strategically planning a content strategy

Tools That Are Essential for a Killer Content Strategy

You’ve taken the time to develop a content strategy, perhaps you’ve spent a lot of time creating a strategy, but it’s just not performing as you had hoped. Sometimes even the best content strategies need a little extra help. Luckily there are plenty of tools out there that help you during each stage of the content strategy planning process, implementation and analysis.
 

Know What’s In Your Content Strategy Before Creating It

Your content strategy should already include this, but if not, it’s time to add it. You should know what you’re posting and when you’re going to post it — that goes for web content too. There are a few tools out there that can help you keep track of your content and create an editorial calendar. Even if you don’t run a blog, having a calendar that schedules out everything from articles to press releases to social media posts is important. If you’re not sure how to create a calendar or you want to know how to organize it, read up on setting up your editorial calendar in this article by the Content Marketing Institute.

 

Some great content planning tools to look into include:

  • Google Docs – Google docs is free to use (as long as you sign up for a Gmail account). You can use the spreadsheets or use the Google Calendar to write down what posts launch and when they’re supposed to launch. Since you can add people to your calendars, you can keep the entire company in on what’s happening with your content next.
  • WordPress Editorial Plugin – WordPress.org has an editorial calendar plug-in that you can integrate in with your WordPress website. The plug-in is free and works with most WordPress platforms.

 

Make Sure Your Strategic Content Isn’t a Copycat

There’s nothing more detrimental to your website’s rank than copied content. Even if you don’t intend to copy, you have dozens of websites that might carry similar content (which means a few words might register on a plagiarism checker). There are a few tools out there that can help you scan your content before it’s published to keep you copycat-free.
 

Write Content That is Error-Free

You might be the authority in your industry, but if your content is riddled with spelling errors and grammar mistakes, your readers won’t think you’re the “go-to” for advice. Poor grammar can also impact your brand and your SEO, according to an article on Business2Community.com. Luckily you don’t have to be an English professor to get your grammar right, especially with today’s grammar checking tools.

 

  • PolishMyWriting.comThis unique tool offered by After the Deadline reviews your content for grammar, style, and spelling issues. Each correction is a suggestion, leaving you in control of what is changed. You can download the app directly into your browser to scan your content as you write it or just copy/paste into the site’s app.
  • Copyscape.com – Copyscape is a paid subscription, but it is also one of the best checkers on the market. You pay about $0.10 per scan and that small fee goes far. Copyscape will flag portions of your content that are copied, tell you how much of your content is copied and highlight the copied text so you know what to correct.
  • Grammarly.comGrammarly offers a paid grammar checker that can catch up to ten times more mistakes than Word. It offers vocabulary suggestions, helps correct active and passive voice styles, and locates grammar errors instantly.
  • PaperRater.com – Check the grammar, spelling and style of your content for free with PaperRater. While it may not catch as much as Grammarly, it will catch a lot more than you might proofreading yourself.

 

Get Your Keywords Right

Keywords are still crucial to your rank, but only if they’re used in combination with good content. While Google might have taken away their Keyword Tool, there are still options out there to help you plan out the right keywords for your website, including Google AdWords Keyword Planner. Once you know your keywords, you want a healthy density in your content. Avoid going over three percent, if you can. To check your keyword density there are plenty of free and paid tools you can try. Live-Keyword-Analysis.com, for example, allows you to plug in your keywords, copy/paste your content and quickly tells you the density of your targeted keywords in your content. Another free tool to try if your content is already published on your website is KeywordDensity.com. Simply enter your URL, the keyword or key phrase, and let the app analyze your pages for density.

There are plenty of tools out there, plenty are free too, that can take your content strategy to the next level. With the investment you’ve made in making a content strategy, you can almost not risk wasting that effort by not using these killer tools.

 

visualising a content strategy

How to Add Visualization to your Content Strategy

Pictures say a thousand words, so the right image can mean a lot more power for your content strategy. Words, of course, are the foundation, but images can add the appeal you need to boost it to the next level. Do you find yourself more prone to click an image or a word? Most people would answer with an image, funny meme, or even a personal picture from their own galleries.

Applying Your Content Strategy: The Various Types of Visualization

Take inventory of the sites you enjoy browsing: do they have a lot of pictures you can scan through quickly or paragraphs of text to read? When you are reading the news online, do you click on the headlines or the pictures that catch your eye? On average a user will click a picture almost double what they will click just words. How are you using that to your advantage in content strategy? Don’t say you just put up pictures and hope your audience finds it; if that’s the case, you’re missing out on traffic, big time! Just as you strategize the words you write, it is important to plan for your photos. According to Allison Carter of Raven Tools, images aren’t just for social media.

