There are many marketing mediums requiring strategic and creative tools in order to be used successfully.
The power tools you need in your content marketing toolbox
Most businesses are small businesses. And yours is probably no different. Unfairly or not you, have to compete with larger and better-funded opponents. Content Marketing is a weapon that your David can use against their Goliath. But to do it right, you have to have the right tools. This post lists many that can help you attract visitors to your website and convert them into customers.
There is an ever-growing myriad of digital marketing mediums and platforms. And they require many marketing tools in order to be used successfully. These include strategic and creative tools. In this post, I want to share some useful lists of mostly free ones that I’ve come across. I will also note which tools I use in the various categories to create effective content marketing.
Before I get into the lists, let’s look at the dominant player in content production tools, Adobe. For your in-house design and marketing efforts, Adobe’s Creative Cloud products are a no-brainer. Programs like Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator allow you to create project proposals and marketing pieces that as are as professional as any on earth. This service is a paid cloud-based toolbox that is an incredible value in my opinion. The price is around $50 a month and up. You get every creative program Adobe makes and always have the most up to date version.
See all the Adobe Creative Cloud programs here. They allow you to create print advertising, websites, eBooks, videos, podcasts, animations, mobile apps, and more. So if you are creating your content marketing pieces, I recommend using what I do, Adobe Creative Cloud.
However, the lists below include free and nearly free marketing tools that let you do some of the same things designers do with Adobe’s professional-grade products. You must have a strategic plan in place before begin creating any marketing content, and a few of these lists describe tools for developing one.
So whether you want to create some of your content marketing in-house, are a freelance designer, or just want to understand what your agency or content strategy partner is talking about when it comes to production – here is some useful knowledge to absorb.
Read through the post first and then go back to check out the lists and other links. Bookmark this page to reference later. It is extensive, and you may want to peruse it at your leisure.
Content Creation and Productivity Tools
Research and Strategy
Before you start making anything or paying others to do so, you need a plan. Successful content marketing involves knowing what your competition is doing with their marketing so you can beat them. And it consists of measuring the effectiveness of your efforts to find out if you are succeeding. The Kissmetrics article: How to be the James Bond of the Web: 37 Best Marketing Tools to Spy on Your Competitors – lists some tools to let you do just that. Google Alerts, Followerwonk, and Marketing Grader have all been useful for me.
Moz has this post – Competitor analysis for SEO. Kissmetrics also has this excellent list of 54 Google Analytics Resources. Google Analytics is the best free web and social media analytics product around. And it keeps getting better every day. SEO Strategy and Analytics can be a little intimidating, but we are always available to help.
All of your marketing requires good writing to be successful. Grammarly‘s Premium version points out typos and grammar mistakes. It also makes recommendations for better word pairings and repetitive words. In all, it suggests corrections for 250 plus types of errors. There is a free version as well, and Safari and Chrome browser extension. These are important because it works on anything you type in a browser. Google docs, WordPress blog posts, and emails are examples, as are social media scheduling or posting tools.
There is also a desktop app for Mac that comes with cloud storage for your docs. Finally, Grammarly also has a useful grammar blog that keeps you on top of “dotting your (i)s and crossing your (t)s.”
Hemingwayapp.com “makes your writing bold and clear” by grading its reading grade level. Following their suggestions, such as staying away from adverbs, gets your grade level as low as possible. Like Ernest, it hates long and complex sentences.
Convince and Convert have a list of similar proof-reading tools.
Images are crucial for any engaging piece of content marketing. Social media posts with images have exponentially more shares than text-only ones. Mashable has this post about how to Make Beautiful Graphics Quickly With Canva. It is a simpler web-based alternative to Photoshop. Fast Company’s design blog has this post about Visual.ly. This tool lets you create one of marketing’s powerhouse pieces of visual content, the infographic. Note that these have to be done right to be effective. Read With New Tool, Visual.ly Wants To Replace PowerPoint With Infographics. And we all know how much PowerPoint presentations suck.
Web Design Dev has this list of 10+ Free Useful Tools To Make Infographics. Piktochart looks promising to me. Finally, CodeCondo has their Top 5 Visual Content Creation Tools for Web Companies.
The easiest and fastest tool to use for social media images is Pablo from Buffer.
