Did you know that content marketing has a proven 7.8x more traffic than other forms of marketing? And that over 70% of marketers planned to create more content than what they did in 2016? I am sure at this point you’re realising that your content marketing efforts should be fretted over, with this kind of increase you will need to ensure that you have the right tools to get your job done well.
This increase in content means it’s incredibly competitive to ensure that you are ranking well.
What you can do, however, is make sure you have the right tools for the job.
So what tools does your digital agency need to get the ball rolling for your content marketing efforts?
I have pulled together a list of tools that you will need to get your content machine on the ball; some that we have tried and tested and some that we are still experimenting with. So let’s dive into what these tools are;
Content Curation & Influencer Marketing
If you are a content marketer, content curation will form a large part of what you do as you try to keep up to date with the latest digital marketing trends or impending Google updates.
BuzzSumo - This tool will help you curate content, but not just any old content, it can offer you insight into how often a piece of content is being shared and who is sharing it. This tool allows insight into the types of content that’s resonating with your persona, giving you a world of content ideas. In being able to identify who is sharing the most popular content, you put yourself in a favourable position for influencer marketing and outreach strategies.
We have gone into great depth on how to use the tool here.
Scoop.It - A content curation tool and also a social network. Although its social component is nothing to write home about, it is still a platform to connect with fellow influencers. Within it, you can create boards based on topics that you are interested in and comment or “Scoop” on other interesting topics or boards; a great new tool for sharing and finding great new content.
Email Automation Software
So before diving into some of the email automation tools that you may be considering to enhance your lead nurturing efforts.
Do you know when the first email was sent?
The very first email that was sent was by Ray Tomlinson to himself in 1971; they were said to be test messages, so nothing of significant value was mentioned. 1971 though!
The world of digital marketing as we know is an ever-changing landscape with no three months looking the same, so it can be difficult to understand how email still forms such a critical part of our content marketing efforts.
To be a successful email marketer, you will need the right tools to deliver great contextual emails to the right people at the right time. So what are some of the email tools that have proved useful for us;
MailChimp - Our agency is currently on the Forever Free plan. The below image depicts precisely what you can get from using the free plan. While we are, we're growing every day as an agency, and this plan is still perfect for us.
MailChimp allows you to set your own send time, but it also offers you suggestions for the best email send time;
You can also track your email send metrics with MailChimp, really what email marketing software wouldn’t be though;
MailChimp now offers this handy new ad feature, you can run Facebook and Instagram ads right from within your MailChimp account, you will be able to use all of your subscriber data to run these ads - super contextual right?
Emma - Nope, not me ;) This is an abbreviation for Email Marketing actually. Emma is a web-based email marketing platform that allows users to design and optimise email campaigns as well as review the analytics of all your campaigns. You can also integrate Emma with other platforms such as; SurveyMonkey, Wistia, Shopify, Salesforce and Front Desk.
Emma allows you to segment your list based on all the customer data you have collected along the way, but what makes this software so unique you ask? The ability to build and publish landing pages, no need to hassle your developer for this, you can do it right within Emma.
So what does it cost?
For a pro account $89 per month, but what does this get you?
Only 1 user can access this account, you get one workflow and no access to landing page creation :/ It’s a little pricey to start out with, but Emma sure has a lot to offer, I wouldn’t mind hearing whether any of you have used it and what your experience has been so far?
Content Marketing Software
All inclusive content marketing software is something many startup digital agencies dream of, but they also come at some hectic pricing.
HubSpot - This all-inclusive inbound marketing and sales software allows you to do the pretty much everything, all in one place;
- Landing pages
- A/B testing
- Email marketing
The Great Dane, our Captain has this to say about HubSpot: “HubSpot is the backbone of our inbound marketing. It allows us to seamlessly deliver campaigns without the need for additional software. It makes a significant difference when you are able to track social, email and website performance all under one roof.”
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Sprout Social - With over 2.3 billion active social media users globally, you would be foolish to think you could get by without a social media strategy. A social media strategy will ensure that you get your content out there as well as define yourself and your brand as an industry expert.
If you are not on a platform like HubSpot, you will need social media management software to post all of your amazing content. We use Sprout Social for social posting, engagement and the analytics that it offers.
Our Socialite Jana Kuhn had this to say about Sprout Social “With Sprout Social; we can easily publish and schedule social messages, engage with customers and generate analytic reports across all our social media pages. Their software also allows us to set up tasks for different team members and view our social media feeds and inboxes.”
Slack - The messaging app, that’s taken over the corporate messaging sphere, it’s smart, intuitive and fun to troll your boss with. It integrates seamlessly with so much of the software we already use, like Google Drive. You can also integrate your chatbots to Slack enabling you the ease of being present as your persona engages with your brand.
This is of course not the only messaging app out there; it’s just the one we use. Tell us what your agency uses and why?
It’s no secret that digital is ruled by visually engaging content, whilst we do dabble in some video content (have you subscribed yet?) Designing our own social images and infographics is something we are proud of.
