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And here we find a problem – creating content isn’t always easy. In fact, it can be pretty time-consuming, which is why many businesses outsource. And even when the content – be it a new blog post, a product promotion, a competition, an email newsletter, a YouTube video or whatever – has been created, creating a strategy to ensure it gets shared as far and wide as possible isn’t the easiest thing to do in the world either.
There are so many things to consider: When is the best time to post? How many times a day/week/month/year should I post any one piece of content? Is the title optimised for the highest amount of clicks? Is the CTA (call to action) strong enough? What about the SEO (search engine optimisation)?
In short, when it comes to content marketing, there are many, many things that need to be just right to ensure that each piece we deliver returns the most valuable results. This is no mean feat – but thankfully there are a number of marketing tools out there that can help refine our efforts to a keen art form.
Here at myCloud Media, we rely on a vast array of web applications in our software stack, which we use to automate and optimise our clients’ content marketing campaigns. The power and accuracy of some of these tools is remarkable.
By utilising user-generated data, we can create highly targeted content with optimised headings and images for maximum click-throughs and put this content in front of the right people at the time they are most likely to engage with it. Put simply, we have an extremely powerful arsenal up our sleeves – and today we wanted to share with you the most valuable tools that we use.
Buffer is a firm favourite for many marketers, and it’s certainly one of ours. On the surface, Buffer is a scheduling tool – and even if that’s all you used it for, then you could hardly make a better choice. A beautiful and intuitive UI (user interface) providing an almost seamless UX (user experience) makes Buffer one of the most user-friendly tools on the market.
But, when you delve a little deeper, you can start unearthing other features like cross-promotion, and one of the clearest, no-nonsense analytics programs you’re likely to find.
All the important data you will use to inform your scheduling and content creation processes are straightforwardly presented in easy-to-read snapshots. And, what’s more, it’s all available on the mobile app, which means that you don’t have to be strapped to your desktop in order to tweak your campaigns. Top of the list without a doubt.
A close second (though for many this would indeed take the number 1 slot) is Hootsuite. Hootsuite is the tool for social media management, and for engendering increased engagement. It integrates with over 25 social networks, including Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, LinkedIn and WordPress, and facilitates great workflow, publishing and analytics for each.
One of Hootsuite’s core strengths is in its enabling of greater audience engagement. From a single dashboard, all members of your team have the ability to respond to any comments, mentions, likes and messages that get left on any of your social networks.
Hootsuite also lets you target your audience with content based on demographic details, which enables smarter, more focussed communications. The perfect tool for combining publishing, engagement and analytics. Brilliant.
Some smaller businesses don’t need all the bells and whistles of the top two tools on this list – and for those we tend to use Sprout Social. Supporting Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn, the Sprout Social platform provides insightful reports for social accounts, and, very niftily, monitors keyword searches all in one stream – which means that you can see what your followers are searching for and give it to them.
Force24 is the perfect blend of technology and people.
The Leeds built-and-managed marketing automation platform provides easy and intuitive marketing automation, alongside ground-breaking support to both SMEs & enterprise clients.
The platform offers complete direct communications management and all data is held in the UK ensuring GDPR compliance. Force24 is also an ISO 27001 accredited vendor meaning the security of data (both customer and client) is of paramount importance.
Force24 is the UK's fastest-growing marketing automation platform. They are a 50+ strong team of passionate marketing experts with a range of skills including strategy, design and technical development.
Force24 also offers all their clients free training & support - for life, on a 2 minute SLA, during UK working hours. They have seen significant year on year growth over the last 3 years with an impressive 1 in 4 people who see the power of the Force24 platform in action, buying it. This focus on supporting and nurturing their clients has resulted in an impressive 98.2% client retention rate.
For Instagram, Facebook and Twitter users AgoraPulse provides one of the most robust scheduling tools available. The platform also delivers dynamic analytics (which can be exported as PowerPoint slides) for all three of these networks – but its true strength lies in its organising of social conversations with your audiences.
