Recent data has shown that 17% of brands create, publish and promote more than five pieces of content each week – and there’s no way to do that single-handedly, so here are our top 25 tools to help you create and promote better content for your business.
1. Pixabay offers copyright-free images, as well as the option to tip the image creators voluntarily. This is great for making blog posts really pop and for adding eye-catching images to your content, without spending loads on graphic design or subscription-based image sites.
2. Small SEO Tools – This site has loads of free and simple-to-use content tools, including a plagiarism checker, grammar checker, keyword positioning tools and more. Some of the tools are limited when using the free version, but with a 1,000-word limit on the plagiarism checker, it shouldn’t be too much of a hindrance.
3. Grammarly – An instant grammar and spelling checker available as an extension for most web browsers, which offers spelling and grammar suggestions as you type text in any website, including social media platforms.
4. Blog Post Templates – HubSpot has five free blog post templates available to download to inspire your marketing activities and help you to craft engaging blog posts.
5. Hemingway App – This app analyses content for readability and offers ways to make content more
accessible and engaging. By making content simpler to read, you will see higher conversions and click-throughs.
6. Infogram – Create engaging infographics in minutes without any graphic design experience.
7. Google Keyword Planner is perhaps the most obvious tool for finding relevant keywords, suggesting long-tail keywords and providing data on the competition surrounding them.
8. BuzzSumo – A great tool allowing content creators to find top content for specific keywords and industries to see what everyone else is talking about, this allows you to see what information everyone else in your industry is peddling, then make it your own.
9. Ahref Content Explorer – Find the most shared content for keywords, subjects and topic across social media sites, then add your own spin on it and bring those readers to your website.
10. Quora – In-depth answers to questions, personal anecdotes and expert opinions in the form of a Q&A forum – easy to get lost in for hours, but essential for adding authority to your content.
11. Google Trends shows the latest stories, news and media being shared and read across the internet. This can be used as a general search tool, but also offers more specific results when keywords are entered.
12. The Blog Topic Generator by HubSpot takes three keywords of your choice and generates 5 blog titles using them – it can be a bit hit-and-miss when it comes to grammar and some of the results are hilarious to read, but it is great for giving you inspiration for blog post titles.
13. Forums, such as Reddit, which calls itself ‘the front page of the internet’ are great for finding the latest information and customer-led interests surrounding particular topics. The site is divided into ‘subreddits’ and there’s one for almost any subject you can think of.
14. Your own company’s feedback – if your customers and readers are always asking the same questions, maybe that’s the subject you need to address next. Even an FAQ can be a great piece of content if enough people are interested in the answers. Another use is a ‘behind-the-scenes’ piece offering insight into the company or processes.
15. ‘Now Trending’ sections on social media are often the first place popular topics can be seen. Scan the ‘trending’ sections on Facebook and Twitter to see what everyone is talking about, then add your own angle to the discussion.
Managing the Process
16. Social Oomph – This is a social media automation platform which allows you to schedule when your content is published and the tags used to identify your posts. This is great for companies with limited staff who want to save time but still have a social media presence.
17. Outbrain – Outbrain scans the web to find topics, stories and media related to your content, then displays links to your content alongside in a native way – this entices people who have already shown an interest in similar topics to view your content, automating your content promotion.
18. Word2cleanHTML – The ideal blogging tool, this site converts text written and formatted in Microsoft Word to a clean HTML script, saving you time when it comes to publishing and fixing those small formatting errors.
19. Hootsuite is another social media automation platform, which offers the ability to see all social media streams simultaneously and schedule times and dates for publishing content – another time saver.
20. Your company website’s content management system – if you have not yet installed content management, take a look at g2crowd’s recommended software.
21. Zapty is an online platform with tools to organise teams and individuals working on a project – this is great for keeping freelancers informed, updated and confident in their role within your company.
22. There are numerous sites offering experienced freelancers, content creators, copywriters and graphic designers, such as People Per Hour, UpWork and Content Gather.
23. Content writing agencies are another option, and a long-term relationship with either an individual freelancer or committed agency will lead to exceptional content with a deep understanding of your business as a foundation.
24. Content sharing and collaborating platforms including Google Docs and DropBox are free and offer the opportunity to work with creators, freelancers and agencies to create perfect content suited to your needs in one place – it’s also great for backing up content so that technology can’t lose it.
25. Stand Up Mail is a simple interface which sends an email to collaborators or freelancers each day to remind them of their tasks, it then offers them the opportunity to write a simple list of completed tasks which are sent back to the team leader – a super-simple progress management tool.
Did we miss your favourite tool? Let us know in the comments what platform has been the key ingredient in your content marketing strategy!
Failing. Fail. Failure.
How do you feel about these words?
I’ll tell you how I feel - indifferent. But it didn’t used to be that way, so I totally understand if you’ve used these words before. Next time, don’t say you “failed”, say “you haven’t succeeded yet”, or “you have come up against a challenge”.
