A content marketing strategy that includes taking a content inventory is essential to getting results. Performing a content inventory doesn’t mean you need to go through your entire website manually page by page. Modern technology has led to the creation of a multitude of tools that can do a lot of the legwork or data collecting for you. In this blog, I’m going to provide some feedback on a few free and paid tools that every content marketer needs in their arsenal for content marketing success.
get organized – create a log
Before considering any tools, figure out how you will document results and track required updates and ideas for new content. Don’t overcomplicate it…Your log can be a simple Excel spreadsheet or a Word document. Organization and accessibility will keep you and your team all aligned with the same focus and goals.
Let’s take a step back…how do you get your content online? The best way is to use a content management system. A few examples are WordPress, Joomla, or SquareSpace. These programs allow you to input your content and format it as you wish both visually and for SEO purposes. It’s the skeleton for your website.
For the creation of visuals, Canva is a must for content marketers, especially great if you’re not an advanced Photoshop user. There is a free version that includes multiple layouts — all you have to do is change the text and background image. Canva also offers various sizing options preformatted for social media, and you have the choice to use custom sizes too.
They also have a paid version that includes more layouts and a cool feature called Magic Resize that automatically resizes images for other social media platforms. In the paid version, you can also save preferred fonts and colors, create folders, and share your creations with your team.
If you need more than what Canva has to offer, Adobe Creative Cloud is a subscription-based set of software from Adobe that is the standard for the graphic design industry. The Cloud includes programs like Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and many other well-known Adobe applications. These programs have a bit more of a learning curve than Canva, but the capabilities are endless.
A successful content marketing strategy typically involves multiple people, and you want to have tools that help your team efficiently collaborate on projects. Online cloud services like Google Drive, Evernote, and Dropbox, are convenient for storing shared files. Google Drive even allows for real-time changes to be seen. For example, if you make a change to a Google Sheet and someone else has the file opened they will see your update almost instantaneously.
It’s also a good idea to have a project management tool to keep your content marketing team on track. We like Asana and CoSchedule here at Jackson Marketing Services. They allow us to delegate tasks among our team and help keep us on track with our editorial calendar.
Another set of tools we strongly recommend be included in your toolbox is marketing automation software. This includes social media schedulers like Hootsuite and CoSchedule, as well as other programs that assist with your overall marketing strategy. HubSpot, Lead Liaison, and Adobe Marketing Cloud can be used for various marketing tasks like sending a string of nurturing emails, collecting leads with pop-ups, web forms, gated content, and other website activities.
If your content marketing strategy does not include tracking any of your content to see how it’s performing, you might as well not bother implementing some of the previous suggestions. You need to know what’s working to know what direction to go in next. To start, look to Google Analytics and the Online XML Sitemap Generator. With these two tools, you’ll be able to generate a basic report of the content on your website. You can also use the Screaming Frog SEO Spider Tool; there is both a free and premium version available. The Screaming Frog will produce a spreadsheet of your content with columns for things like URL, meta descriptions, word counts, headings, page refreshes and even a SERP (Search Engine Results Page) preview.
Once you’ve collected your data, it’s time to go back through and analyze everything. Are there any patterns emerging? What seems to be working and which content needs some revisions? The time you take to do a content inventory will be worth it. The results from your analysis can guide your brand on what future content to create. Outside of your content audit, there are other tools you can utilize to make your work easier.
Content marketing tools are only useful if you create content in a purposeful way. Whenever you’re creating, stay consistent with your messaging and keep your content marketing objectives in mind. Including tools and software in your overall plan will save your brand time and lead to the creation of higher-producing content.