In 1996, Bill Gates declared that “content is king,” and, twenty years later, his words apply to marketing in ways he never anticipated. The success of content marketing makes sense. Users prioritize their own benefit before anything else, and content marketing is a far more effective way to prove that benefit to them than traditional advertising.
In fact, traditional digital marketing is failing: ad blocker usage grew by 41% between 2014 and 2015, and a Google study found that 56% of ad impressions are never seen by internet users. People don’t like to be told what to do, so marketers have to find ways to pitch a product or service without sounding presumptive or self-interested.
The solution, as it turns out, is content marketing, the tactic of providing valuable, relevant content and information to a target audience with the goal of increasing brand awareness, establishing trust, and ultimately selling a product or service of value. This approach, called inbound marketing, brings customers to your business versus finding them yourself through cold-calling, email marketing, and other outbound campaigns.
As of 2015, inbound marketing’s ROI grew larger than outbound marketing’s did, reinforcing the rise of content marketing, and investors are beginning to put their money where the market is heading. 55% of B2B marketers and 59% of B2C marketers plan on increasing their content marketing spending in 2016.
The only problem is that content marketing takes time. You have to find or make great content and then deliver it to your audience effectively. There are many strategies to optimize your content marketing, and automation tools are at the top of the list. Automation is an important way to reduce the amount of time it takes to create a great content marketing campaign without sacrificing any of its quality.
Whether you have an established blog or you’re just getting started, these 7 tools can help you automate your content marketing and take your inbound marketing efforts to the next level.
Whether you plan on sharing other people’s content or you want to focus on publishing only your own work, you should read a lot of articles and blogs, understand what topics get coverage, and know what resonates with readers enough to be shared. feedly is one of the best RSS feeds on the internet and boasts millions of users. This tool allows users to curate their own news feed and follow their favorite news publications and blogs all over the internet, getting tailored content updated in real time all in a single window.
This content curation allows you to follow all the latest news and insights in your industry, perhaps sparking new content ideas for yourself or helping you latch onto viral trends as they happen. Whether you want to read a wide variety of content or focus on a single niche, feedly can bring the latest articles and blog posts in your interests right to your screen. You’ll never have to search for content again.
If you’re expanding your content marketing, you’ll be sharing your content on social media, but it can be a pain to log in to every platform and create individual posts for a single piece of content. Buffer simplifies this process by linking up all of your social media accounts into one dashboard. Not only can you sync accounts to all post the same message at once, but you can schedule when posts go live as well, allowing you to plan your posts for social media well in advance. The best part? Buffer allows you to target the best times to post on social media to maximize your post’s exposure without having to schedule your day around those times.
If you want original high-quality content, you need to have a talented in-house content team to create and put that content together, but the production of written web content will cost you a pretty penny. Alternatively, you can outsource your content marketing needs to a freelance team. Contently connects you with a freelance network of over 55,000 journalists, researchers, videographers, and any other professional you may want for your content marketing team.
Clients can interact with the professionals that create the content and with strategists to plan out the content that will be produced. Contently’s platform handles communications and invoicing with these different teams, wrapping everything up into one nice package. With clients ranging from Google to Marriott, Contently has a strong track record of connecting clients with freelancers to boost their content marketing campaigns.
The best content marketing is the kind that starts a dialogue between your readers and your business, so tune in and see where and why people link to your content. Ahrefs is a scraper that lets you track backlinks, which are incoming links to one of your web pages from elsewhere around the web, and is an effective metric for the success of your content. In a study published by Moz last year, backlinks were proven to be crucial to high Google search rankings, so it’s a good idea to know where those backlinks are coming from in order to increase the number of backlinks you receive in the future.
Ahrefs users can also track organic traffic on any website they’re curious about and see how they rank in certain keywords, as well as view what keywords their competitors have paid for and what their ad copy says. These tools help clients understand the playing field so that they can focus resources on the competitive keywords needed to reach their target audience.
To successfully use content marketing to convert your audience into paying customers, it’s important that your content utilizes a consistent tone and voice to target your user base. Acrolinx is an advanced piece of software that checks your content, not only for grammatical errors but also for tone and style to help you create a targeted and consistent content marketing campaign. It then provides insights on how to boost the impact of your content and tailor it to your audience through ROI analytics and content trends.
According to its website, following Acrolinx’s guidelines and advice can boost conversion rates by up to 5 times, which has made Acrolinx a trusted service for enterprises such as Microsoft, Facebook, Sony, and Paypal. With numerous integrations, your team won’t have to change their workflow to use Acrolinx to your advantage.
One of the most effective ways to push your content to your audience is through email. Email marketing campaigns have a high ROI and are an easy method of marketing to implement for businesses of any size. MailChimp saves you a huge amount of time by streamlining your email marketing. Users can employ the tool to create segmented email campaigns and send specific chains to different subscribers based on their past behavior.
For example, if a customer has downloaded a preview for an e-Book, MailChimp could segment those users and send them an email a week later asking if they’d like to download the rest. You can hire a MailChimp developer to customize these campaigns even more, and MailChimp also offers some nifty email marketing analytics and email content creation tools, so you can compose simple yet elegant emails and track how well they do with your audience through metrics like open rates, click rates, and conversion rates.
Within every audience there are individuals who will impact others’ decisions about your product or service by engaging publicly with your business while their own followers pay close attention to the interaction. These influencers can be tough to identify, but pinpointing them and convincing them to support your company can help your business and the community around it grow at a faster rate.
Traakr helps businesses find those individuals and manage their relationships with them through influencer profiles, real-time tracking of their online interests and posts, and alerts that let users know of opportunities where they can connect with these people on a more meaningful level, whether it’s as small as replying to a tweet relevant to your business or as large as meeting up at a conference.
Like any initiative to reach new customers, content marketing takes dedication on your end, even with these automation tools at your disposal. However, these tools give your content marketing an edge by automating a lot of the grunt work, allowing you to focus on targeting your audience and converting as many new users as possible. 74.2% of companies say that content marketing has boosted their lead quality and quantity, so don’t ignore this valuable strategy. Use automation to your advantage, and bring your content marketing strategy to a larger audience than ever before.
Image courtesy of Oracle.com