When running a sizable marketing department, you have little room for inefficiency. Between balancing budgets, brainstorming new campaigns, and managing your editorial calendar, you need more than an Excel spreadsheet to stay organized and churn out consistent content.
Because my company handles hundreds of articles and blog posts each day, we’ve discovered some awesome time-saving tools that can streamline the content creation process for you, too.
1. A Robust Editorial Calendar
Your editorial calendar is at the heart of content creation. After trying and failing with Google calendars, Word documents, and a few other seemingly good ideas that turned sour, our team created a template that nails down everything from who’s writing what article and when to where we’re sharing it and why. It’s made our process rock solid, so we decided to offer a free editorial calendar template to our readers.
2. Google AdWords Keyword Planner
You can find the Keyword Planner tool on the AdWords platform. It’s intended to help advertisers select appropriate keywords when planning paid search campaigns, however, it can also reveal potential article topics that will dually support your content marketing strategy.
Simply enter a topic, and the Keyword Planner tool will spit out specific search terms people are using around it. You can also enter a list of keywords, and it will return search volume and competition levels for each keyword.
Here’s what happened when we entered “content marketing”:
Because people are searching for information on content marketing plans or strategies, it makes sense for us to create content around these topics.
If online distractions are draining your productivity levels, Anti-Social is for you. The app allows you to block any distracting websites during certain parts of the day to stay focused on your writing. Even better — the only way to turn off the app is by rebooting your computer. So once it’s on, you’re committed. And with looming content deadlines, this feature can be immensely helpful for buckling down and getting stuff done.
BuzzSumo leads the pack in content marketing analysis. It reveals the content that’s performing best around any given topic and what people are saying about your competition. You can also identify influencers who could help promote your content.
Let’s say you’re a content marketing agency and want to keep a pulse on industry news. Using BuzzSumo, you can see which articles are gaining the most traction on social media, which reflects public interest.
These metrics can also inspire the content development and brainstorming processes. Perhaps this General Electric TV series or the rise of “screenshorting” could be the focus of your next blog post or off-site contribution to publications like Forbes or Inc.
5. Google Trends
Google Trends is similar to BuzzSumo in that it shows you the popularity of search topics. But it goes a step further by comparing topics and predicting future search volume, too.
Check out this graph for “Easter eggs” versus “pumpkins.”
You can see that the search volume for each topic spikes at the same time each year. Google can easily predict when the next spikes will occur — next April and October.
6. A Knowledge Management System
Hopefully, you have some awesome individuals on your team who are true industry experts. If so, a knowledge management template can help you organize, store, and easily access those personal examples, anecdotes, and wonderful quotes that make for honest, wholesome content.
This way, you can quote your internal experts and use their knowledge as the backbone of your content without constantly bombarding them with the same questions.
If the editing process is holding up your content creation, Grammarly could be your secret weapon. This free app finds your grammar mistakes as you’re writing, freeing you to focus on pumping out exceptional content, not pesky grammar issues.
Grammarly syncs with apps like Gmail, Facebook, LinkedIn, and more, so it seamlessly integrates into your everyday routine.
These are just a few tools our team swears by. What other tools do you use to streamline content creation? We’d love to hear about them in the comments!
About the Author
Kelsey Meyer is the president of Influence & Co., a content marketing firm that specializes in helping companies showcase their expertise through thought leadership. Influence & Co.’s clients range from venture-backed startups to Fortune 500 brands. Connect with on Twitter @Kelsey_M_Meyer.
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