There’s no one magic solution to successfully marketing your content online. Instead, there are a variety of tools which help you perform specific actions. You want to fill your “marketing toolbox” with enough tools to be useful, but not so many that it’s overwhelming. Here’s the list of tools that we use at our content marketing agency.
Our Top Suggestions and Strategies
The web’s a crowded place. In order to make your message heard, you need to send it across one of three different marketing channels.
Strategy 1: Your Direct Media Channels
This is media you control directly such as your blog, website, Facebook page, Twitter profile or other social media presence. Your content in this type of distribution is created by you (or someone you hire). Obviously, this means you can say exactly what you want about your brand or company.
On the downside, your audience can sometimes be limited. Most people will have to come to you directly, instead of stumbling across your message online.
Our Favorite Direct Media Tools:
The content on your social media channels needs to stay fresh. While you could update your feeds yourself, it’s usually a better idea to use content management software. Buffer is a popular choice.
With Buffer, you can easily share content across all of your social media profiles including Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter. You can schedule a posting schedule, or let Buffer choose one for you. Post around-the-clock automatically, delivering a steady stream of new content for your followers.
Even with regular updates, your social media posts can easily be missed by your followers. The time of day, social network algorithms and other unpredictable factors can obscure your message. Edgar is a tool which allows you to repost content from your archives.
Edgar allows you to tailor how and when your content will be reposted. Your social media networks will remain active, and your followers will see content they might have otherwise missed.
For content longer than a Facebook post or Tweet, you’ll probably want to add some images. Canva is a simple way to create graphics and alter images. While it’s certainly not as comprehensive as Photoshop, it’s also much easier to use.
Aside from social media, email is another important aspect of successful marketing. Whether you’re reaching out to large groups of potential customers or simply conducting day to day operations, a unique email signature helps people understand your brand.
WiseStamp lets you easily create a custom email signature. You can incorporate your logo, contact information and more. You can even add your latest tweet, blog post or other fluid information.
Hopefully you can go further in your use of email and create a mailing list of contacts. Once you have that list, you’ll want to engage those people by sending out newsletters. Goodbits lets you create a content-rich newsletter in just minutes. You can pull information from any RSS feed you follow. Transferring the information is a simple drag-and-drop procedure.
The mailing lists can be easily customized. Overall, Goodbits is an easy way to compile diverse information into a single, unique newsletter.
MailChimp is a great way to manage all of your emails, as well as determine their overall effectiveness. You can create a custom look to your emails which reflects your brand. You can also schedule delivery for any time. What we like best, however, is the ability to track how your recipients respond to your email campaigns. Who opens your email, and what action do they take? With MailChimp, you can easily refine your email campaigns in order to make them as effective as possible.
Of course, every email campaign needs interesting content. Feedly is a content delivery service we really like. You simply select which blogs, magazines and news sources you want to follow, and Feedly “feeds” all the information to you. We use Feedly to start our day, where we can stay on top of the latest industry trends.
Aside from email campaigns, blogs are another vital way to get your information in front of your users. For blog creation, we use WordPress. A long-time standard in the industry, WordPress is so common it’s often overlooked. But it’s simply the most powerful blog creation platform on the market.
You’ll never get where you want to go, marketing-wise, without first understanding where you are. Google Analytics is the most popular, and most comprehensive, web analytics tool on the market. You can learn just about everything about your users – where they arrived from, how long they stayed on each page, what they were looking for and more.
Of course, Google Analytics can be a little complex. If you’re looking for something simpler, we recommend ChartBeat, GoSquared and MixPanel (Numbers 10 through 12 on our list). These tools focus primarily on social media shares and real-time information. While not as in-depth as Google Analytics, these three tools provide user information quickly and clearly.
Speaking of links, Buzzstream is a great link-building tool. You can automatically search for contact information, add links with one click and even find influential social media accounts related to your niche.
Strategy 2: Your Shared Media Channels
This is when your original content is somehow shared by another party. This could be shares on social media, guest blog posts or other relatively simple shares. Shared media can also be a little more complicated. Some examples here would be product reviews or even coverage in the news.
With Shared Media, your message will typically reach a large audience, including people who might have never heard of you. You don’t have total control over your message, however, which can potentially be a problem. Still, even negative Shared Media will typically lead users to your Direct Media Channels, where you have tighter control of your image. Also, a positive mention of your brand in the news media can have a powerful effect, since the positive information is coming from an unbiased source.
