Apart from a work desk, a comfortable chair, a great view to inspire and of course, a brilliant machine to work on, there are a few things that a content hacker needs to be equipped with for maximum productivity.
The bad news? Most of you out there might not be aware of these needs.
The good news? They are mostly FREE or come at a cost that no boss can say no to!
Whether you’re an experienced content hacker or one in the making, here’s your new list of must-haves:
It is impossible to create a piece of content with the purpose of SEO and marketing without having a list of at least 10 keywords that you would like to be known for. Even though most of us are aware of what keywords are, how they affect a piece of content and what frequency needs to be maintained, the knowledge is pretty superficial.
Before you jump on to using the tools I list down for your keyword research, here’s the Beginner’s Guide To Do Keyword Research that you ‘must’ go through. Once you’re through, here are 5 tools that I make use of on a daily basis:
Google — do you need an introduction?
Wordpot — Keyword suggestion tool
SEO Book — Guide for web visibility and Keyword search tool
Keyword Eye — Keyword and competitor research tool
Wordstream — Keyword search
And by that, I don’t mean those motivation quotes being shared on different social platforms. Every writer needs to be inspired and for inspiration, he needs to know what’s happening around the world. The case in point being, digital marketing.
Here are a few (my favorites) must follow blogs if you want to stay (and write on) up-to-date trends:
Mashable Social Media — Topics trending on social media and social media marketing trends
Buffer Social — Thoughts on sharing, creating, analyzing and converting with social media
Jeff Bullas — Social media marketing, social strategising and trends
Jon Loomer — Facebook marketing
Social Media Today — Digital and social media marketing
Social Media Examiner — Social media marketing
Pulse | LinkedIn — News and insights you need to know
The success of a piece of content depends majorly on the title!
Even though I’m all about the breaks (bass), your post is going to need a title. Here are my favorite topic/ title generators that you can use in times of dire need:
HubSpot’s Blog Topic Generator — Topic generation based on the keywords you’re focusing on
Portent’s Content Idea Generator — Content idea generation based on the subject you’re covering
If nothing else, they’ll just surprise you with the sometimes ‘oh-so-funny’ suggestions!
If nothing works, get back to reading your copy of 52 Headline Hacks: A “cheat sheet” for writing Blog posts that go viral by Jon Morrow of Copyblogger. If you don’t have it, what are you waiting for?
Copied lines are not really copied! It’s okay if a line or two already exist somewhere on the internet. It is impossible to not use certain lines or phrases that we have read about a million times while doing our research. So, instead of looking for alternatives, give due credits!
Just to be sure not all lines are plagiarized, here’s a simple free tool:
Plagiarism checker — Small SEO tool that requires only copy pasting of the piece of content in the box provided
No designer images
One thing that I have realized in about 2 years of my career as a content marketer is that, you don’t get a designer when you need one! There are dozens of them out there waiting to show their creativity, just not when you desperately need one.
It goes without saying, a content piece needs images. They don’t just give your content a ‘prettier’ look, they make it 10 times shareable on social media. And I think at the end of the day, that’s the whole idea behind content marketing!
If you’re someone who’d like to make an exclusive image for your post, you should definitely try one of these:
Canva — Create designs for Web or print: blog graphics, presentations, Facebook covers, flyers, posters, invitations, etc.
Pablo (by Buffer) — Design engaging images for your social media posts in under 30 seconds. (PS. It really does take only 30 seconds!)
But if you’re someone who’d rather source the image, here are 53+ Free Image Sources For Your Blog And Social Media Posts.
If you’re keeping up with the times, you probably already know that retargeting is the most effective way to increase your sales and conversions on site.
While Facebook allows you to retarget while setting the audience for a campaign, there are those visitors on your website that need to be focussed on as well. So how do you bring those people back?
Exit Bee — Exit Bee uses behavioural analysis to convert your visitors with highly targeted messages and offers the moment they are about to leave your website.
You didn’t have a designer when you needed blog images, what makes you think one of them is going to be free when you need to create a quick how-to-guide as a part of your content strategy? Tch tch.
What if you could create one on your own, without even having to take screenshots? Here’s an online tool that makes it possible:
Whatfix — Create interactive how-to’s for the web
If your boss expects you to manually calculate the best time to post on different social platforms and then execute the ‘posting’ too, it is time to have a sit down with him.
The idea of content marketing isn’t to get at least 2000 views on a blog post in a week’s time, irrespective of the nature of the piece of content. The whole concept of content marketing is to be able to convince a reader to give a try to the product you’re marketing — without sounding like a salesman!
Having worked as a content marketer for sometime now, I have realized Tuesdays are a great day to publish new posts on your blog. The reasons being, Mondays are far too busy for everyone as they have a sleepy head to nurse after a great weekend and that’s usually the day everyone has a stand up meeting (stand up comedy) for discussing weekly goals.
Apart from the above, here are the best tools for social media scheduling to get your piece of content the exposure it deserves:
Buffer – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest
Hootsuite – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn and a lot more
If you thought your work ended right after scheduling your content on different social media platforms, you’re wrong!
Like any other marketing field, it is a must to keep an eye on the numbers to gauge how effective your content marketing strategy is. Apart from the analytics offered by the social platforms themselves (like Facebook and Twitter), here are some of the tools that I have been making use of:
Buffer — Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+
Iconosquare — Instagram
Google Analytics — Website traffic
Keyhole — Hashtag campaign tracking
Klout — Social media influence
Now that everything related to content creation and content marketing is taken care of, it is time to move on to growth hacking it! Because those hours of hard work behind each of those blog posts deserve something, right? And then of course, you don’t want to continuing with a strategy that isn’t bringing in the desired results (conversions).
Now every marketer need not be from a technical background and even if he/ she, it isn’t mandatory for him/ her to know how to code. At least not enough to create your own growth hacking tool! So, here’s a list of tools to make your job a bit easier:
Unbounce — Building effective landing pages
Optimizely — A/B testing
MailChimp — Email marketing
Survey Monkey — Creating surveys and getting effective answers
Social Mention — Measuring social traction
Crazy Egg — Customer’s on-site behavior
And, that’s all!
Now that you have everything in place, I’m pretty sure next week is going to be the ‘content hacking week’. So, have fun!