You understand the importance of creating content, but that doesn’t mean you’re any good at it.
Being creative is hard. Content promotion is hard. Coming up with great new ideas for your content is hard. Actually, it’s damn near impossible, especially when you’re tasked with doing it day after day. Or when writing isn’t exactly a life passion you hold dear to your heart.
Welcome to a content marketer’s hell, where it’s all content, all the time and typically only a splattering of inspiration. But fear not! There are content marketing tools and tricks to help make the process easier.
Below are some of my favorites.
1. Content Marketing Super Tools
Your brain will always be the best tool in your arsenal. But sometimes even that could use a jumpstart. And that’s where content marketing tools come into play.
Which tools see the most action in my bookmark list?
It never hurts to start with the most obvious and if creating content to attracts and convert is your goal, Google’s keyword research tool should be the most obvious in your arsenal. Use it to understand keyword traffic, competition and to find the pools in which you want to swim.
From the most obvious to (arguably) the most powerful, UberSuggest works like Google Suggest but on better drugs. The same way Google Suggest can open your mind to new keyword phrases and content ideas, UberSuggest blows it out of the water by going far deeper. Give UberSuggest a keyword and the tool will take the base of that keyword and work off it, adding a letter or digit to expand your keyword options in all directions. Click on any of the keyword phrases UberSuggest populates and it will dive even deeper, offering other related phrases. If I could only bring one content marketing tool with me to a deserted island, this would be it.
To get even crazier, Seer Interactive’s Ethan Lyon shows you how to pair Ubersuggest with Tag Crowd. Sexy.
Just because we live in a Google-dominant world doesn’t mean we have license to ignore the other players. Soovle, er, solves this problem by offering a broader view of long tail keywords and content opportunities by using intel from other engines like Bing, YouTube, Yahoo, Wikipedia and beyond. I don’t love the UI on this, but I will drop phrases in here to see what it brings up when my other sources are running a little low.
2. Social Media Tools
Social media’s greatest benefit is the ability to eavesdrop on your customers and to use that stalking competitive intel to solve their problems before they recognize they had a problem in the first place.
Every day your customers are logging on to social media to share important things with you. They’re asking questions, they’re seeking recommendations, they’re looking up product information, they’re consulting reviews and, fine, sometimes they’re also using social media to complain. All of this represents an opportunity. The opportunity to hear what they’re saying and feed them back the answers in their own words.
The sites most powerful for doing that.
I know, Quora takes a lot of heat for being too “insider baseball” with claims normal people don’t really use it, but stop judging it and start using it. While your mother may not have a Quora account (yet), plenty of others do. And they’re using Quora to ask questions and have intelligent conversations around topics like tech, business, startup life, entrepreneurism, travel and even cooking hacks. Looking to be a content resource around a specific keyword? Dump the phrase into Quora and see what smart people are asking.
You just may take back every bad word you said about Quora.
In my world, Advanced “Anyone Know” Searches are still the bees-knees.
If you’re not using them to find outreach opportunties, influencers and content suggestions it’s like you’re not even trying.
Social Mention shows you what people are talking about associated with your keywords, how powerful that keyword is and how often those conversations are happening, all pulled from a myriad of sources. SocialMention will also give you an indication of basic keyword sentiment and the hottest keywords associated with your query. For those of us in the content marketing world, this ensures we’re using correct, most-trafficked words to discuss the topics we’re passionate about. Which is basically the entire point of content marketing in the first place. I use SocialMention to give me insight into not only what I should be talking about, but how I should be talking about it and to whom.
3. Your Site
Any SEO worth her salt knows the one of the best ways to learn about your customers is to spy on them. On your own website. While still in your pajamas.
Log into Webmaster Tools and use site analytics to understand your visitor’s intent for being there. Learn the questions they have, what they sink their teeth into, where they abandon the process, the topics they’re most passionate about, where else they hang out on the Web and what their purpose is. Identify the content pieces that are most well-received, what they like hearing about, what pisses them off and the hacks they’re looking for. Study your site search to hear their needs and concerns in their own language and their most pressing concerns. Your customers are giving you all this information just by interacting with your site. Use it to improve their experience and your marketing.
4. Ask Your Team
Know who is an untapped resource for your content marketing needs? Your Support team. They sit on the front lines, listening to complaints, answering questions and walking your brand every day. Ask them what topics customers are most interested in and the questions they often have. Why do they pick up the phone and call? Where do they get stuck? What’s on their wish list? Your support team knows. Maybe it’s a weekly lunch where you pick their brain or a new habit of BCC’ing your content department on support emails sent. Get yourself into that knowledge reservoir.
Once you’ve bugged your Support team, go hit up Sales. They know what’s most important to your customers and the language they need to use to close the deal. [Or maybe they don’t and your keyword research can help them…] Get in that conversation and learn to share knowledge throughout your organization.
A content marketer’s job is never done and it’s certainly never easy. However, you can help keep that content well flowing by using tools to uncover new opportunities and leveraging assets you already have – like your site analytics and the other members on your team.
What tools and resources do you use to maintain your content marketing efforts?