Content marketing has become an extremely competitive arena now. Businesses are vying to develop their strategies with an eye on engaging their audience with interesting content, that encourages profitable behaviors of the target clientele.
In today’s competitive market, you have to invest wisely to make your brand hog the limelight. It’s equally important to judge how well your content marketing strategies are performing against the industry standards. That makes planning your content marketing strategy a vital element in your business success.
Ideally, your strategy should have one simple tenet at its heart – to deliver unique, fresh and informative content that entices your target audience, taps into their interests and drives them to engage with your brand.
For this, you need to understand the buyer’s journey. It’s interesting to note that 70% of the buyer’s journey gets complete before they even reach out to a sales rep.
So focusing just on sales would make you miss out on a major part of the buyer’s journey.
With marketing automation tools, you can influence this journey at different stages:
- Awareness: This is the start of the buyer’s journey, where your buyer is probably unaware of your business and that they have a need. At this stage, you should focus on creating awareness for your business and offerings so that your buyers start to understand what you do, and how you can help them address their needs/overcome their pain points.
- Consideration: Buyers now have already shortlisted a few companies and start to do deeper research to arrive at a decision. You should use your marketing automation tools to keep track of their growing interest and adjust your content so that they see what can influence their decision in your favor.
- Decision: Buyers are ready to make a purchase and start thinking and comparing about implementation, costs, customer support etc, which will decide the company they’ll finally buy from. This is the time to get brand-specific with your content. You can use customer testimonials and case studies to brag about how others have had a positive experience with your offerings.
Let’s have a look at some tools that will help you experience content marketing success, and nurture buyer’s all the way along this journey:
1. BuzzSumo for research
This tool lets you find what works in your niche, for the competition and who to promote your content to for optimal exposure.
From finding hot and trending content around a topic, viral pages on competitor sites, content to share and curate, quality guest posting targets and influencers in a niche. To locating target placements for your infographics and promoting your content on Twitter, you can do it all with this tool.
BuzzSumo’s available plans are:
- Pro at $99/month – the starter plan for small teams and bloggers.
- Agency at $299/month – Agency teams can opt for it where they will get the Facebook Analyzer along with all Pro features.
- Enterprise at $999/month – This the best bet for brands and publishers that need advanced functionality for large teams.
Where is it used?
When referred to a number of instances where business owners and webmasters use this tool, it is seen that most of them use it either to find influencers within their industry, or writers who can contribute to their blogs.
Richard Moynihan, Social Media Editor at the Telegraph, and Jimi Smoot, an entrepreneur, use BuzzSumo to search influencers in their respective fields. Whereas, AJ Ghergich, of Ghergich & Co. uses BuzzSumo to track which content is performing well and then outreach and contact bloggers and writers to write for their website.
2. CoSchedule for organization
Managing the content on your website or blog is a breeze with this editorial calendar. With Co-Schedule, you can now keep your content as fresh, consistent and engaging as possible. This will help you fortify your web presence and grow your readership.
Thanks to its great layout, CoSchedule lays out all your scheduled posts with ease. You can even see all your scheduled social media posts in one place. It’s drag-and-drop feature, seamless integration with WordPress, easy scheduling of social media posts, rescheduling an old post (after checking from the dashboard how many times it has been shared and from where it has received the most traffic) are other features that make your content marketing job that much easier.
You can even use asks and comments on posts to create workflows for your team without emails. Some other features of CoSchedule are:
- Manage Google Docs Content
- Convert Google Docs & Evernote Content to WordPress
- Manage Evernote Content
- Several integrations to simplify your content marketing tasks
CoSchedule plans available are:
- “Solo Standard” at $15/month (per calendar billed annually) or $19 month-to-month for a single user, 5 social profiles; it’s suitable when you start building your audience.
- When you plan to use premium integrations and custom workflows to save time and publish even faster, “Solo Marketing” for a single user, 10 social profiles is suitable. It’s available at $39 month-to-month or $30/month (per calendar billed annually).
