6 Content Marketing Tools We Use Every Day
It’s no secret that there is a tremendous volume of content currently floating around in cyberspace. But did you know that approximately 92,000 articles are posted online every day? According to Moz, the Huffington Post alone is responsible for at least 1,200 of those articles. There is a sea of content out there and it is growing by the minute (literally).
And if you try to swim in that sea alone, you are likely going to sink fast. To put that kick-ass content marketing plan in action and regularly create stand-out content, you need to set up a content machine -- tools and processes that will allow you to keep up with trends and continuously build your audience.
In this post, we’re giving you an under-the-hood look at the tools we use at Onboardly to create content that converts for ourselves and our clients. All of the tools that you’ll be reading about are free, have a free trial, or have a free version. Whether you’re looking to optimize your existing content marketing processes, or you’re just getting started, there’s something here for you.
Aside from “don’t mess with grammar”, what is the number one rule of content marketing? Create value -- meet a need, solve a problem, deliver useful information. As you likely already know, this is much easier said than done.
Enter BuzzSumo, which, in their words, “gives you insight into what content is working, and the influencers amplifying it.” We are big fans of the tool, and so are companies like AppSumo, HubSpot, and Spotify. This powerful search engine makes it easy to quickly determine which topics are trending in your industry, what competitors are publishing, and what type of content is performing best. This allows you to ensure that the content you are writing aligns with your audience’s interests. Their search also gives you the opportunity to get a bird’s eye view of the content in your industry, and, more importantly, where there might be gaps that you can fill in.
Another useful feature in BuzzSumo is their influencer search, allowing you to quickly see who the thought leaders are in your space, what they are saying, and what kind of content they are amplifying.
If that’s not enough to keep you busy: you can also use BuzzSumo to find great guest posting opportunities, as well as guests to post on your blog. Content expert Joel Widmer shows you how in this short video.
The brainchild of Quandary, a UK marketing agency, the Content Idea Generator is exactly what it sounds like. Start by filling out a simple form with information on what you sell, where you sell it, what the benefits of your product or service are, etc. The more thought you put into these answers, the better your results will be.
In less than a second, the Content Idea Generator will, well… generate content ideas. Sometimes hundreds of them! The tool pulls keywords that you included in your answers to craft titles for blog posts. Some of them will be ready-to-use, others might need to be tweaked to fit your needs. The ideas you like can easily be exported into an editorial calendar.
Here’s why we love it: the Content Idea Generator is a great way to get the juices in your brain flowing again when brainstorming has stalled.
On any given day, our team is working on blog posts, infographics, landing pages, Slideshare decks, and more both for Onboardly and for our clients. Couple that heavy and varied workload with the fact that we have a distributed team, and a centralized online workspace to manage projects becomes essential. Enter Basecamp -- our place to:
- Share ideas and offer feedback.
- See what other team members are working on (and make sure we aren’t duplicating efforts).
- Monitor the progression of tasks and projects.
- Collaborate on projects.
The only sort of catch: For Basecamp to be an effective tool, you need to have complete buy-in from every member of your team. Information needs to be updated in real-time, and it needs to be embedded into everyone’s daily workflow.
4. Google Drive
While I wouldn’t want to go without any of the tools on this list, Google Drive might just be the most important tool of the bunch. It's an indispensable tool used by every single member of our team. We love it for the seemingly endless storage (15GB to start), sharing capabilities, great portability for when we’re on the road, and its powerful apps.
Here are a few ways that our team uses Drive every day:
- We write content in Google Docs.
- We collect content from writers in Drive, and use the comment and editing features in Google Docs to collaborate.
- We can easily share content for approval with clients.
- We collaborate on editorial calendars.
What makes it even better: seamless Gmail integration, of course!
This one is a two-for-one deal. I could have tried to pick between Hootsuite and Buffer for the sake of a neat and tidy list, but I love them both equally and could never choose! Ok, now that I’ve gotten the gushing out of the way, let’s talk social sharing.
While both of these tools have similar features and use cases, I put them to work in different ways that play to each of their strengths.
For example, I make use of Buffer’s handy Chrome plugin that allows me to instantly share photos or embedded content on sites on several social media accounts at once (or schedule them for later). I also love Buffer’s new suggested content feature, and it’s often my first choice for crafting individual posts. On the other hand, Hootsuite is my go-to for scheduling bulk messages on social media. The other main reason I adore Hootsuite is for its powerful monitoring capabilities.
Here’s the number one problem with 97% of analytics tools: they help you measure hundreds of data points, 25 of which you actually need and 10 of which you actually know how to translate to more traffic / conversions. Moz, on the other hand, focuses exclusively on data points that matter and helps you interpret / act upon the right information.
We use Moz to:
- track how our blog is ranking for our core keywords
- grade our on-page keyword use
- check keyword difficulty
- benchmark against our biggest competitors
...and the list goes on.
Anyone who cares about search (so, everyone) should be using Moz for basic analytics, research and auditing.
What's in your content marketing toolbox?
There are plenty more content marketing tools that get regularly used in the Onboardly office, but these six are the ones that we just can’t do without. From coming up with ideas for new content, to creating the content, to getting it out to our community, we rely on these products and services every day, at every step of the content lifecycle. While great tools don’t necessarily equal great content, we’re confident that these six will make a big impact on your content marketing efforts.
Did we miss your favourite tool? Like you, we are always looking for new tools to help us optimize our processes! Let us know what we've missed.
Photo Credit: florianric