These words used to bring about a tightness in my chest, a sinking feeling in my stomach, low energy, dissatisfaction, fear and sometimes envy at everyone else who didn’t seem to be failing.
Thankfully, I don’t feel that way about the word anymore; it’s just the best word to describe something that didn’t work out.
I’m going to try not to get too deep and heavy. I’m writing this on a sunny day in Italy; it’s morning and I’m in my bright pink checked pyjamas and comfy hoodie. Not a time to get heavy.
I feel the time has come to share a little bit of my story from the last few years with you, because in a few more years I will have forgotten the early stages of building a business. The memories won’t be as strong and maybe the moment I am in now, and the thoughts I have on failure, can help a new business owner who has just left their 9 to 5.
The First Idea Will Set You Free... But Probably Not In The Way You Think
My story is the same as thousands of others; I didn’t like my corporate job so I left and set out to start my own business.
When I left my job, I had zero business experience, very little interpersonal skills, zero personal development skills, I had extremely poor emotional development and a complete lack of focus.
At the time, I thought I was going to change the world in a heartbeat.
Now, I am beginning to understand the only thing I needed to change was me.
I did have enough sense to realise this was kind of a big change; leaping out of a steady paycheck and career path into a blank space, to create a vision of my future from scratch. So I had money saved and booked-in several months to go and volunteer at a retreat centre in Spain.
It was here that my first business idea formed. Well, a name... a concept…
I wanted to help others who felt stressed out and overworked in the city to feel at ease in their own life and stay connected to themselves and each other.
Just with the details I’ve given so far, I hope you can now understand why I was not in a position to show anyone the path to embody any kind of peace or tranquillity in a city. I had just run away from one and was hiding out at a yoga retreat in Spain, decompressing and trying to come up with a plan.
City Calm failed.
Well, at least for now, it is permanently calm to the point of asleep.
BUT, moving into creating this ‘business’ helped me to start to piece together the skills I was lacking, and through contrast, I have developed a lot of clarity and direction I would never have found otherwise.
And that is why I say ‘The First Idea Will Set You Free... But Probably Not In The Way You Think’.
I have seen this pattern repeated soooo many times!!
People leave their job, then come up with an idea to help others in the area they really need help in.
A Health Coach Who Struggles With Her Own Health
A Motivational Coach Who Finds It Hard To Stay Motivated
A Mindfulness Teacher Who Gets Constantly Pulled Back Into Negative Thought
The last one is me!
Setting up and running City Calm was awesome. I taught basic Mindfulness classes in the park, I ran fun events like ‘A Sand Castle Competition’ or ‘Mindful Journaling’ and ‘Mindful Colouring’.
I ran a Mindfulness retreat with a highly experienced yogi and neuroscientist who I am still in touch with now; Paresh Mhaispurkar.
I passed around a beautiful bunch of flowers at a top Marketing Conference full of execs and spoke about universal energy and oneness (still makes me smile from ear to ear when I think of this!!!). The execs were so engaged and interested in learning about Mindfulness and even took it back to their teams; it was an absolute dream to teach that class.
It was fun, and I’ll be going back into running events and retreats in the future, that is GUARANTEEEED! And my practice will continue to grow and develop and I will, without doubt, start teaching again.
But the company failed.
Here are some key business lessons I learnt.
Planning Doesn’t Generate Revenue
We made very little - to pretty much NO MONEY.
There was no business model, in the first year I actually made: £0.00. I had to fill in my tax form and the tax office thought there was an error. NOPE, I just literally thought writing numbers in a spreadsheet would somehow magically create revenue.
Planning becomes more important as you start to generate revenue. Cash flow planning, in particular, is one I am getting my teeth stuck into right now. And project planning, resource planning, etc. But those only come ONCE you have revenue.
The ONLY reason you need to project future revenue is to make a strategic business decision. Projection planning isn’t there so you can know when you will become a millionaire.
Enjoy The Daily Process Of Improving Your Craft
In the first year, I practised a lot of yoga, mindfulness and meditation. I was addicted to learning as much as I could on the topic.
In the second year, I started to teach Mindfulness. I even put together an online course with Karen, a highly knowledgeable and practised Mindfulness teacher from London (if you are ever in London check out her classes and events, she is a lovely lady!).
The course was professionally filmed and edited by Leah, an intern who came to work for us for a while. It started to feel like we were making it. We were now modelling the website of a competitor who was raking it in; there was no way this plan couldn’t fail. There was a great team of people involved who believed in the vision and the future of City Calm. You should have seen my spreadsheet projections, we were all millionaires!
The course wasn’t bad - it was pretty well put together and I thank everyone who helped to make it a reality. But the fact is, "pretty good" isn’t good enough.
It was going to take a lot of time to get up to the level we needed to be and I didn’t enjoy the process of creating or selling online courses.
And that’s another reason why I think the first idea is likely to fail.
In order to succeed long term - to get up there with the likes of Kimra Luna, Kriss Carr or Marie Forleo, the entrepreneurs we see online and want to emulate - we have to be playing at the very, very top of our game. These guys have been at it for years!
