New Year. New Habits.
It’s that time of the year when most people review their career, their lives, reminisce the good times and think of ways to improve the coming year. It’s when most of us make our new year resolutions, new goals, new habits. At Mailee, we know that you’re doing great, but it can always be better. That’s why we’re always trying to make things better for you and we’ve decided to help you with your end of the year efforts. In this post, we’ve put together a list of free tools that’ll help boost your email and content marketing productivity.
Planning and Strategy
A great plan gets more than half of the job done. Everything you do or accomplish at work depends on how well you plan things. Although jotting down your plans on bits and pieces of paper might get the job done, it isn’t the most efficient way of planning and strategizing. That’s why using an online alternative is better – it’s easier, more efficient, and here’s the best part – you don’t have to worry about losing it. Check out two tools that’ll help you boost your marketing productivity.
- Trello – I prefer using Trello, a project management tool, as my personal online dashboard. Using Trello, you can create boards (these are your projects) and add cards (main parts of your project) to them. You can add your team members to the boards as members. They also offer a calendar power up using which you can create an editorial calendar. Trello is free to use with premium features.
- Coschedule – Coschedule is a content calendar template for WordPress. Using Coschedule, you can schedule your posts, social media, and team member tasks. Coschedule costs USD 10 per month with a 2-week free trial. Kyle Gray of Conversion Cake draws up an excellent comparison between Trello and Coschedule in this article here.
- BuzzSumo – BuzzSumo is a content marketing and SEO tool that shows you what content is trending, what’s the top content and most popular keyword(s), who are the influencers in your industry, etc. It also provides you content alerts to help you stay ahead of your competition and content analysis reports to see what works and what doesn’t for you. You can create an account for free and do a limited number of searches. Alternatively, you can sign up for one of their packages to avail greater benefits.
An alternative to BuzzSumo is Ahrefs Content Explorer, a powerful SEO tool that gives you fast updates on top content, most shared content, domain ranking, etc.
- Paper.li – Paper.li is a content curation tool that helps you curate and share web and social media content. Although you might see Paper.li links on Twitter that appear to you like spam, that isn’t the case. The tool is extremely convenient and easy to use. Alternatives to Paper.li include Scoop.it, Publi.sh and Feedly. You can also use a read it later tool like Pocket in combination with, let’s say an RSS Reader like Feedly, to mark content for later reading.
- Canva – Canva is a free and easy-to-use design tool that helps you create amazing graphics for blogs, social media, posters, flyers, invitations, infographics, etc. I’m a big fan of Canva and is my one-stop solution for anything graphic. If you’re looking for a specific tool to create infographics, I would recommend Piktochart.
- SnagIt – SnagIt is the best screen capture tool I’ve ever come across. It provides some really great screen capturing and editing features. Plus, it’s extremely simple and easy to use.
- Headline Analyzer – The Headline Analyzer by CoSchedule is one of the best free tools I’ve ever used. The tool analyzes your content title and gives you a score that instantly lets you know whether the title is interesting enough to appeal to your readers. I write at least 10-15 different variations of any title to see which one has the right mix of words. This exercise helps me come up with great clickworthy titles for my content.
Marketers always say that your title needs to appeal emotionally to your readers. That’s why you can also use the Emotional Headline Analyzer by the Advanced Marketing Institute. This tool provides you an Emotional Marketing Value (EMV) score and also tells you whether your content is intellectual, empathetic or spiritual.
- Phrasee – If you’re an email marketer, you know that subject lines either make you or break you. Great subject lines considerably help you with performance metrics such as open rates, click rates and conversion rates. Phrasee is a subject line tester and generator. It helps you analyze your email subject line and gives you statistics on how your email will perform, based on its subject line.
- Grammarly – When creating content, there’s no room for error. Using a tool like Grammarly to automatically proofread your content and flag your errors is a lifesaver. The last thing you need is to be embarrassed by a silly goof-up, right? Grammarly protects your content from spelling, grammar, and punctuation mistakes as well as checks your content for plagiarism. In fact, it’s the ultimate grammar checker. It also offers a free plug-in for your Chrome browser so that you can make edits as and when you write.
