Content marketers face two big challenges:
- Producing enough content
- Producing powerful content that helps take a business to the next level
Let's face it. Generating an unending stream of fresh, unique and valuable content is a big task. You could spend hours on a blog post or infographic that you hope will be powerful enough to inspire social likes and viral sharing only to discover that once the content is pushed to readers, it did little in the way of improving engagement, traffic and/or sales.
But a large part of maintaining a dynamic business blog and an active social media presence revolves around creating great content. So tedious or not, discouraging or not, creating interesting and quality content that your audience will want to share and interact with is a big part of your job description if you want to see more engagement and establish yourself as an authority in your niche.
The key is to streamline the process to include the many moving parts of a successful content marketing initiative.
Content Marketing Stages
1. Creation, Editing And Management
This is the process of creating content based on your objectives for content marketing and how it will fit into your overall marketing mix.
2. Aggregation, Curation And Optimization
Next, the content marketer pulls content from different locations, curates it so it fits a larger narrative and tweaks it to better suit various mediums including search, social and mobile.
3. Promotion And Interaction
Successful content marketing is contingent upon certain factors more than others. Creating great content is one and making sure the content gets found in the search engines is two. The third consideration is promoting the content to your followers using more of an offline approach and socializing within communities.
And finally, to assess how any content you produce is performing with your target audience, you need access to certain metrics such as engagement, loyalty, conversion rates and other KPIs. Once you have your hands on this information, you can then adapt your content to make sure it is optimized for both humans and the engines.
Over the years, many solutions have been developed to streamline the above steps. As such,
- At the "Creation, editing and management" stage, content marketers have come to rely on tools such as modern WCMS and blogging solutions.
- At the "Aggregation, curation and optimization" stage, tools like Optimizely and Monetate have been used.
- At the "Promotion and interaction" stage, tools such as Radian6 and Hootsuite have helped many marketers.
- And at the "Analytics" stage, several web analytics tools such as Google Analytics and Qualaroo proved to be useful.
But as the content marketing process evolved, these "classic" tools ceased to be flexible and powerful enough to keep up with the new face of content marketing, as we know it today. Technology solutions were developed to provide more comprehensive tools to approach content marketing. These tools are broadly grouped into 4 categories.
Content Collaboration Tools
These tools help content marketers with their content editorial workflow making it easier for them to create, edit, manage, curate and optimize content. In essence, the tools that fall in this category represent an overlap between the "Creation, editing and management" and "Aggregation, curation and optimization" stages of content creation.
Oracle Content Marketing is a content marketing platform targeted at companies who stepped into blogging and content management using WordPress or any other basic blogging tool, but are now looking to add more sophistication to their content strategy. With Oracle Content Marketing, authors can create and push content to numerous channels, scheduling it or specifying an expiration date. Content can also be pulled from external sources, curation tools such as Percolate or any RSS feed.
Contently is a piece of software that powers relationships between businesses that need content and talented writers who can create it. It offers tools for businesses to connect with writers and review their portfolios. Contently also offers a simple dashboard that you can use to access editorial calendars, add assignments to writers and handle other details such as special instructions, due dates and payment options.
Ebyline is yet another platform that provides a link between publishers and vetted content producers. The difference between Ebyline and Contently lies in the fact that Ebyline offers two service options.
The first is self-serve. With the self-serve product, publishers and brands get access to Ebyline's array of qualified freelancers. You can then assign them specific writing tasks. But if you want a more hands-off approach, Ebyline also offers another product called full-service. With full-service, you turn your content creation process in its entirety over to Ebyline editors.
InboundWriter is a piece of software that helps marketers create content for both the engines and human consumption. By using InboundWriter, you can assess the body of any content you create to gain insight on how to improve it. Furthermore, before you actually start writing, InboundWriter lets you specify your optimization preference. For example, if you're looking to improve your Google AdSense content strategy, you can have the system make suggestions to improve your copy for AdSense monetization.
InboundWriter also scores any content you feed into it to give you an idea of the likelihood that the content will attract the right target audience.
Content Curation & Conversation Tools
The tools that fall in this category help marketers aggregate and promote content in meaningful ways. They also help the process of content optimization.
1. Atomic Reach
Atomic Reach is a content optimization platform that analyzes content attributes. This includes paragraph density, originality, quality, audience relevance, profitability and engagement in real time.
The first task for brands using Atomic Reach, therefore, is to create a list of the keyword topics that you're interested in and attributes of your target audience. Atomic Reach then analyzes your content and provides a report with a score between 0 and 100 reflecting whether or not the content matches your audience's profile and its amplification potential.
