Content marketing isn’t just about knocking out the occasional blog post. It’s also about taking a strategic approach to distributing and promoting that content with a goal in mind. When you hire a content strategy agency to help you with this, you should expect them to bring a suite of tools with them.
Some of these tools will be owned by them. Some will be owned by you and managed by them. But all of them are the basic essential tools you need to inform, create, distribute and measure your content. They are:
- Keyword planning tools
- Social listening tools
- Social media scheduling tools
- Templates for publishing and promotion
- Workflow automation tools
The good and bad of keyword planning tools
Keyword planning tools were developed to help with PPC campaigns and work very well with them. If you don’t use them the right way, they can be a very blunt instrument for content planning.
How many times have you seen a keyword planner tool spit out a list of misspelled words and phrases related to the one you want to target? For example, you’ve decided to target ‘electric cars’, and the options the keyword tool spits back include ‘elcetric cars’ or ‘ellectric cars’?
You would never add the misspelled versions to your content. That makes you look like a dill who can’t spell.
You content strategy agency should have these tools, but also know their limitations. And they should know how to counter those limitations too.
What’s the point of social listening tools?
It’s not possible for you to monitor the web and social media all day for mentions of your brand or your competitors. You have a job to do. It’s also not possible for your agency to monitor social media all day. They also have jobs to do.
Luckily for both of you, there are some excellent social listening tools out there. The cheapest and easiest are Google News Alerts, which you probably already have set up. But these alerts miss anything published by someone who isn’t registered as a publisher with Google.
A more convenient way to monitor social media is using a tool like BuzzSumo. Because it is searchable, you’re not relying on setting up an alert and waiting to see the results.
Making time for social media scheduling
Social media remains one of the most effective ways to promote your content. But remembering to do it across several accounts each day is a pain in the arse. That’s why a scheduling tool is so necessary. It enables you to block out a chunk of time, pre-write a lot of posts, and schedule them to be sent out at various times in the future. It’s a really inefficient use of time and resources to have a staff member jumping in and out of social accounts all day. These scheduling tools eliminate the need for that.
How your content strategy agency uses templated templates
Used badly, templates force your creativity into a box and limit it. Used well, they make mundane tasks more automated, which gives you space to focus on creativity. And used by the professionals, they enhance creativity. Creative boundaries are the friend of the creative person. They force you to come up with solutions to problems your audience is having before they ever have them. How does a writer describe a color if you can’t see it? How do you write about a storm if you can’t hear it? The answer is, you’ve gotta be creative. You have to jam a couple of ideas together that no one else has jammed together before.
Every moment you free up to do interesting, creative work is a victory. You don’t want to spend your time copying and pasting standard emails and tracking where someone is in your sales funnel. It’s soul destroying. And it’s not what you’re paid to do.
Marketing automation tools exist to take that burden off your hands. It allows you to preset your nurturing workflows so you can do more interesting things.
Content strategy these days is created knowing that these tools exist. The strategy can be executed effectively because those tools are there. Make sure your content strategy agency has them.