I’m sure you’ve asked yourself at least once: Is my content doing well? Am I doing everything I could be doing? Keeping a marketer’s perspective in mind can prove to be very useful, when it comes to the process of developing content. Ask any marketer and he or she will definitely tell you that it’s all about the right mix of tools to enhance their pursuit of information.
With many existing publications seeking new and exciting ways to keep readers interested, online publishing has become one of the most competitive landscapes where effectiveness and efficiency dictate who comes out on top.
We’ve outlined these 51 tools in an intuitive manner in the somewhat chronological order of content creation and we’d love to hear what other publishing tools you’re using yourself. All of them, if used correctly, can help make your online content publishing easier – and content marketing strategy better.
Planning & Research
Before you type a single word or even input a targeted Google search, you start to plan. This stage is all about content discovery and the ideas that have been floating inside your brain for a while.
In order to keep these ideas organized and to be able to collaborate across a team, you should be using a platform such as @DivvyHQ or @Trello, an easy visual organization tool that will help you manage your projects.
If you’re lacking inspiration, a content discovery app such as @Feedly or @Paper_li will prove useful in filling up your feed with content that’s relevant and curated for you, allowing you to pinpoint relevant trends and ideas to inform your content creation efforts. At the same time, using a tool such as @Buzzsumo will help you analyze what content performs best for any topic that you do end up choosing, allowing you to find influencers in your niche.
At the same time, do not underestimate the power of social media platforms such as @Reddit or @Quora. Search for trending topics, questions and answers that are relevant to your expertise and industry, in order to gain insight on what content you should be developing.
Once you’ve identified the subject of your article, it’s time to actually start creating your masterpiece. There’s quite a few tools designed to help you manage your words better, but the Google Keyword Tool is a great starting point. If you have an AdWords account, you’ll be able to search for the right pairings of keywords to use in the headlines and body of your articles, all the while ensuring a better SEO rating. If you don’t, @Keyword_io provides a similar service, segmented on your platform of choice, be it Google, Youtube or even Amazon, free of charge.
Once you’re ready to actually start typing, use @OmmWriter to make sure you’re distraction free and also keep track of your word count, while creating a better writing environment. For Mac users, @Ulyssesapp provides a similar service, with the added benefit of syncing with your iCloud, for increased productivity anytime, anywhere, on all iOS devices.
Speaking of syncing across devices, @Evernote is a very popular workspace app that lets you manage notes, ideas and even sketches in order to create better and more organized writing.
Content isn’t just text based, so you’re going to have to consider using some creative designs in order to keep your readers engaged. Try not to be too concerned if you haven’t tinkered with graphic design software, there are plenty of easy-to-use online tools that will get the job done.
Infographics are a great way of visually enhancing your content through data visualization. If you’ve got the budget, but not the time, try investing in a platform such as @Visually, a marketplace of infographic experts and designers. With over 30,000+ examples already created on the site, it could at least serve as inspiration.
If time is on your side and you’re feeling creative, try your hand on @Easel_ly and create your own, using the available templates. For design that reaches beyond infographics, a tool such as @Canva can be quite handy. Its drag & drop system is easy to use and there’s a lot of templates to help you get started. Once created, simply use the @SiegeMedia embed code generator to implement the graphic onto your website.
If you’re looking to enhance your online conversations with your readers, Jing from @TechSmith is a free and simple way of doing just that. The tool allows you to share images and record videos straight from your screen. It’s a great way of providing step-by-step tutorials, for instant, focused communication. Whether you want to share this media to e-mail, social or various platforms is then up to you.
If you’re all about interactive, engaging content, try tools like @Snacktools to embed a web-based poll or take it a step further with @Qzzr_, to create, embed and share your own quizzes, drive social traffic and generate leads.
After you’re done laying your thoughts down, make sure your content is as good as it can be using an online editor. With so much advice about what’s right or wrong, what you should or should not do, it can prove difficult to find an editor that can cover all the bases. That’s why we recommend using a selection of tools to get the most out of your content.
For a human touch, you can use Google Docs to write, track changes and collaborate with other users on the same file. All you need is a Gmail address and the online word processor is free. You can also give @Wordy a try, for real-time, human copy editing and proofreading. While not free, this app does pair you with actual content editors, guaranteeing professional results.
Once you’ve gained all the human feedback you can, let the @HemingwayAppeditor take a shot at it. The web based, dynamic text editing tool brings clarity to your writing by pointing out areas that could be improved, including sentences that are too long, use too many adverbs or have an illogical structure.
For spellcheck purposes, try Chrome’s @Grammarly app to eliminate errors and find up to 10 times more mistakes than your word processor. Another site that helps enhance the clarity and meaning of your content is Cliche Finder, which does exactly what you think it does. It highlights overused phrases in your text, preventing you from falling into a very overused, cheesy trap.
Now, I’m sure this is about the time that you think you’re ready to publish. You’ve done your research, you’ve made your argument, had it proofread and are ready to set it free for the world to enjoy. What if I told you there were even more steps you could take, that would increase the odds of your content being successful?
The headline is probably the first words a reader will come in contact with when coming across your content. First impressions do really count, so you want that first phrase to be a masterpiece. If you’re lacking inspiration, the first place you need to hit is an online headline generator.
