18 Blogging Tools Every Marketer Needs

If you’re blogging for your business, then you will want to know the right tools to help you with organization, research, inspiration, development, images, and promotion. In this post, we’re going to look at 18 blogging tools every marketer needs in their arsenal.

Organization Tools

A successful blogging strategy starts with an organized one.

1. Trello

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Trello allows you to use cards and lists to organize your blogging tasks. You can create cards for each blog post and lists to move blog posts from the idea stage to the analytics stage. You can assign blog posts to specific people, create a checklist of action items, attach files, and comment back and forth within each card.

2. CoSchedule

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CoSchedule is a blog editorial calendar that you can use to manage blogging tasks within WordPress or on the CoSchedule website. In addition to assigning blog posts to specific people, creating a checklist of action items, attaching files, and commenting back and forth, you can also use CoSchedule to schedule social media promotion of a post once it is published.

Content Research

One way to ensure that you will have a successful blog post is to research the blog posts that have been successful in your industry. These tools will help you with that research.

3. BuzzSumo

BuzzSumo allows you to find the most socially shared blog posts on specific topics or on specific domains. This tool will give you insights into the best headline formulas and places to publish if your goal is to create a viral post on social media. You can also use this tool to find the influencers who are most likely to tweet your blog posts by looking at who tweeted the most popular posts on related topics.

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4. MozBar

MozBar allows you to look through the top search results for a particular keyword to see the number of links to each piece of content. This tool will give you insights into the best headline formulas and places to publish if your goal is to get a lot of SEO benefits (and links) from your blog posts.

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Keyword Research

Speaking of SEO benefits, here are some tools you can use to research the best keywords to optimize your blog posts.

5. Google AdWords Keyword Planner

Have a great topic idea in mind? Use Google AdWords Keyword Planner to research the keywords you think would be great for your post to determine their search volume and get some related keyword suggestions that might be better.

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6. SEMrush

If you have the link to a great blog post on a topic you plan to write about, you can use SEMrush to analyze that blog post to find the keywords for which it is optimized.

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Topic Generators

Now that you have great keywords and topic ideas, all you need is a great headline. Here are some topic generator tools that will help you create winning headline formulas.

7. Portent’s Content Idea Generator

Enter your keyword into Portent’s Content Idea Generator to get headline suggestions as well as some great tips on creating a valuable piece of content. Keep refreshing until you find a headline you like!

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8. HubSpot’s Blog Topic Generator

Enter up to three keywords into HubSpot’s Blog Topic Generator to five suggested headlines. If you scroll down below the five suggestions, you can fill in some information to get hundreds more for free delivered to your inbox.

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Grammar Editors

Once you have written your blog post, you will want to check it for errors. These two tools will help you get the best results when you don’t have a human editor at your disposal.

9. Grammarly

Grammarly goes beyond your standard word processor grammar and spelling checks. It also helps you with sentence structure and style. Think of it as a grammar editor + teacher, rolled into one, that helps you improve your writing.

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10. Microsoft Word

Of course, Grammarly still doesn’t catch everything. Copy and paste your blog post into Microsoft Word (or its alternatives) to fix a few more simple errors.

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Image Tools

In addition to your text, you need visual content in the form of images to help break up the text, give people something to share, and help with search optimization. Here are some image tools that will help you get the best visual content for your blog posts.

11. Canva

Canva allows you to create unique images for your blog posts using their simple (and free) online editor. You could even use it to create custom cover photos that promote your latest blog post on your social profiles.

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12. Jing

If screenshots add value to your content, use Jing, TechSmith’s free screenshot capture program. It allows you to capture specific areas of your screen and annotate them to add more value to your blog images.

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13. Piktochart

Infographics can help increase the chances that your blog post will be shared. Piktochart allows you to choose from hundreds of templates and create professional infographics without design skills or expensive software.

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14. BigStockPhoto

If you’re not interested in creating your own images, you can use stock photography instead. BigStockPhoto offers thousands of images to choose from, along with stock video footage as well.

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Promotion Tools

Once you have published your blog post, you will want to promote it for maximum results. Here are some tools that will make promotion of your blog content simple.

15. IFTTT

IFTTT (If This Then That) allows you to take your blog’s RSS feed and connect it to other applications and social networks to automatically promote your blog post when it goes live. For example, you can have your latest blog post automatically published to your Twitter account, Facebook page, Facebook groups, LinkedIn, Reddit, Delicious, Blogger, Tumblr, and many other networks.

