It’s almost the holidays, which means it’s almost time for reflection on the past year, eating lots of cookies, drinking champagne, and, hopefully, preparing for a fantastic new year.
Part of my year-end prep process includes an audit of my habits to make sure I’m not wasting precious time on something that a simple tool or web app could help me do much faster (and better). Below is my current list of tools and platforms that help make content creation easier, more enjoyable, and more effective. Consider it my holiday gift to you:
Organization is absolutely key to managing and streamlining content creation. Our team uses detailed knowledge banks in our custom content software, ICo Core — but even using a simple knowledge management template can mean the difference between spending a half hour trying to remember that awesome quote or data point you came across and diving right into content creation with easy access to the info you store. Knowledge management templates work wonderfully for content marketing teams when coordinating with multiple thought leaders or contributors to articles.
Throw out your checklists and Post-it notes full of potential ideas for topics and distribution, and replace them all with an actual calendar to organize content production and promotion. This easy-to-use Excel spreadsheet will help keep you focused on the content you’re creating, as well as how, when, and where you’re distributing it. It’s also simple to customize, so if and when your content strategy changes, you can update it here and move on without missing a beat.
You could have the most organized process and expertly crafted content in the world, and it wouldn’t matter without a way for you and your team to measure its effectiveness. As content marketing ROI becomes a greater focus for brands moving forward, your method for analytics will be critical. Start with an ROI tracker to help you assess the effectiveness of your overall content campaign, and remember that outlining your content goals in the beginning will help you measure key metrics and ensure your alignment later down the road.
There are thousands of use-cases for Zapier (one of our former clients) when it comes to content marketing. They happen to be one of our clients, and we use their tool to quickly inform our team via Slack when a new article is published on our blog. Through this integration, our whole team is notified when an article goes live and is able to access the link, read it, share it, and return to the #knowledge-bank channel to quickly find recent articles.
People frequently ask me where they can find all of the content I’ve published. Instead of directing them to my LinkedIn profile, which is hard for me to keep updated and for people to search through, I direct people to my public content profile. Our team created these profiles to help our thought leaders and our clients showcase their published work in one easy-to-access place. If you aren’t a client of ours, you can create a similar portfolio using WordPress or Squarespace and simply link to your published content on one cleanly designed page.
If you’re using your promotion template correctly, you’re planning ahead what content you’re going to share and when. Buffer is a fantastic tool that can help you schedule those posts so you’re not spending all of your time bouncing back and forth between platforms to distribute your content. (Plus, the Buffer blog is a valuable resource for detailed, engaging insight and actionable advice on all things social, so what more do you need?)
I use inbound.org for a few reasons: Because we write content for content marketers, it’s a great place for content inspiration. I can read more about different topics and ideas that people in my space are discussing, what questions they’re asking, and I’m able to generate topic ideas (for my knowledge bank!) based on them. It’s also a valuable place to distribute your content if you write specifically for this audience of inbound marketers.
There you have it — seven key tools you can use right away to make your content marketing better, faster, and easier. What other tools do you use to help you stay focused and productive in your content marketing? We’d love to learn about them in the comments.