Tools are always a fun subject for me. I love getting the right tools in place that can amplify the results of everything else we do. These are the leverage points that we should always be trying to tap in to to replicate our results for all of our clients.
We have a shortlist of tools that we always recommend to our clients to drastically improve our progress, in the spirit of transparency we want to share those recommendations with you. Some are pretty straightforward, some are a bit more discreet.
These tools take us through the entire content marketing process, amplifying our results not only from knowing what content to publish, but to increase email subscribers, to increase social shares, to be consistent with social media sharing, and to be consistent with quality email campaigns.
Here's the 5 tools you should implement right now to drastically increase your effectiveness in all of your content marketing efforts:
1. SumoMe's "Listbuilder"
This one is pretty simple. If you have blog posts bringing in gobs of traffic, you need to be trying to make them convert into email subscribers. An email subscriber list is the one piece of equity that you completely control in regards to communicating with your audience. A social media presence is fantastic, but the highest converting source of traffic and customers that you can have will always be an email marketing list.
An email list is the highest barrier to entry "follow" you can get, apart from a paying customer. That's what makes it so valuable, apart from obvious open rate differences between email and Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.
SumoMe's Listbuilder is immensely easy to set up and is one of the easiest ways to increase email signups that I've ever seen. People are often put off of implementing pop-ups on their own sites or blog, but the proof is in the pudding. They work, they don't increase bounce rates (beyond a fractional amount) but they do increase email signup rates dramatically. I've seen this first hand, but if you want a bit more data to back up that claim, check out this blog post.
2. SumoMe's "Share"
Seeing as by this point you should have already set up SumoMe's Listbuilder on your site, you're literally two clicks away from having "Share" installed as well. This one has already been featured on our blog when we were talking about how to get more social shares on your content and improve content promotion, but it's worth sharing again.
Share is a tool that you can set up in seconds, and have one of the most cleanly laid out, most effective social sharing tools on the market directly on your site (for free, or you can use the paid version to get more out of it). The best part of this tool to me is the mobile share bar aesthetic. When people view your content on desktop it's pretty easy to get an app that will scroll next to your content, but on mobile it's an entirely different story. Share places a fantastic looking bottom bar directly on the page that sticks with you as you scroll, which will help increase social shares dramatically as more and more people view your site on their phones and tablets.
If you don't have a very, very good custom team setting up this sort of thing on a custom basis, SumoMe's "Share" is a fantastic tool to set up in minutes to increase your social shares. Its innate simplicity and effectiveness is exactly why we use it on our blog.
Everyone can have a MailChimp account up to a certain threshold without paying for it. That's just part of their freemium model. However I recommend everyone upgrade to specifically get their incredible marketing automation toolset. With the amount of integrations, and abilities to automate you email chains and set up drip campaigns, this tool can be one of the most effective content marketing tools you can possibly pay for. At $9/month that is probably some of the most effective marketing budget you will ever pay for as well.
If you have customers signing up for certain lists positioned to be a drawn out drip campaign of say, 7 emails before pitching your product as the final "hoorah" – this is the tool to use. Welcome emails, customized responses, and product recommendations aside, our favorite part will always be the drip campaigns and behavioral targeting specifically for content marketing purposes.
Buffer is our favorite email scheduling app there is, bar none. We've used HootSuite and the rest, and nothing compares in simplicity and effectiveness. It's easy to implement across a large team, adding everyone's company pages and personal profiles to, and easily auto-scheduling posts, implementing RSS feeds, and pushing out new updates across all accounts at the click of a button.
One very nice way you can set things up is to analyze your own followers with Followerwonk to find their peak times of engagement, then set those times up as the default publishing times in Buffer so that your posts always go out at the best times when all of your followers are active and reading. Setting up the feeds is a fantastic way to always have incoming content pouring in, but also their "recommendations" section is fueled with incredible content in multiple industries that you can easily auto-schedule to send out to your followers. I would recommend hitting that section daily to fill up your queue unless you have other places that work better. Also install all of their shortcuts for Chrome, Safari, etc. so you can easily schedule new content as you find it. Let everyone on the team do this and you will have a huge, content-heavy social media calendar filling up daily.
5. BuzzSumo Pro
You want a great tool for content marketing research? Stop here. This is what you need.
Search for influencers, search for the most effective posts on certain domains (competitors or popular blogs), through certain keywords, or through the most shared authors. Everything you need to formulate an extremely effective content marketing campaign is here. The pro plan is a bit costly, but it's totally worth it in the amount of effort it will cut out from a research perspective, and the efficiency it will bring to your content marketing efforts.
Find the people to follow, who to interact with, the content they share, how to engage with them, and build a relationship so that they will contribute or share your content. This is just one of the ways you can use this tool to amplify your efforts.
Wrapping it up
These are just 5 of the tools we recommend, but they are 5 of the best. We want to focus this blog on the 80/20 principle, the 20% of the effort that will yield 80% of the results, these are surely the 20% of tools that will yield 80% of your content marketing results. We highly recommend implementing all of these tools, then following through on the basics:
Write targeted at personas
Write with a purpose (to increase exposure, to increase email subscribers, things of that nature)
Write large resources that can be offered to amplify your email subscriber numbers
Engage consistently with your followers, and new followers
Follow up with people who share your content and recommend other content that could help them too
All of these are pretty straight-forward, but they are the bread and butter of your content marketing efforts, all of these tools just amplify their results.
Let us know what other tools you use or recommend, and if you have any great results from using these tools, we would love to know! Please comment below or reach out to us on Twitter!