Canva - is a free, web-based design software that can be used to create unique images for your blogs or social profiles and beyond. You can use Canva to create your images from scratch or to polish up some photos that you already have on hand. It allows the creative and the not so creative the freedom of expression through a multitude of templates and tools to let your inner Picasso take form.
Our Canva Queen Raeesa Cassim had this to say “Design is a balance of discipline, creativity, and originality and Canva epitomises the balance of these three elements. I have no design qualifications, but when I am on Canva, my inner Chip Kidd come out.”
Content Marketing Is Not Complete Without Your SEO Tools
No content marketing strategy is without an SEO strategy, if you are not optimising your site, landing pages, blogs, meta tags and alt. tags, or monitoring your link building efforts you may need to visit the SEO tools we suggest below;
Yoast - A nifty WordPress plugin that costs $89 a month. This plugin is used to improve our on-page SEO from readability to meta description to the percentage in which your keyword has been used. This insight allows your content the opportunity to organically rank the way it should, after all, you did put all the effort into creating a great piece of content right?
Screaming Frog - This tool enables you to quickly crawl through your website for any broken links, pages, and redirects as well as provide you with an analysis of your sites SEO performance. These things are quick wins for any SEO marketer.
Our resident SEO wizard Claudio Pereira has this to say about Screaming Frog “The frog is really useful, it hops its way across every corner of your website you need to find and is simple enough to use. Albeit, it would be great if you could export the findings into a single excel or pdf - not that we should be complaining considering the tool is free”
Ahrefs’ - Our SEO list would not be complete without this powerful tool. As a digital startup agency, this is likely an unaffordable option for you. In saying that if you ever get the opportunity to dive into the magical world of Ahrefs’ dive in deep.
Ahrefs’ is all about the data; they have competitor research tools and as well as an SEO backlink checker. You can do global keyword research, with an in-depth competitor analysis, you can get web ratings on any website you need, you can also track your backlink profile and so much more. Diving into the backend metrics that Ahrefs’ offers is something quite unique. Check them out and let us know what you think.
Paddy our in-house treasure finder had this to say about Ahrefs’ "There is no better tool for keyword research or content scouting (ideas) platform than Ahrefs. Google is constantly changing the way they rate sites and it seems to be this massive secret thing, but Ahrefs have the insight to predict changes and role with it. If you want to work accurately and effectively, you can't work without Ahrefs."
Project Management Tools
We all need project management tools, to keep us accountable to those never-ending deadlines and the likes, so I am briefly going to touch on what’s been of use to our team and why;
DoInbound - This tool was created by an inbound agency for inbound agencies, they have been able to work out what agencies like ourselves struggle with in relation to project management and turn those struggles into a useful project management tool to hold our teams accountable to those inevitable deadlines.
This handy tool is set up in the following way;
You will set out your major campaign, set out your campaign deliverables, then task out to various team members to achieve those deliverables.
Under Task Overview you will be able to create a description for your task as well as create any steps that will help you in completing your task. You will notice that you can also leave comments on your task for various team members or yourself. There is also a nifty timer in the tasking section, which makes billing for various tasks a whole lot easier.
monday - This software is used to collaborate with team members on various tasks, it has this nifty spreadsheet look and feel to it, divided up into all the coolest colours too. It’s also easy to use on mobile which is a major plus when you're on the move. You will also be able to visually see what your team is busy on at any given time; this gives you insight into the kinds of availability your team has for new projects.
I only briefly touched on this software but check out Growing Your Digital Agency in 2018 for more information such as UI etc.
Wordpress - If you are not on the full HubSpot package where you can host your blog site, WordPress, may be your next best option. Wordpress is an open source content management system and is the most popularly used free blog hosting platform there is out there;
Nate may be our resident finance guy, but he is all pretty nifty on the backend of WordPress too, this is what he had to say about the platform “Wordpress gives us both the flexibility and structure we need to cater for the demands of various clients. Whether it is an "off the shelf" setup or developing custom features and plugins, Wordpress allows us to do it all.”
Bitly - If HubSpot is not your content marketing software, installing the Bitly extension for Google Chrome will come in handy for tracking your link metrics and click-through rates.
This link management platform has an easy to use dashboard with all your link metrics in one place;
You can also dive deeper into specific link metrics; like which platforms your clicks came from (this is great for providing insight into where your buyer persona may prefer hanging out) and also what locations your clicks have come from.
There are many content marketing tools out there designed to make your job a little easier with nifty must-have features, but many of these tools are not quite accessible to smaller start-up digital agencies - if your company falls into this category, don’t fret, explore some of the free options out there and then you can decide for yourself whether you need those paid upgraded versions.
The key thing to take away from all of the abovementioned content marketing tools is that these are but a handful of what’s out there, but they all also offer various packages to suit your needs, so go ahead and define what your agency needs.
Explore. The ever-changing overpopulated digital landscape gives us the freedom of creativity, so dive in with everything and anything, see what works for you and then touch base with us and let us know how it’s going :)
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