Content marketing has become a vital part of the overall marketing process in many companies today. The world of business has drastically changed due to technology; therefore, it’s important that you are using the right tools to make your new processes work. The problem is that sometimes the tools you may need can be costly. If you’re a small business, it can be a strain on your budget to pay for those solutions. Don’t worry…there are tools you can afford!
Before we dig into some tools you can use for your content marketing plan, let’s get down to the basics content marketing.

What is Content Marketing?

“Content marketing is a marketing program that centers on creating, publishing, and distributing content for your target audience — usually online — the goal of which is to attract new customers.” (Source: Hubspot)

Why Does Your Business Need Content Marketing?

In today’s technology driven world, most consumers and B2B decision makers do a lot of research online when they are preparing to make a buying decision. The question is will they stumble across your company when doing their online research? Both B2C and B2B companies need to have a strong presence online if they want to attract new and repeat customers. Executing a well thought out content marketing plan will increase your chances of gaining new customers because you will have a greater online exposure and presence. If your prospects aren’t finding you online, then you’re losing potential new business.

Let’s take a look at some statistics to help you gain a better understanding of the importance content marketing plays in your overall bottom line.

“77% of B2B purchasers said that they would not even speak to a salesperson until they had done their own research.” (Hubspot)

“Over 70% of B2B purchase decision makers user social media to help them decide.” (Hubspot)
“71% of B2B Marketers use content marketing for lead generation.” (Social Media B2B)

How Do You Execute a Content Marketing Plan On A Tight Budget?

You may be thinking to yourself, “This sounds great and all, but I can’t afford to do content marketing.” The good news is that you can afford to do execute a content marketing plan without breaking the bank. There are multiple tools available online for free or at a low cost. Below are some of our favorite affordable tools that may be helpful to your content marketing plan.

Planning & Strategy Tools

CoSchedule – This is a great tool to manage your editorial calendar. It offers many features including easily scheduling your blog posts on social media right from your WordPress site. The cost to use Coschedule ranges from $15 – $60 per month.

Plan More Efficiently With Marketing Calendar Software – @CoSchedule

You want to publish content consistently to grow your audience and customer base. Your marketing calendar software will help you plan more efficiently to reach your goals.

Trello – This is a free tool that can help you manage your team and assign tasks for your content marketing plan. This is a great tool with easy to use drag and drop features that make it easy for everyone on your team to use and stay on the same page. They also have low-cost paid versions starting at $8.33/month.

Trello

Infinitely flexible. Incredibly easy to use. Great mobile apps. It’s free. Trello keeps track of everything, from the big picture to the minute details.

Google Trends – This is a free tool to help you identify what keywords you should be using to reach your target audience. It helps you to identify trends in your industry and keywords to help you now where your keyword focus should be when writing your content.

Google Trends – Think with Google

Are searches for your brand increasing over time? Are consumers searching for you or your competitor? Learn about your brand with this tool.

Curated Content Tools

Google Alerts – This is a free tool to help you easily find curated content to share. You can set up alerts to send you articles on certain topics or by certain companies. Once you’ve identified an article that you would like to share, write up your thoughts about the article and share that as a blog post and then distribute across your social media profiles.

Google Alerts – Monitor the Web for interesting new content

IFTTT – This is a free tool to help you automate various processes and find curated content. I love this tool because it does all the work for you. You can set up notifications, have data populate into a Google Docs spreadsheet, and many more possibilities. There are so many different workflows you can set up to help you in your content marketing strategy. Create your own workflow or borrow from someone else!

IFTTT

IFTTT puts the internet to work for you. Create simple connections between the products you use every day.

Paper.li – This is free tool to help you provide curated content to your audience without you having to do a lot of work. You can schedule it to deliver content daily or at different intervals. You can link it to your lists on Twitter and it will populate your paper with stories that those individuals have shared. It offers multiple options on how you can populate your paper with content (using your Twitter lists is just one example). If you need more options to make your paper more customized and have more options, then you can get the Pro plan for a low-cost of $9/month.

Paper.li – Get Fresh, Relevant Content Delivered Daily

Publish Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or any web content into your own online newspaper.

Scheduling, Engagement, and Listening Tools

HootSuite – This is a free tool that lets you easily engage with your audience, social listen for keywords, and schedule messages across multiple social platforms, and much more. The tool offers up to three social profiles for free. If you need more, they do have low-cost plans starting at $9.99/month.

Free & Paid Plans

Discover Hootsuite Free-manage multiple networks and engage your audience, all in one easy platform.

Creating Visuals Tools

Canva – This is a free tool that gives you the ability to easily create customized images to include with your social posts (at the right dimensions), infographics, presentations, documents, ebooks, marketing materials, ads, and more. It has an easy to use drag and drop feature. You can sign up for Canva for Work if you need extra features or want to set it up for your team to collaborate on different designs for a low-cost starting at $9.95/month.

Start designing

Canva makes design simple for everyone. Create designs for Web or print: blog graphics, presentations, Facebook covers, flyers, posters, invitations and so much more.

Creating and executing a content marketing plan for your business doesn’t have to be painful to your wallet. However, it will take time and effort to reap the benefits of a well-thought out and properly executed content marketing plan. If you need help with your content marketing plan, contact us today to request a proposal!

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