The advantages of content marketing approach are almost endless, but there’s also a dark side. It takes quite a bit of time. Not everyone is ready for such a commitment, and your CMO might be one of those people. Luckily, there are many tools that can make a content marketer’s life easier. We’ve listed 21 resources to help you optimize your workflow as you identify, create and distribute your content.
If you’re wondering what’s hot on the news, look no further than Feedly. It’s an easy-to-use, neatly designed feed reader that helps you identify what’s trending on the websites and blogs you follow.
You can create collections to organize your topics. And you can import and export feeds you want to share with your colleagues. So it’s great for getting new team members up-to-date fast!
But be careful! Don’t go crazy adding all the websites you think you’ll follow; you may include too many even to skim through.
We all know that Twitter is great for spreading the word about your work. It’s also effective for joining on the conversation with your audience and finding trending topics that may interest your followers.
Just find hashtags that are important for you (try this handy site http://hashtagify.me/) and search for them on Twitter. You’ll find out what kinds of content get the most retweets and favorites and discover issues users may have in your specific field. You may be inspired to approach the topic from a different perspective or create better content. Or you may decide to simply share what you’ve found with your followers.
Want priceless insights on the issues, concerns and question of your target audience? Try Quora, where you can identify an interesting niche and build a business around it, or find out needs you can cater to.
Thanks to Quora, you can quickly find relevant questions, and then provide answers to help you build your authority and attract new prospects.
Not sure what to write about first? Wondering which topic is more likely to interest your audience? This site lets you check out how often particular keywords have been searched in the past and how likely they are to come up in the future. You’ll know what’s worth writing about and which words should you use to gain more incoming traffic.
Google Trends is another great resource when you’re struggling to find an interesting topic and need some inspiration. You can query by area and season, and then compare other relevant keyword phrases. And if you’re looking for newsjacking opportunities, this tool will come in handy.
LinkedIn wanted to become a publishing powerhouse, so they acquired Pulse — a digest of stories by renowned authors, celebrities, and regular users like you and me. As with similar services, you can follow people and topics to stay up-to-date. And you can check the number of views, comments, and votes to find content that is popular with your target audience.
Want to show an image or a part of your screen, marked-up with annotations, arrows or adjustments? Skitch makes it easy and intuitive. Use it to create quick guides to introduce new features or show changes to your platform.
We mentioned Pixlr in a post dedicated to free image-editing tools. Since then, little has changed, and that’s a good thing! If you’re not a graphic designer and need to make a quick adjustment to an image, this is a great alternative to expensive software.
If you are creating infographics (and you should be) then you probably know about Canva. We’ve blogged about Canva, mentioning similar tools that are easy and intuitive, such as Easy.ly, infogr.am and venngage.com. So if you want to design beautiful infographics, and you don’t want to take your graphic designer away from other projects, check them out.
10. The Stocks
You simply can’t create a newsletter or website without high-quality, nice-looking images. The problem is that stock images can be expensive. And some have appeared on the Internet too often, so your audience knows you have purchased them. For photos that are royalty free, high quality, slightly less obvious, The Stocks is your best bet. It aggregates images from sites such as Unsplash, Little Visuals, and Startup Stock Photos. The choice is vast, so it easy to find something you like for your campaigns.
There’s no need to reinvent the wheel — in life or in design. If you need inspiration or want to purchase a set of icons for your project, look no further than Icon Finder. You can choose from more than 4,500 icon sets, many of which are free to download in various sizes and formats.
Has this happened to you? You find an interesting article and want to save it for later, but you forget about it or can’t find it. Pocket solves this problem with an App for your smartphone or tablet and an add-on for your browser. You can save interesting websites for later and tag them with keywords to make it easier to find them when you’re researching your topic.
It’s very likely that reading this article isn’t your only task for today. Similarly, you may handle multiple projects with other. Forgetting one task may mean losing an important business opportunity. Thanks to Trello, you can organize your team’s time and information relating to various projects without worrying about your dog eating a note with your client’s phone number on it.
Marketing and Content Distribution
We’ve blogged about creating a LinkedIn company profile, promoting it internationally, and using ads to grow an email list. We’ve also published great examples of using showcase pages to advertise products and brands. Although it’s primarily a social network, LinkedIn has turned into a great publishing platform that can help you promote your blog, website or articles to build your brand image. And it’s great for research: LinkedIn groups are popular, and discussions may provide the inspiration you need.
Now owned by LinkedIn, SlideShare is among the most popular tools for slide-hosting services, online education, and e-learning. It integrates with LinkedIn and popular blogging platforms such as WordPress. Because of its popularity, hosting your slides on their platform can help your SEO, bringing you lots of traffic. Like LinkedIn, you can use it both for research and for promoting your content, which often can be easily turned into slide decks.
Blogging is popular in content marketing. It can improve your search engine rankings and help you connect with your audience. If you want to start a blog and don’t want to start from scratch, try WordPress, with its wealth of ready-to-install themes and add-ons. The great advantage is that pretty much everyone who works in social media or online marketing knows how to use it. So you’ll save time and money on training for your content marketing team.
17. Buffer App and Hoot Suite
These social media management tools can help you promote your content in profiles and on social media platforms. With one simple dashboard, you can create, schedule and analyze posts distributed on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other popular services.
Yoast is a search engine optimization plugin for WordPress that helps you tweak your website and its content to reach higher ranking in popular search engines. The simple, intuitive plugin is a great reminder to optimize your content before you post, so it will attract the right audience.
19. Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools
You can’t just run content marketing campaigns and without analyzing the results — not if you want to improve the performance of your campaigns. Use these tools to analyze your website and observe elements such as bounce rates, time spent on each Web page, and search terms that bring visitors to your website. Use this information to improve results and marketing ROI.
To read our take on Pinterest, check out this article. Pinterest is a platform you shouldn’t ignore, given its popularity (70 million users) and sales potential (the average Pinterest shopper spends $169 compared to Facebook $95 and Twitter $70 according to Rich Relevance.) Not all businesses believe Pinterest is right for them. Those who do will discover the benefits of Pinterest in no time.
As you probably know, we are big fans of YouTube, using videos to explain seemingly complex concepts. A YouTube channel give you at least two big advantages. One, people generally prefer to watch videos rather than read, as it requires less effort. Two, your content is more likely to be discovered if it’s hosted on a platform owned by Google. Maybe SEO isn’t your main concern, but why not provide great content and attract a larger audience? There’s no reason you can’t do both.
So what do you think of our list? Are you using any of these tools?
If you’re looking for more inspiration, check out this free Content Marketing Essentials for 2015 Guide that we’ve prepared for you! There’s plenty of valuable information and examples waiting for you, so get your coffee and a note-pad ready. You’ll definitely want to write this down and present to your team when you’re back in the office.