Today, any company that sticks to predictable marketing efforts will miss out on the colossal market segment online. You need to create powerful, distinctive online content to build your audience and increase your conversions.
It’s understandable if you don’t feel up to this just yet.
Entering the world of online marketing might feel like skydiving for the first time. You don’t know what you’re doing, and you’re just praying the parachute will work as it’s supposed to.
But writing online content is really a matter of following one’s own formula for success, and coloring it with unique creative thoughts and expressions.
With the right tools and a little guidance, you can be very successful at creating content, marketing it properly, and gaining new customers.
Consider this list your virtual marketing toolbox.
It contains everything you will need to take your content creation efforts from lackluster to brilliant.
Follow these steps, and use the tools to create winning content that your readers will really value.
Step 1: Content Discovery & Ideas
Before you can start writing a killer article, you need to know what you are going to write about.
These tools will inspire you and peak your curiosity. Browse for ideas, or learn more about a topic that interest you.
Alltop – Content is available from a wide variety of online sources on Alltop. Articles are divided into categories like topics such as Digital Media, CRM, Data Mining, Content Marketing, Technology and more. You can use the search function to find the most popular stories related to each topic as guidance for what types of stories are drumming up reader interest and dialogues within the industry.
Twitter – Have you ever considered using the popular social tool for generating new content ideas? Twitter is a great source for finding what others are talking about right in your feed, via the trending topics section along the left-hand side of your notification page, or from the “Moments” tab on your mobile app.
reddit – See what’s trending all over the world on social media via reddit and get insights for your own writing based on which headlines are being shared the most. The “Rising” tab is great for mining the anatomy of clickable headlines on the forum, which you can then bring to your article.
Mashable – Get all the pop culture and world news in one place. Mashable tends to offer a lot of human-interest stories, which you should consider doing research on. Then, take your learnings by weaving a story into your article, making it more appealing to the average online reader.
Trapit – Designed specifically for the iPad, Trapit creates a newsfeed based on your interests and learns more about you every time you read an article. It changes the feed based on your preferences, so the more you use it, the better the content is. It’s like Netflix, but for news. This can be extremely helpful when looking to brush up on the latest industry trends and updates before creating content.
Pulse – Don’t want your content to be swayed by past preferences? You can tell Pulse.com what sorts of things you want to read about, and the website will create your own newsroom with only those topics. Create a custom newsfeed filled with only the news you’re looking for.
Feedly – Similar to Pulse, Feedly.com offers a plethora of content across a variety of topics, including YouTube videos from channels you follow. You can even use it to manage your private business content, and deep personalization makes it easy to navigate / find what you’re looking for.
Step 2: Content Creation
Use content creation tools to make your article more visually appealing.
Did you know that articles with images get 94% more views than those without photos and posts with photos are shared 37% more on social media when they have visual content?
Picmonkey – PicMonkey.com lets you create beautiful collages that can easily be shared across your active online platforms. The website claims to supercharge your images with a variety of photo effects and filters to choose from for maximum impact. You can also design and edit individual photos with their editor.
WordSwag – WordSwag.co automatically designs text on your photos and visuals. Now you’ll be able to make all of those inspirational quote photos you love so much. All you have to do is choose the color, font, and size. Easily enhance your images and make your content assets more diverse.
Designspiration – Designspiration.net helps you select images based on color. So if the bulk of your website is black and white, you can find images in the same color scheme. Select up to 5 and watch the magic happen.
UberFlip – Use UberFlip.com to add visual content to your PDF files. Make a flat piece of content more dynamic and increase user engagement by adding videos, widgets, or even audio via their eBook generator.
Unsplash – Unsplash.com provides you with 10 copyright-free images every 10 days. The website is totally free to use, just sign up with your email and find high-resolution photos to do whatever you want with directly in your inbox. You can also search through the past collections straight from their photo feed.
Meme Generator – The Internet is littered with memes across every conceivable topic, but people always love a fresh one (typically in relation to a trending topic). Create your own and humanize your brand a bit by injecting some humor into your content with Meme Generator.net.
Step 3: Organization
It might seem daunting to schedule time for writing, publishing and promoting your posts.
You have a lot going on and sometimes you need help keeping everything in order. These tools will help you manage the process a little easier.
Harvest – Harvesting is a time-management tool that will help your content and other marketing aspirations stay on track. Use the app to get a better understanding of where your time is dedicated, and use the information to improve your strategy and schedule.
Wunderlist – Create beautiful and helpful lists for all of your professional needs. Set reminders, make notes, and categorize your lists by task. You can even email the lists if you desire, and easily share them with other Wunderlist.com users.
