Content marketing can be a great way to attract links, build authority, increase leads, and traffic, but you still need an effective strategy to make it work. Without a good strategy, you’ll end up wasting time, money, and energy. You’ll find yourself running in circles either trying to fix mistakes or scrambling to figure out what you need to do next.
You need to have the mindset that a content marketing campaign is a project just like a search engine optimization campaign or a product development incubator. It requires careful research, planning, time management, scheduling, creativity, and project tracking. Fortunately, you can build your content marketing toolkit with various solutions that help you tackle each aspect of the content marketing process.
Here is a quick overview of tools you can add to your content marketing toolkit, and an explanation of how they can change how you build and manage a content marketing campaign:
Content Management System
Choosing the right content management system (CMS) is a big part of your publishing success. Right off the bat, you want to avoid using your classic HTML site as it requires a lot of work to maintain and update. The only time you may want to consider using the classic format is if you’re working on an eCommerce site. Even then, there are many CMS platforms for eCommerce sites that function better. Some of the popular CMS platforms are WordPress, Drupal ModX, and Joomla.
They are all great choices but to choose the right one, you need to weigh the pros and cons of each platform. For example, WordPress is an intuitive CMS to use, has a huge community backing it with themes and plug-ins, and is easy to develop a site with. The problem with it is that it isn’t meant to scale into what would be considered a full featured CMS and it has relatively weak security out of the box (but can be improved with tweaks). On the other hand, Drupal allows you build highly dynamic websites (such as a membership site or an eCommerce store) and has built-in enterprise security.
The downsides are that Drupal has quite a bit of a learning curve, doesn’t have as big of a community as WordPress, and is harder to develop a site for people who are relatively new to web development. The point is that you need to think about what you need in your CMS system, weigh the pros and cons, and then choose one that matches what you’re looking for.
A big part of content marketing is how you manage the creation, approval and publishing of content. Inside your content marketing toolkit, you’ll need a system of governance such as an editorial calendar. If you are using WordPress as your CMS, you may consider the WordPress Editorial Calendar plugin or EditFlow.
These calendar systems allow you to set notices of what kind of content you need to create, schedule posts, and get a quick overview of what’s in queue.They also allow you to move around posts to different dates in the calendar, jump straight into posts for editing, manage posts from multiple users, and allow for collaboration. With these tools in your content marketing toolkit, the task of managing content creation and publishing will become an organized system that helps you keep track of projects, manage your team, and publish on autopilot.
Content Auditing Tools
A concept that most people probably haven’t heard yet is content auditing. Content auditing is the process of building an inventory of your content and later doing an audit to see which ones have yielded the best results. This process will allow you to make better decisions to make changes, get an idea of what subjects are being read, and produce the type of content people want. You should consider adding the following tools to your content marketing toolkit: CAT (Content Analysis Tool) or Screaming Frog.
These tools will crawl your site and record all the SEO data such as title, anchor text, incoming links, etc. An example of how you would use these tools is to do an audit of your content pages, match it to corresponding analytics data, and see which keyword searches are leading to these pages. Then you can change the onpage optimization to target these keywords and improve traffic volume. If you want a simple auditing system you can use, check out some of these CS templates on Google Drive – click here.
Content Ideation Tools
The success of your content marketing campaign depends on your content ideas. You need to figure out what kind of content do people want to read about, what are people talking about, and what’s currently trending. At the end of the day, there’s no point in creating content that people aren’t interested in.
That’s why research tools are an indispensable part of your content marketing toolkit. Tools like the Content Strategy Generator Tool V2 will help mine Google’s data and see what people are searching for and what topics are trending. If you want to see what your audience is talking about, SocialMention and Topsy are great tools that will give you a better understanding of the language and interests of your audience.
Now that you have published the most amazing blog in the universe, how are you going to tell people about it? With Google cracking down more and more on any flavor of of link building, your best bet is developing and outreach strategy. Outreach when executed correctly and ethically, is one of the best ways to promote your content. Utilizing tools like Buzzstream or GroupHigh, you can streamline and organize your outreach process.
There are many nuances of outreach, I do not suggest you blindly compile a list of influencers and start contacting them. Take time to think about who you are contacting and why. The chances of reaching out to Seth Godin and getting him to reshare or re-post your content are slim, so start small. Put together a list of emails and social profiles of people who are more approachable and more likely to share your content. Come up with highly personalized emails and messaging that shows you care and are paying attention. You may also reference my previous blog on this subject matter for ways you can power your outreach using social search.
If you are relatively new to the processes and methodology of outreach, I highly recommend you check out this Whiteboard Friday by Tom Critchlow:
Add these solutions in your content marketing toolkit to draw ideas, get inspiration, and ride on hot topics. Don’t try to predict what people want to read, find out firsthand what people want.
This is just a brief summary of what you should have in your content marketing toolkit. Obviously there are many other tools that can be used such as: Collaboration platforms to collectively generate ideas; team management tools to manage projects; and competitive analysis tools to spy on the competition’s content. The point is that you should build your content marketing toolkit to fit your unique business needs and goals. These are the standards by which you define your content marketing process.
Start out by creating a process map of your content marketing campaign. Break up the process map into actions that need to be taken. Think of the all unique challenges that you’ll face. Once you’ve done all this, you can start looking for tools that can provide a solution for all your content marketing woes.