Our Favorite Shared Media Tools:
Ideally, your content will draw in new users, who you can then contact in the future with more information about your brand. OnePress Social Locker is a great way to create a database of customer contact information. Users are locked out of your content until they Like/Retweet/or +1 it.
SumoMe is great for Shared Media, since it’s an easy way for others to share your content, especially blogs. This tool is also useful for your Direct Media channels, too. SumoMe allows you to easily add subscription scroll bars, list popups and giveaways to your sites. Another great way to get contact information from your visitors.
This site connects professional journalists to sources. If you’re an expert in a particular field, you can use that expertise to appear on the media, where you will hopefully create awareness of your brand. There’s no particular way to know when your expertise will be needed, so creating a HARO profile is a great way to put yourself out there. Your knowledge might suddenly be in demand.
The media can be a valuable marketing tool in another way, too. PR Newswire has a complete suite of tools to help you create and distribute press releases. When your brand has something newsworthy to announce, PR Web helps you get the word out. They also feature a variety of tracking tools, so you can alter your PR strategy as necessary.
Lists are a popular, effective way to deliver content. List.ly is an easy way to create lists. You can grab items from just about everywhere. List items can be tools, articles, blog posts and more (you can even include your own original content). Publish and embed with ease.
Marketing involves a lot of communication with other marketers. Instead of just trying to manage all communication by yourself, it helps to have an email system you can rely on. Boomerang for Gmail lets you schedule replies, send automatic follow-ups and otherwise manage all of your e-correspondence.
Original content is a major factor in your ability to stand out from the crowd. Contently is a source of original writing, and can be used as both a Shared or Paid channel. You can create your own content and display it on Contently, where hopefully others in your niche share or otherwise use the content. Alternatively, you can use Contently to hire content writers for your project.
Storify is an easy way to gather up a variety of different news stories and place them all in one location. While originally designed for news professionals, anyone can take advantage of a Storify page. If your brand is somehow connected to a news story, you can create a Storify page with a variety of content including content specifically related to your brand. This can be a great way to get Shared Media coverage.
Strategy 3: Paid Media
No matter the size of your marketing budget, you want to save as much money as you can. While many marketing tools are free, there are some services you’ll likely want to pay for. Paid media includes pay-per-click ads, social media ads and similar.
Our favorite Paid Media tools:
Have you finished reading an article only to find a bunch of sponsored links on the bottom of the page? How do those links get such prime real estate? The answer is Outbrain.
We like Outbrain because it’s easy to use and gets great results. Your articles will appear as sponsored links on sites such as CNN, Slate and ESPN. Even better, your content is added to the end of relevant articles, so you can attract readers interested in what you have to offer.
Along those same lines, other content distribution platforms include Taboola, nRelate and Disqus (23 – 25). Taboola is very similar to Outbrain, only with slightly more of an emphasis on video. Disqus is usually found on sites which have an active community of commenters. nRelate is actually changing their entire business model, so they’re probably not a great choice at the moment.
This service is geared towards those who produce their own content and want to distribute it in a specific way. Some instances of this “branded content” include Chipolte and their connection to discussions about sustainable foods, or how Red Bull is so closely tied to discussions about extreme sports.
You might be surprised how your brand could potentially connect to an idea. We recommend checking out how branded content could work for you. The potential rewards can be huge.
SimpleReach is a large-scale content measurement service. All of your social media accounts will be analyzed and you’ll be given actionable information about how to best place your content. We like the ability to analyze the ROI of our content in real time.
LinkedIn is designed for business to business marketing. You have the option for sponsored posts, display ads, sponsored email and PPC ads. If you’re not marketing B2B, LinkedIn isn’t for you – but otherwise it’s a solid investment.
The beauty of paying for Facebook posts is you can target directly whoever you want to target. Any post from your page can be specifically boosted towards demographics based on age, gender, location or particular interest.
You can pay to make your tweets more visible, or you can promote an original tweet. The big advantage with Twitter is the deep analytic capabilities. Generally speaking, Twitter has a higher rate of engagement than other social media advertising, but also a higher cost.
A Combination Strategy is a Winning Strategy
Deciding where to put your efforts can be a balancing act. You want to focus on the channels which will bring you the best results. Also, you want to use as many free services as possible – but when you pay for a channel, you want the most bang for your buck.
You’ll find the best way to market your content will be through a combination of owned, shared and paid media. With these 30 tools in your marketing toolbox, you’ll be able to adapt and change your strategy as necessary in order to keep up with your audience.
What are some of the tools you’ve found success with? Leave us a comment with your favorites!