Which content marketing tools help you create your best work?
I used to think tools alone were kind of numinous.
When I was in grade school, I was afraid to turn on the family computer without parental supervision. It was big and loud. And very expensive. And my little fingers had a tendency to break things. So, I skipped out.
That was, at least, until my mom bought me my first iMac.
Maybe she realized my love of storytelling through a pen and journal was causing juvenile arthritis in my hand. Or possibly she understood the world I was living in was rooted in technology and I was going to need a swift kick in the ass and get comfortable if I was going to be successful as a writer.
Today, content marketing tools are the life blood of marketing success. Some 88 percent of b2b marketers using content marketing right now as their overall strategy. And 62 percent of them have reported they were more successful with their strategy last year than in 2015. That’s a shift from the year prior, where a slim 30 percent of marketers said their content marketing was effective.
We’re producing more content, at a faster pace than ever. Tools help generate ideas, enhance performance and optimize delivery. So, what are the frictionless tools my team uses for content marketing? What do we use every, single day?
Here’s a list:
While skimming the depths of the interwebs, have you ever run across an interesting article or helpful video that’d be super handy … eventually? Pocket is a virtual pocket for collecting those treasures and saving them for later. At the click of a button, I can collect piece I want to research or reference later in a post, infographic or video. I used to email myself links, but I’d never actually get around to reading them because I’d lose track of what they were. Or where they were.
With Pocket, though, I can tag items so it’s easy to search a single topic, like social selling or interactive content. And, it gives a quick visual of the post, which helps jog my memory as to why I saved it.
Trello is the project management tool that has replaced the Post-It Notes that once lined my monitor and the scraps of paper in my Moleskine agenda. And it’s transparent, so the whole team can communicate on each step and move projects forward, together.
Blog posts, infographics, animations, ebooks, podcasts, microsites, webinars and pictographic ideas move from fuzzy notions through fruition on our Content board. Each is added to a card titled “Ideas” or (wait for it…) “Serious Ideas.” (The originality is poignant, I know.) And then the card travels the course to “Published.” From there, we can see where it’s scheduled to post, when and where it’ll be promoted.
I’m having a not-so-secret love affair with the Hemingway App. And I admittedly verge on the line of dependency.
Now don’t get me wrong, a human editor is essential for creating seriously amazing content. But for a first pass after writing, it’s a helpful content marketing tool to make any quick fixes. The algorithm picks up weak construction and passive voice to help building up your piece.
And, it assigns a readability level which has been insanely helpful while writing targeted content. Back when I was a newspaper reporter, rule of thumb was to write to a fifth-grade level. Now in the b2b content playground, I shoot for right around the middle of high school to keep language simple, but not simplistic.
CoSchedule is a content marketing tool that brings the entire marketing team together. Most days, we have someone writing, someone else editing video, another creating graphics, and still another writing up our social posts.
We used to coordinate all of this through physical meetings and Google Docs, which was okay, but cumbersome. And my biggest complaint was that working on a Google Doc had a huge passive barrier – my team had to proactively open the doc to figure out what was on their check list, and what everyone else was doing. And because many times one project is dependent on another, it led to a ton of confusion about who had to do what and when.
Then we met with Garrett Moon, the co-founder at CoSchedule. After an hour-long conversation, I’d already started envisioning my life on CoSchedule. It has templates and workflows. Tasks, metrics, automation, curation, built-in and email notifications, and it links to WordPress. It makes life beautiful – we even have time to plan ahead (gasp)!
The best search engine optimization plugin for WordPress I’ve found so far, Yoast helps bolster your website, and its content, to its fullest potential with all the major search engines. It makes it easy, with a simple stoplight-like guide to show you how the content ranks. And it gives you tips on post length, keyword density, keyword focus and readability scores. Yoast sits at the intersection of engaging the reader and making Google happy (or at least happy enough to rank you).
To be clear, no plugin in the world can magically rank your site, but Yoast helps you see where you can buff and shine your content to engage your reader and the search engines.
There are a plethora of content marketing tools at your disposal, but Google Analytics is still indispensable.
L’Oreal, for instance, used Analytics 360 to grow their Tokyo makeup brand, Shu Uemura. The marketing team used Analytics 360 to find and engage with makeup enthusiasts who share interests, from travel to yoga.
While our friends over at Marketo used Google Analytics to tailor remarketing ads for a 10X higher conversion rate with Marketo Real Time Personalization.
I live in the space to figure out what content resonates best with our audience, then craft more pieces around the same topic. And then to max out our search traffic, we’ve been working to study landing pages, search queries and geographical summary.
This is our own content distribution tool. Sigstr tailors content to your targeted audience by putting a clickable call-to-action banner into your email signature. Email is critical to engage your customers. But sharing the right content to the right person, at the right time can be hard.
Because it’s centrally managed, our marketing team can put a case study into the sales team’s signature or content on a new product release in the customer success’s email sign-off. We created it because in the ~10,000 emails each employee (on average in the US) sends in a year, there was a space that was either too crowded with ugly links, too many attachments or completely naked. It’s been a really successful, and unique, way to get our content noticed.