Photos are one of the most powerful tools in your marketing toolbox. They are the most effective ones for creating emotional connections with your audience. They significantly increase engagement with social media. Buffer App has an exhaustive list of sources for free images. Their Pablo product can also be used as a source. Flickr is a fantastic source for Creative Commons photos as is Creative Commons itself. Resources for historical images include Smithsonian Open Access and the New York Public Library.
Video and audio content are becoming must-haves. Vidyard features 11 of the Best Free Video Marketing Tools Out There.
Content Marketing is what Mobile Atom is all about so I stay up to date on this topic. Follow my Flipboard Magazine, Content Marketing, Brand Journalism, Native Advertising, for information on tools and everything else to do with the topic.
A blog should be the heart of your content marketing. I love the WordPress content management system. Blogging Wizard has this selection of Essential Tools And Resources For Bloggers. It lists tools for using WordPress and other blogging platforms. There is a list of the blog tools I use in our content library.
The web tool below is one of the most useful websites about a design element that I have ever seen. It is about typography. The site is a Pocket Guide to Master Every Day’s Typographic Adventures from Typoguide out of Germany. The keyboard shortcuts for the proper use of symbols are fantastic.
Server supplied web fonts have made the web a much more visually appealing place. Google web fonts are numerous and free. Many are gorgeous. Check the link out to browse them to your heart’s content. Set aside some time though because there are 600+ font families. Typekit is a wonderful source for web fonts. If you subscribe to Adobe’s Creative Cloud, the service is included.
Your internet marketing has three pillars that must work together to support it: content marketing, social media, and email marketing. Smart Insights has this useful list of 8 free email marketing tools to optimize your email campaigns. The email marketing guides from Mailchimp are outstanding as is the service itself. And if your mailing list is under 2,000 most MailChimp services are free.
A successful social media strategy is essential to your company’s success. It is a must for amplifying your content and listening to your users. Automating your posts is a necessity now as well. I like Everypost, Buffer, and Coscehule for scheduling posts that aren’t news driven. You also need to network with influencers. This article from Marketing Land looks at influencer marketing tools.
Unfortunately, most companies end up needing forms. If you have to have them, at least create functional and attractive ones. This post lists:
The 17 Best Online Form Builder Apps for Every Task.
Any time you create a new website, blog, or app it must be tested for its usability. In other words, can your visitors easily use it to accomplish the actions you want them to take? Here is a great usability checklist to go through before testing your product with potential users. With it, you catch common usability problems before user testing.
In my opinion, Google is one of the best things going. Kissmetrics lists 25 Awesome Free Google Tools for Marketers. The Google Adwords Keywords tool is critical for researching keywords to use in your content’s metadata, email subject lines, and post headlines.
Google Chrome is the browser you should be using every day. It has great extensions and is faster than its competitors. I like the way you can search directly in the address bar. Gmail, YouTube, and Google Webmaster Tools are other no-brainers. Google Drive is cloud storage for your documents that is integrated with Chrome and G Suite. Speaking of productivity, why would you spend thousands of dollars on Microsoft Office products when G Suite is dirt cheap in comparison. Instead, invest that money in content marketing assets that add dollars to your bottom line.
This post from DesignModo looks at 7 Essential Tools for Freelance Designers. These are mainly business tools that you can use as well. Basecamp is great for tracking projects. Freshbooks is for invoicing. And Toggl is for tracking your time or design hours.
Even if you want to hire someone else to handle the challenge of your content marketing here are some productivity tools you can use every day in your business. American Express’s Open Forum looks at Free Productivity Tools to Fit Your Personality. The web service IFTTT (If this, then that) works with popular web apps and lets you create new actions in one app based on changes you make in another. True data liberation with IFTTTT and Google Drive looks at how its integration with Google Drive gives IFTTT users access to marketing data in a simple database. This data can then be used in Google Spreadsheets without the need for coding skills. It will work great with almost anything you are trying to keep track of.
How we can help you
Now, what are you going to create with these marketing tools? What is your strategy for what to distribute, post, and share? That’s where we come in. Just contact us at Mobile Atom Media and we can help you develop a content marketing strategy. Then we can do the heavy lifting of creating effective content with these marketing tools. We will help you put great content in front of your target audiences. They will engage with it and come to see you as a trusted expert in your niche and market. That will bring you more opportunities and more business. This is true for both new prospects and your increasingly loyal existing customers. And that’s what tools are for.
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