You can also have IFTTT automatically sent your latest blog post to Buffer so that Buffer can publish it to your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ profiles, groups, and pages.

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16. GetResponse

Several email marketing services have an RSS to email feature that allows you to have your latest blog post emailed to your mailing list. GetResponse is one of those services. Just choose an email template and your latest blog post will automatically be formatted to it and sent to your email subscribers.

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Analytics Tools

In order to determine the success of your blog posts, you will want to analyze them. Here are two free tools that you are likely already using.

17. Google Analytics

There are two ways to measure your blog post success in Google Analytics. For blog posts published on your own website, you can visit the All Pages report to see which blog posts get the most visitors and  related data about your visitors’ behavior on those blog posts. You can also visit the Landing Pages report to see which blog posts attract visitors who complete the most goal conversions.

For blog posts published elsewhere, you can visit the Source / Medium report to see which offsite blog posts drive the most traffic to your website and related data about how those visitors behave on your website. You can also see which offsite blog posts drive the visitors who complete the most goal conversions.

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18. Google Webmaster Tools

Google Webmaster Tools allows you to see how well your website pages perform in search. In the Search Queries report, click on the Top Pages tab. This will show you your top pages in search with data on impressions, clicks, CTR, and average position in search results. Click on the arrow next to a blog post to see the keywords that drive traffic to that particular post.

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In Conclusion

As you can see, the right set of tools can help you up your blogging game considerably. Be sure to try these and similar tools to help your business blogging be more successful and simpler.

12 Creative Ways To Repurpose Content From An Old Blog Post

When you invest in a content marketing strategy, you will want to get the most value and mileage out of your content as possible. Don’t let a great piece of content be a one-hit wonder. Here are 12 creative ways to repurpose content from your old blog posts to keep your best content alive.

For the best results, find out what pieces of content have performed the best for your business and repurpose those pieces first. You can use tools like BuzzSumo to search for your domain and see your top socially shared content and Google Analytics to see your top visited pages using the All Pages report under Site Content in the Behavior section.

1. Update a blog post and repost it on your blog.

One of the easiest ways to repurpose an old blog post is to update it  and repost it on your blog. An update should include refreshing the images, making sure the information is current, and optimizing the title of the post. When reposting, you will want to keep the original URL for SEO purposes or create a new post and add a link to the old post directing visitors to the newer one.

2. Update a blog post and submit it as a guest contribution on another blog.

This will require a little more updating as you will want to create a unique piece of content for your guest contribution. In addition to refreshing the images, making sure the information is current, and creating a brand new title, you will want to add a few new paragraphs or sections to the post. The goal is to not have to think of a whole new idea, but to reinvent an old idea into a new one.

3. Break a list post into detailed, smaller posts.

Did you write an awesome list post of the top 50 tools you use for this or the 25 best ways to do that? Take the paragraph or two that you wrote for each item in the list and expand it into some short posts on each of those items. Then link the new posts back to the main list and the list items to the new posts.

4. Take a lengthy post and break it into a series on LinkedIn Publisher.

If you have LinkedIn Publisher, or the ability to post blog posts to your LinkedIn professional profile, you need to take advantage of it sooner than later. Until they change the settings, LinkedIn will notify everyone in your network that you have published a new post. So take your older, lengthy posts off of your blog, break them up into a series, and start posting them on LinkedIn.

5. Compile your top posts into a list post.

At the end of each month, you can compile a list of your top posts for a monthly recap. This gives you one extra post per month that is easy to create and drives traffic back to your older posts.

Example From When I Work: Our Top Posts For Bosses and Managers

6. Compile posts on a similar theme and turn them into an ebook.

Ebooks can be great to give away for free to build your email list or to publish as a Kindle book to tap into the Amazon audience. Find older blog posts that all fit a specific theme and compile them into an ebook.

7. Turn posts on a similar theme into an email series.

Assuming you don’t give them away as the lead magnet, you can take a series of older posts on your blog and turn them into a series for your email list.

8. Turn a tutorial post into a video.

If you enjoy writing tutorials, consider using your tutorials as scripts for videos. You can add the videos to the tutorial posts for those who would prefer to watch than read. You can also add a link to the tutorial post everywhere you distribute the video for those who would prefer to read than watch.

