When you make web sites, it’s easy to forget that no matter how shiny the site turns out, without traffic, none of the cool stuff you made really matters. There are a lot of ways to drive traffic to a site, but as a writer, I am particularly fond of content marketing.
I don’t focus on content marketing just because I’m good at creating content. I focus on it as having good quality content is a precursor to other types of marketing, such as pay per click and SEO/SERP strategies. When you’re ready for the investment of time and money necessary to do those things right, you’ll need some quality content to drive traffic to.
In the mean time, if you know your industry, and can write clearly, content marketing is an affordable way to reach your target consumers–by providing something free and of value to them.
In this article I will share my favorite tools for content marketing, but not just practical tools for creating, and sharing content with WordPress. But I will also share my philosophy and favorite links on thinking strategically on content marketing.
I’m including the philosophy, as I think it’s useful to people who are creating WordPress sites without a huge budgets — the people I’m trying to reach. Also, the philosophy is what makes this article more unique than a “10 Power Tools For Content Marketing” and without a big SEO-budget standing out against all the other posts like that is impossible.
What To Write About
Most of this article is about tools for getting your content to the right people. None of that matters if you don’t have the right content. Before you can create any content you need to figure out what that content is.
In my opinion, that involves answering these three questions:
- What is the unique value of my products or services?
- Who needs my products?
- What content do the people who need my products or services value?
If you don’t know the answers to these questions then you are not ready to do content marketing. That’s because content marketing isn’t about generating traffic, it’s about generating the right traffic.
Defining your unique value statement, whether its for you, your product, or your service isn’t easy. Doing so as soon as possible can save you a ton of effort marketing to the wrong people. Until you know clearly what you have to offer, you can’t be strategic about what you write.
Once you have these three things, its fairly simple to generate a list of topics and start writing. Then you need the tools I’m listing in the second part of this article.
If you haven’t answered these three questions, then it’s time for more research.
Best Blogs To Read For Developing A Content Marketing Strategy
In content marketing, your most important tools may just be knowledge and motivation, because let’s face it, this isn’t easy. Obviously Copyblogger is the leading authority on content marketing, especially with WordPress.
Here are few blogs I love for learning about content marketing. Each of them are very focused on strategy, and staying motivated:
Also, for helping to define your unique value, I really recommend these posts strongly as well:
- The Art of Creating a Magnetic Value Proposition
- Value Proposition Examples – Words That Get Meetings
Giving Is Circular
Content marketing is about putting something of value into the world, and trusting that you will get something valuable back–indirectly. Being strategic about what you give maximizes the chances of a getting back what you need from your efforts. In his book Give and Take, Adam Grant shows that givers tend to rise to the top and the bottom in all metrics of success.
What determines, according to Grant, if a giving lifestyle and approach to life leads to rising to the top is determined by how we focus our giving–whether we are pathologically altruistic or do it with an “otherish” perspective. Giving with this “otherish” perspective is, giving with a “concern for others is coupled with a healthy dose of concern for the self, givers are less prone to burning out and getting burned – and they’re better positioned to flourish.”
Tools For Content Marketing In WordPress
Once you have your strategy in place, you will need the right tools to execute it. Here are some great tools, most of them free for putting your strategy in motion and getting the most impact out of it.
You can’t be strategic about what you write without a plan. Planning starts with knowing what your business’ focus is going to be and matching your content plans to that. Putting your content on a calendar also helps you get ahead, which is important for staying consistent.
Here are three great WordPress plugins and services for scheduling content and improving your editorial workflow:
These tools are especially useful when working with a team. Personally I currently use a todo list in Todist to manage my content plans for this site. I set due dates for when the content is to be published. It’s not 100% ideal as there is no calendar view. But, it works for me, and I like how Todoist handles notifications, which is a big concern for me.
Share Early & Share Often
Sharing your content on social media is a no-brainer, but only sharing it once is pointless. There are many tools out there to schedule social sharing of your content. They have the added benefit of also helping manage sharing of other people’s content.
There are three of these services that I like a lot:
Currently I use Hootsuite for scheduling tweets to both my personal Twitter account and the account for CalderaWP. I like HootSuite a lot for its auto-scheduling and for its tools for finding content to share. That said, I will probably give Buffer another try as I found its analytics very clear and useful when I used it before.
Make Your Content Sharable
Sharing your content yourself is important, but making it sharable by others is very important. There are roughly a trillion sharing plugins for WordPress, and even more articles on which is the best.
Personally, I use Jetpack, as it just works, and I always need Jetpack for other tools it provides otherwise. I also use CoSchedules’ free Click To Tweet plugin. It let’s you create boxes in your article with a click to tweet button. These boxes serve both as suggested tweets, with a message better than just your title, and as type of blockquote.
Make Your Content Searchable
Just because SEO isn’t the primary focus of my content marketing strategy, it’s still a part of it. Making your content available for search engines is simple, a must do, and simple with these tools:
As time goes on and your content marketing strategy is successful, you will see improved search engine rankings, but only if you do the work for them to make your content properly searchable.
Once you attract someone to your site, keeping them there is important. Too me that’s about getting them to other content before they leave. That content may be another post, or a product page.
For this challenge, tools like the JetPack Related Posts Module are especially useful. As is working in links to your products, when relevant.
Also, important is creating useful widgets for taking users to the right content. The bigger and more complex your site is, the less useful widgets with static lists will be. Instead, you need lists that can adapt to user input with an intuitive interface. Here are my favorite tools for creating these sorts of tools:
I’ve used FacetWP on a lot of client sites, and its really helped get users to the right content they need. Easy Pods is obviously a favorite since we made it. The Easy Pods widget, combined with magic tags in queries is especially useful.
Build Your Email List
Email marketing is an incredibly powerful tool that goes hand in hand with content marketing. It’s the best way to reach your followers directly, hands-down.
A newsletter full of marketing copy is not particularly valuable to your end user. On the other hand, the content you wrote on your blog, specifically tailored to your audience, if you’re doing it right, should be very valuable to your subscribers.
Here are some great tools for creating options on your site to help grow your mailing list:
I’ve used every one of those tools on client sites for building email lists. Currently on this site, we use LeadIn for the slideout sign-up form and Caldera Forms MailChimp for adding optin to our contact forms.
If you have an eCommerce site, adding a mailing list optin to your checkout form is a great way to build a relationship with customers. That’s why we use the Easy Digital Downloads MailChimp add-on.
Give & Give Wisely
Content marketing is about giving something of value to the right people. It’s that simple. Just remember it’s not about traffic, it’s about the right traffic.
When done right, and by that I mean when done strategically, content marketing can not only bring your ideal customers to your site, but it can be a part of your email marketing strategy, your SEO strategy, and your pay to click strategy.