10 Free Tools to Enhance Your Content Marketing Efforts
As authors, it’s our job to answer questions, talk about industry developments and write about topics that provide value to readers for months, or even years to come. As search engines continue to evolve, so do the resources we have at our disposal to enhance our content creation and improve the outcome of our efforts. Having a content marketing strategy is vital to becoming more efficient and maximizing the value from these efforts.
I’d like to share a few of the tools that have helped me become more strategic in my content creation efforts. These free tools have assisted me in the development of new content marketing processes and have allowed me to create more valuable assets for my clients. Making use of these tools should help you create more relevant, timely content around queries that people are searching for now.
Keyword Research Tools
It’s likely the majority of us are already using search engine suggest services (autocomplete) to discover timely, related variations of targeted keywords. Luckily for us, there are tools available that will provide comprehensive suggest results from a single search from most major engines.
One such tool is Soovle: a customizable engine that shows you the suggestion services from top engines like Google, Wikipedia, Answers.com, Yahoo, Bing, etc. Depending on the popularity of the query, you will receive multiple results from each engine which you can then sort through, categorize and prioritize according to relevance. In addition to being a great keyword research tool, Soovle also offers an image search, logo search and a permalink feature which allows you to save results for a query for future reference.
Another favorite keyword suggestion tool of mine is Ubersuggest. Ubersuggest works very similarly to Soovle in the way it provides results from suggest services from major engines. One great feature of Ubersuggest is that it allows you to refine your search based on categories like news, videos, blogs, etc. Ubersuggest also allows you to click on and save certain keywords from their results which stores them in a basket (.txt doc.) for quick copying and pasting for additional analysis. Both tools are great for
discovering timely, relevant, and targeted queries. By using both tools in conjunction, it’s possible to get an extensive list of potential keywords for use in both content optimization and creation.
The Google AdWords Keyword Tool, or old reliable as I endearingly refer to it, has been a staple for industry professionals for years. The tool is great for accessing Google’s own data and for discovering long-tail and related variations of your keyword. You can experiment with match type by selecting “broad” or “phrase,” to find variations and related keywords. The tool also gives you insight into the monthly search volume for the location and language you select in Advanced Options and Filters.
Have a great idea for a topic and want to see if searcher interest is waning or increasing? Google Trends allows you to enter multiple search terms simultaneously and will compare searcher interest of these terms over time. The tool also provides related search queries for additional searches or for long-tail variations of your query.
Social Search Tools
As social continues to become more integrated into the way we search and share information, so does the opportunity to gain insights from these conversations. Using social analytics and listening tools like Topsy and Bottlenose helps us to understand the conversations that are happening now and allows us to quickly discover popular or trending topics. Both tools are built using the same premise but offer slightly different features. Topsy works by scouring the web, analyzing billions of conversations from different social platforms, blogs, and websites. In addition to offering real-time intelligence, Topsy also offers a historical analysis of topic trends by showing social data from 2010 to the present.
Bottlenose has similar features to Topsy. It utilizes trend detection algorithms to help cut through the noise and focus on information directly related to your topic as it unfolds. I would recommend exploring Bottlenose’s sonar feature which displays the connections between a query using real-time natural language processing. Both of these powerful tools give us insight into billions of conversations ensuring we have the most timely information and resources at our fingertips.
Social Mention is another real-time social media analysis tool worth checking out. Social Mention offers unique features that set it apart from the other social analysis tools like the ability to refine your results to one specific social media platform and the ability to set up social media alerts around your keywords – roughly the same idea as Google Alerts, only for social media.
Representatives from both Bing and Google have said that search engines are increasingly using semantics to analyze relationships between words and phrases. Using semantic search and other word relationship technologies allows engines to decipher word meanings. This helps them to understand query intent and expands their ability to resolve sessions or queries quickly.
By utilizing latent semantic indexing tools such as lsikeywords.com, we can quickly analyze the top 5 (or 10) results in Google for a query and determine which words and phrases are semantically related to that term. By incorporating related words and phrases that enrich your topic or subject matter, you increase the odds that search engines will find patterns in your content that are similar to related content, increasing your relevancy score for those terms and the likelihood your content will be returned in the search results.
As search engines increasingly look at engagement metrics like social signals as not only a signal of trust but also as a ranking factor, it’s becoming more important to place our content in front of an audience that’s interested in what we have to say. A tweet, like, share, +1 or pin can be compared to a vote that lets us know our post has resonated with readers and that our efforts have ultimately been successful.
While there are a variety of methods and tools at our disposal to help us identify potential placement opportunities, there are also communities of bloggers we can utilize to reach new audiences and find relevant opportunities. My Blog Guest is the brainchild of guest blogging guru Ann Smarty and was conceived to be a resource for both content creators and website and blog owners alike. One great feature of My Blog Guest is the forum is monitored and moderated which seems to be fairly effective at keeping spammers at bay.
Another noteworthy resource for finding guest posting opportunities is Blogger LinkUp. Known as “the idea lady,” Cathy Stucker created Blogger LinkUp as a means for bloggers to connect with sites looking for content. One great feature about Blogger LinkUp is the “Announce a Contest or Giveaway” form which alerts other bloggers in the community to these types of events, thereby increasing exposure and the possibility that a blogger may do a write-up on your event. There is also a section that allows you to offer up your client’s products to Blogger LinkUp members to review, which is another great way to gain exposure and brand awareness.
We live in an exciting time, and we are fortunate to be part of an evolution in search marketing and technology. By being strategic in every part of our content marketing efforts, we can improve the quality of our content and improve the outcome from of our efforts. I’d love to hear your thoughts and insights on any of the tools discussed or resources I failed to mention.
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