Ten tools for content marketing on WordPress
You've decided to use your WordPress site and get serious about a content strategy. That's great, but where do you start?
Assuming you already have an idea for your content marketing strategy, this post is going to go through some tools for WordPress users. Some of these are web apps, some are just tips, and some are WordPress plugins to help you along your content marketing journey. For the WordPress plugins, I have listed only free plugins.
Content is king, and WordPress is king of online content. Are you ready to step up your content marketing game?
Tips and tools for editing
You can create the most compelling and interesting piece of content -- but it'll never get very far if it's sloppy. Editing is a vital part of content creation that is too often overlooked. Luckily, there are plenty of free tools online to make sure your content looks sharp and reads well.
Grammarly, for (you guessed it) grammar
This is not a WordPress plugin, but rather a web app. Grammarly is free, whether you use their web app or install the Chrome browser extension. It checks your writing for grammar and spelling mistakes. If you have some, it points them out and makes suggestions -- it's like taking the spelling and grammar checker from Word, and adding it to the internet.
Hemingway, for optimal readability
Hemingway is a web app that makes your writing easier to read. Shorter sentences, active verbs -- the kind of thing that this app's namesake was famous for. Available as a web app, Hemingway's online text editor tells you when your sentences are hard to read, when there's a simpler way to say something, and when you might use adverbs or passive voice to tangle your writing. A nice touch is Hemingway's instant calculation of readability -- as a rule of thumb, online writing should aim for below a 6th grade reading level.
Hemingway has a built-in differentiator between writing and editing, so you can write in peace without being graded in real time. Or, you can always just paste in your completed content. If you'd like a standalone version of Hemingway for writing, it exists for Windows and iOS for $19.99.
Canva, for beautiful custom images
Another web app: Canva. Canva is a great service for designing images. It's free to use, and gives you templates to make anything from a social media post to a presentation. Canva is great because it's a simple, do-it-yourself solution to creating custom cover art and graphics for your content. Depending on the kind of image you'd like to create for your blog, you'll find that Canva has templates with correct image sizes and easily customizable layouts.
Content with images performs better than content without images -- after all, would you still be following along here, if I hadn't used images to provide examples?
Tips and plugins for publishing
Publishing is the next important part of creating content on WordPress. From a content calendar to manage your publishing, to publishing your new posts, there are tools to help.
Post scheduling, for time management
Did you know WordPress has a built-in post scheduler? This is a great tool for content marketing, because it allows you to pace your content publishing for times that you may not be available.
Post scheduling is a tool that all pros use -- it saves them time, and allows them to run their blog on their schedule, around the clock. This tool is built-in and easy to find, so it's a great way to manage your content publishing.
Editorial Calendar, also available as a plugin
Just like post scheduling, an editorial calendar is indispensable for any serious content strategy. You want to make sure you're creating content with a purpose, and progress toward that purpose is clearly shown in an editorial calendar. Depending on the kind of content strategy you're going to employ, you might publish new content anywhere from twice a month to twice a week. Whether your calendar is in a spreadsheet or pinned to the wall above your desk, it will keep you organized and keep you honest.
For WordPress users, there's a great plugin for organizing your posts. Aptly called Editorial Calendar, it organizes your scheduled posts into a calendar so you can see them all at a glance. The plugin allows you to see scheduled posts weekly, on a grid that can display anywhere from 1 to 8 weeks' worth of content. By also allowing you to see drafts and unscheduled posts, and with the ability to click and drag to move posts around, this plugin is easily one of the best free plugins for content management for WordPress.
Yoast SEO, to make SEO easier
Yoast is probably the most well-known and widely-used WordPress plugin when it comes to SEO. Once installed, Yoast becomes a box at the bottom of your editing pages. There, you tell Yoast what your target keyword is, and it lets you edit that page's metadata and grades the page's SEO. If your SEO keyword use isn't quite on point, Yoast walks you through with tips to make sure your content is completely optimized.
Yoast was created in a different time of Google, and today it's not as effective an SEO tool as it once was. However, it is a helpful tool for the writer. By reminding you of the keyword you're targeting, Yoast helps you be sure to write about it. Of course, you want to use your target keyword, as well as LSI keywords, similar keywords, and synonyms. There's no magic bullet for SEO, and Yoast is no exception, but it does help you write with SEO in mind.
Tools and plugins for distribution
Your content can be world class -- but it won't help you if no one sees it. From building an email list to sharing via social media, there are plenty of ways to get your new content in front of people.
SumoMe, for email capture
SumoMe makes lots of useful plugins for WordPress, but their email capture plugin is one of the most popular. They offer a few email capture tools, but the free one is the Scroll Bar. This one appears at the top of your page as a visitor scrolls down. You can create your call to action ("Sign up now!" "Stay informed!"), and the entry area is available right there for a visitor to provide his or her email.
Email capture is an important part of content marketing, because it's part of the tangible ROI on content. Sure, you can create awesome content, but if you've got people coming regularly to read your blog and you aren't capturing an email for future use, you're missing out on potential customers. SumoMe is a great way to build your email list and grow your business.
Mailchimp, for emailing your list
Mailchimp is a tool that exists both in and out of WordPress. As a standalone service, Mailchimp is one of the best mass email services -- it's free (up to a point), it's easy to use, and it allows for you to do things like A/B test headlines and see analytics.
They have a plugin to use with WordPress, too, so you can easily integrate the emails captured from your site with your Mailchimp account. Their plugin comes with customizable forms, analytics, and yes, Mailchimp does seamlessly integrate with SumoMe.
NextScripts, for sharing on social
NextScripts is a WordPress plugin that allows you to automatically post your new blog posts on your social media channels. Though not as good as a personalized approach, where you write unique copy for each social media network and use unique shortlinks to track traffic, NextScripts is a great tool for those pressed for time.
Once you write and publish a new post, NextScripts will allow you the option to personalize a message that will share a link to your new post across your social media networks. For content marketers that are pressed for distribution channels, NextScripts can be a great tool.
Revive Old Post, to keep the "oldies but goodies"
The main problem with blogs is that as you create content, your old content gets buried. However, just because you create new content doesn't necessarily mean that your old content is no longer any good. How do you reconcile these?
Enter Revive Old Post, a WordPress plugin that automates sharing your older content to your social media networks. It's customizable, so you can decide how often you want to refresh your social feeds with older content. Revive Old Post has both a free and a paid version, where you get functionality with the free version and the ability to add images to your social posts. By combining this plugin with NextScripts, you can ensure that your social networks are always active and sending you fresh traffic.
Though this isn't as great as having a person behind your social networks, this combo can help you keep your social active and working.
At the end of the day, your content marketing strategy is only as good as the planning behind it, and the tools you employ. Luckily with WordPress, it isn't about working harder, just smarter. By using these tools in your strategy, you can be sure to put together an awesome content marketing campaign that converts.