Pocket – Save articles, tweets, videos, and websites throughout the day so you don’t forget about them right from Pocket. Compile all the research, stats and data you’ll need to make a case for your content and grab it in one convenient place later.
IFTTT – Use IFTTT.com to create custom “recipes for success” that can increase your productivity across all of your tools, devices, and platforms. IFTT gives you control over your products and apps by creating simple connections that allow you to be more efficient when working towards a goal.
Mindnode – Mindnode.com is a mind map that helps you better visualize your ideas. Get a better understanding of your content strategy by conceptualizing it in a more intuitive way. You’d be amazed by how organizing your thoughts can better help you reach your audience.
Google Calendar – If you have Gmail, you already have a Google Calendar. If you don’t, maybe it’s time to join up with the other 900 million active users. Google Calendar automatically syncs your email and your iPhone calendar, so you’ll never miss a deadline. You can also subscribe to a variety of interesting calendars to help you keep on track with what’s going on each season.
Toggl – This time-management tool will let you track how much time you spend on a project. With each new project, track time spent with Toggl.com and measure your productivity to become more efficient.
Step 4: Writing & Editing
When you need help with the actual creation process, these tools can help make the most of your writing skills.
Get help with editing, proofreading, writing headlines and making sure you aren’t creating duplicate content.
EssayMama.com – Essay Mama’s team of writers can take control and create high-quality articles on a deadline when you may not have the time. They offer editing and proofreading services for varying costs, and you can find helpful writing tips on their blog for when you are ready to get back on the horse.
Cliché Finder – The title is pretty self-explanatory. Paste your article into the platform, and Cliché Finder will highlight clichés faster than you can say, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” This is a great way to avoid the marketing jargon and lingo plaguing the industry.
Ubersuggest – Want a massive list of keyword ideas based on the topic of your choice? Ubersuggest is a real user query generator is great for splicing relevant keywords into your content for SEO value.
PlagTracker – Avoid instances of plagiarism in your writing. PlagTracker.com will find any plagiarised sentences present and replace them with 100% original content. This is also a great way to avoid being penalized for duplicate content.
CoSchedule – Creating captivating headlines to draw in your readers is hard. You never know what is going to work, which is why CoSchedule’s headline analyzer is great. They give you an effectiveness score between 1-100%. According to their blog, the number to shoot for is anything above a score of 70. We tested some of our research with the tool and developed a few best practices around the art of writing them.
Content Idea Generator – If you have a topic in mind, but you’re not really sure which direction to take it, keep Portent’s Content Idea Generator in your back pocket. The tool is great for title ideas and
explains why each element in your headline is important. You can keep hitting refresh until you find one you love.
Step 5: Marketing & Promotion
Once you have written and perfected your article, you need to promote it.
Use these tools to improve and make the most of your distribution efforts.
HootSuite – Post to all of your social media pages from one location. Tried-and-true, HootSuite lets you schedule your posts, minimizing the amount of time you need to spend monitoring your profiles and manually publishing. This will help you take a long-term approach to promoting your content, as you should schedule posts weeks, and even months out for maximum exposure.
Quick Sprout – Type in your URL to Quick Sprout’s blog analyzer, and learn about all about your SEO. See which posts are getting the most attention, and find ways for how you can optimize your page for better results. You will even get the results for your competitors so you can set benchmarks for the content you are creating.
Buzzsumo – Type in a topic and Buzzsumo will find how many times similar content has been shared across Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Linkedin, and Google+. If your topic isn’t popular on Twitter but is wildly popular on Facebook for instance, you’ll know to focus your promotion efforts there.
Social Mention – Search content from across the globe and learn what people are saying about your brand, products, and services. Join the conversation, address a question or concern and get a general sense of how people are receiving your content. Use the information you find on Social Mention to help in your communication efforts.
Yoast – An SEO plugin for WordPress, analyze your SEO across all the major search engines. Optimize your content according to Yoast’s suggestions and increase your organic reach.
MailChimp – Easily distribute content to your email list using MailChimp and can keep your audiences engaged with fresh content. They’ve got a variety of new integrations that give you even more control and flexibility when designing your campaigns.
Inbound Writer – This software predicts the performance of your content before you write it. Inbound Writer keeps you up to date on the interests of your readers so you can more effectively market to them, and suggests topics where you can outperform.
Writing online content is a difficult process.
When you break it down, it’s about getting inspired, writing interesting content, organizing your time, and marketing your work in smart ways.
These tools will give you the support you need as you look to become a more effective content marketer.
Over time, this process will become easier for you. Until then, I hope this toolbox will be of help to you and that eventually, you’ll venture out to find more tools to add to your collection.