The interface is much like a regular IM or email inbox – and this familiarity is welcome when it comes to your UX. You can very easily segment those who interact with you – the interactors – (for example by customers, non-customers, complainants, etc.), which simplifies things when trying to build meaningful relationships over multiple accounts.
The badging system lets you tag your most important social interactors – such as industry influencers or brand ambassadors – meaning that you’ll never miss a post from these special members of your audience. In addition, you can even run promotions from AgoraPulse.
SocialOomph is one of those really special tools that may help out your marketing campaigns every single day of the year, without needing to log in for weeks or even months on end.
Including a host of features for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Plurk, SocialOomph does indeed give your marketing efforts that little boost that they so often need.
The Twitter features, especially, are useful. You can create welcome messages, automatically follow-back any new followers of your account (an exceptionally time-saving function, as anyone with a busy Twitter account will tell you), schedule tweets, and conduct keyword tracking and direct message inbox clean-up, plus a whole lot more besides.
As with so many of the tools on this list, the free version is good, but the premium version is even better, and at around £6.00 per week, it’s not too steep a commitment either, and well worth experimenting with.
One of the most important parts of a great, ongoing content marketing strategy is to always be keeping your finger on the pulse as to what’s happening and what’s trending – and BuzzSumo is the research tool that will deliver that data.
When you visit the site, you’re prompted to enter a domain, topic, or specific keyword into the search field, and when you hit ‘Enter’, you’re returned with a list of links to articles that are ranked by their current social ‘Buzz’.
For example, I typed ‘content marketing’ into the search field, selected the timeframe for the past week, and here’s what BuzzSumo delivered with clear displays of what articles are hot on which social networks right now….
For content marketers, the value in this tool lies in the fact that you gain simple access to current trends, which can be used to inform the ideas for your own content generation. Furthermore, you can use BuzzSumo to start building up a list of influencers whom you may want to start reaching out to and engaging with in the future.
HubSpot has been around for an age, and indeed was one of the pioneers in what is now considered to be modern automated digital marketing.
The software is designed to aid inbound marketing. That is to say that it helps businesses transform their strategies from outbound – such as cold calls and emails, TV ads, trade shows etc. – to serious inbound strategies. The lead generation initiative focuses on getting businesses found in natural and organic ways by internet users. Definitely an invaluable tool for the content marketer.
Of course, the images that you use to promote your content are of the utmost importance when it comes to generating traffic. Indeed, the perfect image can entice people to click through to read your article even if they’re not particularly enamoured by the title – but, we must remember that the reverse is also true. And so, what we need is an image tool.
Canva is a great tool that any marketer can use to create stunning graphics extremely easily. If you can drag & drop, you can use Canva – it really is that simple. Your first couple of visits to the site might take you a little while as you rummage through all the available images and fonts and banners and functions and everything else that’s available to you. But, there is a very handy tutorial to get you going, and it’s generally intuitive to use.
Content marketing isn’t all about creating the content yourself – to bolster your business’s authority in the online community you also need to be curating content. Feedly is the perfect tool for this purpose. Essentially it’s an RSS feed aggregator that compiles news feeds from a variety of online sources all in one place.
For marketing purposes, Feedly will help you find great news stories that you can share with your audience directly, or you can use it to keep an eye on what’s fresh from the online press and create your own content using the resources. You can also use Feedly to find leads (i.e. see who’s commenting on the hot topics of the day and reach out to them), and for competitor analysis. And you can get started for free!
All of these tools and many more besides all form part of the myCloud Media tool chest. We use these programs to get the very best results for our clients. To find out more, please get in touch today and see how we can help transform your content marketing into a highly-tuned, conversion-focused strategy that will hugely boost your online business efforts.
Article by: Tim Bennett
myCloud Media | Yorkshire Web Designers
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