Your Website Needs These 5 FREE Content Marketing Tools

Your Website Needs These 5 FREE Content Marketing Tools

Content marketing tools are a must-have in every web marketer’s repertoire. They can simplify the content creation process and support your content strategy. And some of the most significant are also free — making them vital as well as helpful.

This list is not comprehensive by any means. I consulted ultimate guides to confirm that the tools I’ve found most useful in my everyday business are also recognized by content marketing experts.

These are five that I use myself and find valuable in everyday business. I only recommend products I have positive personal experiences with and would suggest to a friend.

Why Content Marketing Tools?

One 2016 content marketing industry survey found that 75% of content marketers were increasing their investment in marketing technology. This has resulted in a widening field of tools to meet the growing demand.

Resources are available to help you create, distribute, and measure the effectiveness of your content. While those highlighted here have been around a while, recent upgrades have added feature sets to keep them competitive in the ever-growing marketplace.

These apps, plugins, and platforms were designed to make your job as a content creator easier. Some products help you design beautiful marketing materials. Others automatically connect you with your audience. Use one to keep your editorial calendar and workflows organized. These must-have tools are perfect for polishing your content or building your authority.

All are easily available and absolutely free to use. While added features may be offered at a premium level for a fee, you’ll probably find that the free versions are perfectly suited to your current needs.

And it’s a relief to know that these tools can grow with you as your business matures. Having these resources at your disposal will enhance your content creation efforts and support your content marketing goals. Let’s take a look at what each one can offer you.

Project Management

Trello is an online project management tool that allows you to organize any task using visual boards, cards, and lists, which are unlimited in the free version. It’s flexible and can be used for any number of projects. The drag-and-drop interface makes it easy to create and manage notes, tasks, and ideas. Add labels, deadlines, checklists, and attachments to cards, making them a one-stop location for information storage.

Collaborate with as many others as required by the project, and everyone sees the same information instantly because it works in real time. Anyone you invite can also open a free account to gain access. If you have a team and need even more powerful features, Business Class is $9.99 per month per user.

Graphic Design

Canva is an easy-to-use graphic-design website that uses a drag-and-drop interface to create layouts and documents for print and online applications. Design anything you need with the countless templates, photos, illustrations, fonts, and icons provided. Other free resources include design courses, font pairing suggestions, a photo editor and a color palette generator.

The free version is perfect for general use, but Canva for Work offers extra functionality at $9.95 per month after a free 30-day trial. Collaboration, animations, transparent backgrounds and more make the upgrade worth the price if you need these features.

Email Marketing

MailChimp has grown from its simple email application roots into a full-fledged marketing platform. You can now create landing pages, postcards, signup forms, Google remarketing ads and Facebook ads, in addition to their email resources. Automations help you schedule email messages and marketing campaigns, and MailChimp also works with over 300 other tools and apps to simplify your workflows.

Although you can still start for free, you’ll be required to move up or move on after you reach 2,000 subscribers. At that point, evaluate whether to continue for a fee or investigate other providers. If it’s still working for you, you may decide to continue.

Try these FREE content marketing tools.

Try these FREE content marketing tools.

Writing Enhancement

Grammarly is any content creator’s best friend. In addition to checking your spelling and grammar, this free writing app will also detect plagiarism by checking against its huge database. The free browser extension works with almost every website to improve all your posts, documents, and messages.

If you work with a team, the Premium Plan offers advanced features for $29.95 per month, which can be billed quarterly or annually. But if you’re a solo entrepreneur like me, you should find the free plan robust enough to meet all your needs.

Research and Information

Quora may seem out of place on a list of content marketing tools, but take a closer look at this free question-and-answer site. You’ll find a wealth of information as well as potential to generate traffic to your own business. Search for questions related to your niche to get up-to-date information and different perspectives. Use problems your ideal customers need solving as the basis for new content.

