The secret to content marketing success is creating awesome content that is highly shareable, and then distributing that content in an effective and targeted way. This involves looking at a variety of key metrics to help you analyze your audience, tweak your site with CTAs and improve user experience all to drive more traffic to your site and increase your customer base. Seems difficult right? Well, only if you don’t have the proper tools and resources in place to help you be awesome.
Always remember: create awesome content, distribute content, improve your site, analyze key metrics, change and make adjustments, and make sure you’re not spinning your wheels. That’s the secret to success. To help you do all of these things, I’ve compiled a list of 20 tools, techniques, and resources to help you go above and beyond with your content marketing efforts.
1. Tools Content Creation
They say content is king, but some others have argued that content distribution is really king…and I’d have to conclude that it’s a little bit of both. You have to create awesome content, but you have to distribute it properly afterwards. The first part of the story is creating awesome content that has a chance to go viral and has the potential to be highly shareable…that’s what will drive a ton of traffic to your site and keep people coming back for more.
Here are some of my favorite tools to create content:
Evernote: This program allows me to take notes, draft blog posts and ideas, and write on the go. It’s a great way to keep everything organized and in one place. All of your notes sync of with your phone, tablet, and any other devices. Easy to capture audio, video, and other images and store it all in one place.
Storify: This tool allows you to curate content from around the web and then compile it together and embed it or distribute it anywhere you choose. The idea is that you can find media from all over the web and compile it in one place to help you tell a full and complete story.
Listly: Here you can create lists (and who doesn’t love lists) featuring information from around the internet. Show off the coolest cats on YouTube or the funniest gifs you’ve ever seen. Even link to the most innovative Start-Up founders in one complete list.
Issuu: If you’re looking to create a book or magazine that your readers can download and see, Issuu lets you do just that. It’s a great tool to use especially if you want to craft something interesting for them to download as an incentive for people to sign up for your newsletter.
2. Subscribe to Blogs
One of the best ways to become a better content marketer or creator is to see what other people are talking about around the web, read informative articles, and discover interesting content. Part of being able to do your job well is seeing what other people do and whether or not it’s effective for them, and seeing how you can do it even better.
I suggest that you come up with a list of blogs and subscribe to them to see their updates, discover what these expert blogs are doing right and see how you can do them even better.
Kissmetrics Blog: This blog is well known for their ability to craft interesting content that tends to be incredibly shareable and popular. Most of their posts generate a mountain of traffic not only because they are informative, but because they are crafted in such a way that people want to click on their titles. Subscribe to this blog not just to learn a lot, but to see how to create viral content.
BuzzFeed: I frequent BuzzFeed simply because they are constantly generating a lot of unique and quirky content. Pay attention to how they craft the titles of their posts, the way they lay out their lists, and the way they grab people’s attention.
Mashable: If you’re like me and completely involved in the tech scene and sometimes forget to watch the news or read the paper, Mashable will provide you with a snippet of what’s going on in the world as well as interesting techie news and resources.
3. Content Distribution
Once you’ve come up with awesome content that is relevant to your audience with the potential to become highly shareable then you need to get the word out about it! The trick with content distribution is that you don’t want to look like spammer constantly posting to the same places in an effort to get more and more viewers to your site. The trick is to join a set of communities and be actively involved in them, become an influencer and post your own creations as well as the creations of others. You want to be a valued member of these communities and not just look like a spammer.
Here are some of my favorite communities to become a part of that can help you distribute your content:
Reddit: An amazing place to discover and submit content, Reddit can help your posts really go viral. Again, it’s a place that you don’t want to abuse your powers and make sure you submit the work of others and actively participate in communities.
Digg: Read interesting articles and show them a little love, then submit your own and hopefully get published. This is a tough one to crack, and if anyone knows the secret…please let me know.
StumbleUpon: You can submit links to certain areas of StumbleUpon and even sponsor promoted posts, but here you need to be sure you’re actually a part of the community and not only submitting your own work constantly.
Then, there are companies like Outbrain that will help you get your content discovered by promoting it on other sites and avenues if you choose to go the paid route.
4. Understand the Basics of Graphic and Web Design
If you’re solely publishing content aimed at going on the internet, you have to have a basic understanding of how to present that content and make it look good. If you create awesome content, but don’t format it well or are showcasing your work on a blog theme that isn’t the greatest you’re not going to reach your full potential.
Here are some tools to help you get started with graphic and web design:
Learn the Basics of Photoshop: The Complete Guide
Teach Yourself Graphic Design: A Self-Study Course Outline
Online Graphic Design Courses from Udemy
Learn to build websites online with Treehouse
5. Content Marketing Checklist from Siege Media
Siege Media, a company focused on marketing strategies for businesses that operate online, has released their new content marketing checklist. This free tool allows content marketers, or anyone, to work through the process of idea generation, pre-launch, and post launch. This interactive checklist can be printed and/or emailed after it’s complete.