- “Solo Automation” is fit for those aiming to work smarter with auto-pilot publishing, robust social automation and data driven intelligence. This plan is available at $79 month-to-month or $60/month (per calendar billed annually).
Where is it used?
CoSchedule is a widely used editorial calendar that helps keep content fresh, consistent and engaging. Webmasters and site owners have claimed that they have seen a considerable growth in readership after they started using CoSchedule.
Arienne Holland, the Director of Marketing and Customer Experience at Raven said that their marketing team had to send about 75 fewer emails than before.
3. Crazy Egg for optimization
Apart from a heat map, Crazy Egg offers scroll maps, overlay maps and the confetti report. All these together help you get valuable insight into how your content is performing.
The heat map report displays actual clicks of your visitors to let you know how they engage with your website. Scroll maps gives you insight into time spent by visitors in viewing particular sections of your page.
You can use Crazy Egg to re-prioritize your vital content to areas of your more popular pages. The overlay displays a bunch of little colored markers, attached to every section that has been clicked.
To get more information about a particular section, you just need to open the relevant marker attached to it. Extensive information about each click is given by the confetti report. So, you can categorize clicks by country, browser, referrals and devices used to check how your content is doing and make adjustments where needed.
Available plans for Crazy Egg are:
- The Basic plan at $9/month for starting out. This plan provides daily reports for 10 active pages and 10,000 visits per month.
- Growing businesses should use the Standard plan at an annual fee of $19/month. This plan provides daily reports for 20 active pages and 25,000 visits per month.
- Plus at $49/month is Crazy Egg’s most popular plan. It offers hourly reports for 50 active pages and 100,000 visits per month. It also comes with mobile heat maps, advanced filtering and priority email support.
- To get all that you need, Pro at $99/month is your best bet. It offers hourly reports for 100 active pages and 250,000 visits per month. Other features are same as the Plus plan.
Where is it used?
When researched about the areas and reasons people used Crazy Egg for, it is seen that many use it to increase conversions, a few use it for improving their website design, while others use it for Local SEO.
Softmedia and Conversion Rate Experts saw a rise in conversion by about 51% and 25.9% respectively. Pagely used this tool to identify Design Flaws, while Local Visibility System used it for improving their Local SEO.
4. Convert Pro for increasing email subscribers
The most recent and powerful lead generation plugin, Convert Pro is known as the most advanced solution in its category. This WordPress plugin allows you to create call-to-actions that hold back abandoning visitors, engage inactive users, redirect them to another page and much more that you wish to do in order to increase your mailing list and increase conversions on your website.
With Convert Pro, you can:
- Build a robust email list
- Promote videos
- Drive traffic to your website/blog
- Offer lead magnets
- Share updates and offers that attract visitors
- Capture more leads and boost ROI
- Segment users with multistep popups
- A/B test call-to-actions to track the one that works bes
- Integrate with 30+ Email marketing softwares, CRMs and auto responders
- Get useful insights by integrating with Google Analytics to fine tune your content and boost visitor engagement.
Two things that encourage us to try Convert Pro is its lightweight nature and the reasonable cost that it is available at. Figures prove that Convert Pro is by far the fastest and lightweight plugin of its kind.
It offers two pricing options that allow you to use it on unlimited websites. You can choose to purchase an annual license for $99 or a lifetime license for $399. You pay a complete amount for the plugin and its features along with updates and support that last until your license period. Any of these are a deal and definitely better than the other costlier options in the market.
Where is it used?
When you are about to try something, you would want to know how different is it from the existing solutions, what difference does it make and well yes, how will it affect your pocket. Convert Pro by far has all the advanced options including some unique ones that you’ll need in a lead generation plugin. It is lightweight and does not bloat your website. What’s more? It gives you all these features with world class support at a price you cannot really imagine.
5. MailChimp for email marketing
Email marketing plays a key role in a business’s overall content marketing strategy. You can use MailChimp to automate your emails and send them to different audiences.
