Beginning any new project can be intimidating, and kicking off an inbound marketing campaign is no exception. To make getting started easier, I’ve broken down three problem areas to address right from the start and some helpful tools to assist with the process.
Overcome Your Technical Obstacles
The whole point of inbound marketing is to get found. And the first step of getting found is to let Google know you’re out there. To do that, you need to address the technical issues that could cause Google to overlook your content. Here are a few tools to help you get started:
- Screaming Frog SEO Spider is a free program you can download to your desktop. It crawls your content and organizes what it finds in an Excel spreadsheet. With a little analysis, you can use the spreadsheet to determine the aspects of your website that need improvement. Worried there isn’t enough variety on your blog? Screaming Frog pulls your title, description, and H1 and H2 tags for you to compare. Concerned you aren’t emphasizing your keyword goals? Screaming Frog gives you a list of your per page keywords based on your meta keyword tags. Unsure why your images aren’t showing up in a Google search? Screaming Frog finds all of your images missing alt text. Identifying those types of problems can change how well Google and your website know each other.
- Google Webmaster Tools can also help in the quest to be found. Designed to show you how “Google-friendly” your site is, Webmaster Tools will identify crawl errors (i.e. the pages on your site where Google is unable to crawl) and search queries that point to how many people are finding your site and how they’re finding it.
Get Content Ideas
Coming up with ideas for content can be challenging. Luckily, there are several readily available (and free!) tools at your disposal for content generation.
- Quora is a question and answer platform with high-quality answers from experts in every field. You can “follow” topics to see what kinds of questions are being asked about your industry, or post questions yourself and see what kinds of answers you get. Often, just by seeing where the conversation is going, you can find great content ideas.
- SEOGadget.com offers a newly updated Content Strategy Generator Tool that identifies trending content and helps put you in touch with potential contacts by scanning Twitter bios for keywords.
Organize Your Process
Now that you’re working with new tools and generating new content ideas, you’ll want to make sure your workflow process is organized in a simple and effective way. Check out these resources:
- IFTTT stands for “If this, then that.” Through IFTTT, you can create “recipes” that combine two content delivery channels. For instance, you can set up a recipe to auto-save all of your Instagram photos to Dropbox or save all of your tagged Facebook photos to Google Drive. IFTTT works with 59 different channels, giving you numerous recipe possibilities.
- Google Drive allows you to share documents, spreadsheets, calendars, and presentations with your team. Plus, it integrates with a number of different apps I love, like Sliderocket and Lucidcharts.
- Basecamp is a project management tool that can keep all of your projects, data and people in one place. Your team members can each set up a profile and communicate through messages, upload files and set deadlines. There’s even a calendar to organize various deadlines and who is responsible for them.
No one’s really cracked the code yet with a one-size-fits-all tool for planning, managing and maintaining inbound marketing activities. I’ve found trial and error to be the best way to patch together the tools I need to do my job. All of the tools I mentioned here are free; there are also a variety of excellent paid tools that work well for a number of different inbound marketing functions. Stay tuned for a review of those in an upcoming post!
Stephanie Kapera is a freelance writer and the co-founder of Up All Night Creative, a Raleigh-based content marketing agency that helps B2B and B2C companies develop magazine-quality web content. Connect with Up All Night on LinkedIn and Twitter to find out more!
photo credit: jurvetson