The 20 Best Online Marketing Tools to Optimise Your Content Marketing Strategy
What was the secret to marketing success in 2017? According to 72 per cent of Australian marketers, adjusting or developing their content marketing strategy was key.
If you want to rethink your content marketing strategy in 2018 but don’t know where to begin, we recommend starting with these 20 tools – all of which can help you boost your content and reach your goals.
Clients, strategists, writers, designers, project managers – everyone has a role in the creation of your content.
Fortunately, there’s Trello, a visual collaboration board that keeps everyone on the same page.
Teams use shared Trello boards to organise projects and see what’s getting done. You can make checklists, add comments, assign tasks and upload essential files.
By tracking progress in real time, Trello increases efficiency and streamlines content creation and delivery. Deadlines are met more consistently, issues are flagged and quality can be monitored through multiple checks.
(2) Google Alerts
Google Alerts is a notifications service where newly published content is delivered directly to your inbox. Simply enter your target search terms, adjust your settings and never miss out again.
For example, say you want to see video and news content about bitcoin as it’s published in Australia. You only want a daily email and you’re happy to let Google determine what’s best.
Set the alert accordingly and let Google go to work:
For content marketers, there’s serious value in Google Alerts, which can help you find up-to-date source material and stay on top of news topics. Further, Google Alerts lets you see what else is being written – perhaps by your competition.
(3) Google Trends
Google Trends shows what people are searching for – majorly helpful information for uncovering hot topics.
And if you don’t think your content is relevant to what’s trending has much to do with your content, you might be surprised.
Imagine you’re coming up with blog ideas for your accounting firm in northern Queensland. While it’s unlikely ‘payroll requirements’ will land in the Trends queue, you can still use the information there.
For example, if lots of Australians are Googling a recent farm injury, why not write an article on ‘What you need to know about hiring seasonal workers’ that hooks into the story.
You can also explore the trendiness of topics over time to see if what you’re keen to write about is ‘in’. This is key as some subjects will only have traction during certain windows.
What Google Trends does for search, BuzzSumo does for social.
Like Trends, you can use BuzzSumo to find new topics or to understand how target terms perform on different social media platforms.
BuzzSumo can also measure the social performance of your own content or your competitors. Enter in a domain and you’ll see what’s being shared most and where. This is vital information for shaping your social media strategy.
(5) IFTTT (If this, then that)
IFTTT lets you connect apps, tools and other devices for ultimate productivity.
With IFTTT, you design commands – called recipes – of what you’d like to work together. A recipe doesn’t need to be complex – it can be as simple as ‘save all of my Instagram posts to a certain Google Drive folder.”
— Evernote (@evernote) December 8, 2017
There are endless ways marketers can use IFTTT to automate tasks and compile information.
Some of our favourite recipes? Set IFTTT to automatically:
- Update all social media profile pictures when you change one;
- Send you a notification when an articles is shared;
- Compile new email newsletter sign ups in one Google Sheet;
- Email you when a task is completed on a Trello card.
In the past, you’d need to know code to achieve this level of integration, but IFTTT makes it easy.
Google is tackling mobile-friendliness in a similar way to page speed. Their free Mobile-Friendly test rates the UX of your webpage on mobile devices and shows exactly what could be fixed for better performance.
— SearchEngineJournal® (@sejournal) December 2, 2017
Even pages that earn Google’s mobile-friendly score can be prone to loading errors, which the tool flags so you can make the necessary optimisations.
Like speed, mobile-friendliness is a ranking signal Google Developers have been very transparent about. It’s also one marketers should be cognisant of if they want content to reach their target audience. According to Google, smartphone users are five times more likely to leave your site if it isn’t easy to use.
Powered by Moz, Followerwonk doesn’t just report on your retweets, connections and other basic Twitter metrics. It also analyses your followers, compares your social graph to competitors and helps you find Twitter bios similar to your own.
— Followerwonk (@followerwonk) December 10, 2015
Followerwonk gives marketers a comprehensive picture of their Twitter performance that they can use to get more targeted followers.
One of our favourite features allows you to search for influencers based on keywords in their Twitter bio or profile. Work in IT and keen to connect with the big guys at Microsoft? Search for those with Microsoft in their bio and you’ll be connected to the CEO in no time.
Speed is one of Google’s most well-known ranking factors and it also plays a critical role in webpage traffic.
According to Google subsidiary DoubleClick, a site that loads in 5 seconds will outperform one that takes 19 seconds in the following ways:
- 25 per cent higher ad viewability,
- 70 per cent longer sessions on average, and
- 35 per cent lower bounce rates.
Simply put, if your page is quick, your content will reach more people, but where do you begin?
Luckily, Google hasn’t left us in the dark. They’ve given us PageSpeed Insights, a tool that not only rates webpage performance, but also provides detailed insights and instructions.
How detailed? The tool will identify exactly what’s causing delays and describe how to fix the issue – right down to which images to optimise and landing page redirects to remove.
With a free tool this good, there’s no reason to lose traffic (or ranking status) due to slow pages.
Nothing ruins the credibility of your content faster than a typo or other mistake. Fortunately, there’s Grammarly, a browser extension that automatically detects grammar, punctuation, spelling, word choice and style errors in your writing.
— Grammarly (@Grammarly) December 10, 2017
Because it’s integrated with your browser, Grammarly will not only keep your content clean but also save you from embarrassing email blunders, poorly worded Facebook posts and anything else you type online.
Good content answers questions but how do you know what people are asking? Quora, a free online forum, can help marketers uncover this information and use it to create more effective content.
Say you’re trying to decide what to cover on your bicycle shop’s blog.
Visit Quora’s ‘cycling’ topic page’ and you’ll see what users are curious about. While some questions will be incredibly niche, those with the most engagement on Quora will likely drive traffic on your site as well.
