If you’ve been researching how to create a successful content marketing strategy, you’ve probably come across lots of content marketing tools.
You may have noticed content marketing tools for content calendars, drafting blog posts, and even for headline generation.
Essentially, these are all content marketing tools that are there to help you with one main focus in mind: productivity.
But what if an overload of content marketing tools were in fact slowing you down?
Why you DON’T need hundreds of content marketing tools
The thing is, with so many content marketing tools available, you can easily wind up spending more time working out your tools than actually writing and sharing your content.
This could mean that your content marketing takes a lot longer than you schedule for.
Why? Because you’re spending too much time preparing, and not enough time doing.
While multitasking is sometimes seen as a talent, this article written by Leo Widrich shows that singletasking is actually a much more efficient way to work.
In other words, it’s better to concentrate for longer on one task rather than hop from task to task in short bursts.
This is because, while we may feel like we are focusing on a number of tasks all at once, Ilya Pozin reports that multitasking is, in fact, impossible.
It turns out we’re actually just switching back and forth between tasks really quickly.
The solution? Keep it simple!
Simplify your strategy
In a nutshell, content marketing is made up of 3 key stages:
- Planning your content
- Writing your content
- Sharing your content
How many content marketing tools do you need for three processes? We think you only need one for each.
At MixBloom, we use just 3 content marketing tools for planning, writing and sharing our content- and it works!
Here’s what they are:
Trello – for planning
So, the first step of content marketing is to plan your content.
Trello is really valuable for doing just that.
It lets you separate your content ideas into different categories and progress stages, enabling you to view and edit your entire content plan from one screen.
Trello works really well if you’re writing your own content. As you can see in the image above, it acts as your easy to use editorial calendar.
It allows you to easily keep track of every content publication stage. With Trello, you’ll be able to keep track of:
- The content you’ve already written and published
- Posts you’ve drafted and need to edit
- What still needs to be done
It’s also an ideal tool for working as a team.
Trello lets you add multiple members to each Trello account. Your whole team, no matter which department, can stay on track.
Once subscribed to a Trello card, members are able to add to an item’s description and write comments for the other team members to make reference to.
This not only keeps all details about each project in one place, but it also saves team members from spending too much time emailing each other every time an amendment is made.
It also enables you and your team members to easily move things around on your content plan.
Let’s say you decide that you no longer want to prioritize one article over another. With Trello, you can switch the order of your To-Do list or even remove a card from the list. If you decide it’s a priority again, it’s still available for you to move it back.
Every time something is added, removed, or amended, notifications are sent directly to the team members attached to the Trello board.
How to organize your content plan with Trello
Build your board
Once you’re signed in, you can set up your board by simply clicking on ‘Boards’ in the top left-hand corner and ‘Create new board’.
As you only need one board for all of your content (even if you have a range of content topics), you can simply label your board as something as simple as your company name followed by the word ‘content’ as we’ve done above.
Label your lists
Even if your content is based on one broad topic, you’ll likely have a number of subcategories to write about within that topic.
This is where Trello lists are super useful.
To add yours, simply click in the area that says ‘Add a list,’ and label it as one of your topics.
Then do the same again until all of your content categories are added in. Lists will show up as the title of each section (with the dark grey background). It should look something like this:
Collate your cards
In your Trello content marketing plan, cards are where you can put information about each individual blog post.
They’ll be the main source of information for you and your team during the writing stage of the content process.
Under each one of your lists, you can add cards by simply clicking ‘Add a card’ and labeling it with the title of the blog post it’ll represent.
To make your Trello cards as user-friendly as possible, it’s a good idea to add information about each blog’s content in the ‘Description’ area of the card.
You can do this by simply clicking on the card. A popup like this will appear:
For example, if you have an idea for a post, you could note down the main points of the article. This will not only speed up the writing process, but it also means other writers can pick up from where you left off.
The ‘Description’ area is also handy for adding notes such as links to relevant resources, ideal word count information, and other key details.
You’ll also see a number of useful buttons to the right of the Description area that enable you to add checklists, due dates, attachments and more.
Schedule your content
With all of your blog post ideas (cards) now in their categories (lists), it’s time to set up your schedule.
This will be an invaluable tool for you and your team when it comes to knowing what needs to be written, what needs to be edited and approved, and what has been completed.
All you need to do is create another three cards: one titled ‘To-Do’, one titled ‘Drafted’, and another titled ‘Published’.
Then take a look at your blog post titles. Decide which ones you’d like to prioritize, and then simply drag and drop the cards into the ‘To-Do’ list.