Another tool you can use to check for plagiarism is Copyscape.
In addition to Grammarly, I recommend that you use the Hemingway app to check the readability of your content. It analyzes your writing and identifies rooms for improvement.
- PowToon – PowToon is a free tool that lets you create animated videos and presentations that help you stand out from the crowd. It’s extremely easy to use and provides with expensive animation software quality results. Use this tool to breathe some life into your everyday presentations and set you apart from your competition.
- Yoast – Yoast is one of the best free SEO plugins for WordPress that gives your content an SEO score based on keyword usage, meta description, etc. and provides you with a page analysis. Using the insights provided by Yoast, you can optimize your website SEO and write better, more relevant content.
- Google Analytics – Google Analytics is the ultimate tool to boost your sales and conversions. It helps you track visitors, visits, set up funnels, A/B testing, etc. Using the insights offered, you can better understand your audience, their needs, and create highly relevant content that strikes the right chord with them. The icing on the cake? It’s all free of cost. Too good to be true, right?
- Quill Engage – Quill Engage is a free analytics tool that transforms your Google Analytics data into plain English – paragraphs of text – all sent to your inbox weekly. It analyzes your Google Analytics data and gives you the most important insights. This saves you tons of time and instantly letiu know what’s working and what needs fixing.
- Hootsuite – Hootsuite is the ultimate social media management platform that supports Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, WordPress, Instagram, YouTube, Tumblr, etc. It allows you to schedule your social media posts and also automate your social media marketing efforts using the Autoscheduling feature. Finally, it offers analytics of your social networks like how your posts are faring, your social traffic, etc.
A very good and simple alternative to Hootsuite is Buffer, mainly if all you’re looking for is a tool to schedule and publish social media content and that integrates with your existing tools. Its platform is open and extremely flexible that allows other automation tools to easily connect to it. You can also try out Edgar, which is great for social media content rescheduling with greater flexibility and simplicity.
- Mention – Think of Mention as a new and improved Google Alerts. It helps you monitor mentions of your brand on blogs as well as social media, thereby increasing your social media interaction and building your online presence. All of this in a matter of few minutes.
Generating and Curating Content
Your content marketing plan is in place and you’re all set to get cracking on content. Before you jump headfirst into creating content, ask yourself these questions – what’s the trending content in your industry? Who are your industry influencers? What is the content that’s working for your industry? To answer these questions, you need to use a tool to curate content. Here are a few tools we recommend for curating content.
Identifying great content topics is essential. But as you know by now, a picture speaks a thousand words. Including great graphics / images in your content makes your work more appealing and it has a much higher likelihood of getting read. Check out these free tools to create fantastic graphics with zero design skills.
Optimizing Content Marketing
You’ve a great content marketing plan in place. You’ve created fantastic and highly relevant content with great-looking graphics. All you need to do now to publish, right? Not quite. We suggest that you optimize your content – add a few final touches – for best results. There are a few tools that come in handy when it comes to optimizing your content, thereby boosting your content marketing productivity. Check them out below.
Doing the final touch ups for your content is great. However, content optimization doesn’t stop there. You must see how your content performs and seek for ways to improve its performance. Here are a few tools that’ll help you with your monitoring content performance efforts.
Social Media Marketing
Your content marketing plans are in motion. The content’s out there and has been optimized to your audience’s tastes. What’s left? Spreading the word about your content! Unless you share your content on the social media platforms that your target audience frequents, all your content marketing efforts go down the drain. The dilemma is that with so many social media platforms, it’s quite easy to lose track of what’s going where and how’s it performing. If you need help with raising your social media marketing productivity, check out these tools listed below.
If your focus is primarily Twitter and Instagram, then check out Crowdfire that helps you build your social media audience and increase your social media efficiency.
So here’s a list of free tools to increase your email, content and social media marketing productivity. Kickstart 2016 in an organized and more productive manner. We wish you a very happy, productive, and successful new year! 😀 😉
If you have suggestions or recommendations regarding the tools that you use and on boosting marketing productivity, please share with us in the Comments section below.