Boy, marketers wear a lot of hats these days. From graphic designer to data scientist, writer to voice-over actor, there’s a lot to do when it comes to content. If you’re struggling with not having enough time in your day, or if your content marketing is not seeing the results you hoped, the reason why may not be with your strategy but the tools you are (or more likely, are not) using.
Here’s what you need to make the most of your efforts:
Awesome Content Creation Tools
First, your content is only “awesome” when your audience says it is. To achieve this you need an audience to “see” your content and then see value in it. Without either one of these, you will never be a content marketing superstar.
The first section of content creation tools isn’t actually about creating content. These are tools that will help you find the types of content that will resonate with your audience. Only then will you be able to use the other content creation tools effectively.
To understand your audience you need:
- Marketing personas: Who comprises your audience and what do they care about?
- Keyword research (Google webmaster tools or BuzzSumo can help with this): What is your audience searching for?
- Quora: Find out what topics people are curious about in your industry.
- Customer service and sales: Want to know what your customers and potential customers are asking about? Contact these departments in your business. They are a wealth of information about what the customers and potential customers are thinking.
Why this saves you time: knowing what your audience will respond to by doing the research on their challenges first will save you the headache of creating content that doesn’t resonate with them. When you create content that speaks to them, they are more likely to share it, engage with it by liking or commenting on it, and they will see your business as one that understands them.
8 Content Creation Tools You Need
1. Image Editing Software
Images are huge in content marketing. If you’re not a graphic designer, you need something easy and quick to create those witty memes and image quotes, try one of these apps.
If you’re on the go and looking for apps that are a little more powerful in your ability to alter the image, here are some mobile apps to consider:
You’ll also likely need royalty-free image sites.
If you don’t have time for your own image creation, do a simple search with the free Google Chrome extension for GIPHY. GIFS also make great images for blogs.
How this improves your content marketing: Posts with images are more likely to be shared and clicked. An evocative image helps you connect and entertain your audience. They can’t think your content is spectacular if they never open it. An image promotes action.
2. Advanced Graphic Creators
If your content marketing strategy includes charts and infographics, you can create them through one of these options.
3. Video Editing Software
While some marketers prefer to “Blair Witch” their marketing videos shooting them live with no edits, if you want slightly more control, you’ll need some good editing software.
Here are some to consider:
Camtasia is also an easy-to-use, but robust option. It runs about $199 and has education and government pricing discounts.
Remember, there are a lot of live-streaming options out there on social media platforms. As much as we all love to edit out mistakes and apply filters to make us look our best, sometimes going live can be very endearing and engaging because it shows more of your personality.
If you don’t want to do video, podcasts are another content option. Here’s are some tools to help you create top-notch podcasts.
Why this is important for your business: 45% of users watch more than an hour of video on Facebook or YouTube, while 84% of the U.S. Internet audience watches videos online. Plus, 92% of mobile video viewers share videos with others. You need a slice of the pie for your business.
4. A Swipe File
You probably spend a lot of time on social media and the Interwebs. Some of it is personal and some professional. Regardless of what you do when, you will likely stumble across quotes, blog ideas, memes you want to share, and a host of other fantastic content. The only problem is it doesn’t always appear when you need it. That’s why you need software or an app to keep it organized for you until you can use it.
Writers used to call these things “swipe files.” Swipe files used to be actual paper files that writers clipped out (yes, with scissors not a clipping tool) articles and ideas from newspapers, magazines, and the like.
Today, you can accomplish the same thing with tools like DropBox, Google Keep, OneDrive, and Evernote. They can be shared between teams and are in the cloud so your swipe file is available wherever you have an Internet connection.
How this saves time: There’s a lot of amazing inspiration on the interwebs, but there’s also a lot of junk. Murphy’s “Internet” Law tells you that the moment you need the content, you won’t be able to find it. Getting yourself organized online so you have a place for all the gems and snippets that will inspire, educate, and entertain your audience means that when you need them, you’re ready.
5. Blog Topic Generators
There are a lot of them out there and many of them get a little old after a while, but for those days when you’re stuck, they can often inspire greatness. Try HubSpot, Portent, BuildYourOwnBlog.net, or one from this list.
Once you pick a topic and hammer out a title. Test it on the Emotional Marketing Headline Analyzer to gauge its emotional appeal.
Saving time with a blog topic generator: These generators provide ideas based on popular types of posts. They can relieve the pressure of coming up with something at the last minute. Plus, a great title drives people to click and is heavily weighted with SEO. Some writers will spend almost as long on a title as they do the article content.
6. Content Aggregator
Normally, we wouldn’t list content aggregators among content creation tools because curation is very different than creation. However, reading over what is hot in your industry can often inspire ideas for your own content. You can also share your opinion on a hot topic.
Why this benefits your content creation: A content aggregator is no different than a personalized, electronic newspaper. But it can help you understand what topics are currently receiving a lot of interest. Use this it for inspiration in the same way you would your swipe file.
7. Live Blogging Tool
If your business wants to run a “social newsroom” and you take your job as publisher seriously, you’ll want to look into Live Blog. With this software, you can create story events, aggregate content, and tie it all together in live blogging.
Why you would use a live blogging tool: It takes your content creation to the next level.
8. Color Matching Tool
If you’re not a graphic designer, you may have struggled to find a way to match colors or figure out what color is used on a site. Image Color Picker does the hard work for you.
Why color matching helps: Visual branding is incredibly important nowadays and many marketers are putting on the role of image creator as well. That means you need tools that can help you do what designers do but without all the fuss of their software. You need it quick and easy and this color matching tool will improve the look of your image creations.
Content creation has placed an enormous workload on marketing departments these days. But with the right tools, you can do much more with less.