This is a guest post by Khanh Tran.
Content marketing can be a valuable source of inbound traffic. Yet doing it from scratch is by no means easy.
Fret not, we have compiled a list of everything you’ll need to get this going.
These are the tools we use ourselves to provide information about villas in Phuket for our customers, and we swear by them.
IDEAS GENERATION TOOLS
Pearltrees comes in handy when you need to rekindle your creativity.
The tool allows you to save favourite articles as you see them across the web. You can organize the articles, share them with your colleagues and browse others’ favourites.
Indeed, it is not exactly an idea generation tool, but it always helps to revisit those that you find useful to gain some inspiration.
To use Pearltrees effectively, you’ll need to keep an eye on what’s going on in your field and get into the habit of saving those bits of information as you see them.
This tool allows you to know what’s being shared around the web.
The tool analyzes millions of headlines to give you those that are shared the most. You will the number of likes, shares, where it’s being shared, etc.
With a free account, you are able to conduct 5 searches per day and only see the top 10 results. With a paid account, you are able to do so much more, such as who share the article, who link to it and what’s trendy.
More than just ideation, Buzzsumo helps with the overall content marketing strategy and SEO.
There are several ways you can use Pinterest for content marketing, rather than just a social media tool to promote your products and service.
Besides being a safe place to keep inspirational quotes and favourite photos, Pinterest is a great source of visual content like infographics.
Similar to Pearltrees, it can help you refresh your mind and stay inspired.
4. Portent Content Idea Generator
If you are looking for some content ideas that are completely out of the box, check out Portent’s Idea Generator.
As the team themselves describe it, some are shocking, some funny, some helpful. While you may not be able to use every suggestion, it’s a very useful way to keep your creative juice flowing.
5. Google trends
The Google Trends tool gives you a list of popular stories and keywords from around the web.
While not everything is relevant to you, it’s good to keep an eye on what’s going on in the world.
You can also use the tool to track the trend of chosen keywords.
6. Google Alerts
Take advantage of the automated tool to keep track of what is being talked about your topics of interest.
Google Alerts is also helpful to track brand mentions, competitor mentions and industry news. Google will automatically send you a list of articles that talk about the keywords chosen.
Because choosing the right blogging platform requires a totally different article, this post will only focus on the general tools used for writing.
7. Microsoft documents
You don’t really need a fancy tool to jot down your ideas. A Microsoft document does a fair job at this, which is why many people (including me) keep using them. The key is to have a good organizing system to store your articles.
8. Google Docs
If you want to keep your work online to access it at any time, Google Docs works well. It is also great for collaboration since multiple users can edit one article at the same time. It comes with a built-in spell checking tool to help you proofread the article easier.
Note from the Editor: We'd also recommend Evernote.
9. Headline Analyzer
CoSchedule created a useful tool, Headline Analyzer to help you write catchy headlines. Enter your headline in the tool, it will give you an evaluation.
Even the best writers are sometimes stuck on words. To avoid repetition, check out The Oxford Thesaurus and Thesaurus.com
Nobody is perfect, and mistakes are unavoidable. Even when you are a seasoned writer, it’s still close to impossible to make an error-free first draft.
In fact, the experienced writers know that proof-reading is one of the most important steps in the writing process. To save you some time, use tools such as Grammarly.
While Microsoft Word may be able to detect some typos, the function is not as competent as Grammarly.
Furthermore, there’s also an extension for you to install Grammarly to your browser and scan the text typed online in real time.
Do note that Grammarly extension doesn’t work and Google Docs, so you will need to manually copy the texts over to check.
A good article comes with great visuals. If you need to find good stock photos to illustrate your point, check out Pixabay. There are over 1 million free photos for you to choose from, many are of great quality.
Best of all, they are royalty-free, so you don’t have to worry about copyright infringement.
Other good free stock resources:
Sometimes, stock images don’t do your article justice. You know that the visual should look a certain way, carries a certain feeling and most likely requires some design work.
If you have an in-house design team, marvellous, give it to them and they will do the magic for you.
But if you have to do it yourself, then check out Canva and their hundreds of templates, icons and images to create that image of your dream.
(All our Blogging Aid featured images/thumbnails are created with Canva.)
Piktochart is similar to Canva but with a strong emphasis on infographics. There are plenty of ways to represent data on Piktochart, from bars, pie charts to maps and more.
Simply select the desired format, input your numbers, and the design will be automatically updated accordingly.
Note from the Editor: You'll likely need to capture screenshots from time to time, maybe even for every blog article you create, so consider getting either Skitch or Jing (they're both free).
content sharing tools
AddThis is one of the most popular social sharing plugins which supports various social platforms. You can easily customise and position the icons to fit in your blog’s aesthetics.
16. Sassy Social Share
Similar to AddThis, Sassy Social Share supports a wide range of social platforms.
Note from the Editor: We would also recommend Sumo Share and Social Warfare.
TOOLS FOR MANAGING CONTENT
17. Editorial calendar
An editorial calendar is always important.
Find one that works for you here, or simply create one yourself. You will need to note down the theme, article title, publishing date and different phases of the process, from writing, approving to publishing and sharing an article.
You can also pair this with a social sharing calendar to make sure everything works hand in hand.
Trello is great on multiple levels. For content strategists, it helps you see the overall picture, assign tasks and deadlines.
You can also use a colour code scheme to organize things too.
It’s similar to Trello. Good for planning and managing projects. You can also leave comments and share resources.
The tool gives you a reminder to help you keep track of the tasks so you don’t have to worry about ever forgetting an article.
TOOLS TO MONITOR PERFORMANCE
20. Google Analytics
Remember to register your website on Google Analytics. It’s a great tool to track your visitors, website visit sources, conversion and more.
21. Social Share Plugin Analytics
Plugins such as AddThis offers some sorts of statistics. You’ll know which channels the article is shared on, how many times, how many visits to the website.
Quick Note: The Sumo plugin has all this and more.
Guest Author: Khanh Tran oversees influencer collaborations at Villa-Finder.com, a leading villa booking and distribution platform in Asia. Khanh has also contributed to various media and magazines like KarryOn, SingaporeMotherhood and Family Capers.
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