Content marketing isn’t just about creating great content. You also have to find ways to:
- Consistently come up with content ideas
- Identify link prospects
- Organize and execute content promotion
- Track your results
Because there are so many moving pieces in content marketing, it’s almost impossible to consistently produce and promote content efficiently without leveraging multiple tools. So for anyone attempting to create and promote content on a consistent basis, identifying the right tools to help save time and increase productivity is essential.
In this post, I’ll walk through four questions you can use as a framework to help you decide which content marketing tools will best suit your process and goals:
- What do you need your content to do?
- What resources do you have internally?
- What sort of content are you promoting?
- Where are the holes in my content marketing process?
Question 1: What do you need your content to do?
As with any form of marketing, the most important question you need to answer is what exactly are you trying to accomplish? What are the aims of your content marketing efforts? Some things you may be looking to accomplish include:
- Thought leadership
- Referral traffic that will drive direct leads and sales
- SEO friendly, keyword targeted content designed to rank and drive direct leads
- High quality, authoritative links
- A high volume of mid-to-high authority links
If you’re looking to build a large volume of links at scale, for instance, you’ll want to find a means of automating any areas that can be automated, and you’ll need tools to organize multiple contributors and outreach specialists. This is where software like the Link Prospector from Citation Labs and BuzzStream’s outreach management capabilities can be highly valuable.
If you’re intently focused on identifying places to host content that will drive a lot of relevant traffic, tools like Compete’s referral analytics may be more useful for you.
If you’re simply looking to identify the most authoritative sources within a niche, then applying link analysis tools like SEO Moz’s Open Site Explorer to sites in your niche may be the best tool fit for you.
Question 2: What resources do you have internally?
Similarly, the resources you have internally should help influence your link-building tool choices. If you have an army of copywriters creating content on a number of subjects, you may want to identify some keyword tools to help you create your own Demand Media-style content schedule.
Alternatively, if you have a lot of outreach resources that are a bit green, a tool like Tout App that allows you to share templates and track outreach effectiveness might be the most valuable asset for your content marketing campaigns.
As you consider the resources you have internally, think about the tools that would best enhance and complement the personnel and linkable assets you have at your disposal.
Question 3: What sort of content are you promoting?
Similarly, you want to make sure that your toolset enhances the content you’re promoting. For instance, if you’re promoting infographics, then leveraging some of the tools focused around outreach management and tracking links to your graphic may be the most valuable. Whereas, if you’re working more to create keyword-focused content to live on your site, you can leverage tools for keyword research, like Scribe or WordStream’s keyword tools and work to manage an editorial calendar for content marketing.
Question 4: Where are the holes in your content marketing process?
Ultimately, the best way to identify what tools you need is to find the areas in your current process where you can be more efficient, where your current resources aren’t quite sufficient, and/or where getting better would be a point of leverage that would improve your returns.
Once you’ve identified potential holes — like not being organized enough in your outreach efforts, not being able to generate enough link prospects quickly enough to acquire the volume of links you need, or not tracking results and feeding that information back into your topic selection well enough — you can then go out and find the right tool to apply to your problem to make you a more effective content marketer.
As you can see, I focused this discussion on providing an approach to choosing the right tools for your content marketing campaigns, rather than on creating a comprehensive list of every content marketing tool available. If you’re looking to better understand the content marketing and link-building software landscape, you should be able to find whatever you’re looking for at one of the links below:
- 12 Outreach Tools by James Agate, on Sky Rocket SEO
- 25 Tools for Real Time Marketing by Matthew Schultz, on Content Marketing Institute
- 5 Tools to Help PR Pros with Content Marketing by Clare McDermott, on Content Marketing Institute
- 47 Social Media Tools for Content Marketing by Joe Pulizzi, on Content Marketing Institute
- 50+ Tools to Automate Your Link Building by Jeremy Bencken, on Search Engine Watch
- 30 More Tools to Automate Your Link Building by Jeremy Bencken, on Search Engine Watch
- Link Building Resources – A Curated List by Jon Cooper, on Point Blank SEO
- Five Tools for More Efficient Link Outreach by my business partner Tom Demers, on Search Engine People
- 20+ Resources for Link Prospecting, Organising, and Researching Link Opportunities by James Agate, on Sky Rocket SEO
- A Link Builder’s Gmail Productivity Setup by John Doherty, on SEOMoz
- 18 Tools to Speed Up Link Building by Justin Briggs, on Justin Briggs.org
- 9 Free Tools for Link Discovery & Content Creation by Julie Joyce, on Search Engine Land
Bottom line is, no matter what your goals are, there’s a toolset you can assemble that will help you be more efficient and effective with your content marketing efforts. To determine which set of tools you should be using, ask yourself the four questions outlined above and the answer will become clear.