First of all, the whole content marketing…what actually is it? Although I’m not here to define things, I just want to make sure we’re on the same page, so here’s my personal way of understanding content marketing: It’s a range of activities revolving around promoting your website (or online business) by creating and spreading the best quality content you are capable of producing.
In essence, content marketing is marketing through content (as Captain Obvious would put it).
Anyway, I’m one of those people who think that everything (and I do mean EVERYTHING) can be improved by modern tools that technology brings to us every year. Therefore, here are 5 tools and techniques that can help you with your content marketing efforts.
# 1. Better blog commenting monitoring through Gmail
The first item on the list is rather a technique than a new tool, although it does utilize Gmail.
It’s all about blog commenting, which is a well-known content marketing strategy. The idea is that you comment on various related blogs, take part in the discussion and lure people to visit your site. The only problem is that keeping up with a number of discussions at the same time is quite challenging (or rather impossible).
Now, most blogs usually have a “subscribe to comments” feature that will send you an email whenever there’s a new comment under a post that you’ve already commented on. However, if you subscribe with your standard email address then your inbox will get flooded within a week or so. This doesn’t make it very real-world-useful, does it?
This is where Gmail comes into play. Whenever signing up to anything (like some notifications for blog comments) you can use the plus operator and add an additional word to your Gmail ID. For example, if your email is email@example.com then you can also use firstname.lastname@example.org.
This will allow you to then filter the emails coming from comment subscriptions by using the Filter functionality in Gmail. For me, this is a real time saver, as it allows me to keep my finger on the pulse at all times without effectively killing my inbox.
# 2. Freemind
Freemind is a free mind mapping tool. It’s available on all major platforms, it’s lightweight, and it’s very easy to use (offering a range of handy keyboard shortcuts).
For me, mind mapping is the best and the simplest way to transfer every idea that’s in my head onto a computer screen. (For a more elaborate definition please check this article.) It’s much more effective than Word or any other text processor, that’s for sure.
Here’s how I use it for content marketing:
- Planning out specific pieces of content I want to create.
- Keeping track with my publication dates.
- Using it as a bank of ideas containing various headline ideas and rough descriptions of articles.
- Keeping track of the guest posts I’m sending.
- Brainstorming over new projects worth taking part in.
- Managing other people’s input when creating group content.
- Task management.
- Wide scale strategy creating and brainstorming (also known as running a business).
- Keeping a list of interesting sites worth reaching out to and collaborating with.
- And many smaller and simpler things. No point of listing them here.
# 3. Moz Pro
Formerly known as SEOmoz Pro, this is the first premium tool on the list, but sometimes you just have to invest a small amount of money to get some cool functionality.
Previously, SEOmoz was just a set of
Inside, you’ll find things like:
- Followerwonk (free) – helps you analyze your Twitter followers, compare them, and find a better way of interacting with them.
- Open Site Explorer (free) – lets you compare other sites and spy on what they are doing in terms of online marketing.
- MozBar (free) – handy browser toolbar for quick website analysis.
- Fresh Web Explorer – lets you analyze mentions of your brand or any other keyword for that matter. In a way, it’s similar to Google Alerts, only way better.
- Rank Tracker – see how well your pages are doing for your desired keywords. Simple.
- On-Page Grader – measure the level of your on-page optimization.
- Keyword Analysis – find out how difficult certain keywords are to tackle and rank for with content marketing.
If you’d like to check some alternatives, feel free to visit Raven Tools or BuzzStream. But keep in mind that they offer slightly different functionalities than Moz.
# 4. IFTTT
IFTTT is If This Then That – cool sounding name, but the tool itself is even cooler. Basically, it allows you to make connections between various online tools and set some actions based on those connections. This can be a great thing for content discovery or even keeping yourself updated with what’s going on with your campaigns and other projects.
For instance, here are some handy “recipes” that you can cook on your IFTTT; all of the following are done automatically once you set it up – no supervision required:
- Take a new entry from your site and post it on Twitter. Or post it anywhere actually (Facebook, LinkedIn, Delicious, Buffer).
- Every email starred in Gmail gets posted to Evernote or Google Drive.
- Update your Facebook page whenever you add a new post on your site.
- Set your Buffer updates via SMS.
- Quick-add Google Calendar events via SMS.
- Get SMS notifications for new emails in Gmail.
- Get SMS notifications if someone publishes a new post on a blog that’s important to you.
- Tweet your Facebook status updates.
- “Note to self” – save your SMS message to Dropbox or Evernote.
- Lastly, you can create your own recipes, so the only thing limiting you is your imagination.
# 5. Backblaze
I’m kind of a back-up freak. Sorry about this. But when it comes to content marketing, your content is EVERYTHING. So if you should happen to lose it one day for any reason, it can very well mean the end of your online presence.
The simple fact is that hard disks fail. And them failing is not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when.
Backblaze comes to the rescue here. It’s a very cheap solution ($5 a month) that backs up everything on your computer (again, that’s every piece of data) and keeps it safely in the cloud. The best thing is that you get access to unlimited disk space, so you don’t have to worry about ever exceeding it.
To be honest, the day I installed Backblaze was the first day when I truly stopped worrying about going “caveman” again, if you know what I mean.
This closes my list of 5 great tools and techniques. Making it kind of short was intentional. I’m really tired of seeing those massive lists of 30+ tools for something. No one has time to try and use 30+ new tools at the same time. But, trying out just 5 is much more realistic and doable.
Anyway, let’s extend the list to 6. Do you know of any other tool that would look good here? Or maybe you have any questions about the ones I listed?
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