@Sumome provides a very structured, detailed one, @Hubspot has one that will provide you with multiple blog topics based on 3 nouns and Tweak Your Biz’s Title Generator will offer hundreds of headline versions for your specific topic. Once you’ve made a selection, make sure to head to @Coschedule’s Headline Analyzer to receive a score based on the overall structure, grammar and readability of your headline.
Now that you’ve got your headline all set, it’s time to optimize the rest of your content. @Atomic_Reach is an easy-to-use tool from Atomic Reach that will tell you how big of an impact your content is going to have. This content scoring system will also provide useful advice on how to improve your content, based on the audience level it’s oriented towards, from general to specialist, academic to genius.
If you want to ensure that all of your hard work so far actually reaches your intended audience, you need to invest some time into actual distribution methods, ones that imply more than simply including a social share button.
Depending on your budget and time, content marketing platforms range from those that offer free distribution services to complete content marketing workflow, management and distribution application designed for agencies and SMB’s.
If you’re just getting started, @Buffer or @MavSocial are really good options for getting on a social sharing schedule. These social media tools will post articles, photos and videos on multiple social media accounts at peak hours throughout the day. Use a tool such as @Mentiasocial to find relevant content that your audience actually likes and schedule your updates for a better ROI.
Find yourself having to post more often but don’t have the time for it? You might find a tool such as @MeetEdgar to be exactly what you’re looking for. This social media scheduling tool promises more mileage out of every update, carefully cataloging them into a personal library. It then builds a never-ending queue of updates and publishes them.
Paid services like Content Launch by @jonwuebben or @SproutSocial take is a step forward, finding opportunities to engage and join social conversations for you, and publishing your content accordingly, while measuring performance.
If you’ve got an email list, using an email marketing platform is a great way of engaging them with content. @MailChimp is one of the easiest email marketing tools, with templates, Google Analytics integration and scheduling abilities that will help fuel new subscribers to your list. @CampaignMonitor is another tool that sends and measures the impact of your newsletters, with simple drag-and-drop features. To make sure that your emails and newsletter are responsive on all platforms, you can use VerticalResponse.
Check @ReallyGoodEmail for inspiration, and remember that your email subject line is just as important as your headline. Before you send, make sure to test your ideas using Subject Line by @Worldata. This type of tool evaluates your deliverability and marketing results, while offering free advice for optimization. You can also check the spammyness of your email on Mail Tester, for an increased chance of successful delivery.
Sometimes, simply distributing to your social networks isn’t enough. Depending on the type of audience your content is targeted towards, you might want to seek out a range of professionals.
Whether you’re looking to send a press release or approach publishers relevant to your area of interest, joining a platform such as @MuckRack or @PRWeb is a great way of promoting your most valuable content. You can also use them to discover relevant journalists and bloggers to pitch for future articles and even survey the competition. A simpler, more basic alternative would be @Hey_Press, a tool that allows you to find relevant journalists by topic.
If you’ve already got some names in mind but don’t know how to get in touch with them, try @EmailHunter or @RocketReachCo to look up email and phone for relevant professionals. Just do your best keep your outreach within common sense.
ContentMarketer.io (@contentmrktrapp) is another platform providing 3 products to help you promote your content:
- Connector lets you schedule and send personalized outreach emails via your Google account.
- Notifier scans your blog post to find anyone you mentioned and it helps you tweet at those people, letting them know they got a mention. In fact we’ve used Notifier from ContentMarketer.io for this specific article 😉
- Marketer (influencer finder) – the all-in-one tool that helps you find and contact influencers via email and twitter.
Now it’s time to see if all your hard work’s paid off. There are a lot of tools out there that offer measuring and optimizing of digital campaigns, but the standard of the industry is still Google Analytics. Customize reports, measure the impact of your social media and directly measure your conversion rates, all in one place.
If, however, you’re looking to expand your measurement, there are a few ways you can do that. Sticking with Google, their Webmaster Tools are equally as important for measuring the results of your marketing campaigns. From tracking keywords for which your website has ranked, to boosting the effectiveness of your SEO efforts, you can really use this tool to improve your website’s performance.
For a more basic approach, you can give @TrialFireInc a shot. The tool tracks everything a person does when visiting your site, without having to tag your site or write any special code. It also gives you the opportunity of building actionable segments, for more personalized and effective marketing tactics.
If your curiosity sometimes gets the best of you, @Unmetric is the analytics tool that allows you to get a feel for what your competitors are doing and how audiences are reacting to the content that’s out there. This, in turn, gives you a chance to improve your own future content, based on what’s performing well from you and your competitors.
The Final Stretch
If you’ve reached this point, you’ve probably figured out that publishing online content and content marketing is seriously hard work. But it can also be SO rewarding if done right. As the demand for the best content available rises, so does the number of efficient, time-saving tools to give a helping hand.
It’s important to remember that the nature of tools such as the ones highlighted is that they are constantly receiving updates. Plus, for every tool we’ve talked about, there are a few others that are similar or perform parts of the functions, so try not to limit yourself. It is up to you to identify the right set of tools that can help you achieve your goals in online publishing. After all, you know what they say: “Tools are only as effective as the skills of the person using them.”
We’re curious: What are your favorite tools for online publishing? Make your contribution by commenting on this sheet here and share it with your friends. More people should really know about these amazing tools out there.