We all have our favorite content tools that we use to keep up with the demands of online marketing and brand storytelling. But with new technologies and platforms coming on the scene practically every day, even the most digitally savvy pros can use a recommendation now and then to help them choose which ones are worth working with, and which ones are best left in iTunes’ land of misfit apps.
CMI asked a few of the experts who will be presenting at this year’s Content Marketing World to share their answers to the question, “What new tools and/or platforms have you discovered that are making your work as a content marketer more creative, interesting, enjoyable, or easier?“
Here are the top content tools that they think all content marketers should know about.
In the “what’s old is new” category, I believe that a blog provides a great content marketing platform that also acts as a CMS (content management system). A blog works for any type of business. Even better, [you can use] a free WordPress theme called Responsive that incorporates responsive design [elements into your blog content]. —Heidi Cohen | @HeidiCohen
We are fortunate to be in an era now where marketing has become “cool” again — and then we went ahead and [repositioned] ourselves as data geeks!
While I’m somewhat kidding about this, the rise of technology and data has shifted the role of the new marketer. Creativity is still a must, but the explosive growth of tools like marketing automation technology — and the market validation of Marketo’s IPO, Eloqua’s acquisition by Oracle, and the announced ExactTarget/Pardot acquisition by Salesforce — has made data-driven marketing critical. While automation has been around for a while now, the affordability, options, and ROI potential have recently driven rapid adoption. These tools are making my work as a content marketer much more interesting, easier, and enjoyable — driving measurement and insight on what is truly working. —Will Davis | @WillDavis
Every year there seem to be new tools that make it easier to A/B test website templates. Optimizely is the latest one to make waves in conversion optimization. It makes our life easier than older tools by allowing a single-script installation that powers all kinds of tests. And, the tests don’t just have to be the basic, traditional button and headline varieties. We’re using it to test dramatic sitewide template layout changes that lift conversion rates for all our content at once. In addition, WiderFunnel has created a list of conversion rate optimization tools that you should check out. —Chris Goward | @ChrisGoward
I’m loving the sophistication of content curation platforms, and how any business of any size can take advantage of them. Time is our most valuable resource. Research shows that if you want to be a thought leader, 20 percent of your content needs to be original. That means the other 80 percent has to come from trusted sources in your space so that people will have confidence in what you deliver and, as a result, will place an even higher value on the original content you create. Finding it and sourcing it correctly isn’t something that everyone knows how to do correctly. Curating from a wider range of sources also inspires a different perspective on new content that you create. It’s true: Variety is the spice of life — and also of content marketing. —Carla Johnson | @CarlaJohnson
I use a microblogging service called Twitter that I think may catch on. (Perhaps you’ve heard of it?)
Evernote has proven invaluable as a kind of external drive for my brain. It’s my pre-curator.
Tools like FollowerWonk, LinkTally, and JustUnFollow can be useful. I also like Mindjet for mind mapping, Prezi and SlideShare for linear storytelling, and Vine for silly loopy things.
WorkFlowy is a stripped down, super-usable note-taking, outlining, and alerting app.
Successful content marketing is 50 percent creativity and 50 percent relevance awareness, so some of the best tools for creating impressionable content are those that keep you up to speed on what is current and trending. If people are talking about it, chances are, they want to read about it. Two of the best ways to start the ball rolling in the right direction are:
- Alltop: Providing hot topics, and new topics, in categories such as work, health, culture, and tech, Alltop is a good place to start the content ideas spinning.
- Google Trends: Sounds easy enough, because it is. Google Trends can help you decide the best topics for building content — it tells you what people are searching for most frequently. You can even narrow in on a search. For example, if you hear Jimmy Buffet is touring, you might want to search for Jimmy Buffet in the Trends search box to see what topics his fans are currently talking about.
Those are just two quick and easy tools that come to mind. But I always recommend running a search for your “title concept” in Google to see what the competitive landscape looks like. If you see wide-open search results, go for it! —Arnie Kuenn | @ArnieK
I love Vine. It just takes the creation of video content to another level. People demand transparency these days, and the fact that you can now create engaging, interesting content in small blasts from the phone in your pocket just makes it more fun. —Jim Kukral | @JimKukral
Don’t miss additional insights and information from our fabulous roster of speakers at Content Marketing World 2013. Register now.
Cover image by Andrew Moir.