Okay, so now that you know images are important, what exactly can you use to draw in your audiences?

Stunning PowerPoint Presentations

These are not limited to boardrooms or classroom presentations anymore but rather you can use these to communicate with your audience. The design on your slides should look professional. It is the first impression your followers will see so make it a good one. Be careful to not make the slides too busy with various fonts, mismatched colors, or overstimulating animations. The grammar and spelling in your slides should be correct. This can be the perfect opportunity to incorporate graphics and images within the slides. Even when users are sliding through the information, it shouldn’t be all text. Slideshare is a great platform, and if you have an expert create your presentation in a niche market, it’s not hard to go viral on Slideshare itself.

Creative Creative Infographics

By going beyond a spreadsheet or chart, these types of graphics can incorporate content with visual art. Use both text and creative images to get your point across. The primary benefit of an infographic is that it can be shared across various platforms where pictures are the main focus such as Instagram and Pinterest. Each graphic can state a whole blog post in just one picture. It is a very effective way to send a message using colors and words, marketing your brand. Think outside the box when it comes to creating your infographics. They are a popular resource these days so set yours apart from the others out there with unique designs, readable fonts, and clever styling.

Cool Images

Plain and simple, pictures speak volumes. Mike Parkinson of Billion Dollar Graphics has data to show that over 93 percent of communication is non-verbal and people process visuals 60,000 times faster than text. Images of any kind will add depth and details to content. Using images like clip art, photography or illustrations, your content can come alive and become a memorable work of marketing that is remembered by the readers. Keep in mind with images you should use professional images of high quality but not distracting images. When placing an image, it can break up text to give the reader a break from large blocks of text.

The Ins and Outs of Images in your Content

Just putting an image into your blog or content strategy is like inputting a keyword just for the sake of density. The word or phrase may not make any sense in the context, yet writers frequently practice this kind of keyword stuffing. Images follow the same principles. If it doesn’t make sense, find something else. There is a huge number of free pictures and graphic tools available online so you should never be without graphic options.

The traffic generated by sites like Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, and even Twitter and Facebook is based on these sites’ ability to attract visual users. By scrolling and searching through pictures, users can quickly identify if they want to continue to your site or profile.

Labeling your image is one tool that many users neglect and it can harm their web traffic. Did you know the search engines can read your photos when you label them? Of course, the searches can’t see your photo but they can read the titles. Every photo on your site should have a creative title so along with properly placed keywords, pithy titles, and labeled pictures, users can find your content quickly. Upload photos and avoid just using preview windows on social media pages as users can scroll through and never actually click on your links.

 

How To Use An Editorial Calendar In Your Content Strategy

Great content doesn’t just appear. Powerful content is strategized and planned so that each topic has a purpose and value in the marketing of a brand. The right amount of words, style, and timing are crucial to the content truly hitting its mark with consumers. Whether you have a personal brand or are working to promote a commercial brand, your content determines the success. Is that enough pressure for you to create amazing content? Don’t get overwhelmed with these types of requirements as you are probably more capable than you know of making this happen.

Strategizing & Planning for Your (Successful) Editorial Calendar

Getting Started with Great Content

It’s no secret that planning helps promote success and one of the simplest tools behind a great writer is a content calendar. Do world-renowned chefs just cook whatever they want for their guests? Do athletes exercise and train in a haphazard way? No way. Those who are experts at their craft, make a plan. In writing and content creation, an editorial/content calendar is the way to achieve this. It doesn’t have to be complicated but any type of plan will work.  Before you start planning, take a minute to analyze your writing. Here are some things to consider:

  • Why do I write? – this will guide you to determine the style of writing. If you write for fun, think about fun topics. If you write for current trends and news, think about recent conversations you’ve had in your sphere and jot down those topics.  If you write for informational purposes, read as much as you can about the markets and keep your ears open for juicy stories and details pertaining to that topic.
  • How often will I write? – every writer starts off their plan with lofty goals. “I’m going to write three times a week” or “I’m going to have my team produce a new blog on a daily basis.” Be realistic with your writing routine and keep in mind if you or your team produces a lot of content in a week or two, it can be saved and spaced out.
  •  Will I add media to the pages? – this isn’t a huge deal but if you have to take the time to search for pictures, word art, or other media to go with every piece, you need to have enough time and sometimes monetary resources to purchase the media. Some websites will only hold a certain amount of pictures so if you are constantly implementing media to your blogs, it may clog up your site or cost you extra.

