I’m pretty sure you’re fed up of hearing that “SEO is dead” and the only way you can get good rankings these days is to invest all your time in “content marketing”. Google has been at war with the spammers in the industry for years and as they’ve taken down the rankings of those that would seek to pay their way to the top of organic listings (which has always been against their ‘rules’), some others who have merely tried to do their best have also seen their sites suffer.

Of course, it’s easy to say “you shouldn’t break Google’s rules” but by breaking them a lot of companies made a lot of money and you can’t really blame them for trying. But, as these rules get enforced ever more, we have to ensure we stick on the right side of the search engine and that means creating good content, lots of it and regularly.

This is where the problems start. Having dealt with many companies who want to do it right, I simply say “start with a blog” and take it from there but even this is difficult. Blogging is hard enough for those who have a lot to say but for companies that are merely trying to get on in the world and are already working all the hours in the day on their normal business activities it can be an onerous task. To then ask them to publish a lot of content such as video, podcasts and slideshows for example, well, that’s just too much.

It doesn’t have to be that difficult, however. Planning is the key here and if you can plan out what it is you’re going to create and when you’re going to do it then you can churn out an incredible amount of content each week that will help boost your search rankings and stay within Google’s precious rules.

Planning to do things and actually doing them are two different things though, so I’d like to propose something else – delegation of tasks. Hand in hand with this, I would also suggest some kind of project management tool, but I use the term with hesitation because if you’re not familiar with the new world of web applications, you may already be quaking from the fear of having to boot up Microsoft Project. Don’t worry, we won’t even be venturing near that level of project depth, we’re going to keep it simple.

Instead, I’m going to suggest you use a very simple project tool (and there are many about) to make sure you take care of the most important tasks and get them done in a timely manner. Here are a couple I can recommend from use over the last few years.

Asana

AsanaThis is a superb little tool and although it’s brilliant for collaboration, I prefer to use it as an individual and just keep a track of my own tasks in my own projects. You can setup “Workspaces” and in these have multiple “Projects” and then setup up all your tasks. Each task can also have sub-tasks and you can have a description and files so all the relevant information can be kept together.

The simplicity of this tool is what makes it such a winner and it’s very easy to create tasks using keyboard short-cuts that are intuitive as well as being useful. A lot of time has been spent on making this tool as easy as possible to use and they’ve succeeded but you can also use more complex features and even integrate with DropBox, Google Drive and Zapier if you really want to use it to its full.

The big bonus? There’s a free version for teams of up to 15 members.

If you have multiple staff working on your content marketing then you can use Asana to assign tasks and keep track of them,  however it’s not fully-blown project management and for more complex projects you may need something else, so for that reason I give you…

Project Bubble

Manage tasks directly in the calendar

This was a revelation when I discovered it as it seemed to make the most complex project management tasks an absolute doddle. The intuitive interface design makes it a dream to use and even though it gives you Gantt chart capabilities, creating and using them is nowhere near as complex and difficult as Project from Microsoft seems to make it. Everything just flows and when you’ve added tasks and dates, your chart is created so you can view your task relationships at a glance.

The benefits of using a more project-oriented tool is the ability to track far more detail. For example, with and online project management tool like this, you will get time tracking and time sheets as standard, invoicing capabilities (with the ability to pay on line via PayPal) and a whole host of reporting. If you’re working for clients, everything can be displayed via an RSS feed meaning they can view constant work updates as soon as they’re done.

Project Bubble also has a free version for up to five users but upgrade to their $5 a month version to remove all the branding and get unlimited teams, users and projects.

Using the tools to handle content marketing

It’s OK having all this software, but if you’re new to the whole content marketing idea then you’re probably wondering what it is exactly they’ll do for you and why you need them. Well it’s simple really: as a content marketer it’s likely you won’t be doing everything yourself and you’ll have a team working on individual aspects of your project.

For example, let’s say you want to create a blog then turn this blog post into a presentation, an e-book, a video and a podcast. You may have asked your head writer to create the blog on Tuesday and then when it’s finished you can get your guy with the best speaking voice to do the podcast and the rest of the team working on presentation and e-book.

Keeping all this together and knowing where everything has got to can become a complex process. If you’re pestering the e-book people because it’s Friday and you still haven’t seen it then it’s useful to know that the hold-up is actually with your blogging guy.

What’s more, as each bit of content is created you can upload it to your project tool of choice, storing everything ready for the final stage – posting. As a section of the project is completed, you’ll be notified so you can go and release it into the wild.

Other tools

I know, I know, people are screaming at me because I’ve missed out their favourite tool, but I’ve specifically chosen those above because they work particularly well with content marketing, something I’m particularly passionate about. With this, you need to know what’s being created and when and when you get the content you need to get it published quickly. Both of the tools above have served this purposed well and importantly are free to get going with.

In Conclusion

Doing the work is fine, getting it done by others is also fine (and preferable in some cases) but keeping it up is absolutely essential and so ensuring you can do it every week and month without fail is imperative. The two tools above are just a couple of many out there but these particular ones have ensured I’ve been able to keep on top of my workload and get our clients the high rankings they deserve.