To play at the top we have to put the work in. And you need to enjoy the work. You need to enjoy the daily process of improving whatever it is you are improving.
Otherwise, the standard of what you put out isn’t going to be high enough to create the abundant business you crave.
We need to be specific about the actions we do and don’t take, and they have to make YOU feel good.
Passion For A Subject Isn’t Enough
Having tried both the on and offline version of teaching mindfulness, I know 100% that offline teaching is what I prefer to do. I know I absolutely detest the process of creating courses and marketing them.
I don’t get Facebook Groups, and I don’t enjoy learning how to make them work.
I don’t enjoy testing sales sequences and sales funnels and I have zero desire to set up webinars or start videoing live streams on Facebook.
Going through the process of these activities just takes out all of the joy I had for the subject in the first place.
Slowly but surely, I am starting to figure out, mostly through contrast, which activities I enjoy and which activities I don’t.
So take note, be specific. Unless you have a high level of self-awareness already, it might take some time to unravel what you do and don’t enjoy.
Using Contrast Positively
This is the reason why failure is not something negative. It’s neutral.
You tried something, it didn’t work.
Why didn’t it work?
This is what I learnt:
*I realise these two are ridiculously obvious but hey!! Sometimes knowledge is only fully integrated through failure.
This is an amazing amount of learning and information which I can take forward and put into any new project or business.
I hope this has helped you to understand Why It’s Absolutely Okay To Fail. Why don’t we use the comments section as a little reflection centre today? Share with us something you have failed at and what it taught you - let’s learn from each other!
Sorry to be blunt but here is the honest truth.
I know you are in love with your business. I know you think you have the best thing since sliced bread and you are going to become a millionaire. But the sad fact is that no-one cares about your business; what it does, what you do, what you sell, etc. etc. etc.
Ours too, don't worry ;-)
If you want to find a path that equals zero sales plus a lot of disappointment, keep talking about your business all the blooming time. Keep telling people that your VA Package is exactly what they need, that your website design service is THE BEST OUT THERE.
It will never be enough.
Most marketing people then go on to say "you need to present the benefits". Whilst this is true, this post isn’t about presenting the benefits.
Because, usually, even presenting all the benefits isn’t enough.
How often have you read something and you are like “Hum, that does seem like it’s exactly what I want and need but um... maybe there is something better out there? Maybe I need to keep looking around, I might find a better deal or more value?”.
Unless you are an amazing copywriter and marketer who has spent years perfecting your sales page, or you can afford to pay those people to do it for you, focusing on the benefits isn’t enough.
Most customers need at least 7 touch points with you and your brand before they make a decision to buy.
So how can we make people care about our products & services?
The best way to make clients want your service is to show them that you can solve their problems. Don’t just tell them, actually help them out.
This is the strategy that entrepreneurs like Kimra Luna and Neil Patel, and pretty much every big name online entrepreneur out there, does. They show their customers how they can help them.
There are different ways a product and a service based business might go about this, so let’s quickly look at a few now.
Remember, whenever you are communicating with your audience you have a chance to help them solve a problem. Even if it’s the teeniest, tiny problem, once you have helped someone get closer to what THEY WANT, you are one step closer to having a new customer.
There are still businesses out there that waste the golden opportunity to solve problems for their potential clients by shouting at them about their business instead.
Traditional PR is much like this. You write a press release about your latest product or service, you submit it to a PR distribution service and they send it to hundreds if not thousands of journalists. Then hopefully one of these journalists picks it up and writes about your product or includes it in a piece they are writing.
Press distribution needs to be extremely targeted in order for it to work and have any real results. The reason being journalists don’t care about your business either. Journalists care about the article they are writing and the sources they can get for it.
It’s the difference between writing a post titled:
Ginger Marketing Launches Today - We Provide Quality Guest Post Services
How To Find Guest Posting Opportunities For Your Business
Unless I am specifically looking for a guest post service, there is no reason for me to click on the first title. And even if I do click on the first title, I know I’m being sold to and am very unlikely to actually follow up and make a sales enquiry.
The second title appeals to anyone who is looking for guest posting opportunities, they might not even know a service exists to help them. It will get clicked because it can help a group of people who have this problem.
And I know the readers 1) care about guest posting and 2) need help finding guest posts!
So they are going to be pretty targeted. PLUS I am helping them with a problem they have straight away, providing tons of value which they will be super-duper happy about.
I hope you can see the difference between these two approaches and why, if you apply the right strategy, Content Marketing can be so powerful.
Getting the right person to view your content is one step in the equation. Then the hard work really begins! Getting that person to read down to the bottom, take in the information and actually know, like and trust you is a whole different game.
And if you want sales enquiries they need to know, like and trust you AS WELL as knowing you can help them get what they want.
Written by Cheryl A Clarke Chief Happiness Officer & Content Marketing Freelancer @ Ginger Marketing (unless stated otherwise)
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