Free resources to make your job easier
You know that creating brilliant content is key to driving traffic to your website. Without valuable content that engages your audience, writing blogs and posting to social media becomes a lot like throwing paint against the wall and hoping it sticks. You put something out in cyberspace multiple times a week and hope that your audience is reading it and becoming inspired enough to fill out a form or inquire about your product.
Deep down, though, you realize this “strategy” is not effective. You know you need to publish content in the form of blog posts, infographics, videos or checklists that your audience craves. Providing content your consumers want to absorb is the best way to drive traffic to your site, generate leads and, ultimately, increase sales.
For many companies, though, taking the time to develop a well-planned content calendar that addresses the right keyword phrases and resonates with specific buyer personas is a nice dream instead of a daily reality. Too many companies are too short-staffed or lack expert the content creators necessary to develop a comprehensive content marketing plan to maximize SEO and increase website conversion rates.
Fortunately for these companies, several free tools exist that make content creation easy and effective for your organization. Whether you are looking to create engaging blog posts, informative infographics or organized and shareable presentations, these resources can help you maximize your in-house resources to produce the engaging content you desire for your website or social media platforms.
Check out this list of free tools designed to help make it easier for you to design and post effective and valuable online content.
Tools For Curating Content
A major challenge in developing strong online content is knowing what to talk about. Utilizing content curation tools helps you pay attention to what your customers are reading about and sharing online so that you can provide the same type of information that will get them reading about and sharing your content (which helps increase SEO and, hopefully, conversion rates).
- Feedly Sites like Feedly aggregate blog content in an RSS feed so that you can stay up-to-date on the topics that matter to you (and to your customers) to know which hot topics you should be posting about. This site is organized graphically, making is easy to find the topics you find most relevant.
- The Tweeted Times This Twitter app compiles news in your Twitter stream and ranks it by popularity among your friends. The app lets you create customized newspapers on any topic you find interesting, so you can monitor updates specific to your business or industry. Because it updates in real time, you always know what is the most up-to-date information being shared online.
- List.ly This online tool helps organizations curate, crowdsource, and engage readers through a live list embedded directly into blog posts. Among other features, this tool allows you to poll those already reading your blog to learn just what it is they like most about your blog and want to see more of.
You can even use social media sites like HootSuite and Pinterest to pay attention to what your users are talking about online. Set up streams with designated keywords within HootSuite to monitor conversations on certain topics or search boards in Pinterest to see what types of visual content your customers find most engaging. This will help direct you in the types of content your marketing team should be creating for your company.
Tools for Creating Content
Now that you know what your audience wants to know about, it is important to generate content that speaks to them. Whether you want to use text or graphics to best communicate your message, these tools can assist you in presenting your information in a way that makes sense to your readers.
- Canva Does your audience crave infographics? Do you find them time consuming and difficult to produce? Websites like Canva allow you to produce your own graphics using a supply of templates and images sourced for free. With a step-by-step tutorial and an intuitive platform, just about anyone on your team can create visual images that convey the desired message to your audience.
- SlideShare Anyone who has ever sat in on a lecture, seminar or other presentation knows how effective slide-based presentations can be at conveying a message. If you have a lot of information to share on a certain topic that would best be communicated with graphics and text, consider using SlideShare. This site makes it easy to crete and share presentations on across the web and on social media platforms.
- ThingLink The fun site enables you to upload and image and add icons from ThingLink’s library to create your own custom interactive image, video or message. Your readers can interact with these icons that you are able to embed into your blog post or website. You can also share the image organically or through social channels like Twitter, Facebook or Tumblr.
Tools for Distributing Content
All this content is great, but it is meaningless if you don’t share it with your users. These tools help you distribute your message to the people who care most about what you are talking about.
- HootSuite We mentioned it briefly before as a way to monitor conversations, but HootSuite also helps you participate in the conversation as well. This site allows you to manage all of your social media accounts, track mentions, respond to fan interaction, and schedule posts all within the app. Because you can schedule one post to multiple platforms, it requires less time to distribute your content across multiple channels. And we all love efficient solutions, right?
- MailChimp If you want to reach your customers directly through their inbox, email services like MailChimp provide easy-to-use platforms to create and send an email to a designated contact list. A variety of templates and designs makes it easy to plug in your information, schedule your mailing and track results from your customer database.
- Click to Tweet You’ve written great content, published it on your blog and posted it to your social media profiles. But how do you get others to talk about your content? using services like Click to Tweet make it easy to provide bite-sized bits of content from your larger posts that readers can immediately post on their own Twitter account with just one click. Because you can customize the tweet, you can include a link back to your site or your Twitter handle to gain additional followers and shares.
Content is key for successful web-based marketing. But you don’t have to be an expert or have a huge marketing team to have a successful online marketing plan. With these free and fun resources, your team can create engaging visual and text-based content that appeals to your audience and is easily shareable for increased SEO and SERP results.
Tell us, what are some of your favorite online tools for content curation, creation and distribution?