Keep Your Content Strategy Organized with These 6 Tools
By Greg Nunan
The number of tools to help you in your content marketing efforts are getting well past the point of useful and starting to move into intimidating.
Content marketing is as much about staying organized as it is actually producing the content, so these tools are undoubtedly necessary. What’s not necessary is paying an absorbent amount of money for tools that you can mostly find for free, or at a low cost. Of course, if you’re looking for enterprise level tools, I’m not arguing that any of these are better, just stating for the average marketer or small business, expensive tools are usually overkill.
“People tend to overthink tools as they relate to getting a job done,” says Danny DeMichele, CEO of Elevated.com, “sometimes simpler really is better. In fact, it usually is.”
Today we’re going to simplify. Let’s take a look at my entire content marketing toolbox, which is all of 6 tools, most of which are free, or at least offer free packages.
BuzzSumo allows you to enter a keyword and find some of the big wins of other publishers. For example, if you’re writing about the iPhone 6s Plus, you’ll see other publishers that have had huge success with these types of articles, as well as the headlines they decided on and just how many shares they had across the major social channels.
This unique view allows you to see how other publications are angling their articles (and titles) in order to generate the most buzz around the topic.
The free plan is limited, but it gets the job done.
I go back and forth between Hootsuite and Buffer for social media sharing. The reason I keep coming back to Hootsuite is because it doesn’t something Buffer can’t do, all while managing to accomplish doing everything it can. Unlike Buffer, you can actually monitor your social feeds, search for keywords, view lists, and look for brand mentions or specific hashtags without ever leaving the app.
Buffer is great at what it does, but for an all-in-one tool that allows you to do more than just schedule and share, Hootsuite is where it’s at.
Trello offers a simple project management workflow based on the Japanese system called Kanban. Inside Trello, you create lists which contain cards. Inside the cards there are additional options, such as taking notes, adding links, or tagging others in your team to take a look. There are thousands of ways to use this, but the simplest is as a modified Kanban system.
To do this, you create lists for “Pipeline, Doing, Done” and then move cards containing each specific task into the appropriate category. That’s not to say this is the right way to use the system, or even the only way, but it’s a good way to get started before you figure out a better workflow for your intended purpose.
CoSchedule is a simple scheduling calendar that allows you to input all of your content (social media, blog posts, email blasts, etc.) into a simple interface viewable by your entire team. You can drag and drop things to move them, schedule content for weeks (or months) in advance, and even publish some of these pieces automatically using WordPress, Facebook or Twitter.
Of course, for social media, Hootsuite has a much better scheduler, but if you’d like to keep everything in the same place, use CoSchedule. If not, use it for your longer form content such as email blasts and blog posts. There’s no wrong answer.
MailChimp is perhaps the most user-friendly email list manager online. I like it not only for its great design, and simple start user interface, but for the powerful features under the hood as well. MailChimp can match up with just about any other email list manager all while being easier to use, and free (to start).
Another free tool rounds out the list. Google Analytics is the one tool that most marketers would agree on that is simply the best at what it does all while remaining affordable to everyone. We all know what Analytics is capable of, so I won’t spend a lot of time on it, but it’s definitely worth a mention in any list of this type.
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