Actually answering questions, on the other hand, can help identify you as an authority to others in your field, and let your target market know about your services and products.

Bonus

This is one lead magnet that’s definitely worth giving up your email address for. Opt-in Monster’s list of 700 Power Words will spice up your copy with persuasive language your readers will be unable to resist. And while their future posts are sure to offer even more value, you’re free to unsubscribe at any time.

Wrapping Up

Although these tools do different functions, they all deserve a place in your bag of tricks. Starting with a free trial makes the decision simpler since you can upgrade your account as your business grows. And if for some reason you’re not satisfied, the free trial was still worth what you paid to test the product!

If you’re not using one or more of these already, give them a try to enhance your website’s performance with ease. You’ll be glad you did!

Read more about Essential Word Press Plugins and download the infographic here.

4 Simple Tips: How To Do Online Target Market Research

4 Simple Tips: How To Do Online Target Market Research

Target market research is the first step toward a better understanding of your clients. The next step is creating the buyer personas, or client avatars, to represent your ideal clients.

You know you will then use these avatars to appeal to your ideal clients, gain their trust by providing solutions to their problems, and encourage them to buy your products/services.

But no one tells you how to do that in any clear way.

And without an effective strategy your research could be faulty, leading you to make a mess of your entire content marketing plan.

Instead, try these four easy, reliable methods for researching your target audience to take your marketing efforts to the next level.

Why Target Market Research Matters

Conducting target market research is required before you can create accurate client avatars to appeal to. Without this foundation, you are marketing in the dark.

First, realize that you can not — and will not! — appeal to everyone who comes across your website! It’s like the difference between preferring one brand of detergent over another while recognizing that they’re all pretty much the same in the end.

You must understand who your products/services appeal to most, and why. Then, give that audience a reason to select you from among their other available choices. You won’t stand out from the crowd if you don’t even know who’s looking for you.

You won’t stand out from the crowd if you don’t even know who’s looking for you.

You won’t stand out from the crowd if you don’t even know who’s looking for you.

To produce content your ideal clients will love, you have to know your target market intimately. Luckily, the World Wide Web makes conducting this research incredibly easy.

Your target market is on the internet right now telling the world who they are, what they like, and what problems they need solved. Use these ideas for researching them online.

Social Media

Explore social media to research your audience. Look at the individual profiles of people who follow your brand.

The most obvious site for doing this is Facebook, since it has such robust profiles. These profiles can tell you:

  • Who they are
  • What they like
  • Their jobs, locations, ages, and family
  • Their general opinions

A goldmine of information is available on social media. Also, view people’s posts to see what they’re interested in and what questions they ask. This can give you greater insight into their needs.

Google Search Console

Sign up for this free service from Google to review a wide variety of metrics about your website and the behavior of your visitors.

Google Search Console tells you what keyword searches bring people to your site, how much time they’re spending on each page, what links they click on, and trends over time.

This information lets you know how people are interacting with your website. For example, if people spend a great deal of time on a particular page, you know that this is the type of content they’re looking for.

Conduct Online Surveys

The oldest and most effective method for collecting data about a target market is to conduct surveys and interviews. This used to be a costly undertaking for companies back when they had to physically get focus groups together or convince people to talk to them over the phone.

But now it’s easy to do online. You can conduct surveys any way you have contact with your audience. Try using social media or email.

Approach people on online forums to see if they’d answer some questions. Using Google Forms or one of many WordPress survey plugins, you also have the choice to create questionnaires directly on your website.

If you keep your surveys short, asking no more than three to five questions, you’re more likely to get responses. For longer surveys, offer an incentive such as a free piece of content to reward people who take part.

Track Your Content’s Performance

The best way to learn about your audience is to start presenting them with free content and see how they interact with it. You’ll quickly see which pieces are most popular and which drive the most engagement.

For each piece that’s successful, try to determine what it was about the content that people liked and try to repeat that. When your audience ignores a piece, try to figure out why and don’t do it again!