Categorical is designed for publishers looking to find, manage, and curate content. Categorical's Curation Desk is a friendly interface with a four-column layout where you can review the content it has selected and curate the ones that meet your requirements and criteria. Curation Desk's content stream is based on an unlimited number of RSS feeds. It also integrates with content management systems and email technology providers to allow for a fast and efficient content delivery process.
Curata is also a tool you can use to find, curate and share content on topics that matter to your brand and customers. It uses a proprietary algorithm that slowly adapts to your content preferences based on the stories you selected for curation in the past. In essence, Curata addresses one of the biggest challenges content marketers face: The issue of producing enough content.
Like Categorical, Curata integrates with major content management systems to help users publish curated content via newsletters, social media and other marketing channels.
Percolate is a technology solution that helps marketers systematize their content creation cycle so they can create more content more frequently and respond to opportunities as they emerge. The most interesting feature of this tool is that it enables brands to monitor the social media sites and other content sources using a proprietary algorithm to turnaround appropriate content. It also curates royalty-free and visual content for sharing on the social media channels. Percolate offers an image editor that you can use to modify such "owned" images. In addition, Percolate also comes complete with a suite of analytics tools.
Social Content Analytics Tools
These tools provide insights into what your audience wants you to talk about. They help marketers keep their messages and conversations coherent and relevant.
If you want to access all your social media data from one central location and identify the factors that are contributing the most to drive your social media success, all the way down to the smallest details, Mondovo's social media tools including Facebook Analytics, Twitter Analytics, Facebook Competition Analyzer and Twitter Competition Analyzer, provide the most comprehensive solution for measuring and monitoring your social media profiles. With Mondovo, you can:
- Dig into the most effective Tweets and the impact they've had
- Measure your customer service efforts on Facebook
- Understand and benchmark the performance of your Facebook Fan Page
- Analyze the content and engagement trends of any Twitter or Facebook account
When it comes to social media engagement, the biggest challenge that content marketers face is finding conversations and responding to customers who are talking about their business. And SproutSocial addresses this challenge. With SproutSocial you can:
- View all your social messages in one place
- Engage with customers across multiple channels
- Schedule and publish content across the different social networks
- Discover which messages resonate the most with your audience so you can produce more of it.
In essence, SproutSocial is a powerful tool you can use to understand your social media engagement. Equipped with insights into what is being said about you on the social networks, you can then keep an eye on the people and brands that frequently mention you.
Buffer is another simple but powerful tool for managing multiple social media accounts at once. Wherever you are, you can quickly schedule content, collaborate with team members and analyze metrics to get insights into how your posts are performing on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. Buffer is particularly useful for small business owners who don't have the time or inclination to update their social media accounts regularly but would like to maintain an active social media presence. With Buffer, you can schedule bulk posts ahead of time in a queue.
Engagement Automation Tools
Facilitating the process whereby analytics inform content optimization for engagement and conversion purposes, these tools are critical to identifying gaps in your content strategy and fixing them. This is where "Analytics" meets the "Creation, editing and management" stage of content creation.
WebEngage is used by big guys like PC Magazine and Moz (previously SEOmoz). And with its free plan, smaller guys can afford it too. Basically, it puts your engagement on autopilot, by micro-targeting your audience with relevant offers as well as collecting valuable insights from feedback forms.
Plus, if you are working for a boss who is not too receptive about new tools for the company, WebEngage has a special section that is designed to help you "sell" the product to him/her, whether you are a developer, product manager, marketer or sales manager!
Needle is a service that aims to turn your customer service from boring, canned and frustrating to exciting and full of passion. Sounds too good to be true? It's not that far-fetched if you actually look into how it does that.
Let's face it: Most businesses' customer service plain sucks. Everyone knows that the real work force is in marketing and that customer service reps are just freshly "qualified" trainees, for the most part.
What Needle does is it looks for people that are passionate about your niche, market or brand and assigns them to sell your stuff. Finally, a really enthusiastic person representing your brand!
Evergage is a real-time web personalization solution. It analyzes every single visitor and automatically displays what's most relevant to them to maximize conversions. So you can get them to stay longer on your website, sign up for your newsletter, buy your product or service, and if they are already a customer, promote the most relevant up sells and/or cross-sells.
There's really not much more to add to it! What Evergage does is simple and yet highly effective to directly improve sales!
So, did you guys like this tools compilation? Is there any other tool you find valuable and would like to see in this list? Let us know in the comments section below! And do share this post if you liked it 🙂