You understand the importance of creating content, but that doesn’t mean you’re any good at it.
Being creative is hard. Content promotion is hard. Coming up with great new ideas for your content is hard. Actually, it’s damn near impossible, especially when you’re tasked with doing it day after day, or when writing isn’t exactly a life passion you hold dear to your heart.
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Welcome to a content marketer’s hell, where it’s all content, all the time, and typically only a splattering of inspiration. Fear not—there are content marketing tools and tricks to help make the process easier.
Below are some of my favorites:
1. Content marketing super tools
Your brain will always be the best tool in your arsenal, but sometimes even that could use a jumpstart. That’s where content marketing tools come into play.
Which tools see the most action in my bookmark list?
It never hurts to start with the most obvious, and if creating content to attract and convert is your goal, Google’s keyword research tool should be foremost in your arsenal. Use it to understand keyword traffic and competition, and to find the pools in which you want to swim.
From the most obvious to (arguably) the most powerful, UberSuggest works like Google Suggest but on better drugs. The same way Google Suggest can open your mind to new keyword phrases and content ideas, UberSuggest goes far deeper. Give UberSuggest a keyword, and the tool will take the base of that keyword and work off it, adding a letter or digit to expand your keyword options in all directions. Click any of the keyword phrases that UberSuggest populates, and it will dive even deeper, offering related phrases. If I could bring just one content marketing tool with me to a desert island, this would be it.
To get even crazier, Seer Interactive’s Ethan Lyon shows you how to pair Ubersuggest with Tag Crowd. Sexy.
Just because we live in a Google-dominated world doesn’t mean we can ignore the other players. Soovle, er, solves this problem by offering a broader view of long tail keywords and content opportunities by using information from other engines like Bing, YouTube, Yahoo, Wikipedia, and beyond. I don’t love the user interface on this, but I will drop phrases in here to see what it brings up when my other sources are running low.
2. Social media tools
Social media’s greatest benefit is the ability to eavesdrop on your customers and to use that intelligence to solve their problems before they recognize they had a problem in the first place.
Every day your customers log on to social media to share important things with you. They’re asking questions, they’re seeking recommendations, they’re looking up product information, they’re consulting reviews, and, fine, sometimes they’re using social media to complain. All this represents an opportunity to hear what they’re saying and deliver answers in their own words.
The sites most powerful for doing that:
I know, Quora takes a lot of heat for being too “insider baseball” with claims that normal people don’t really use it, but stop judging it and start using it. Your mother may not have a Quora account (yet), but plenty of others do. They’re using Quora to ask questions and have intelligent conversations about topics such as tech, business, startup life, entrepreneurism, travel, and even cooking hacks.
Looking to be a content resource focusing on a specific keyword? Dump the phrase into Quora, and see what smart people are asking.
You might just take back every bad word you said about Quora.
In my world, advanced “Anyone Know” searches are still the bee’s knees.
If you’re not using them to find outreach opportunities, influencers, and content suggestions, it’s as though you’re not even trying.
Social Mention shows you what people are talking about with regard to a given keyword, how powerful that keyword is, and how often those conversations are happening, all pulled from an array of sources. SocialMention will also give you an indication of basic keyword sentiment and the hottest keywords associated with your query.
For those of us in the content marketing world, this ensures we’re using correct, most-trafficked words to discuss the topics we’re passionate about—which is the point of content marketing. I use SocialMention to give me insight into what I should be talking about, how I should be talking about it, and to whom.
3. Your site
Any SEO expert worth her salt knows the one of the best ways to learn about your customers is to spy on them. On your own website. While still in your pajamas.
Log in to Webmaster Tools, and use site analytics to understand your visitor’s reason for being there. Learn the questions they have, what they sink their teeth into, where they abandon the process, the topics they’re most passionate about, where else they hang out on the Web and what their purpose is.
Identify the content pieces that are best received, what they like hearing about, what ticks them off, and the hacks they’re looking for. Study your site search to hear their needs and concerns in their own language and their most pressing concerns.
Your customers are giving you all this information just by interacting with your site. Use it to improve their experience and your marketing.
4. Ask your team
Know who is an untapped resource for your content marketing needs? Your customer support team. They sit on the front lines, listening to complaints, answering questions, and walking your brand every day.
Ask them what topics customers are most interested in and the questions they often pose. Why do they pick up the phone and call? Where do they get stuck? What’s on their wish list? Your support team knows.
Maybe you can set up a weekly lunch and pick their collective brain, or get in the habit of BCC’ing your content department on support emails sent. Get yourself into that knowledge reservoir.
Once you’ve bugged your support team, go hit up your sales reps. They know what’s most important to your customers and the language they use to close a deal. [Maybe they don’t, and your keyword research can help them.] Get in that conversation, and learn to share knowledge throughout your organization.
A content marketer’s job is never done, and it’s certainly never easy. However, you can help keep that content well flowing by using tools to uncover new opportunities and employing assets you already have-such as your site analytics and the other members on your team.
What tools and resources do you use to enhance your content marketing efforts?
A version of this article originally appeared on OverIt.