This checklist is a must-have for any content marketer, or anyone creating content for online publication and distribution. Anytime you’re getting ready to write a new post, or come up with a new piece of content for your site definitely use this list.
6. Get Inspired
This item may seem similar to #2 (subscribe to blogs), but in fact it’s really different. Getting inspired, is different than knowing what’s out there and discovering new ways to distribute and create content. What I mean by telling you to get inspired is to literally just look at random articles and try new things not related to content marketing, SEO, growth, or the tech industry. Take time everyday to step outside your box, and just open yourself up to new ideas and experiences.
PopUrls: This is a site that brings together the latest and most popular articles from the biggest blogs out there. It’s a great resource to find out what’s trending all over the web, and maybe discover a new blog or two.
With the new changes to Google’s search algorithms, G+ ranks way up there in determining which posts are going to get the most traffic. That being said, get on G+, use it everyday…+ things, like things, post things, get all over it.
Check out these articles to help you successfully use G+:
How to use G+ a Quick Start Guide
How to Use Google+ to Expand Your Business Influence
Getting around Google+: 25 tips and tricks for power users
A great tool to use if you don’t want to go into the craziness of a massive keyword tool at some stage. If you’re in the brainstorming process, type in keywords and see what people are searching for across a variety of different search engines.
If you don’t have a system in place for running contests and give-a-ways RaffleCopter is a great tool that helps you manage and track contest entries, and encourages entrants to promote the contest and your FB, Twitter, Pinterest, and other pages as well. You can easily boost traffic to your site by having entrants promote your contest + site, as well as gain a follower base that really trusts you!
10. Inbound Writer
Really want to make your content creation go above and beyond the norm? Inbound Writer is a content optimization tool that helps you identify popular topics from a variety of networks like social media and the news and performs automated keyword searches to help you get started.
11. Help a Reporter
Are you an expert in a certain field like graphic design, cooking, SEO, or business? If so you should connect with reporters and the news industry through this platform. Identify yourself as an expert and influencer and when a reporter needs more information on something they can come calling to you to gain insight and help. Sharing your expertise and knowledge base with the right people can help boost your business and drive traffic to your site.
If you’ve never heard of Quora before, you definitely need to check it out. Basically, it’s the sophisticated version of Yahoo! Answers that allows people to ask and answer questions in a meaningful way, upvote responses, and follow topics of interest.
Quora is a great place to post questions you’re looking for answers to, discover what people are talking about to figure out what to write about, and promote your content by writing thoughtful responses to people’s questions. The key to being a successful part of the Quora community is to not only self-promote, and if you’re going to promote your blog posts do it in a thoughtful, engaging, and informative way.
13. PR Web
Making a new announcement for an awesome partnership, new feature or product? Once you’ve crafted a unique and compelling press release you need to submit it to people that can promote it or contact you for more information. PR Web helps you distribute your SEO optimized press release to generate publicity, increase your audience, and ultimately boost your business.
At first glance you may not think of slideshare as a resource for content marketers, but it’s a great way to present ideas if you don’t want to do them in a typical blog post format. Slideshare allows you to upload and share presentations on anything from analytics to blogging and more!
You can share your work publicly with millions of viewers and potentially engage an entirely new audience that you’re providing valuable information to. It’s a great way to showcase what you know about content marketing, SEO, analytics and anything else for blog posts or guest posts.
15. Be Able to Understand Key Metrics and Growth
It’s important to understand who the people are that are visiting your site, how they’re finding you, how long they’re staying on your site, and what causes them to leave. Knowing this information can help you keep from spinning your wheels and help you better understand how to improve your site and even grow your audience.
First, you’ll need to learn how to see the traffic coming into your site. Tools like Google Analytics can help you see how many people are actively on your site in real time, where traffic is coming from, how long people are staying on the site, and more. There are a variety of other tools that can help you understand the traffic coming into your site, check them out below to figure out which will be suit your needs.
Marketing.ai: This software is geared specifically toward content marketers and can help you accomplish a variety of tasks like content auditing, visitor reports, creating and mangaging an editorial calendar, and aid in content production.
Kissmetrics: If you’re looking for customer intelligence related to your eCommerce site, Kissmetrics is the way to go. You’ll find your KPIs, key metrics, and persona data all in one place.
Mixpanel: Understand your revenue better with Mixpanel. You can discover how valuable your customers are, how different types of customers purchase different items, and anything else related to purchases.
Once you’ve decided on the tool that specifically suits your needs, you’re going to need to figure out which KPIs and key metrics are important to the growth and health of your site. Check out these articles to help you decide which analytics should matter most to you:
KPI: What Is a Key Performance Indicator?
