Got a Company Blog? 4 Tools to Organize and Optimize It
BY Janine Popick
If you're trying to figure out how to make that company blog more than just a chore--check out these tools.
At my e-mail marketing company, VerticalResponse, we've got a very active marketing blog that my content team writes, edits and manages. We've got a dozen internal folks and a handful of guest writers, plus a few freelancers contributing content. We post daily and, sometimes, even two to three times a day.
With all that content to manage, I asked our content marketing director how she keeps it all together and consistently delivers quality results. Here are some of her team's favorite tools that your business can start using today:
WordPress, WordPress Editorial Calendar Plugin
About a year ago we did a massive redesign and moved our blog from TypePad to WordPress. (You can choose between WordPress.com which is hosted for you, or WordPress.org which you need to self host or find a third party to host for you.) Ever since we've been lovin' WordPress for its ease of use, cool themes and the massive amount of plugins that allow you to do just about anything you can think of.
Speaking of plugins, because the team has to keep track of daily posts, they recently installed the WordPress Editorial Calendar Plugin. The editorial calendar gives you an overview of your blog and when each post will be published. You can drag and drop to move posts, edit posts right in the calendar, and manage your entire blog.
Cost: Starts at free for WordPress.com and WordPress.org is free without hosting fees.
Evernote is a uber, power-packed note-taking app and I wanted to know how my content team was putting it to use. Turns out, they often use Evernote when they're away at conferences and blogging from the event. They use it to write their blog post outlines while listening to speakers, and then later they go back to fill in the details. What's great is that they can quickly copy their post right into WordPress and hit publish.
They also are big fans of the Evernote Web Clipper, which allows you to save anything you see online--including text, links and images--into your Evernote account with a single click. This is really useful when you are gathering ideas, research or curating content.
Every good online marketer and blogger knows that in order to get your content found you need to optimize it for search engines and easy reading by humans. Yoast is a handy WordPress plugin that allows you to do just that. According to their website, "It incorporates everything from a snippet preview and page analysis functionality that helps you optimize your pages content, images titles, meta descriptions and more to XML sitemaps, and loads of optimization options in between."
Don't worry if that's a bunch of lingo you don't quite understand; Yoast will tell you exactly what those terms mean and what to do. You and your team can use the tool to optimize the heck out of your posts to make sure they are found by the search engines. My content team loves Yoast because in just a few seconds they can fill in the fields and see any changes they need to make. Simple and super effective.
Scribe (from the good folks at Copyblogger helps you deliver the trifecta of content, search and social. According to their website, "Scribe makes content marketing effective and efficient with three essential actionable functions: Research, optimize, and connect."
The first function, research, allows you to do keyword research to see what terms are most popular, as well as how competitive they are. It also lets you optimize your content for sharing. This is really useful for the team to see what conversations are happening around topics they are creating content for, and ensure that what we're producing is shareable. Scribe's optimize and connect features help you build your site authority and Google PageRank, and connects you with other sites that have authority so you can establish relationships with them. It's good stuff when you are trying to get your content to stand out from the masses.
Cost: Ranges from $27-$97 per month based on plan
Got any favorite blogging tools to add to my list? Share away in the comments?
JANINE POPICK is the CEO and founder of VerticalResponse (a Deluxe company), a leading provider of self-service email and event marketing, online surveys, social media, and direct mail solutions. The company was ranked No. 2,802 on the 2012 Inc. 5000. @janinepopick