Once a blog post has been written, you (or the writer working on the article) can then move the corresponding card from the ‘To-Do’ list into the ‘Drafted’ list.
And finally, once the blog post has been read through, edited and published, you can move the card from ‘Drafted’ to ‘Published’.
After a while, your Trello board should look something like this:
An example scenario of how Trello can work for content teams
Let’s say you have a team consisting of a content manager, a social media writer, and an SEO writer.
The content manager can make two lists:
- Social media blog ideas
- SEO blog ideas
They can then indicate which posts are to be written first by placing them into the ‘To-Do’ list. They can also:
- Assign writers to each blog post
- Add due dates for the writers to work towards
Once a writer has completed a piece, they can move the card from the ‘To-Do’ list into the ‘Drafted’ list.
Then, the content manager will be notified via email so that they can read, edit and publish the drafted article.
The blog’s card can then be moved into the ‘Published’ list, making room for new projects.
WordPress – for writing
There are a ton of content marketing tools out there when it comes to writing your posts.
But why spend hours scanning the web or paying big bucks for additional content marketing tools when you can do all of that directly in WordPress?
Writing, formatting, editing and publishing are all possible right within WordPress’ ‘Posts’ area.
Simply select ‘Add New Post’, and you’re all set to start writing.
The ‘New Post’ window enables you to not only write, but also add media, format text and add hyperlinks.
There’s even a handy word-count viewer just underneath the text box to help you stay on track!
One of the main advantages of writing your content directly into WordPress is that you’re able to preview your blog post as you write.
This means that you can be sure that your layout, formatting and images are looking good right from the start.
Once you’ve finished writing, you can publish (or save for later) straight away- without needing to think about stylizing your post.
What if I don’t want to write directly into WordPress?
If you prefer writing into documents, you can use something like Google Docs.
While not a tool per se, it’s really good for team collaboration. Google Docs works very much like a normal Word document.
However, in addition to saving your work to your computer, you’re also given a link to an online, shareable version.
This means everyone’s always working on the same document; preventing the risk of work being saved incorrectly or people working in older document versions.
When you’re ready to publish your article, all you need to do is copy the text from Google Docs and paste it into the WordPress drafter.
This is where you can check your layout, format your text, and add in your images.
You can use the ‘Preview’ function to check the article before saving or publishing to your website.
Buffer and MixBloom- for sharing
So you’ve written and published some great content. But how do you get people to read it?
This is where the hard work starts.
It’s now becoming the norm to apply the 80/20 rule to content marketing: 80% of the time promoting your content and just 20% creating your content.
The thinking behind this is that it’s better to create fewer, more valuable blog posts than lots of generic content.
Why? Not only are you giving your audience something substantial, but you also get a better return on investment by enabling each blog post to reach as far as possible.
It’s only when you master these two things that you become the go-to source in your industry. The ultimate goal, right?
Both Buffer and MixBloom can help you achieve this.
Buffer is a tool that lets you schedule your social media posts in advance.
You can link your Buffer account to your Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google+ accounts.
Once you’ve linked up your accounts, you can write your posts, add media, and set a time and date to share your post.
So, instead of thinking about what you’re going to post right before you post it (and then having to spend time going into each of your social accounts to publish it), you can get all your posts ready in one go.This will save you time and prevent you from disrupting your workflow each time you need to post.
Another important feature from Buffer is the scheduling analytics. This feature is invaluable for making sure you always post at the times in which your audience is most engaged.
Finally, we of course rely on our own app and service, MixBloom, which makes continuous promotion of our best content incredibly simple.
MixBloom is more of a service than a tool, as your social media posts are researched, written and scheduled for you by a team of experts rather than technology.
To start, we curate content related to your industry and write engaging, compelling social media posts.
We then schedule them into your Buffer account for you.
The MixBloom team will also write and schedule social media posts for your website’s content.
You just send us the link to your blog, and we then write tailored posts to encourage your current and potential followers to take a look.
Having a MixBloom account means you can have a full, consistent social media presence without doing any researching, writing or posting yourself.
If you like adding your own spin on things, you can amend all your scheduled posts right in your account.
The key takeaways – what you can do today
We’re all trying to get our content written as efficiently as possible. So it can be tempting to load our computers up with lots of apps, plugins and add-ons to help us.
While this may seem productive, incorporating too many tools into your strategy can actually cause you to be less efficient.
So, in a nutshell: you have Trello for content planning, WordPress for writing and publishing, and Buffer/MixBloom for social media sharing and continuous promotion – the only three tools you need for the three most important parts of your content marketing strategy.