9. Turn a thought piece into a podcast.

For posts that don’t need a lot of visual accompaniment, you can use them as a script for a podcast. This repurposing will allow you to tap into the iTunes audience. You can also add a link to the podcast to your post for those who prefer to listen than read.

10. Take comments from a controversial post and argue them in a new post.

You don’t only have to rely on the content you create on your blog for repurposing. Consider repurposing lively discussions in your blog post comments to create new content. If you replied to the comments when they were originally posted, all you have to do is reformat the comments and the replies into Q&A style.

11. Take main points from a blog post and turn them into a presentation for SlideShare.

If you are comfortable creating presentations, you can take the main points from your old blog posts and turn them into a presentation that you can upload to SlideShare. You could even turn that presentation into a webinar.

12. Take data from a blog post and turn it into an infographic.

You don’t need to be a designer to make an infographic. Tools like Piktochart allow you to plug information from your old blog posts into templates. Add the infographic to your old post or in a new one along with some embed code to create new, linkbaitable content.

By repurposing your content, you will not only get more bang for your content marketing buck, but you will also get the chance to increase exposure for your business with new audiences!

How To Master Blogging For Business In One Week

Implementing a blogging strategy for your business can feel like a major undertaking. But if you follow this guide, you can master the essentials of blogging for your business in seven days.

Day One: Research Your Competitors

You don’t have to start from scratch when it comes to coming up with a blogging strategy for your business. Instead of reinventing the wheel, start with competitive research. There’s a good chance that no matter what business you are in, you have a few competitors (if not hundreds) that already have a blogging strategy in place.

When you look at your competitor’s blog, you will want to note the following things.

  1. Who authors your competitor’s blog posts? Owners, employees, guests contributors, and freelance writers are the most likely authors.
  1. How often do your competitor’s publish new blog posts? Daily, 2 – 3 times per week, and weekly are the most popular publishing schedules.
  1. How long are your competitor’s blog posts? Shorter content works best for certain audiences, as it is easier to digest. But for the best social sharing and search engine performance, long form content (1,500+ words) has been proven to be best.
  1. What topics get the most social engagement? Search your competitors domains or topical keywords at BuzzSumo to see topics that get the most social shares.
  1. Who are your competitors writing for? Do they write for beginners? Do they write for the technically savvy? Do they write for CEO’s?
  1. What tone do your competitors use? Are their posts lighthearted and friendly? Serious and stuffy? Casual? Education?
  1. What comment platform do competitors use? If you want people to comment on your content, know what system (Disqus, Facebook, Livefyre, etc.) your target audience is already used to using.

Once you have answered these questions by researching your competitors, you should spend some time thinking about what you liked and didn’t like about each of their approaches. The goal of this exercise isn’t to be just like the competition – it’s to learn what works, what doesn’t, and what you can do that will separate you from the fold.

Day Two: Outline Your Strategy

Once you have had time to digest what the competition does, it’s time to outline your own content strategy. Your goal for day two is to write a detailed game plan that covers the following.

  • What your content goals are (traffic, social engagement, links, and conversions are common).
  • Who will create, edit, publish, and promote content.
  • How often you will publish new blog posts.
  • How long your posts will be.
  • What topics will your posts cover (general categories, not specifics).
  • Who your target audience is.
  • What tone you want to use for your content.

With an exception to the first three points, everything else should be included in an editorial guidelines document. Editorial guidelines should be given to all content creators and editors to ensure that your content is crafted precisely to match your goals.

Day Three: Create Your Team

Once you have outlined your strategy, it’s time to organize your content marketing team. If your content marketing team is all in-house, then start by holding a meeting to introduce everyone to each other, describe everyone’s roles, and go over your content strategy.

If you plan to use outsourced help, be sure to get the best help possible. Instead of starting with sites that have freelancers who write articles for $5, start by finding freelancers who write for the top publications in your industry.

For example, if you have a marketing agency, look for freelancers who write for marketing publications. Yes, they will be more expensive, but they will also have the knowledge and experience you need to develop valuable content.

Once you have found some of the best writers, editors, graphics creators, and promoters, hold a virtual meeting using Google+ Hangouts or GoToMeeting to get everyone on the same page. While you can work with all of these people individually, making them a part of a team will lead to better content and goal achievement.

Day Four: Develop Your Calendar

Once your team is in place, it’s time to create your editorial calendar. You can use tools that you are already used to like Outlook Calendar (for internal teams), Google Calendar (internal and external teams), or Google Spreadsheets. You can use tools designed specifically for blog editorial calendars like CoSchedule.  You can use project management tools like Trello. The goal is to find something that is easy to use and easily accessible by all of the members of your content team.

