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When thinking about promoting your website they say content is king and this is true but there’s no point in creating good content if people aren’t going to see it. This doesn’t just include content that is on your website but also content that is part of third party sites which may point to your websites. If you control these sites then all the better. In this blog post I shall break down the 7 content promotions tools and platforms which I consider essential for my work. I could still do my work without them but it’s nice to use these software suites to organise and save time. Increased productivity is key and whether you opt for SAAS (cloud based) solutions and/or desktop applications, the software is only as good as how you learn to use it. So make sure you have in mind what you want to use it for before you get started.
I chose Sprout Social over Hootsuite a while back and haven’t looked back. Both are social media management dashboards are both perform well. With Sprout Social, the reports are quick and simple to put together and a range of social networks including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google Plus can be managed using the platform. For me this is an essential tool as it saves me lots of time and energy. My only gripes are that importing functionality isn’t as advanced as Hootsuite’s and you can only schedule so many posts/Tweets but this just means that you’ll need to log in and set up your posts/Tweets more frequently. I would recommend that you log in to Sprout Social everyday anyway to post/Tweet about current events and breaking news. Automation is useful but a little automation and some manual intervention can be a fantastic mix for your social media marketing campaign. The beauty of a social media management dashboard like Sprout Social (or Hootsuite which is just as good but I just got used to and prefer Sprout Social) is that once you’ve linked a social media profile (for example Twitter) to the software you don’t actually need to login to that social media profile again…you can do it all via the social media management tool itself.
Sprout Social is an excellent tool which I’ve been using for well over a year and I highly recommend. It has increased my productivity and made my work life much easier. The user interface is a pleasure to use and is extremely intuitive. They provide a 30 day trial which allows you to use all functionality with no restrictions, so give it a try.
I needed a good forum management tool where I could store my login credentials as well as discovering new forums to join and interact with the community. As mentioned at the start of this blog post you don’t need any of these tools to actually carry out any of these tasks but they help to improve productivity because the dashboard that is provided by these tools does mean that everything is kept in one place.
This tool currently allows social media management of Twitter, Yahoo Answers, Facebook, YouTube and Forums. Forums is what I use it for. The software if desktop based so you install into onto your computer like you would do with Microsoft Office and it connects to the internet. Sprout Social, on the other hand, is a SAAS solution which stands for software as a service. SAAS solutions tend to be expensive and there are better solutions out there than Buzz Bundle which do much more and go into sentiment analysis and other factors which can be useful for social media management campaigns. One particular SAAS solution that I’m interested in trialing in the future is called Heartbeat. I’ve had a demo and I was impressed but the price is much more than Buzz Bundle. Vocus is also an option. But Buzz Bundle fits my needs for now. I don’t need the Twitter functionality as I’ve got this covered with Sprout Social but the forum management functionality is what I’m interested in and I’ll be honest Buzz Bundle doesn’t quite have what I want but it is close. There isn’t yet an Enterprise version yet so I’m currently using the Professional version but Enterprise is coming soon.
So here’s what it does…it allows you to discover forums in your niche. Forums can be great communities to share ideas, knowledge, learn, keep up-to-date and drive targeted traffic. Once you’ve discovered industry or niche specific forums you can then setup profiles on these forums and begin to use the forums. You can also search for existing forums which you are aware of.
You can find niche specific forums by using a simple Google search for example: keyword+forum
Or use more advanced operators like intext:”your niche”forum
There are even more advanced methods of searching which are outside of the scope of this blog post.
Buzz Bundle isn’t perfect and I don’t use all of its functionality. The Professional version does not include reporting which will be a feature of Enterprise which isn’t yet available. Buzz Bundle is from the same company that brought us SEO Powersuite which I am a big of. Their support is good and are a company that I trust. The main issue that many users may find is that Buzz Bundle is desktop based rather than being SAAS. This isn’t a problem for me but just be aware that even though you can install the application on up to 3 computers you are only permitted to use it on one at a time and your project files will be stored locally i.e. on your computer’s hard drive unless you specify or server location for project file storage or setup the software on a server. This isn’t a problem for me to setup so I don’t find this to be an issue but just be aware of this when you’re purchasing.
