10 Content-Marketing Tools: Learn How to Engage Your Audience the Smart Way

By on October 10, 2013

content-marketing-tools

Content-marketing tools are popping up every day, and we certainly aren’t headed for a slowdown anytime soon. Besides the time-tested favorites such as Facebook and Pinterest, a few new and worthy apps have come to attention (Note: Just because a developer in San Francisco created an online content-marketing tool doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good one). Here is a list of 10 that I think give the most “Klout” and, if implemented thoughtfully, will set you up to learn the secret of marketing success––the smart way. And remember: Content marketing isn’t just for the brainiacs (or Stanford dropouts)—it’s for every entrepreneur.

1. List.ly

When it comes to content-marketing tools List.ly covers the top three techniques and can cover them all at the same time. These useful methods are:

  • Content creation
  • Driving traffic to your site
  • Keeping your website up-to-date

Lists are highly attractive to readers. They are clear, concise, and easy to follow and so should certainly be incorporated in your blog posts. List.ly is a really cool tool that allows you to embed your list and collaborate with others, thus helping you engage with your audience in a unique way. You add to others lists, they add to yours, and people upvote their favorites. This is, hands down, a savvy tool to start conversations and share with others in a dynamic platform. The best way to demonstrate how List.ly works is in the following example of the 2013 Top 50 restaurants in Canada Guide:

list.ly-sample

2. Feedly

When Google Reader went off the map, Feed.ly stepped in. This news-aggregator application compiles news feeds from various sources that are sharable and customizable. The user is able to focus their searches for feeds for a particular topic and then share it across multiple networking sites such as Facebook, e-mail, Twitter, Tumblr, and Google+. Feed.ly is now available on the go with its mobile version, which runs on phones and on tablets, on Android and iOS. Feed your brain!

feed.ly-sample

3. LinkedIn

If you’re not pushing your LinkedIn account to its fullest potential, there are a few things you should know. When it comes to networking, LinkedIn is the secret weapon. There are so many benefits to building your brand and profile; what was once thought of as merely a resource to gain employment is now providing a means to engage and share with your circle of influence. On a professional level, you’re able to list your groups, membership awards, and other details, and for content-marketing purposes, the ability to post links on your LinkedIn account that will lead users to your other social media networking sites creates yet another opportunity to engage. Check out how Joel Elad’s profile includes his Twitter handle:

linkedin-for-business

4. Quora

Quora is a sharing platform that connects people who share the same interests and provides you with relevant and interesting topics and ideas. Quora aims to organize people and their interests so that they can find, collect, and share the information that’s of the most value to you. When it comes to getting your brand message across, Quora provides an opportunity for you to collaborate and post engaging questions and gather opinions and respected feedback. Your target audience will go to Quora to seek out information and answers, allowing you to position yourself as an expert and guide them through their online searches. Here’s a great demonstration of the interaction Quora inspires:

Quora - example

5. Trapit

When you’re too busy to create your own content, Trapit does an excellent job at discovering relevant and hidden content that is personalized for your brand. With a library of over 100,000 expert-vetted sources, there certainly is something for everyone. Building brand awareness, loyalty, and customer engagement is simplified with this content marketing tool that helps you resonate with your audience and can follow them anywhere they go. You’re still in control—you determine the channel through which to deliver your content. Whether as a Facebook page, your blog, a Twitter feed, or even a branded application, Trapit is a smart way to stock your channels full of fresh and appealing content 24/7.

Trapit

6. Paper.li

Creating an online newspaper about your brand or topic has never been easier than with the application of Paper.li. You can get started for free or upgrade to a $9.99 a month package that will enable you to provide reliable online content about topics similar to those on your website. You’ll quickly be able to build your brand awareness among your audience and drive website traffic. To publish your own news site, features of Paper.li for your business include:

  • Custom Domain (easy to remember, easy to share)

paperli1

  • White label (make it your own)

paperli2

  • Your ads (monetize)

paperli3

  • E-mail newsletters (engage your customers)

paperli4

  • Manage notifications (editorial control)

paperli5

Through links shared on Twitter and Facebook, you’re able to create your own online newspaper that will draw the attention of your target audience. Put this tool into action and stand out from your competition.