Marketers can also use Quora to share content and demonstrate their own expertise. Already have an article of bicycle maintenance tips? Post it in the forum with a bit of advice and watch those inbound links come in.
You’ve likely used Bit.ly to shorten links before, but did you know what else this power tool can do?
When it comes to link performance, bit.ly is a one-stop shop for analytics. That’s because bit.ly tracks every little detail of your clicks, including:
- Total number
- Mobile versus web
- Day of week
- Time of day
- Type of device
- Operating system
Each of these metrics can help shape your content marketing strategy, from where you spend your promotion budget to the time of day you hit ‘share’.
“It’s never been a better or worse time to be a marketer because the opportunities are so endless, the creativity is so open.” Check out the full @convince podcast to hear more of @markjosephson‘s chat with @jaybaer on link management & @Bitly: https://t.co/Wl92WfaPEQ. pic.twitter.com/UkZm0LsmEG
— Bitly (@Bitly) November 17, 2017
(12) Crazy Egg
Crazy Egg makes analytics an art – literally. That’s because Crazy Egg uses visualisations to show (not tell) exactly how visitors interact with your site.
DIfferent data maps show:
- Where users click,
- Referral sources,
- Search terms,
- How far users scroll.
Together, these metrics can help you understand everything from how people are finding your content to when they’re losing interest with it.
— SEMrush (@semrush) December 13, 2017
You can even record a user’s journeys through your site, allowing you to observe whether certain areas are confusing or misleading. Further, by pinpointing when users leave a page, you can eliminate the guesswork from things like bounce rate and lack of conversion.
When someone plagiarises your content, they reap all the rewards – including site traffic and revenue. Further, having repeat content out there can harm your brand’s integrity and affect your search ranking – even if you were the first to publish.
Copyscape is a free tool that helps you take on content copiers by notifying you when copies of your webpages are found online.
This not only helps you take the necessary action to have stolen content removed, but can also be used to check that any content you intend to publish is in fact original.
(14) Search Console
Search Console is a free service to help you understand exactly how your website interacts with Google.
Once your site has the correct code added, you’ll have access to a range of tools and data to help optimise your search presence.
Many of these are targeted at web developers but marketers can also use Search Console to create better content. For example, Search Console generates a list of keyword searches that led users to your site, helping you craft the most effective keyword strategy for future content.
Search Console also tracks website traffic – information marketers can use to determine what kind of content will be most engaging and interesting to their users. This data is different to the data Google Analytics pulls, so it’s important to have both set up.
Unique, media rich content can give your marketing a serious boost. Video alone keeps users on your page an average of 2.6 x longer, according to Wistia. Unfortunately, many organisations don’t have the time, resources or budget to create video and other visual content in house.
For this, there’s Visual.ly, a service content marketers can use to create unique pieces of high quality visual content.
Let Visual.ly know what you’re after and they’ll match you with animators, designers, writers and other experts who can make it happen. Throughout the project you can use Visual,ly’s cloud-based platform to communicate with your team around the progress of your content.
In the end, you’ll receive an impactful piece of content to use throughout your campaigns. Simply sit back and take all the credit.
Canva is another great option for marketers who want to create cool graphics but can’t necessarily afford the designer.
Just about anyone can use Canva to create professional looking infographics, presentations, reports, newsletters, logos and much more. Simply select a Canva template and then use the super intuitive tools to add and remove text, images and other features.
If you’re used to professional design software, you might find Canva a bit underwhelming, but it’s the perfect service for marketers who want to enhance their content with custom visuals.
(17) Google Analytics
You can’t talk about content marketing tools without mentioning Google Analytics, a free Google service that measures and reports website traffic.
— Google Analytics (@googleanalytics) December 15, 2017
Google Analytics provides essential information about your website’s performance, measured in terms of common marketing goals like lead generation, page views, downloads, sales and so on.
Reports also identify poorly performing pages, how users are finding you, time on page and geographic location of users – all of which is critical information when crafting your content marketing strategy.
Feedly is a news aggregator that helps you access huge amounts of relevant content. Subscribe to existing feeds or design your own, then use the service to read, share, save and reference a massive amount of information from various blogs and news sources.
For marketers, Feedly is an excellent way to stay on top of your industry. Not only can you use Feedly for researching your own content and seeing what’s trending, but also to share insights across social media.
Recently, Feedly has also created new features to help teams share information, including team newsletters and collaborative boards.
If you’re new to email marketing, you need MailChimp, a marketing automation platform that can help you send the right emails to the right people at just the right time.
Getting started with MailChimp is easy – just set up an account and import your contacts. If you don’t have any, MailChimp can even help you design a signup form to share on your website and Facebook page.
From there, use MailChimp to create, send and monitor your email campaigns. MailChimp can help you make professional email newsletters, advertisements and more.
Once you’ve hit ‘send,’ use MailChimp’s reports to see who’s opened your emails, who’s sent them to the bin, which links users have clicked and much more – all of which can help you create a more effective email marketing strategy.
Fun fact: Our research shows that A/B tested campaigns do 15% more sales than regular campaigns. https://t.co/FH72jkWCx7
— MailChimp (@MailChimp) December 6, 2017
(20) Open Site Explorer
Open Site Explorer helps marketers do extensive link research – on their own site and their competitors’.
Enter a URL and you’ll see heaps of information you can use to build a thorough link profile, including:
- Total number of links,
- Page performance,
- Newly created links,
- Link quality.
If you’re trying to build your website authority and ranking, Open Site Explorer is a great tool for figuring out who’s linking to your competitors and how to get in on the action. Further, Open Site Explorer can help you find out if certain links are hurting your authority and need to be removed.