In the beginning, when you start out with content marketing you think it will be a lounge. I’ll just write some content, people will flock to my site and my sales will go through the roof. You quickly come to realize it isn’t quite that easy, however. There are a lot of people out there trying to market their content and it’s hard to compete.
And so you decide to dig a little deeper, work a little harder, learn a little bit more and get to grips with what’s going out there. Maybe, you think, you’ll get some tools to help you out. You take a look online and suddenly you realize the scope of this thing. Everybody and your grandmother have decided to make a tool, but the market is still too new for clear winners to have come out on top.
Not even the websites know who to vote for. There are dozens and they are bloated with options, listing all the tools out there either alphabetically, or by different categories. How can you ever make heads or tails of that? Haven’t any of these people heard of the tyranny of choice?
“Come on people, I never wanted this. I just wanted to create content that increases traffic!” You scream. We hear you. That’s why we took the time to select some tools that to us look promising. And just to make things easy, we’ve decided to only choose one per category. (If you want more, check out the lists mentioned above).
1. Content curation
You need to find what’s going on out there in your niche. The best tool probably currently available in that regard is Feedly. Here you can collect, discover and organize material, based on what is important to you and your company. This then gets supplemented with other similar material that other people have found and marked as interesting and important.
As there are several million people now using this site that means there’s a lot of interesting content floating around and it can be easily accessed, so that you’ll have an easier time figuring out what needs to be written up next.
2. Social Media trends (visual)
Curalate lets you find out what images are currently trending on both Pinterest and Instagram so that you can get the jump on it – either by sharing that picture or seeing the underlying theme and creating similar stuff.
Obviously, this works a lot better if you’re a visually oriented brand.
3. Social Media trends (informational)
Trendspottr is the textual alternative to Curalate, in that it tells you what is going on out there in terms of #hashtags as well as influencers and other information. It presents this data in easily understood graphs so that you can take action before your audience has once again moved on and left you gnashing your teeth that your content isn’t getting any attention.
4. Watch the Competition
With RivalIQ you’ve got the tool you need to make certain that you know what you’re competitors are doing, so that you know if you’re pulling ahead or not, or if they’re onto something new that you might need to look into.
Because though it is useful to know what the public is doing, it’s absolutely vital to know what your competitors are doing.
Use Monetate to personalize your website so that visitors go from a ‘meh’ experience to one that has them saying ‘omg’ (yes, people actually say that nowadays OMG. Just like that). The idea here is that you can create multiple starting pages, based on who your users are and give them that engagement feeling that everybody has now come to expect as a result of social media creating individualized content, but without you having to hire teams of programmers and executives.
In this way individualization has come within reach of smaller businesses, meaning you really no longer have any excuse to take the next step forward.
6. Social Media Platform Management
With sproutsocial you can let several different people manage different media platforms without having to flicker back and forth between one page and the next. In a way that everybody knows what is going. This means that you can stay on message, don’t lose content and can engage with customers easily and directly.
7. Social Listening
Mention doesn’t help you ease the use of your social media, it also uses what it knows about your users to suggest content for you to use, based on how well that information is doing in other places on the web. In this way, it greatly streamlines the process of finding interesting content and frees you up to do other things.
8. Brand Ambassadors
It’s always amazing how you’re working hard to create a brand and yet employees really don’t seem to take any effort to share what you’re doing. That will no longer happen if you employ SocialChorus, which will update them about what is going and make it easier for them to share, thereby potentially turning them into brand ambassadors, who can spread your message among their peer group.
9. Influencer Finder
Sometimes the best strategy is to bomb the internet in the hope that an idea gets picked up. Other times you’d rather feed it to specific people, or influencers, and get them to push it for you. That later strategy is made easier through Little Bird, which tracks the influential people in a conversation so that you know who they are. That way you can spend your time crafting the message, rather than searching through social media feeds.
As you can see there are even still too many categories at this point. Hopefully in the months and years to come there will be more movement by those that end up on top to branch out over the other areas so that we end up with a cohesive tool that does all these different things for us. Unfortunately, if you’re serious about content marketing then you don’t have time to wait for that. You’ve got to hope that you pick a winner.
Will one of these be that winner? We honestly can’t tell you. As already said, the market is still very new, which means everybody is piling in and there aren’t any clear winners yet. That should come clearer in the months to come. Yes, that’s disappointing. At the same time, it means that if you do choose a winner your competitors won’t have it as well, so you might actually be able to get some mileage out of it before, like the iPhone, everybody’s got one and the advantage is lost.