Content marketing is the art of creating, promoting, and distributing attractive written, visual, and audio content that attracts and retains customers. It’s an essential tool for early-stage startups that need to build an audience.
According to the Content Marketing Institute, there are three key benefits for businesses:
- It saves you money on advertising costs
- It increases your sales
- It promotes customer loyalty
How can you make use of content marketing?
There are lots of tools available to help you produce and share high-quality content. Here are a few of the best:
- Tools and platforms to help you publish content on blogs and social media
An appealing, informative blog is a popular way to not only share news about your business, but also to build authority in your niche. This inspires trust in existing and potential customers, meaning they are more likely to make a purchase. Social media lets you share your content with the public.
- WordPress: The world’s most popular blogging platform, WordPress enables you to share all kinds of content. It requires little technical knowledge, and you can easily customize your website’s appearance.
- Medium: Medium allows you to showcase thoughtful blog posts and essays. You can set up your own profile and garner an audience by writing influential content. It’s a good opportunity to establish yourself as an authority in a niche, and to direct people to your businesses’ website.
Of course, you do not have to write content yourself – you can outsource it instead. EssayGuard can help with their comprehensive review of the best writing services.
- LinkedIn: Over 546 million professionals use LinkedIn, making it a valuable platform for sharing B2B content. You can use its filters to find individuals and groups that will benefit most from your content. With lots of senior executives and thought leaders using LinkedIn, it’s a good opportunity to be noticed by respected influencers.
- Twitter: Tweets can only convey short messages, but they are a potentially powerful way to direct people to longer pieces of written content. You can also share videos and graphics instantly, driving engagement and building your reputation as a useful source of information.
- HootSuite: This tool allows you to schedule social media posts in advance across multiple platforms, including Twitter and Facebook. It also helps you analyze how your content is performing, enabling you to tweak your message and improve your results.
- Keyword & SEO tools
Are you worried about your position in search engine results? Are your competitors occupying the first page of Google, leaving you behind? Fortunately, it’s easy to improve your search rankings if you have the right tools.
- YoastSEO: Your content may be outstanding, but it will be of little use if no one can find it. Yoast SEO is a WordPress plugin that helps your target audience locate your site when they search online for related topics.
- Keyword Everywhere: This free browser add-on lets you research keyword competition and search volume data. This is useful when understanding your competitors’ behavior, and gives you an idea of what your target audience want to read.
Once you have identified topics you want to write about, it’s time to hire a writer to make your ideas shine. Start by visiting Top Writers Review for a comprehensive rundown of the best services that can help you produce outstanding, SEO-friendly content.
- Google Ads Keyword Planner: This tool is designed for people looking to run Google Ad campaigns, but it also serves as a valuable way to get insight into what people are searching for online. This lets you tailor your content accordingly.
For example, you can search words and phrases that directly or indirectly relate to your services and products, discovering average search volumes for each. You can also find out how trends have changed over time.
For instance, you may discover that some keywords are sought out more often at certain times of year. This information could help you plan your content strategy for the next 12 months.
- Tools to help you create visual media
Humans are visual creatures. It’s a well-established fact that people are more likely to share content if it features images and videos.
- Canva: Successful content is visually compelling, but as a startup you may not have the budget for a graphic designer. Canva solves this problem by providing readymade templates for blog posts, email newsletters, and almost any other form of written communication you could think of.
- GIMP: Photoshop is the software of choice for most graphic designers, but its high cost put it beyond the reach of many new businesses. GIMP is a free alternative for anyone who needs to edit images.
- HitFilm Express: If you want to create a video, you don’t need to hire an editor. HitFilm Express lets you create a polished video for free. With patience and imagination, you can create your own memorable movie.
- Tools to help you send your content to your email list
As the saying goes, “The money is in the list.” Your email list provides an ideal opportunity to share information of value with your customers and followers.
- MailChimp: Mailing your best content to your subscribers builds your relationship. Automating the process is easy, thanks to MailChimp. You can segment your subscriber list and send relevant content to the people who will appreciate it most.
- CakeMail: CakeMail is an alternative to MailChimp that was built with small businesses in mind. It’s personalized support and easy-to-use template builder make it a sound choice for creating and sending content.
- Writing tools
Written content is only taken seriously if it flows well, stays on topic, and says something of value. Use these tools to check every piece of writing for quality before pressing “Publish” or “Send.”
- Grammarly: Make your writing punchier, more interesting, and error-free with Grammarly. Simply upload your file and let its advanced software highlight areas for improvement.
- Copyscape: If you are hiring a writer, you must make sure that their content is original. Copyscape is a simple, cost-effective tool that will check their work for plagiarism. You can find reviews of professional writing services at Top Writing Reviews.
- Tools that provide content inspiration
With these tools, you will always have a steady stream of ideas for generating content.
- Answer the Public: Just enter a keyword into the box on the homepage, and the site will throw up topics for you to write about.
The suggestions are based on the questions internet users ask the major search engines. This means you can create content knowing that people are interested in your topic, thus taking the guesswork out of planning your article or blogpost.
- Buzzsumo: With just a few keystrokes, Buzzsumo will tell you what kind of content is performing best in your field. This information helps you decide what topics you should focus on in your content marketing strategy.
- Ahrefs: This tool allows you to keep track of your competitors’ SEO strategy, and identify “content gaps” that give you the edge in search engine rankings. They hold data on 240 million keywords in the US, and also let you analyze sites from over 100 countries.
- Tools that connect you with influencers
- Quuu Promote: Quuu Promote gives you the chance to connect with real, everyday users who will share your content across multiple social media platforms. It uses a pay as you go model, so you can easily budget your campaigns.
- FameBit: FameBit is YouTube’s branded content platform. It helps startups get their products and services in front of their target audience by helping them work with top YouTubers in their niche.
- Tools that are useful if you are split testing your content strategy
- Tweak Your Biz Title Generator: Just changing the title of a piece of content can make it more engaging. This generator will give you dozens of innovative, attention-grabbing title ideas.
You can then publish the same piece of content with two or more titles, promoting each title in different places or on different days, before making your final decision.
- Any good email list management tool: MailChimp and other leaders in the field let you A/B test your email content. This is useful in discovering, for example, what kind of content proves most attractive to people reading your emails.
Bonus Tool: Help A Reporter Out
Register as a “Source” of information on HARO, and you will receive regular notifications from media outlets who need an authoritative source.
If a notification fits with your area of expertise, you can submit a pitch. If your pitch is chosen, you will be covered in the press, potentially resulting in great exposure. Digital marketer Pat Ahern recommends responding within 15 minutes of receiving a notification.
Don’t panic – you don’t need to use every item on this list
You won’t need to use all these tools, but they provide a great starting point for all beginning content marketers. Start by choosing two or three that seem well-suited to your business.
Some have a steeper learning curve than others, but they all have their evangelists. Get experimenting and find out which will help you achieve your objectives.
About the Author: Steve Mehler is an editor at Top Writers Review. He has a master’s degree in interpersonal communications and more than five years’ experience as a writer and editor. Steve is passionate about technology. In his spare time he builds gaming computers and creates vintage gaming setups. He also enjoys magnet fishing and visiting national parks.