By Ann Gynn published August 29, 2014

Tricks That Will Bring Treats to Your Content Marketing Toolkit

tools lined upEvery successful content marketer should have a trick or two that they can pull out to address their toughest business challenges. For example, for those of you who find it difficult to produce enough content to meet your marketing needs, you might want to try author Andrew Davis’ new action plan: Forego original content and leverage regularly scheduled columns on other publishing platforms. Or, if you are struggling to distinguish yourself from your competition, consider stepping up your content quality, or even producing original research, as Orbit Media’s Andy Crestodina has started to do.

Whether you are looking for some tips to help you produce more content, techniques for creating more engaging or more effective content, or tools that can help you optimize your workflow or streamline other aspects of your content marketing efforts, take heed of the advice given by some of CMIs trusted blog contributors, Online Training instructors, and Content Marketing World speakers. These content marketing leaders confessed, divulged, and opened the vault to a few tricks they’ve added to their content marketing toolkits in the last year.

Get creative with podcasts

I am in the process of hosting and producing my first professional podcast. I did some radio back in college and have an unhealthy obsession with NPR podcasts like Radiolab, so this is a bit of a selfish creative endeavor. But from a content marketing standpoint, podcasting feels like it’s an area where it’s a lot easier to stand out and create something original and different, since so many business podcasts follow the same, boring “intro-greeting-interview-CTA-outro” formula.

But, um… you should definitely not start podcasting because I’d like it to remain that easy. Jay Acunzo, Director of Platform & Community, NextView Ventures | @Jay_zo

Make your webinars soar

I have added a BrightTalk channel for hosting webinars. This is more of an add-on than a replacement, but it allows me to create and host webinars whenever I want to and provides the tools to help me manage the process flawlessly. Ardath Albee, CEO, Marketing Interactions, Inc. | @ardath421

Think image first

I’m doing a lot more visual content. I’m using tools like Piktochart and Canva to help me. I don’t have a design bone in my body, but these tools help even people like me. I’m finding even a simple image with a pull quote from the article drives more traffic on Twitter than a tweet with the title and link on its own. It’s important to keep your style guide in mind when doing this, though. I’ve seen many brands corrupt their organization identity by getting too creative with colors, fonts and styles. Sarah Mitchell, Content Marketing Consultant, Global Copywriting | @globalcopywrite

Conscientious recycling vs. constant creation

Last year, I stopped creating content on my own blog. Instead, I relied on regularly scheduled columns on other publishing platforms that range from LinkedIn to industry magazines. It’s been tremendously successful. Instead of trying to get people to read my corporate content, I put my content closer to their everyday experience and benefited from the master brand association. Andrew Davis, Author, Brandscaping | @TPLDrew

Put content on a schedule

I’m ashamed to admit we just added two things: An editorial calendar and a strategy around the long-tail keywords we know people use to find communications firms. It only took seven years of blogging to implement these two very important things. Gini Dietrich, CEO, Arment Dietrich, Inc. | @ginidietrich

Workflow management that multitasks

We tested CoSchedule, a drag-and-drop editorial calendar for WordPress, and almost immediately upgraded to the paid version. Being able to assign tasks, move posts, and comment on drafts gives us the flexibility we, as a small team, need. They also document social reach within the platform. So, at a glance, you can see which posts are gaining the most shares and reprioritize your content accordingly. Nicolette Beard, Sr. Digital Marketing Specialist, Raven Tools | @RavenNickiB

Automation domination

We implemented a marketing automation tool that replaced our email marketing tool. When you build a large audience and sell products/services to that audience, it’s important that you have the necessary functionality to support this. Marketing automation provides much more advanced functionality than a typical email tool; in fact, most marketing automation tools provide a workflow-design tool, where you can build processes consisting of sequences and actions that are kicked off automatically. For example, say your system identifies who in your audience attended two webinars. One email is sent to those who subsequently clicked on an email link to view the guide relevant to the webinars, while a different email is sent to those who didn’t click on the download. Ian Cleary, Social Media Tools Guy, RazorSocial | @iancleary

Go outside, improve internal

Outsourcing content to our own network of freelance writers at Scripted.com allows our Content Manager, Nicole Karlis, to run an efficient content marketing arsenal. By leaving all of the evergreen content and long-form articles to our writers, she’s able to plan our content about one month in advance. This gives her room to focus on strategy, content promotion, thought leadership pieces, and content partnerships without having to write and create content every day. Sunil Rajaraman, Co-founder and CEO, Scripted | @subes01

Collaborate to leverage content synergies

I wanted to own the conversation about the vocabulary used by content strategy professionals. Instead of nose-diving into social media channels and trying to convince people that there was already an established lexicon of terminology surrounding the discipline, I decided to take a content marketing approach. My business partner and I created a book — in collaboration with 50 content strategy expert collaborators — entitled The Language of Content Strategy. While it’s branded with my company brand, the book is the work of 52 individuals, each with deep expertise. We leveraged a content engineering technique known as multi-channel publishing to create a book, an eBook, a website, and a deck of terminology cards simultaneously, from a single source of content. Scott P. Abel, Content Marketing Strategist, The Content Wrangler, Inc. | @scottabel

Looking for more guidance on incorporating content personalization into your marketing efforts? You won’t want to miss Content Marketing World 2014, September 8–11, 2014. Register today!

Author: Ann Gynn

Ann Gynn edits the CMI blog. She also serves as the Tech Tools editor for Chief Content Officer magazine. Ann regularly combines words and strategy for B2B, B2C, and nonprofits, continuing to live up to her high school nickname, Editor Ann. Former college adjunct faculty, Ann also helps train professionals in content so they can do it themselves. Follow Ann on Twitter @anngynn or connect on LinkedIn.

Other posts by Ann Gynn

Join Over 170,000 of your Peers!

Get daily articles and news delivered to your email inbox and get CMI’s exclusive e-book Get Inspired: 75 (More) Content Marketing Examples FREE!

  • http://customersure.com douglasackerman

    Excellent post Ann! Great to read so many insights from people who have implemented successful changes to their content marketing.

    Having a content calendar, as well as sourcing content from interviews are two points I absolutely live by.

    One extra piece of advice I’d give is to let your customers dictate to you exactly what to write, when to write it and where to position it.

    If you can get to know your customer’s reading habits better, and build a list of questions they need answering, not only will you be able to produce content that gets attention from your target audience, but you’ll have a much easier time converting readers into leads.

    Getting to know customers can be tricky, and it’s different for every business, but there will always be a way to systematically collect insights you can then feed into your content marketing strategy.