Depending on the tool you choose, you should be able to, at minimum, schedule the dates that each piece of content is due to be submitted and published. Tools like CoSchedule and Trello will also give you the option to organize pitches from writers and move through a specific chain, from submission to promotion.

Day Five: Publish Your Content

Once you have your editorial calendar in place and your first pieces of content submitted, you will move to the exciting part of blogging, which is publishing your first pieces of content. Publishing your content is not as simple as pasting it into WordPress (or your preferred CMS platform) and hitting send though. Before publishing, you will want to run each piece of content through the following simple checklist.

Is your content free of grammatical and spelling errors? (Use Grammar.ly to find out.)

☐ Have you chosen a keyword phrase to optimize your content for? (Use Google AdWords Keyword Planner to research one.)

☐ Did you create an eye-catching title for your content that includes your keyword phrase and will entice people to click through to the post? (See these headlines formulas for inspiration or go with UpWorthy’s strategy of writing your headlines 25 times to get the best ones.)

☐ Does your content have at least one awesome image? (Create one for free using Canva if it doesn’t.)

☐ Does your content have bold headings and short paragraphs to make it easily consumable? (Break the post up logically if it doesn’t.)

☐ Does your content have a call-to-action at the end? (If not, add one that encourages people to comment, share, or click through to your product or service.)

☐ Does your content have social sharing buttons to make sharing easy? (Try AddThis as it works on almost all platforms.}

Once you’ve ticked off these points, your content is ready to publish. You can look at different studies on when the best time to publish a blog post is. But remember that it’s not the actual publish time that will help you achieve success unless you happen to have a thousand people who tweet your post as soon as it goes live.

Day Six: Promote Your Content

Once you’ve published your first blog post, you will need to promote it. You should promote your content using every avenue you have at your disposal. The most popular promotion strategies include emailing your subscribers, sharing on social networks, and promoting posts on social networks. If you have a large budget for content promotion, platforms  like Taboola and Outbrain can help you get even more traction.

When it comes to organic social promotion, you may want to share your content multiple times to make sure you reach everyone. CoSchedule created a handy visual tool for their own promotion strategy.

Image Source: CoSchedule

After all, your entire audience isn’t going to be online at 8am EST every Monday morning. The key to making each share of your post interesting is to vary it. Create text updates, photo updates, and video updates that all link back to your post. Use different variations of your blog post title and questions related to your posts for extra, unique engagement.

Day Seven: Analyze Your Results

Once you’ve started publishing and promoting your content, you will want to begin analyzing your results. The simplest approach is to use Google Analytics to see how much traffic you are receiving for each piece of content you create.

For those who are tracking conversions in Google Analytics using goals, you can link conversions to blog content using the Landing Pages report. Note this only tracks conversions from blog posts that people have landed upon versus blog posts that people have clicked on after they are already on your website.

You can also use tools like BuzzSumo to see which content on your domain is the most popular in terms of social sharing. If social engagement is your goal, BuzzSumo will show you up to a year’s worth of data on which posts have achieved that goal.

What other tips would you add to this list? Tell me in the comments section below!

29 Proven Copywriting Tips You Can Use To Convert More Customers

Are your landing pages converting visitors into customers? If not, the copy on those pages might be to blame. Here are 29 proven copywriting tips that will help you increase conversions on your website.

1. Write for people.

This one should be obvious, but sometimes we get so immersed into search optimization that we forget about something that is more important for conversions: people optimization. Yes, you need to optimize for search. Otherwise, you won’t have traffic to convert. But if your copy doesn’t sound natural, it’s not going to convert as well. Read yours aloud to make sure it sounds good for humans.

2. Get specific.

Create multiple landing pages and write copy that focuses on a specific product or service and how it helps specific customers. Dell created over 1,000 landing pages for specific purposes and increased their conversion rates by 300%.

3. Speak to one person.

Writing your copy focused on one person as opposed to a larger, general audience helps you build a relationship with your prospective customer.

4. Focus on the headline.

Your landing page’s headline is the first thing that a visitor is going to read. Only 2 out of 10 people make it past your headline. Test your headlines again and again using tools like Visual Website Optimizer to choose a conversion winner.

