A few months ago Pawan Deshpande of Curata put together a comprehensive list of emerging content marketing tools (shown above). It is an excellent resource, considering that content marketing tools are always evolving to solve specific content challenges.
What about the “average” business owner who wants to incorporate more content into their overall marketing programs? What of the restaurant owner that needs specialized restaurant marketing? You don’t need to be a content expert to gain serious benefits from these seven tools. In fact, using any of them will significantly increase your productivity. Here are my favorites — all of which offer free “basic” use!
Trello is checklists on ‘roids — and quickly becoming one of my favorite tools because it is so flexible to the situation. I started using it a few months ago for a personal project but abandoned it when the project ended. Bad move. Since then Trello has become even more robust and user-friendly. I’m now using it as an editorial calendar system.
As Stacy Jackson explains, “[I]n just a matter of minutes (literally), you can create a board to manage phases of content creation.” I’m very happy with the visual interface and interaction between email and Dropbox… and its Kanban-inspired approach to workflow.
TKGenius advises restraint: “Be careful to avoid the urge to start a new board for every separate project. The cards are robust enough to keep projects isolated there. Rather, look at your boards as categories of your life or work.” I agree; I’ve restarted my “Life” board in addition to our SixEstate editorial calendar.
If you’re sharing others’ content across social media as part of your content marketing strategy (and who isn’t?), one of the best ways to share industry-related browsing is Buffer. Select a predetermined scheduling output, and you can share finds across multiple social networks. Use the browser button to keep Buffer “topped up,” and you can effortlessly share what’s relevant to your audience.
Got guest posts? You should, as part of any strong content strategy. So how do you find the best places for your specific content? The free Link Building Query Generator performs multiple searches for you all at once.
As Will Stevens at the Content Marketing Institute explains, “All you have to do is fill in a few straightforward bits of information and you’re presented with a huge list of potential search terms, which can then be used to look for blogging opportunities.”
SEOMoz is the industry leader on all things search-related, and the price of their search expertise reflects that. Have no fear, the free toolbar they offer is a robust tool in its own right. Use it to determine the page rank (PA) and domain rank (DA) of any prospective link-building program (such as guest posts, mentioned above, or other content like infographics, video, or podcasts.)
How likely is your content to be shared if you post on another site? It is not as simple as seeing how many fans a Facebook page has — it comes down to how interactive fans are on a particular site — liking, commenting, and sharing.
You can glean some insight before approaching a prospective content partner by running their details through SocialCrawlytics. They measure all kinds of data ranging from how many shares you get over a particular network (helpful if you know your audience prefers LinkedIn over Twitter, for example) and the depth and scope of the site itself. This tool is also helpful for researching competitors.
Although Slideshare has seemingly been around forever, if you’re not aware of it, it should be on your radar. Use Slideshare to share presentations on their social network and beyond using a simple uploading and sharing interface. It is also helpful to use because it creates embed code so you can “copy and paste” your presentation elsewhere. Both are particularly helpful if your team is not particularly computer-savvy and you want to encourage social sharing of your content.
What free tools are you using these days to make your content marketing activities smarter and smoother?
Image by Curata.
Katie McCaskey is SixEstate's content director. She tests real-world application of content marketing techniques using the cafe she co-owns as a laboratory. She was Tech Editor of Chief Content Officer, 2010-2011, and contributes to the Content Marketing Institute. Connect with her on Google+ or @KatieMcCaskey.