It’s no secret that there are hundreds of tools, platforms, and outside resources that can help you improve your content marketing efforts. The challenge is understanding which tools you need, the appropriate time to fight for them, and how well they all play together to help you create quality content on a consistent basis.
While the shiny all-in-one solution or well-respected and acclaimed content agency may look like the ultimate solution on paper—perhaps you only need to create two to three blog posts per week and a quarterly e-book, whitepaper, or webinar.
There are often more efficient and cost-effective routes to consider.
Learn how you can better assess your content management tools—for both the inventory and audit process and throughout your content workflow to meet your budgetary and team requirements.
Online Content Management System Tools
Content management systems, also known as a CMS, include the likes of WordPress, Drupal, Magnolia, Hubspot, and others.
These platforms let marketers manage content creation, storage, editing, organization, publishing, and content removal, in a single location online.
They also give marketers the ability to manage user-level permissions, which can come in handy if you plan on scaling your content efforts to a large team of contributors. A CMS can range from budget-friendly options like WordPress to a more enterprise solution such as Hubspot.
Typically, the higher the price of the solution, the more powerful it can be or the more features it has; however, this can also mean that you may need a more mature marketing team in order to get the most out of your expensive tools.
Before choosing or migrating to a new content management system, assess your marketing team’s needs, current skill sets, and challenges—particularly the individuals that will be working with the new system day-to-day, as they will likely determine the success of your efforts.
During this process, pull team members and leadership aside and ask them how they feel about your current workflows. Aim to understand what is inefficient about the current process and what they hope the new software will solve.
If you are considering new software, you may find that your team needs additional training, onboarding time, or another specialist hire altogether. Be sure to consider these variables before moving forward.
Additional Content Management Tools to Help You Organize
Outside of the more popular CMS solutions, there are a few other free and low-cost solutions that can help you better organize your content.
ClearVoice helps marketers simplify their content workflow process from ideation to final product. Marketers can create assignments, hire freelancers, edit articles, manage their editorial calendar, and publish straight from the platform.
The Google Docs suite allows teams to collaborate on content—compose, edit, and comment on documents as a team—and in real time. While the organization process can get clunky for larger teams, Google Docs can be a temporary or workaround solution for teams with tight budget restrictions.
For organizations concentrated on social media looking for more than publishing content through the native platforms, Post Planner and Sprout Social are affordable options that can help you plan content distribution and engage with your audience in advance so that you can spend more time creating quality content.
Online Content Inventory and Audits
A content inventory is a database or list of all the content available on your website. It should include every image, page or post, videos, and other assets your site visitors and internal team can access.
Usability.gov suggests that your content inventory includes the following details:
Unique Content ID, Title, URL, File Format (HTML, PDF, DOC, TXT…), Author, Location, Meta Description and Meta Keywords, Categories and Tags, Dates, and Redirects.
A thorough content audit can help you pinpoint if you have content gaps, items off-brand, ensure that your content is up-to-date, and whether any pages need to be redirected to a better reference source.
In short, an audit identifies the work you need to do to improve your marketing efforts, user experience, and search engine visibility.
Content Inventory, Audit, and Analytics Tools
Screaming Frog SEO Spider Tool allows you to crawl your website’s pages, images, links, SEO information and more, without having to tediously enter the data by hand.
First, download the tool and begin a scan of your website—it’s free if you have a small content library.
Next, export the crawl information to a spreadsheet or Google Sheets and share with your team.
Identify if you have any missing details such as blank categories, incorrect content tags, or poorly optimized SEO elements to understand the areas that your team can improve.
Google Sheets andMicrosoft Excel are free options for managing the specifics of your content inventory and have the added bonus of easy shareability with your team for transparency, collaboration, and centralized access.
While not the prettiest solution, with tidy organization and creative spreadsheet design, content marketers can manage teams of up to 10 and beyond using spreadsheets—and save on valuable budgetary resources.
For analytics and measurement, the free version of Google Analytics can serve your general needs; however, using a specific tool such as SimplyMeasured for social analytics, Mixpanel for mobile analytics, Docalytics for assessing document performance, or Adobe Analytics may make more sense for your direct marketing needs.
Use these tools to dissect information about your content, engagement, and audience to help you analyze content effectiveness. As a next step, add traffic and engagement data into your content inventory spreadsheet to help you identify what type of content is performing best with your audience.
Content Project Management Tools
For many marketers, understanding the strategic direction of their content efforts is the easy part—it’s executing that proves problematic. Juggling the needs of colleagues, managers, third-party resources, budget restrictions, and deadlines can take its toll on productivity and execution.
If you’re struggling to make progress, a project management tool can help move your content strategy from an idea into an actionable plan with real deadlines and deliverables.
The common, affordable, and simple-to-use project management solutions include the likes of Basecamp, Asana, and Trello. For more technical needs, or if you use a ticketing system to assign tasks, Jira may be the best option.
If your content initiatives involve outside vendors and freelancers, you may prefer to opt for a solution that includes costing and resource management. Options include 10,000ft Plans, Mavenlink, Harvest, and Microsoft Project.
How do you organize your content? Are you using a formal CMS or a combination of tools to create a hybrid solution? Have you taken the time to inventory and audit your content? What budget friendly tools did we miss? Share your thoughts and feedback in the discussion section below.