The time for investing in amazing content is now. When you produce extraordinary content that compels people to share, the result is an engaged community, which opens doors to more traffic, mentions, links and conversions. Some studies even show that content marketing can lead to a lower Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) over time.
I’ve been seeing some great posts about the process of content marketing, but many of these posts are missing the tools that help you succeed during the different phases of a content strategy. That’s where we come in!
As simple as it may sound, successful content marketing requires a strategic mix of planning, research, and execution, as well as proper tracking and measurement to convey the return on investment. Accomplishing this isn’t easy, but with the right mix of tools, content marketing can lead to gains in SEO and social media that can set a brand apart for years to come.
Building Your Content Strategy
In order to create exceptional content, you must research what’s performing well in your space. If you’ve ever read our blog, you know we constantly reference Follower Wonk, Hoosaid, Topsy, Social Mention and Amplicate, but there are plenty of other tools for researching keywords, topics and influencers.
I recently discovered Trapit, which is super useful for this type of sleuthing. You can quickly search any topic and Trapit comes back with the best, most relevant content from around the web. It’s easy to sort by recency or relevancy, and you can even save these searches (“traps”) and rate the discoveries, improving the results over time.
Managing a Content Team
Once you’ve identified topics and an audience of interest, organizing your content team is your next mission. While a kick-ass editorial calendar is a good start, there are some helpful collaboration tools that make project management a lot easier.
At Thunder, we’ve been using Basecamp forever, but when it came time to step up our blog game earlier this year, we started looking for a tool that would help us collaborate more seamlessly. After reading about Trello from some of our well-respected peers, we started integrating it with our editorial calendar, and it helps us stay really organized. Some of our favorite features include labeling the cards for different phases of the writing process (e.g. in progress, submitted; needs editing, edited and ready to post, posted), uploading design elements (e.g. headers, thumbnails, cover photos, Twitter backgrounds), sharing responsibility among team members, assigning due dates and creating checklists.
After your team has started creating awesome content with your audience, topics and business goals in mind, you’ll want to add it to your site in a meaningful way that inspires engagement. Rather than just dumping the information into a blog post, consider telling a story with a slideshow, video, timeline or poll.
One of our favorite tools for collecting buzz about a particular event or topic is Storify. As outlined in this awesome post by Courtney, Storify is a great way to pull together content from all over the social web from sources like Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and blogs. You can embed the stories in blog posts, notify anyone that’s been quoted in your story, and add future timely updates to the story too.
Now that your exceptional content is live, you’ll want to do everything possible to promote your gems of wisdom.
We are particularly fond of Zemanta, which positions your content in front of active bloggers using their blog publishing assistant. Zemanta has a really sweet interface and makes it easy for bloggers to quickly link to your posts and images with one click.
Blogger networks like BlogDash, MuckRack, SeededBuzz, Triberr and GroupHigh are also an efficient way to find, engage and pitch a large group of journalists and writers looking for compelling content.
Monitoring Content Performance
In April, Chris wrote a really solid post about tracking your linkbait success, and a lot of those tools and tactics carry over into monitoring content performance as well.
I also recently discovered SharedCount, which allows you to track the social buzz around your posts. I wish there was a way to save campaigns in the dashboard, but it’s a nice way to monitor results across several different domains, especially if you’re investing in guest blogging or contributing to other sites.
With the growing alignment of search and social strategies, investing in content marketing is the key to success. Smart marketers know that a content strategy is never short term and always constantly evolving. Using the tools outlined above should get you one step closer to the respect your content deserves.