What are the best tools for content marketing, and how do you use them in a coherent content marketing strategy?
The reality of many marketer’s jobs is having to come up with multiple pieces of brand new content, from scratch… everyday. On top of that it has to be relevant, engaging and win the internet… It’s no wonder we’ve never got enough time or feel like we’ve run out of ideas.
So, how do you fill the gaps in your feed with stuff that matters?
Well, Andy Lambert, Director of ContentCal tells us exactly how in our latest podcast. He also arms us with a content management plan, as well as a list of tools to help us execute it efficiently.
If you would prefer a quick skim and scan, we’ve outlined Andy’s key points and listed the relevant tools below.
TIME SAVING TIPS THAT HELP YOU PRODUCE CONTENT
Content creation, templates and snippets
Typically we all try to create our content from scratch but have no idea where to start. Andy suggests putting a few templates together, or snippets for content you might use regularly. This acts as a great starting point when your creative juices have all dried up.
As an example, say you’re going to write an article. What’s the headline going to be? It needs to be something that your audience is interested in. Use a tool, Answer The Public would work in this case (we explain further down how ATP works). You’ve got the information, what type of article is it going to be? A “How To”, a “What Is”, a list? What’s the goal of the article? Mailing list sign-ups, buy services, download an e-book? You’ve now got something to work with.
List these questions and answers in a document, along with all other relevant Q&A’s to refer to when you’re next feeling the creative drought.
If you ever come across a great article, or piece of information you feel you could adapt for your audience, save it in a document. It doesn’t even need to be the entire piece of content, a link and title will do. Use it to fill in those blanks.
Repurpose old content
Content should never become old content. If you published a blog post last year and the subject matter has become relevant again, repurpose it by turning it into an infographic or a podcast. If that’s not your thing, then you could even just update the information it contains, maybe try a catchier title? Get creative with it, you might be surprised with the results.
THE 6 STEP CONTENT PLAN
Step 1: Customer
To start out you should be looking to identify whether you’re in a popular space of the market or not. Are people searching for your keywords? If so which of those are returning the most results. Knowing these answers will ensure you’re not wasting your time, or money, on irrelevant search terms.
Step 2: Context
You know the short term phrases your audience are searching for, but what sort of questions are they asking? I.e. What do they really want? The answers to these questions will help you identify trends which you can build a structure around for your content. It will also identify the best ways of reaching your audience.
Step 3: Creativity
It’s time to give your audience what they want. You’ve got the information, now you need to consider how you’re going to present it to them? A blog post? Graphic? Video? Experiment with different types of content to find out what your audience is more receptive to.
Step 4: Collaboration
“The best implementations of social content are the ones that involve a team”. A lot of companies have one person delivering all of the content, but there are so many ideas across a broader business that don’t get heard. Look at creating a ‘content hub’ to empower other members of your business to submit ideas to.
Step 5: Channels
You’ve identified the trends, you’ve created the content for them, now it’s time to start rolling it all out. This is where you need to be structuring your calendar. You don’t want to be sending out content for one trend with hashtags for another, it won’t make any sense and it will make you look silly.
Step 6: Calculation
Congratulations, your content is now out there for everyone to see, your job is done! The truth is, your job is far from done. The research and the analytics side of a content plan is by far one of the most important roles. So far you’ve used information from external sources to guide you in the right direction. Now you’ve got your own information, from your own audience. That information should be utilised to refine your processes, catering to your audience.
Uber Suggests (Customer)
By running your keywords through Uber Suggests you gain access to a plethora of information, such as; search volumes, trends, click through rates, average cpc’s and even ratings for the competition difficulty. Not only that, it also gives you suggestions for other relevant keywords as well as the questions people are searching for answers to.
Keyword.io focuses on more specific, long-form search terms. For example if one of your keywords was “coffee shop”, you could run that through Keyword.io and you might get results like “coffee shop menu” or “reusable coffee shop cups”. It allows you to go a little more in-depth.
Awario is an incredibly useful tool for helping you understand your competitive landscape. It allows you to pit yourself against your competitors and see what they’re doing in your space. You’ll have access to information such as share of voice across different channels, how your reach compares and even which influencers are driving your competitors. From this you can derive what channels your competitors are strong on and where you need to improve.
Answer The Public (Context)
Answer The Public allows you to identify trends in your market. It takes your keywords and mind maps all of the trending search terms surrounding them. Questions, prepositions, comparisons, it’s all at your fingertips for the taking. Export this to an excel file and you’ve got months worth of content to be playing with.
Google’s “People Also Ask” (Context)
Simple but effective. If you search any of your chosen keywords/search terms in Google, it will return a “People Also Ask” section. The questions listed here are the most up to date and relevant pieces of information being searched for.
Display Purposes (Context)
Display Purposes is used for hashtag research. All you need to do is enter one of your keywords and it will give you 30 hashtags from Instagram, organised in terms of relevance and popularity. Hashtags will help your content reach a wider audience.
It’s the same idea as Display Purposes but returns the hashtags from Twitter.
Days Of The Year (Context)
National days. No matter what your view is on them, they’re a brilliant tool to help brands drive additional reach. If you’re planning your calendar ahead then we it’s worth checking out Days Of The Year to see what days you can jump on the back of. Andy does mention that you should avoid shoehorning your brand into days that aren’t relevant, it can come across as being very insensitive.
Google Alerts (Context)
Another simple yet effective tool from Google. By searching “Google Alerts” you can set up a daily email digest for the most relevant news in your industry.
A video creation tool that allows you to create short effective videos in an incredibly simple way, Andy says “Think Canva for video”. It offers stock video options and compiles all creations at the perfect frame rate for social media. The paid version also offers a very powerful feature whereby you can upload a blog post, and Lumen5 will turn it into a simple 10 second video picking out the key points.
If you’re not proficient in Adobe creative suite then you should definitely check out RelayThat. It makes graphic design incredibly simple, by offering an extensive selection of design presets that are perfectly sized and optimized for every possible channel you could wish to post to. It could save you hours of graphic design work.
Your content hub, calendar and analytics platform. If you’ve planning on following Andy’s content plan then ContentCal is the perfect tool to tie everything together. You can create and store templates and snippets. You’ve got the content hub for curating and storing your information, this also allows for collaboration. You can categorize your content to split it into different channels and it keeps a track of every post you fire out from it’s calendar. There are a whole range of metrics for you to delve into, to help refine your content strategy. We could go on forever about the features ContentCal offers, but we think you should just go and check it out for yourself.