Content marketing tools and resources for small businesses

Content marketing is an essential part of growing your brand and business, but it can be a very time-consuming – and even challenging – task if it’s not your main area of expertise.

When it comes to optimising and streamlining your content marketing efforts using the right tool for the job can improve your productivity tenfold
Here are some of our favourite and most frequently used tools. Many of them are free or come at a minimal fee.

Design/Image Editors

The (free) availability of excellent design and image editor tools means there is no reason to let your lack of Photoshop skills stand in the way of designing great graphics for your brand’s social pages.

Be it a poster announcing a sale or new product or simply a beautiful image with a quote over it, tools like Canva and Pablo are the route to discovering your inner graphic designer.

Think custom text, frames, borders, outlines, backgrounds, graphics and images, and then go and have fun designing striking brand materials and graphics.

Images

Never under-estimate the power of a beautiful image. While smartphones have, arguably, made us all better photographers there is so much to be said for the quality of a professional photograph with the right styling, lighting, composition and tone. If professional photography is beyond the scope of your budget, there are a number of fantastic free image sites to source good quality imagery from.

Pexels
Unsplash
Pixabay
Gratisography
Picography

Note that attribution is required for images from certain sites. Be sure to give credit where credit is due.

Social management

You probably won’t get the reach or engagement on social media that you’d like if you only post every other day or week, and without a proper strategy.

Luckily, there are a number of dynamic tools that are freely available for helping you manage and schedule your social posts and updates. Plan ahead by creating a content calendar and schedule in bulk. This is particularly useful if you have an international audience you want to reach during waking hours.

Just be careful when you’re scheduling something that is time or event-related. You don’t want to schedule “Good luck to the Springboks” months in advance but come game day the Springboks haven’t made it to the final, or pre-schedule programme announcements for your event but on the day you’re running over time and your announcements are out of sync.

An easy-to-use favourite is Hootsuite, which allows you to manage a variety of different social channels, including Facebook, Twitter, Vimeo, LinkedIn and more, all in one place.

Similarly, Buffer – the “social media autopilot” – allows you to bulk schedule across platforms, recycle top performing posts and check and compare your most important metrics.

Facebook itself allows you to schedule posts directly, which is often a better method to ensure your posts look exactly the way you want them to.
Tweetdeck is great if you manage multiple Twitter accounts and is an efficient way to get a good overview of your portfolio.

Email management

In-bound marketing, such as email newsletters, are one of the most successful content marketing efforts to invest in. If you spend the time to grow an organic list using a sign-up sheet your newsletters will reach an interested and engaged audience – right in their inbox.

With an email management tool like MailChimp that is super easy to use you’ve got no excuse to not engage with your clients/fans/community around interesting news and features at regular intervals.

MailChimp is proving to be one of the most ubiquitous email management tools for its friendly interface, seamless user experience, customisation options, excellent support and insightful tips for how to optimise your email campaigns. Do a trial and see for yourself.

Analytics

From Google Analytics on your website and Facebook Insights to bitly that shortens and makes your links trackable, analytics are a crucial way to measure the success of your online marketing.

See which of your social posts are driving the most traffic to your website, understand which blogs and website content have the best engagement through time spent on page, notice if your user experience on a web page is poor because one page has a higher bounce rate and even get feedback on which of your products are the most popular through shares, views and other engagement.

As more and more sophisticated data becomes available in the online space, those brands using it to guide and improve their online marketing strategy are fast overtaking the rest.

With all these great tools and some excellent content ideas, all that’s left to do is get started.

This article was originally written for Shopstar.

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