32 Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for Ecommerce
24 Top Paid Search Metrics Explained
10 Key Metrics To Take a Startup to the Next Level
16. Awesome Email Marketing Tools
Once you’ve started to drive a good amount of traffic to your site, you’re going to want to get those people to keep coming back to check out your content. A great way to do that is to collect their email addresses. Offer an incentive like a free eBook or download when they sign up for your newsletter. When you’ve built a big enough list you can start emailing out your subscribers information regarding your latest posts and other offers.
There are a few tricks to a successful email marketing campaign, first of all you need a tool that can help you manage your emails. Check out these options for email marketing:
Mail Chimp: Mail Chimp allows you to send emails to different targeted lists, track click throughs and views, and collect new subscribers from mobile sign up forms.
Constant Contact: This company has a variety of customizable templates to help you create the email marketing campaign that will best work for your audience. In addition, their services feature contact management, social media integration, and analytics to measure your results.
The second trick is to craft engaging and interesting emails featuring large images and call to action buttons. It’s going to take a lot of testing and tweaking to get the perfect email marketing campaign that your audience responds to, but you’ll get there. Here are some informative articles to help you out:
How to Push Send and Grow Your Business
3 Creative Approaches to Email Marketing
Effective Email Marketing in the Era of Social Networks and Mobile Internet
How do you do email marketing?
How to Suck Less at Email Marketing
17. Become an SEO expert
As a content marketer or content creator it’s important to know the ins and outs of SEO. You’ll need to know the importance of SEO, how to look up certain search terms, and how to write posts that incorporate keywords. If you become an SEO master, you’re going to be able to generate more traffic to your content via organic search (woohoo!).
The Beginner’s Guide to SEO: this comprehensive guide to SEO from MOZ walks you through everything from how search engines operate to keyword research. If you’re just starting out this is the perfect guide to teach you everything you need to know.
How Google crawls
8 First Step SEO Tips for Bloggers
SEO for Blogs
Now, that you’ve learned the basics use these SEO tools:
Open Site Explorer: Here you can see what sites are linking into to your site, domain authority, and page rank. It allows you to see if there are any broken links or thinks you need to be aware of in reference to your site.
Broken Link Finder: This allows you to specifically find broken links attached to your domain.
MOZ Premium Tools: If you’re looking to really analyze your SEO and start outperforming your competitors MOZ offers some premium tools to help you analyze keywords on your pages, and can help you analyze the mentions and ranking of your brand.
18. Create Infographics
Infographics are a great way to convey information and spread content in a viral way. People love information that they can look at, and not necessarily have to read something that’s longform. Here are some tools to help you make an infographic with whatever information you choose:
Infogram: Create interactive infographics that illustrate your data and information.
Visual.ly: This tool allows you to create infographics and then browse through other infographics that have been made and discover lots of awesome sutff you can incorporate in your content.
Infoactive: This site allows you to create infographics that can be viewed on mobile devies that are also interactive.
Piktochart: Here you can create infographics using a simple drag and drop format that is so easy, you won’t believe it.
For more information on infographics and how to create them, check out these articles:
Why your brain craves infographics
Why People Still Prefer Visual Infographics Over Text
How to Leverage Infographics for B2B Marketing
5 Steps to Create Compelling Content Through Infographics
This site, a collboration between the founds of MOZ and HubSpot, is a social sharing site where individuals can post links, upvote, and discuss articles relevant to inbound marketing, growth, social media, design, and content marketing. It’s a great place to read and post interesting articles that pertain exactly to the job of a content marketer.
20. Social Media Management
This one should be a given. When you’re creating a boatload of awesome content, you need a way to distribute and promote that content to have people actually read it. It can be hard to manage all of the social channels out there, and believe me you’re going to want to stay on top of it!
The right social media management tool is one that helps you schedule your posts and then monitors your engagement, allowing you to make changes to see if there are better ways of making your content go viral. It goes without saying that you should have accounts on places like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+. Once you do, then you need to effectively target all of those channels and promote your awesome content.
Here are some great programs to help you manage your social media efforts:
Hootsuite: This dynamic social media management system allows you to schedule and post content to your WP blog, and then helps you post on channels like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. You’ll receive custom analytics for all of your channels to help you gain more insight into your social media efforts.
Buffer: Buffer allows you to schedule content to go out on your social media channels like Twitter and Facebook. It’s really simple to use and all you have to do is click a “buffer” button and add something into your scheduling queue. Then select what time posts will go out, and much more.
Sprout Social: This unique tool for businesses really allows you to monitor your engagement. You can see audience demographics, learn about your response rate, and understand your interactions with your social community.
Not sure which program to use, or how to manage social media? Check out these articles:
10 Best Social Media Management Tools
The 7 Personalities Every Social Media Manager Has
8 Tips for Managing a Social Media Crisis
12 Questions to Separate Social Media Experts From Pretenders
Social Media Management in 30 Minutes
Like a true San Franciscan, Maryam has a passion for dogs and the Giants. She heads up Content Marketing at creativemarket.com where she writes about all things creative. You can find her on twitter at @caracaleo.