If you work in marketing at a small-to-medium-sized company, chances are you also dabble in sales, HR, admin, data, developing . . . whatever hat (of so many) you need to wear that day. With so much to do and so little staff to do it, it may seem as though content marketing — hot buzzword of the marketing world that it may be — has to take a backseat.
Despite challenges, content marketing does work, and it should be a central part of every marketing plan. Luckily, there are many affordable tools available to lend a hand and make content marketing a viable strategy for your organization, no matter its size.
Here are nine recommendations from our friends at TechnologyAdvice, a site designed to help you find the best software for your business.
Keyword.io is an excellent starting tool for those dipping their toes into keyword research. Using this free program, you can research keyword ideas to help plan your content calendar based on the information your audience is already searching for. The free version gets the job done, but is relatively simple, without access to certain valuable metrics. Once you get started and see how important keywords can be, you may want to graduate to a more robust paid tool like the one offered by Moz.
A picture is worth a thousand words, but what if you can’t draw? No worries, Canva has you covered. Canva has both free and paid options to put more design power in the hands of the art-inept (or to empower your true designers with more speed). With thousands of templates and design ideas for ads, charts, social media images, blog post graphics, infographics, and more, it’s an excellent (and fun) tool to add some arresting visuals to your content.
Permission-based email is one of the best ways to keep your prospects engaged and stay at the top of their minds. But to send emails like these at scale, you’ll need to move beyond Outlook and spreadsheets. Campaign Monitor is one of the best email marketing and automation tools on the market, and the platform is easy for growing teams to implement and master. You can build personalized campaigns, create powerful customer journeys, segment your contact lists, and use built-in analytics to track performance.
Priceonomics started out as a data crawling service. They soon learned they could use data they collected to create compelling stories that would interest just about anyone. They now get millions of reads of their stories and have built a new business around content marketing strategy. They’ve also created a Content Tracker tool, with both free and paid versions, that measures performance metrics of your content such as views, shares, and inbound links. The paid version of the tool also automates sending content to press contacts, helping take that PR hat off your rack for a bit.
Followerwonk is another tool by the folks at Moz. Its purpose is to provide insight into your Twitter followers — from where in the world they are, to what their bios say they’re interested in, to who among them has the most influence. In content marketing, you can use this information to plan content around what your followers are already talking about. You can also @mention major influencers in your best content to spread the word and gain more pageviews.
Trello is advertised as a productivity tool, and indeed, thousands of professionals use it to keep their personal and team tasks on track in a centralized hub. For content marketing, Trello comes in handy as an editorial calendar tool. It’s incredibly flexible, so you can set it up in the way that makes the most sense to your organization and use it to plan, collaborate on, and monitor your content marketing efforts across your team.
If you want a planning tool that’s completely tailored to content marketing, then CoSchedule can set you up for success. CoSchedule was built for marketers and has the same centralized planning capabilities as productivity tools like Trello, along with social and WordPress integrations that make scheduling posts a set-and-forget breeze. They also have a super informative podcast.
It’s the classic downfall of writers — you read what you wanted to write, meaning errors that spell-check doesn’t catch are difficult for a writer to notice. Additionally, not all of us are huge grammar nerds who circle every dangling preposition in red ink. That’s where Grammarly comes in handy. With free and paid versions, Grammarly adds an extension to Chrome that calls out the tiniest mistakes on whatever platform you’re writing.
Everything that’s written has been written before . . . or something like that. For busy organizations, it’s not always necessary to craft content 100 percent from scratch. We’re not suggesting plagiarism; we’re talking about content curation. Curation cuts down on time and encourages readership by paying back other content creators with attention to their work. Scoop.it makes it simple to curate content by searching for relevant pieces, aggregating them, and automating distribution.
With a few of these low-cost (or in some cases, free) tools at your side, you’ll find content marketing a lot less intimidating. Once you start publishing and promoting relevant content, you’ll have an easier time driving traffic and conversions, which means your business will grow even faster.