This tool lets you:
- Create your own newsletter or leverage one of its several elegant templates.
- Target different audiences by segmenting your mailing list based on preferences, behavior and previous sales.
- Send out your newsletter every time you update your blog, thanks to its RSS-to-email option.
- Know how well your marketing campaigns are doing by sending reports detailing who’s opening your newsletters or sharing them on social networks. With hundreds of app integrations for apps you already use, importing content from other sources and tracking your campaigns’ performance is made easy.
MailChimp also has apps that facilitate work on the move from iPhones and Androids.
Pricing plans for MailChimp:
- Free: If you have less than 2,000 subscribers, you can send a maximum of 12,000 emails every month for free.
- Growing businesses: Businesses with varying subscribers (from 1,001 – 1,500; 1,501 – 2,000; 2,001 to 2,500 and 2,501 – 2,600) can take their pick from plans costing $20, $25, $30 and $35 respectively.
- Pro Marketer: This enterprise-level package is suitable for 1,001 – 1,500 subscribers to 2,501 – 2,600 subscribers. Pricing varies from $20 to $35.
Where is it used?
The average open rate for emails is usually seen to hover around 20%. But, with the use of the automation feature of MailChimp, it was seen that the open rate was doubled instantly.
If you want something more, I recommend you give ConstantContact a try. It’s reliable, affordable, intuitive, and extremely powerful. Their drag-n-drop editor and tons of attractive templates make it ideal for the beginner to intermediate email marketers out there.
6. Buffer for social media scheduling
For busy business owners, managing their social media accounts and keeping them updated with fresh posts is an ordeal. Buffer brings a great solution by automating the process.
With Buffer, you can:
- Manage multiple Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn Accounts
- Set up your own updating schedule
- Add/Change/Delete updates Easily
- Use Buffer with different browsers, leveraging its many extensions, apps and extras
Pricing for individuals:
- Individual for Free: For 1 user, 1 social profile per platform and 10 scheduled posts.
- Awesome at $10: For 1 user, 10 social profiles per platform and 100 scheduled posts.
Teams and agencies can choose from three plans namely Small ($99), Medium ($199) and Large ($399).
Where is it used?
When you think of promoting your business on social media – time, consistency, statistics and analysis are among a few things you need to think of. Buffer is an effective tool that has been helping a number of companies and businesses spread across social media. In a case study that speaks about Campaign Monitor using Buffer, it is seen that using the right features for the right purpose will help triple social media shares.
7. Google Analytics for tracking traffic
Gaining insight into which content your users are engaging with the most, as well as what works and what doesn’t, can help your content marketing strategy significantly.
With Google Analytics, you can:
- Find out your most popular web pages
- Find out your most popular/most shared blog posts
- Spot the type of content users are looking for on your website (with the site search functionality)
- See the clickable page elements your visitors interact with the most (using In-Page Analytics Reports within the Google Analytics’ Behavior section)
- Leverage UTM parameters to attach additional information to links that point to your website, thus collecting more in-depth data about the clicks leading visitors to your website
- Determine the location of visitors who make up the major chunk of your web traffic
- Detect the online campaigns that bring the most traffic and conversions.
Where is it used?
Google Analytics is a trusted tool that can be used to track the performance of all your marketing efforts.
Companies like Panasonic have used Google Analytics to improve the Return on Investment (ROI) obtained through their digital marketing campaigns. While tracking the performance and sharing it with various media tools, they managed to increase ROI by about 30%.
Content marketing isn’t just about framing what to write and how to write. It’s much more than that. You not only need to create interesting, precise and engaging content, but have to ensure that it reaches your target audience and is shared by them across various social networking platforms.
It’s an uphill task but with the tools mentioned above, you can automate a sizable chunk of the job and get useful insights to fine tune your content to make it work.
Wooing your visitors and keeping your existing and potential customers happy with tailor-made content was never this easy!