Content marketers face the stiff challenge of finding ways to constantly stay compelling or interesting.
Fortunately, the Web is full of useful (and free) tools that you can leverage to create and maintain more efficiencies around your content strategy.
Free Content Marketing Tool #1
Google Insights For Search
Google Insights For Search is an awesome tool to assist with content planning (and it’s absolutely, no strings-attached free).
Google Insights allows you to find out what’s trending in the world of search. It also helps you understand the behavior of people who search on the Web. Let’s say you’ve spent some time fine tuning your keyword strategy, and you’ve developed a list of 20 or so keywords or phrases that you think “fit” your business and how you’d like people to find you on the Web.
Plugging in each of those keywords/phrases will allow you to see how many people are searching that way on the Web, and what kind of competition you can expect for that search. You can also narrow it down by country, state, and city if you’re interesting in targeting local Web traffic.
Here’s an example of comparing two similar search phrases to see which yields more traffic: Home Design vs. Interior Design
If you’d like a quick tutorial on how to use Google Insights For Search, check out this blog post.
Free Content Marketing Tool #2
Trapit is a relatively new Web listening service that helps keep you up to speed with the trends and hot stories on the Web.
Trapit explains their service:
Trapit finds the stuff you don’t want to miss. We scour the web on your behalf, 24/7, organizing the best, most relevant content into individual topic-based “traps” for easy consumption. Traps can be based on current affairs or trending topics, personal interests or projects, companies or people, teams, towns, events and more.
Trapit serves up really great content ideas at the snap of a finger. Working as a marketing professional in the multi-family or aparment housing industry? Do a quick Trapit search for “apartment living” and you’ll be returned with a list of recent blog posts and news stories on that subject from all over the Web.
Free Content Marketing Tool #3
OK, so you might be using Evernote already. The massively popular note taking software helps you remember and organize all your thoughts – from the most profound to the most mundane.
While you might be using Evernote to keep track of the most important dealings of the day, are you using it to jot down your ideas? How many times have you been saddled in a meeting or traffic or daily chore and come up with something that you really wanted to share, but the moment and the idea both pass. Use Evernote to collect all those moments in an “Ideas” notebook and then re-visit it once or twice a month for inspiration about content and engagement opportunities for your business.
Want to really leverage the power and features of Evernote for your blog? Head over to this superb and in-depth breakdown by Michael Hyatt to learn even more.
None of these free tools will take up much of your time (in fact, I’d bet they save you time), and if you give them a shot, you’ll find yourself scratching your head for ideas much less frequently.