Creating a Persona

Use all the data you’ve gathered to create a persona describing your ideal client. This is a single person to whom you’ll aim all your marketing efforts.

You may actually have more than one client avatar, but it helps to stay focused on a single type of buyer for the best results.

Putting it All Together

Now that you have a better idea of where and how to research your target market online, it’s up to you to put in the work. Gather the information and develop a plan – then use it to attract and retain your ideal clients!

Armed with your completed research and understanding of your target market, you have the foundation to build a comprehensive content marketing strategy.

Download your Content Marketing Strategy Workbook to develop the online marketing that will take your business to the next level.

Add to the conversation! Comment below to let us know about the tips and tricks you use to research your target market and develop buyer personas!

5 Simple Tips That Will Upgrade Your Content Marketing Plan

5 Simple Tips That Will Upgrade Your Content Marketing Plan

What, you don’t even have a content marketing plan? Someone told you that you don’t need one because you’re “just” a blogger. You might think you don’t “do” content marketing. Or you feel “marketing” means self-promotion (yikes!). Maybe you don’t know how to begin.

In truth, any online business can gain from using content marketing these days. It’s a cost-effective method of responding to the habits we’ve developed thanks to our digital world.

Shoppers today use online resources to inform them of the best products and services available. Providing the information your audience searches for is a major key to business success. Having a content marketing plan is the starting point.

It’s important to stick to proven techniques when developing and using a successful strategy. Here are five tips to remember that will deliver consistent results when creating your content marketing plan.

Set Up a Secure Foundation

These content marketing tips are a basic foundation to build your strategy on. Start here, and you’ll lay the groundwork for developing a winning marketing plan.

Have a mission statement. Knowing who you are as a business and the audience your business serves is the essence of success. Be clear on what you offer and understand those you wish to attract. Define what makes you different from your competitors. Boil that down into a concise message. Use it as your guide to steer your entire content marketing strategy.

Be authentic. Present your true self to your audience. Speak to your readers naturally, as if in conversation. Record yourself giving your message, and be sure you write in that same voice. But avoid using slang and bad grammar. That’s sure to turn even interested visitors away.

Remember these basic pointers to design an unbeatable content marketing plan.

Remember these basic pointers to design an unbeatable content marketing plan.

Solve problems. Make yourself invaluable! Give a steady stream of reliable information to help your ideal clients solve their problems. Direct your content toward your target market’s issues and concerns. Know what their needs and questions are, and discuss them fully. You then become a trusted resource they can rely on.

Do your research. Present the most insightful nuggets of information. Your audience has already heard the usual buzz in other blogs and marketing materials. To stand out and produce exceptional content, be able to bring something new to the table.

Repurpose and republish. Not everyone noticed the information the first time you presented it. Others prefer a different format than your original delivery. So feel free to reuse and promote your content in different ways. Turn blog posts into eBooks, podcasts, or webinars. Let people know about your new product on your social media channels. Tweet quotables from past posts to attract new readers. Maximizing your content gains new visitors.

Have a Guide

It’s helpful to have your marketing plan written out where you can review and update it as needed. Our SMART Content Marketing Strategy Workbook will help you put your ideas into action!

This easy-to-follow guidebook leads you through five simple steps to develop an unbeatable content marketing plan. Download yours here!

Once your content marketing plan is specified, the real fun begins! Following your guide makes it easier to create unique, inspiring, educational blog posts, infographics, and more.

Summing Up

Having a mission statement, being authentic, solving problems based on solid research, and providing your content in a variety of formats make up a solid foundation for developing every piece of material you produce.

VAWW Online empowers solopreneurs and small businesses by providing profitable online marketing strategies without breaking their budgets. Explore all the ways you will gain from having a thoughtful process behind all your marketing efforts.

Let’s develop a strategy to propel you ahead that meets your needs and budget. Contact me here!