For many businesses, content marketing efforts have been doubled in recent times to help promote their brand by communicating with potential customers without directly trying to sell to them. The effect of traditional marketing has somewhat diminished over the years and in this digital age, businesses have caught on and are now investing significantly into content marketing.
By creating and distributing valuable, relevant and actionable content via the web, businesses can target very specific niches – compare this to traditional marketing where the end consumer of an advert is a lot more diverse. It’s easy to understand why businesses have been focusing on the content marketing approach which will help boost their brand awareness and web visibility.
But with so many businesses now relying on their content marketing efforts, competition is fierce and everyone has to be on top of their game.
There’s no use creating a wonderful piece of content and then have no way or plan of distributing it. So even before you pick up a pen and start trying to generate ideas, here is a list of 27 tools to help kick start your content marketing strategy.
Discovering new and exciting content is a great place to start when thinking about new content ideas. This will help you determine what kind of content is popular and lead you to produce something that is similar, but original in its own right.
1. Million Short Search Engine – Using your favourite search engine can sometimes yield predictable results, sites that you see time and time again. While that is all well and good since these sites are respected within their fields, it does make it harder to find those diamonds in the rough. With Million Short, you can remove up to the top 1 million websites from your search results, enabling you to discover something completely unique.
2. Topsy – Twitter is a fantastic place to discover new content as we all know, but Twitter’s built in search function isn’t the best. Topsy allows you to search for top, relevant content with a variety of filters to help you find the best.
3. Buzzsumo – One of my personal favourites. Buzzsumo is a fantastic tool to help you find top quality content that is adored by social media users. With a large range of advanced search options such as finding content by author name or searching a specific domain for their best content, Buzzsumo offers more than any other.
4. Feedly – Sifting through your favourite websites from memory or bookmarks can be a hassle. Feedly allows us to add our favourite blogs and websites all into one place so keeping tabs on what matters to us is a breeze.
5. Quora – Discover popular questions being asked to the community, or even ask your own questions. Ask the right questions and you can end up receiving fantastic information from industry experts.
6. Reddit – Normally when someone mentions Reddit, people immediately think of memes and funny cat videos. But once you’ve got past the front page and into the smaller, niche sub-reddits, it can be a great place to discover new content to draw inspiration from. /r/InternetIsBeautiful might not be so small, but it has a great community who like to share unique and extremely satisfying web pages to help get those creative juices flowing.
7. StumbleUpon – Described as a discovery engine, StumblueUpon borderlines on procrastination but it does have its uses. Add in your own interests and hit that ‘stumble’ button. Websites will appear that match your interests and is a great tool to help get the ball rolling when thinking of new ideas.
8. Paper.li – Similar to Feedly in that it helps you curate your favourite content, but you can also share your online newspaper with friends and colleagues. Discover paper.li’s ‘staff picks’ or see what is ‘currently buzzing’.
9. Alltop – Websites/blogs are indexed in a variety of topics to help you find what most matters to you. Simple yet effective, this tool is great at finding blogs you didn’t know about.
10. Twitter – You don’t need to Tweet in order to use Twitter. Many people like to sit on the sidelines and watch it all unfold. Make use of Twitter’s ‘list’ feature to help you manage your timelines.
11. Scoop.it – By creating a topic, Scoop.it will suggest content on the web to help fill your topic. From there you can curate what interests you and even write notes about a particular piece for future reference. Scoop.it is great for sharing with colleagues working on similar projects.
12. Archive.org – Never again will you miss a webpage after it’s been ‘deleted’. Archive.org has stored 435 billion web pages for your viewing pleasure should you find a great content marketing opportunity.
Once you have your idea, it’s time to gather a list of people/websites you would outreach to once your content has been produced. Creating content and not outreaching it instantly sets up your content for failure. Just because you create the most amazing piece of content, doesn’t mean it will be an instant hit. You must put in the time to help nurture that growth.
13. Gorkana – Having an up-to-date database full of journalists and bloggers is ideal for your outreaching needs. Half the battle of outreaching is finding the right person to send your message to. With Gorkana’s database, you have a readymade playing field at your fingertips.
14. AllMyTweets – Twitter is a very resourceful social network, so much so that a tool called AllMyTweets has been created. Simply login via Twitter, enter someone’s Twitter handle and watch every tweet they’ve tweeted load. Then using your browsers find function (CTRL + F), you may be able to find an email they once tweeted out.
15. Boomerang – While outreaching content, you will be dealing with various people from many countries, all within different time zones. Boomerang allows you to schedule emails, send later and even set email reminders to help you keep on top of your outreach.
16. Mention – Keeping up to date with people and websites who have mentioned you or your competitor’s brands is a fantastic way to build relationships. A simple thank you, or knowing where your competitors are gaining links from can significantly help your strategy.
17. Sidekick – A very powerful email tool to help you gain more information about the people you are outreaching to. See who opens and clicks your email to help you refine your message for a better CTR.
18. HARO – Help a Reporter Out helps you connect news sources (you) with journalists looking for insight and expertise. Subscribe to their emails to get requests from journalists looking for a news story.
19. Moz Bar – Gain SEO metrics on the go with the Moz Bar. Quickly learn about a websites back link profile and ranking ability in seconds to help you determine whether a website is worth outreaching to or not.
20. Solo SEO Link Search Tool – This is a very simple tool that will generate a list of pre-defined search engine queries based on what keyword you entered.
21. Rapportive – Similar to Sidekick in that emailing just got a whole lot easier. Rapportive will show you everything you want to know about your contacts right inside your email box.
22. FollowerWonk – Dig deeper into Twitter analytics with FollowerWonk. Discover industry experts and influencers who could help propel your content to new heights.
While trying to plan out your editorial calendar and manage all your projects, getting confused and forgetting deadlines is easy. No doubt you will be working on various content ideas while outreaching finished ones at the same time, so it’s imperative that you keep organised and on track.
23. Raven – Full of 30+ comprehensive internet marketing tools, Raven Tools is ideal to help keep you on top of your game.
24. Ahrefs – Keep an eye on your own links and your competitors too. Crawl reports will allow you to understand where your new links are coming from and you can set strategies around that.
25. Trello – Organize your projects and collaborate with your colleagues all in one easy place. Trello will help you streamline your brainstorming sessions and help make content ideas come to life.
26. Google Docs – With a spreadsheet, word doc and slides doc all for free, Google Docs is the place to be to keep all your files and work collaboratively with your colleagues. Never lose a file again since with Google Docs, you will be given 15GB free of cloud storage.
27. Google Calendar – The advantages from Google Docs transfers over to Google Calendar. Collaborate and organise your company’s content strategy and editorial calendar all from one place.
It will be a lot of trial and error with many of these tools. Some you will like and some you will dislike. Make sure to give each one enough time to see if they would be beneficial to you.
What content marketing tools do you and your colleagues use? Do you have any that you think should be added to the list? Share your opinion in the comments section below.