5. Define your unique selling point.

One of the top mistakes made on landing pages is leaving out the USP. Make sure that people know what makes your product – and your business – stand out from your competitors.

6. Put the important stuff first.

Statistics show that 55% of visitors spend an average of 15 seconds on your page before they bounce. Assume that your visitor might not get beyond the first paragraph before wanting to leave. Think about what you can put in that first paragraph to keep them around.

7. Craft a story.

Highlight the benefits of your products and services in a way that readers will want to consume by weaving them into stories.

8. Focus on benefits, not features.

Benefits have a stronger impact on conversions than features.

9. Convert features to benefits.

If you have a hard time writing benefits, use this approach to convert features into benefits.

10. Highlight benefits in list format.

Our brains love lists for a variety of reasons. Putting the benefits of your product or service in a list will help visitors consume and recall them easily.

11. Include numbers.

Numbers are powerful and can increase sales. Depending on your product or service, the numbers you include in your copy could number of users, number of downloads, number of reviews, number of pounds you’ve helped people lose, number of revenue you’ve helped generate, and so on.

12. Experiment with pronouns in calls to action.

The simplest changes, such as going from “create your account” to “create my account” can increase click-through rate by 90%. Of course, contradicting studies have shown going from “create my account” to “create account” can increase conversions by 38%. So it’s all about experimentation.

13. Write simply.

You can alienate readers by using words that go above a fifth grade reading level unless your product or service caters to a highly technical or academic customer base. You shouldn’t make visitors feel like you are talking down to them, but you also shouldn’t require them to need definitions for every other word on your page.

14. Get technical.

If you are aiming for a highly technical audience, get technical in your landing page copy. This approach will prove your expertise and increase consumer confidence in your product or service.

15. Avoid overused words.

Your prospective customers have likely come across plenty of state-of-the-art, best-in-class, next-generation products and services. Make your landing page stand out by avoiding overused, cliché, and borderline sleazy words and phrases.

16. Use power words.

Connect with visitors by creating emotion through the use of power words that invoke fear, encouragement, sexiness, controversy, safety, and satisfaction.

17. Create action-focused copy.

We don’t want to just put our customers at ease. We want them to feel like they must take action to achieve a result. One study found an increase of 38% when changing their headlines and copy to include action verbs.

18. Keep sentences and paragraphs short.

The recommended average word count per sentence ranges from 15 – 25 words, depending on what resource you consult. You should keep paragraphs under four to five lines.

19. Increase readability.

79% of visitors to your page will skim the content while only 16% will read it all the way through. Increase readability with meaningful subheadings, bold keywords, one idea per paragraph, and bulleted lists.

20. Create perceived ownership.

Write your copy in a way that helps your visitor experience the feeling of getting results from your product or service.

21. Create a sense of urgency or scarcity.

Psychology proves that letting people know that an offer won’t last forever increases the likelihood that they will buy.

22. Let others write your copy.

Include testimonials and reviews from your customers. Social proof is proven to increase conversions. Make sure that your social proof is highly relevant to your product or service.

23. Overcome your customers’ objections.

Don’t let a visitor leave your page without making a purchase because they decided that they could do things just as well on their own or that your solution wouldn’t work for them. Include copy that overcomes those and other common objections to close the sale.

24. Add live chat to counter objections.

What’s better than static copy? How about dynamic copy that answers questions in real time. Try adding a live chat to your landing pages so that people can get answers to the questions that determine whether or not they make a purchase. One company found that live chat improved their conversion rate by 211%.

25. Add a guarantee.

Adding a guarantee to a product landing page has been shown to increase conversion by 41% and overall order value by 6%.

26. Include the price.

Are your prices top secret? Simply adding your price to your landing page can increase lead signups by 100%.

27. Test the small stuff.

Especially when related to pricing, experiment with different phrases. Changing “a $5 fee” to “a small $5 fee” resulted in a 20% increase in conversions.

28. Proofread your copy.

If you can’t get someone else to do it, use editors like Grammar.ly to ensure that your spelling and grammar are correct. Errors can be distractions, and you don’t want your visitors to get distracted from your page’s purpose and call to action. In addition, lack of attention to detail on your landing page will make customers feel that the same lack of attention could apply to your products and services as well.

29. Write copy in the form of a video script.

Video has been shown to increase the conversion rate of a landing page by 86% in case studies. In addition to writing the copy on your landing page, write a version of it that can be used in video.

What other tips have worked for you? Leave a comment for me below.