Marketing today is almost entirely content-driven. Organic or paid, the quality of your content decides how best you engage and acquire consumers.
Brands have turned publishers, and close to 3 million blog posts are published on a daily basis (Source: Worldometers).
Content is being used as a means to –
- Reach new markets (via guest posts, influencers and brand advocates)
- Capture consumer attention (by posting regularly on blogs and social networks, using newsletters and paid content distribution)
- Retain consumer attention (via blog content, social media campaigns and contests, and newsletters)
- Generate and convert leads (via ad copy, conversion oriented social media content and newsletters)
Bill Gates called it as early as 1996 when he said, for the first time, that “content is king”. Today, brands are defined just as much by how they portray themselves as the products and services that they provide.
You need a great content marketing strategy and story to provide a memorable consumer experience.
The best content is rarely product-centric. The best content has to have utility, like content marketing expert Jay Baer articulates.
What most content marketing strategies is missing is courage, the courage to giveaway real value for free.When creating content value, the consumer takes precedence over the brand. You share with the primary goal of being useful to your audience, entertaining them and helping them address their concerns.
To create that kind of content, you have to know your industry well, be updated on the latest developments and have comprehensive research and ideas at the ready. Content marketing tools can help you do that.
5 Content Marketing Tools to Boost Consumer Engagement
Any tool that can aid with content research, provide content ideas, help you create better content or distribute it, qualifies as a good content marketing tool.
When your writing is focused on a narrow niche, you run two plausible risks – reinventing the wheel or running out of ideas.
The best posts introduce new or less-talked about ideas, and people generally ignore recycled and overstated ideas.
To stay updated on the latest ideas being published in your industry, you need a content curation app like DrumUp. The tool sifts through tens of thousands of the best publications and serves its users fresh stories daily, related to the keywords they set.
You can browse through the suggestions daily to understand what is being talked about on top publications, and use them as reference to decide on your content.
You can also set up multiple streams of content (different keywords) to serve as sources for research. The posts you like can be saved to a content library under categories for later reference.
The tool also doubles up as a social media scheduling app, so you can schedule curated content to your Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter accounts at any time of your choice (choose the time that correlates with when your audience is active on social media). You can also schedule posts that are saved to the library.
The app has a content calendar for your queued posts. If you have themes that you follow each month, you can overview scheduled posts to see if they fit within the themes.
Finally, relationships form an important part of content marketing, and you can use this app to build them. When scheduling curated content, click on the @mentions and #tags suggested by the tool.
That will automatically ensure that you are interacting with people on social media, and people will eventually reciprocate and add to the engagement on your social media pages.
Keyword research is a critical part of content marketing. The right keywords can help you connect with highly convertible website visitors – the people who make up your search engine traffic.
Organic search engine visits generally convert easily. To ensure that they do, you have to keyword optimize your website, blog posts and social media presence. A keyword research tool like Keyword Tool can simplify your keyword research.
To operate Keyword.io tool, you simply have to enter the keyword that best describes your focus into the search bar.
The tool responds with a list of keywords, their search volumes, cost per click and Adwords competition. Adwords competition isn’t an exact approximation of organic competition, but it can give you a good general idea.
If the Adwords competition factor is high, you don’t want to invest in organically optimizing your website for that keyword, because it probably is tough to rank for.
Choose keywords that have a decent search volume and aren’t very hard to rank for.
The Keyword.io tool also suggests keywords for YouTube, Amazon, Bing and Google’s App Store. You could also use Google’s Keyword Planner for this purpose, but as SEO expert and Moz founder Rand Fishkin has pointed out, Adwords maybe excluding data to bias advertisers.
Once you have your keywords, it is a good idea to verify them using Google Trends, just to look at their history and see if the investment is a safe choice.
Sometimes, you’ll find a slightly different version of your keyword that has performed better historically that you should use for your web pages.
Most blogs that perform well have a myriad of writers, bringing more experience, value and perspectives to them. But managing allocation, production and review of content from multiple sources can be a tough task.
Many companies work remotely now. Some of them also hire freelancers and guest writers who create content for them from different parts of the world.
A content manager like Trello can help you organize and keep track of all your creative projects. You can invite anyone to participate on your Trello board through the tool.
Using the tool is simple. It has a dashboard with vertical rows that could represent different stages of content production.
You can add cards to any row, and each card can represent one content project. You can tag anybody who has access to the board on any card, to assign it to them. You can also set deadlines and monitor their progress.
Participants can add files to the card, that the admin can then view/download to review. You can move a project through the rows until the review process is complete. You can also converse with people on each card, clarifying whatever you need. You can also tag other people on them, in the event that you need external inputs.
Trello automatically send emails notifying the participant when their card is moved between rows.
The tool’s dashboard is completely customizable. You can have as many rows as you require and name them as needed.
Content distribution is an important part of content marketing, and requires just as much attention and effort as content creation does.
Most marketers share their content on social networks and newsletters, but that covers just the basics. Ideally, you should have a community of super fans or followers who generally share the content that you create.
SumoMe is a website optimization brand that offers two tools that can aid your content marketing – the social media shares plugin and the pop-up lead capture form.
If you have a healthy stream of traffic hitting your website, it is important that you make the most of it. SumoMe’s social share plugin also has share counters – so your visitors can see how well-shared your blog posts are.
Social proof is an important motivator. Share numbers can push more visitors to share your content.
People who visit your blog probably did because something piqued their interest. To ensure that you keep them interested in your community, you have to capture their email address and include them on a weekly/monthly newsletter.
You can create email capture forms using SumoMe. Ensure that you A/B test the copy, position and appearance of the form to optimize it for maximum lead captures.
Website tripwire building needs a mix of two skills – copywriting and a basic understanding of human behavior. Instead of simply asking your visitors to subscribe, you can offer them something of value in exchange.
Guides, tips or a seat in an interesting webinar are all good examples of what you can giveaway for free in exchange for a visitor’s email address.
Visual content has become key in engaging audience attention. Facebook posts with images receive 230% more engagement than the ones without (Source: BuzzSumo). Visuals are also popular because they,
- Catch more attention
- Covey messages more powerfully
- Remain in the memory longer
Infographics in particular have found to be very popular on social networks. Infographics can receive as much as 300% more engagement than posts without them (Source: HubSpot).
Creating an infographic may seem daunting, but it isn’t when you use the tools available today.
For instance, I put together this infographic in under 15 minutes on Piktochart. This tool has limited free templates available, but you can always create one from scratch with the icons and graphs available in its directory.
You can turn the posts you write for your blog into infographics and distribute them across social networks and infographic directories.
When sharing them on social networks, don’t forget Pinterest, Instagram and SlideShare. You can also share them on stock image sites like Flickr and Pixabay.
Disha Dinesh is a Content Writer at Godot Media, a leading content agency. Her interests include social media and content marketing. When she’s not writing, she’s on the hunt for social media trends
Image credits: Screenshots by Disha Dinesh, taken March 2017