Buzz Bundle does come with a free version but it is heavily restricted after a specific timeframe in that certain posts are greyed out.
This beauty is provide by Moz which used to be called SEOMoz. It is essentially a Twitter follower discovery tool. The primary use is to find influencial Tweeter in your niche and it does the job very well indeed. There is a free version but you’ll have to sign up to Moz to use the complete version. To give you an idea of what the free version offers: you can discover Twitter followers but exporting and linking to your Twitter account to follow profiles is limited to the paid version. Moz has some other useful tools for SEO consultants and SEO companies but again there’s a learning curve so if you just want to use the features of Followerwonk then may be stick to the free version and do a little manual work. If you are an agency or inhouse social media manager and need to manage lots of social media accounts then it may be worth just going for a Moz subscription to get the full version of Followerwonk. It really is a cracking tool. If it’s social engagement that you’re after then Followerwonk can certainly help with this. Just search for a keyword or phrase related to your niche using Search Twitter Bios and you’ll find lots of new Twitter profiles to engage with and share your content to.
This is a fantastic content discovery engine which is tailored to the user’s personal interests. StumbleUpon has been a real asset to many of my content marketing strategies and it really is an essential tool in my arsenal. Content is offered or “stumbled” and users have the option of giving this content a thumbs up. Give it a try, it’s free to use but there is also a paid subscription available if you are really interested in establishing your brand as a thought-leader. Ultimately the end result of any successful content marketing strategy is more targeted traffic to your website, more enquiries and more sales. Brand and reputation are paramount when it comes to online promotion.
Instagram and Pinterest
Humans are visual creatures and they say a picture can speak a thousand words. That is why the likes of Instagram and Pinterest exist. So what’s the difference? I always provide the analogy: if you’re going on holiday (vacation) and you’re looking around in the travel agent’s brochure then the types of images that you’ll see are likely to be those that you’d find on Pinterest. When you arrive at your destination and are taking your holidays snaps then these are for Pinterest. Content is king but organisation is key to ordering your content and content doesn’t just mean articles, it also includes images (and video). What do you tend to do most on Facebook? Like and Share photos and images. This is very big on the internet right now. Using Instagram and/or Pinterest to share your brand can be invaluable as large audiences can see your content and share it to their followers. Promotion involves creating engagement and buzz is created by making people excited. People will share enthusiastically and they will want to share your content if is engaging. Sign up to either account for free and start sharing your content. I use both mediums for many of my clients and I can tell you that they can work.
You’ll notice that I have listed a few social media management tools and then a few social networks. The reason for this is that some of the more established and commonly used social networks like Facebook and Twitter have a plethora of social media management tools which are dedicated to these social networks. I am constantly looking for ways of improving productivity am always on the lookout for tools which help manage Instagram and Pinterest.
This is a fantastic engine for providing recommendations over a number of channels. This content discovery engine has helped me to build an audience for many clients. If your aim is to increase the number of links that is pointing to your content, reach more unique visitors and serve your audience more effectively then Taboola could be a valuable part of your toolkit.
For me the point of any content marketing strategy is to engage with my audience and build that audience into a bigger audience. I’m interested in sharing content that people want to see. Unique content. Twitter is good for building audiences who use Twitter but Taboola can be used to help you to build traffic from big publishers…newspapers, magazines, etc. It’s worth a look if you’re interested in content syndication. I’ve used PRWeb.com quite a lot and it has worked well in many instances but it’s good to test different platforms. Other options include Outbrain and nRelate which have also been good. It depends on many factors including whether your strategy is B2B or B2C, your vertical, and many other factors. I’ve even managed to build good traffic by just using Slideshare. The answer to “how do I build lots of targeted traffic to my website” is…it depends.
With Google Adwords becoming more and more expensive due to the saturation and competition, many of my clients are engaging with their audiences using Facebook Ads. Even though adverts in the right-hand column of Facebook may not get clicked that often by many Facebook users, they still create an impression in terms of branding. It is worth it? I think so. In terms of promoting your content Facebook Ads can be extremely worthwhile.