Essential Free Tools for B2B Content Marketers

Use these great tools to boost your content marketing productivity.

For every stage of the lead funnel, there is a free, or nearly free, tool that can facilitate efficient execution of your strategy and useful analysis of the results. Here are some of our favourites:

In this post:

  • Feedly
  • HootSuite
  • Bit.ly
  • WordPress
  • Google URL Builder
  • Google Analytics

Feedly

Essential Free Tools for B2B Content Marketers image toolspostEssential Free Tools for B2B Content MarketersGreat, user friendly, cloud based RSS reader.

Discovering content to share or curate is a potentially never ending task, consuming as much time as you are prepared to give it. Thankfully, RSS is here to help. Streamline and control your content discovery by using Feedly.

Every time you come across an interesting blog, add it to your Feedly. Spend a few minutes each morning or night scanning your Feedly feed for interesting stories. Share them immediately or save them for later.

HootSuite

Feature rich, easy-to-use social media management platform.

Maintaining multiple social media channels is fraught with potential frustrations, especially if a team is involved. Logging in and out of each for a start is time consuming and requires careful password management.

HootSuite integrates the management of ALL your social media channels into a single, scalable, web-based tool. With HootSuite you can monitor all your channels at a glance, post to any or all of your channels simultaneously, schedule your posts strategically and much, much more.

Bit.ly

Brilliant link shortener with built-in analytics.

If you are actively content marketing you are by definition sharing lots of links to content – ideally your own content, on your own website. Chances are however that the full URLs of this content (especially when tagged) don’t look nice and, since characters are constrained by many media, don’t even fit.

Bit.ly solves the problem instantly, shortening your massive URL to just a handful of characters. It records all your shortened links, making them easy to recover and reuse, and provides some analytics. Using the handy applet, you can shorten the link to any page with just one click of the mouse.

Bit.ly also has a good reputation as a link shortener. The importance of this is impossible to measure but web users do apparently ‘trust’ bit.ly links more than some other shorteners, resulting in more clicks and more shares.

WordPress

The defacto B2B SME choice for integrated websites and blogging.

It’s a misconception that content marketing is free marketing. It’s a resource hungry discipline and there is always more that can be done. Thus, any tool that adds to efficiency of you content marketing operation is a valuable one.

This may go without saying but WordPress is one of, if not the best tool for the job – in many circumstances. There are of course scenarios where other content management systems (like Expression Engine, Drupal, Joomla or Dot Net Nuke) make more sense. But WordPress is rarely a bad choice for businesses in need of a good looking website and blog that can also be affordably maintained and extended over time.

Email Service Provider (ESP)

A mandatory requirement for all email marketing.

Every time you send an email to a prospect, you initiate an interaction the outcome of which can tell you a great deal about them. Do they open? Do they click? Do they download? And so on. Your ESP is the tool that will let you inspect and interpret these interactions.

There are a multitude of free and paid-for ESPs out there. We operate our own, Blend Mail, based on industry leading technology. Whichever ESP you use, you will be able to interrogate every campaign for key information. In fact if you use your ESP to move prospects between contact lists based on behaviour, you have the beginnings of a basic marketing automation system.

GotoWebinar

Another defacto choice, this time for webinar hosting.

The webinar is a high impact content tactic that can deliver great results. The difficult part of hosting a webinar should be perfecting the content, the delivery and the follow up – not the technical set-up.

GotoWebinar takes care of all that. Owned by Cisco, GotoWebinar is reliable and trusted. While the ‘marketing’ components of the platform (invite/confirmation emails, registration pages, etc.) are a bit bland and could do with improvement, no one can doubt the reassurance the name gives to prospects thinking about joining.

Google URL Builder

A simple tool to tag links for tracking in analytics.

Without tagging, Google analytics can’t tell you where many of your non-search visitors come from. AdWords and certain other services automatically tag your links for you, but in many cases you need to do this yourself.

The Google URL Builder is an uncomplicated, simple-to-use form. You punch in the details that you want to see in Google Analytics and it produces the fully tagged URL for you to copy and use. Tagged URLs are much longer than untagged ones and look horrid so this produces an even greater need for link shorteners.

Google Analytics

So good we can’t believe it’s free.

Knowing which tactics produce the most website visitors, and what those visitors then do, is invaluable when optimising your marketing strategy.

Google Analytics tells you everything you need to know including organic keywords, campaign performance (any campaign with tagged links, not just AdWords), visitor flow, top landing pages and so on.

Any others?

Are there other tools that you use regularly to streamline your content marketing? If so please let us know.

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