Benefits of the Editorial Calendar

Now that you know you want to write and why, it can be tempting to just make a note on your phone’s notepad as topics come to your head. This is a form of brainstorming and it can be helpful but in the end, this “willy-nilly” approach to your
content strategy will not be effective. Still not convinced, what if you saw facts about why a calendar will be invaluable to you:

  • You and your writers can work ahead. Just like in school, when you knew an assignment was due and you wanted to go out with friends that night, you could study ahead of time and still get a good grade. The same is true with an editorial calendar. Your content can be done ahead of the holidays, during downtime, and can be changed as necessary.
  • Your content strategy will be current. When you plan ahead, your content can be moved around. For example, if you are writing about the similarities of the Superbowl and business success, you may want to plan it for January/February time frame when the game actually occurs. More people can identify with it during that time and may even find it through an unrelated search.
  • You can measure the content success. As with any list or documentation, referring back to it can give insight on your marketing plans at that time. If you can look at your content titles, media used, keywords that were successful, it could be duplicated for another campaign. Past success and failure can be measured when there is an editorial calendar to guide. According to Beth Kanter, this is the main key to successful blogs and marketing. It allows team members to collaborate and also to work on the same page with topics and marketing tools.

Setting up the Calendar

Don’t make it complicated. Think about your editorial calendar like a menu for the month. Mondays you are offering one thing, Tuesdays another, and so on. Check out Contently’s blog with very useful tips about this. It can be helpful to have a brainstorming session to establish the tone and writer for each of the various topics. Some writers work better with other topics than others so finding that niche for you and your team is crucial.

Set up the calendar as a way to keep everyone organized and moving forward; your writers will appreciate it and in the end, will probably stick closer to the deadlines. After all, what good is content if it doesn’t get out on time?

investing in your writing

Investing In Your Writing: DIY Versus Content Writing Services

Today’s business world has changed. You don’t have to have an office or even a physical location. In most cases you can sign the necessary paperwork, obtain the right licenses and work from home. Because it’s so easy to start a business, a lot of people assume that they can handle very aspect of their company themselves from home.

 

Content Writing: To Maximize Your Best Investment

 

While there are plenty of things you can handle, content writing might not be one of them. With the Internet market booming, competition is fierce and search engines are tightening the ropes on what they’ll recommend and what they’ll ignore. It’s entirely up to you which path you choose — do-it-yourself content or hiring out — but before you make the decision, familiarize yourself with the process.

 

Great Writers Equals Great Content

If you need to boost your organic search engine results, you need excellent writing. The days of quickly throwing out a blog post or just slapping 300 words on a website aren’t going to work anymore. Your content writing must be informational, unique and without errors. Also, your writing needs to be compelling. People should want to continue reading and come back to read more.

To do this, you need to step away from your personal attachment to your blog or website and assess your writing skills. Are you capable of writing error-proof, well-researched and engaging content? Does writing come naturally to you? If you struggle to write, it might be best to leave your content to content writing services. While you might have to pay a little extra, content writing services can write the content you need for your blog or website in less time, without errors and ultimately save you resources in the long run.

 

Time is Money

You already know how much you have on your plate. You’re running a business, perhaps a blog and you of course have a personal life too. There is a lot of day-to-day tasks you must complete to keep your operation in check and staying up-to-date on content requirements and producing fresh content on a regular basis might not be something you can squeeze in. Hiring someone for your content writing, including blogs, press releases, web content, etc. allows you to focus on your business while still getting quality content for your site.

 

Research, Research, Research

SEO and search engine algorithms are changing constantly. What works today doesn’t always work next year or even next week. Finding the right techniques for your content writing can be hit or miss, especially if you’re not up to date on the latest research. Not only does a content writing service provide you with keyword-rich content, but they know how to craft pieces that meet the expectations of search engines. It is their job to constantly research what search engine algorithms want and they have the time to stay up to date on the latest algorithm changes. While you can certainly do the research yourself, it is time consuming and might require you to spend more time researching for not only what to write about, but how to write it so you’re in the good graces of Google.

 

You Get What You Pay For

Sure, writing your own content or having a family member write the content saves you big. But, you get what you pay for. Will that content be able to sell your products? Will it be relatable to the people likely to visit your site? If you just need people to get directions to your store, then mediocre content writing is fine. But, if you need to sell, a professional content writing service might be the answer.

 

Things to Consider When You Do Hire a Content Writing Service

If you’ve decided DIY is not the way to go with your content strategy, the next step is hiring a content writing service. There are certainly plenty to choose from, but not all are created equally. Before you just hire anyone to represent your brand with words, look for providers who can:

  • Offer a turnkey content strategy solution — from planning to scheduling and writing all of your content.
  • Repurpose and reuse content.
  • Offer you high-quality content from United States or English-speaking writers.
  • Offer you talented writers that write engaging, memorable content for your site.