how to’s were visually driven as well? With whatfix.com you can create quick tutorials and step by step explanations easily and for free. Try explaining how something works with this tool instead of a technical guide that is hard to follow.
Tools for Organization
Organization is easily overlooked in the marketing world. While inspiration is flying and fingers are clacking away on the keyboard it’s easy to forget the brilliant idea that you had for a post when walking back from the water cooler. It’s simple to forget that you were supposed to tweet about an e-book that you just put out and now it is 5pm EST, a non-optimal tweeting time.
Luckily there are plenty of tools that ensure that you don’t forget a great idea and a plethora of options that let you schedule out your Tweets, posts and updates so that you don’t forget after it’s too late.
Most content marketers have a variety of organizational tools since it’s the backbone to any successful campaign.
- HootSuite is a fantastic tool to schedule out social media content. The best part—if you don’t require a lot of reporting and you’re only running social media for one brand, the tool is free.
- Hootsuite allows you to schedule out all of your posts as well as follow hashtags and other Twitter streams in one grid. This way you can never miss responding to a tweet again.
- If being busy makes you forgetful, there is an app for that! Evernote is an application that you can sync between all of your digital devices and it organizes all of your ideas, thoughts, photos, voice notes, etc. so that you never lose a good idea again.
- Maybe you have a great idea for a blog post while driving in to the office—voice record it in Evernote on your phone and access it from your computer when you get in to the office.
- Sprout Social is a great tool to have for anyone who has a strong social media strategy and uses it to often engage with customers. Sprout Social components in place to make sure you never miss a message from a customer on any network. They have features so that you can schedule out social media posts. Sprout Social has monitoring capabilities so you know what’s going on with your brand and many other analytic and CRM features for organization.
- Kapost manages every step of the content marketing process in one platform. From strategy and workflow to analytics and distribution, Kapost allows you to house your entire campaign in one place. Inside of Kapost you can manage blog posts, videos, eBooks and white papers, social media posts, presentations and infographics, emails, landing pages and webinars.
Tools to Measure your efforts
There is no point in creating content if you’re not going to measure how well it performed.
It’s important to know which social media posts get clicked on. It’s crucial to know if a post from one blog is performing spectacularly while another is failing miserably so that you can post on the sites that work and move on from the sites that don’t.
Here are some tools to measure just how well your social media posts and blog posts are performing.
- Link to Tally is one of the easiest tools to use. Simply go to their site, paste in a link and immediately see how many times it’s been shared across social media channels. Try it with one of your old posts now, it’s kinda fun!
- Google Analytics is free so just get someone technically savvy to set it up. It allows you to know where every visitor to your site originated from. This way you can know what pieces of content draw people to your brand.You can even take it one step further and set up “goals” which is a call to action such as a lead gen form that someone fills out after visiting your site. That way you can not only know which pieces of content bring in traffic but also which pieces of content convert readers in to customers.
- Bitly is a simple link shortener that after you insert it in to a piece of content whether it’s a tweet, Facebook post or blog post you can see how many times it’s been clicked on. That way you can see what links people find intriguing in your content and which ones they don’t.
- You can use it instead of Google Analytics to get a simple website traffic count from a piece of content you write.
- You can also use it in your tweets when sharing a piece of content that wrote. This way you know which tweets are grabbing attention and which ones aren’t.
- Trackur monitors the digital web for brand mentions (more sophisticated than the free tools) and has flexible pricing options. Never miss a brand mention again and keep track of the online conversations surrounding your brand.
Tools to Make Your Content Better
Everyone’s content can always be better. Whether better is SEO optimized, more sharable, written expertly or contains thought leadership, we should all be looking for ways to take our content to the next level.
While you are in charge of the creative elements, choose one or some of these tools and put the tool charge of other aspects of bettering the content that you produce.
- Click to Tweet allows you to make your content more sharable. It’s a free tool and it simply allows writers to compose a tweet that readers only have to click to tweet. “Sharable content is content that gets found.” Click here to tweet that (See how easy it is!?)
- Inbound Writer is a software that helps you improve content quality, generate new ideas and measure the results of your content.
- Zemanta is a plugin that allows your content to be found and linked to by other publishers. Zemanta not only indexes your content for others to link to but they also optimize it and provide reporting analytics.
- Contently. Maybe you aren’t the greatest writer or just don’t have a lot of time to do that writing. IT IS OKAY! There are plenty of talented writers out there who you can hire for very reasonable prices to produce the content from your brand. Whether it’s an eBook or a weekly blog post, don’t be afraid to enlist help.
- Contently is a great platform to find such help. Check out writer portfolios of writers who are already actively writing about the topics you need. After you chose one, Contently handles the payment and editorial process.
Tools for Trendy topic inspiration
Inspiration can be one of the toughest aspects of marketing to come by. If you’re not inspired or your bank of topic ideas is dried up, it’s better to wait for an idea than to produce a mediocre or boring piece of content.
Thus when in need of ideas there are plenty of tools to help you pull such ideas out of digital air! The best part, they are free, they cost only your time.
- Quora is a social network platform where users can ask questions about any topic and provide answers and resources for questions that others ask. It’s a great tool to use to see what questions are actively being asked. These questions make for wonderful blog posts. Not to mention you can then share that blog post with the person asking the question and everyone can see your “answer.”
- If someone is asking a question about a topic, chances are there isn’t a good post available about the topic which means you can write it and feature your brand as a solution for a problem or question.
- Alltop is simply an index of content where topics are organized in specific genres. The best way to gather inspiration for a post is from other authors so check out what other authors in your niche are writing about for not only simple topic ideas but topic ideas that are trending.
- Google Trends allows you to type in a keywords or keywords that you think will be googled a lot and see if you are properly optimizing your content. You can find out if the phrases are being researched a lot or a little so that you can adjust your keywords that you use in blog posts accordingly.
- Follow other blogs in your niche to stay up to date on trends and for topic inspiration. Of course you would never plagiarize but allow yourself to be inspired. Another strategy is to take a post that you find interesting that another blogger wrote and turn it in to an entire post with more research and with you weighing in from your own experience.
The list of tools may be hard to digest but hopefully at least one in each category stuck out to you and your content marketing tool box is starting to fill up. From organization to inspiration, you’re not on your own—enlist the help of easily available software all over the web!
Content marketers: what are some tools (whether paid for or free) that you can’t live without? Please share in the comments below!
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