Digital marketing is all about incredible content.
It's about turning a bright idea into engaging words and images that capture our audience's attention, relay our message, and get them to act.
That's a lot to ask of a social media post or blog entry, which is why it's so important to get those words and images right – not to mention the content delivery schedule, hashtags, and engagement tracking.
For small teams or business owners who are creating their own content on top of running their business, doing it all well can be overwhelming. But having a handful of tools in your marketing arsenal can make the process faster and easier, enabling you to create sharp-looking content that your audience will love.
We've explored a myriad of tools over the years, including tools for photo editing and graphics creation, social media scheduling and tracking, as well as SEO and hashtags. Here are our favorites:
Copy Editing and Style
Even the most diligent writers are prone to typos and errant punctuation. Grammarly is a useful second set of eyes that will alert you to awkward sentence structure and misspellings in your copy. It will even offer suggestions for rephrasing confusing sentences or alternative words to swap in when you've already used "great!" five times in the same post. You can also shape your own brand's style and tone within the tool, and Grammarly will scan your copy to ensure what you wrote sounds how you want it to and keeps it in line with your brand (which is particularly helpful when you have multiple authors for your brand's content).
We particularly appreciate the browser plug-in, which allows you to check copy as you work in other platforms. We've also entered a host of commonly used keywords into Grammarly, so it helps us stay true to our company style (like using "team member" instead of "employee").
Learn more: https://www.grammarly.com
Upload your company logo and graphics, create your brand color palette, and you're ready to start creating content of every conceivable kind in Canva. You're welcome to create from scratch or begin with a stylish template. Either way, Canva helps you create social graphics, blog header images, newsletters, and so much more – and it all looks smashing. Canva includes a host of shapes, symbols, images, and video – some are available on the free version, and there's even more for a paid subscription. Creating folders for specific content makes it easy to tweak posts or reuse bits from one design to the next, so you don't have to reinvent the wheel every time or go hunting for that one pineapple graphic buried in some folder on your desktop.
Learn more: www.canva.com/
Easy photo editing – and it's free! Pixlr has two options – pixlr.com/x is the express version for basic cropping, text, filters, and effects; pixlr.com/e has more advanced options (want to edit one person's head onto another person's body? The advanced version can do it). The platform is free and enables much of the same kind of photo editing as higher-end applications.
Learn more: pixlr.com
Popular Search Queries
Wondering what your audience is searching online? Or what words they're using to find what they're seeking? Knowing the answers to those questions matters when you're creating content online and planning for SEO. If you want people to land on your website or blog post when they search for something on Google (and you do), it helps a whole lot if you use the words they're using and have content that matches what they're looking for. For example, if you sell custom birdhouses online, it doesn't make sense to refer to them as "avian abodes" all over your website – even if "avian abodes" has a nice ring to it (and it does). With Google Trends, you can compare phrases so you can understand their relative popularity as compared to other phrases. You might discover there are twice as many people searching, "chickadee birdhouse” then “bluebird bird house.” In which case, you'll want to create a blog post about chickadee birdhouses.
Learn more: trends.google.com/trends
So many hashtags, so little time! While it is fun to throw in some hilariously random hashtags now and then, if you want to exploit what hashtags can do, you need to be strategic about it. Watching trends helps, as does doing some recon on your favorite platforms to see how popular specific hashtags are (e.g.: Which is more popular, "xcski" or "crosscountryski" or "nordicski"?). For a quick assist, Hashtagify offers popular suggestions based on the keywords you supply.
Learn more: hashtagify.me
Social Media Scheduling
Doling out content regularly can be challenging – leaving us to remember when to post throughout the month or scramble to get something up on social when our day is already busy with other things. With Later, you can schedule your posts to multiple platforms in advance, choosing peak days and times for it to have the most impact. Later connects to Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn, and TikTok. Schedule out for a week or a month, and don't worry about it (although it's wise to still check in on social to reply to comments and engage with customers). Plus, Later offers valuable statistics on your posts, helping you tweak the schedule so you get the most bang for your buck.
Learn more: later.com
Useful tools won’t do the hard work for us – coming up with all those brilliant ideas – but they make the job of turning those ideas into fabulous content easier.
For pointers on how to use the right language when talking to your customers, check out our blog: Using Language to Connect with Your Customer.
If hiring a stand-out team to manage your content sounds like a better idea, reach out to us. We’d love to hear from you.