 

7. Alltop

To find info on a topic quickly and easily, people turn to Alltop. Researching topics and keeping up on day-to-day news online is part of most people’s daily tasks, and getting your content in front of the right readers is key. A great way to generate more traffic to your blog or website is to become a part of Alltop’s headlines and traffic. With so many topics to choose from, surely there’s one that fits your niche. Submit your blog to Alltop and get your brand out there so that you can continue to have conversations with potential customers.

Here a shot of Alltop’s home page:

Alltop-home

Here’s a sampling of what’s hot in Sports, Formula 1 Racing:

Alltop-sample

8. Twitter

In the land of social media, Twitter rules! With a postlet just shy of 140 words, you can make tremendous leaps and bounds in driving traffic to your blog or website. Don’t underestimate the power of Twitter’s terse messages—they’re effective in grabbing attention if done correctly by tweeting interesting links, images, and video that are specific to your topic. Incorporate Twitter into your content-marketing strategy, and you will spark curiosity while searching for sharing opportunities to drive traffic to you as well. To get the conversation started, here are four tips:

  • Ask questions
  • Reply promptly
  • Encourage feedback
  • Tap into others’ conversations.

Twitter

9. YouTube

You can unquestionably convey your content in a smart and engaging way via the use of YouTube. Entertain and engage with your subscribers and build a community of brand advocates. Creation of catchy titles; promotion of your videos on your other channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and overall posting; and responding to comments will increase your subscribers. Considering that 6 billion hours of video are viewed by more than 1 billion visitors each month on YouTube you can’t afford to sit this one out! With an eye-catching image coupled with an intriguing title, this awesome compilation brought in over 700,000 views and counting…

 YouTube10. Pinterest

Pinterest helps people collect and share the things that they love and are most interested in. Setting Pinterest into practice for your brand or business is a very visual way to connect, create a following, and engage with your audience. Just to cover the basics, a pin could be any number of things from a gift idea to a funny quote that in its own right is relevant to your brand. Whatever is of interest to you, pin it and create a board on which you can tell a visual story and draw people in. It’s likely that your followers share the same interests, hobbies, passions, tastes, and values; through Pinterest, you’ll be able to encourage a conversation with them and redirect them to your site or blog. It’s a very simple yet highly effective tool that you wouldn’t want to pass up. Countless businesses have achieved success with Pinterest for Business—Jetsetter’s social media manager Jon Goldmann shared with us how.

“We were looking for a fun way to involve our community to help us curate the world’s best travel experiences,” Goldmann says. “Pinterest gave us a forum to engage with our most passionate advocates in a meaningful, creative, and compelling way.” They were able to set goals such as:

  • Cultivating and engaging Jetsetter brand advocates
  • Empowering the community to share their travel inspiration
  • Obtaining actionable feedback on site features and content

If someone is a foodie and is searching for eye-catching images of food, Bon Appetit covered its Pinterest board with great images:

Pinterest-sample

Marketing these days is all about content. You can’t go anywhere online and not see or hear of content marketing. As advertising phases out and these new strategies take center stage, set yourself up for success by offering your customers valuable and helpful information instead of cramming interruptive and irrelevant information down their throats. Communicating effectively and in a meaningful with is the premise of content marketing, and engaging with your audience is key. Save yourself some time, and learn how to engage the smart way.

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Matthew Toren

About Matthew Toren

Matthew Toren is a serial entrepreneur, mentor, investor and co-founder of YoungEntrepreneur.com. He is co-author, with his brother Adam, of Kidpreneurs and Small Business, BIG Vision: Lessons on How to Dominate Your Market from Self-Made Entrepreneurs Who Did it Right (Wiley). He's based in Vancouver, B.C.