The landscape of the modern workplace has changed a lot in the past ten years. Once upon a time you had to find shady crafting companies or secret shopping positions if you wanted to work flexibly and from home.
Now we’ve seen a powerful trend emerging. In 2015 the number of US workers who had moved to remote (or telecommuting) jobs had climbed to an unprecedented 37%. That is a number that continues to grow as more startups and even large scale companies open their workforce up to those who act as office vagabonds, putting in hours from home, coffee shops, and even while traveling.
Content marketing is being impacted by this trend most. You no longer need to find and move talent to your office: You can work effectively with content writers from all over the world.
1. Use a good task management platform
There are so many task managing apps out there that it would be hard to find a single one that works best. You will want platforms that deal with business management (so your team can stay on board at all times), and communication (so you can always keep in touch, no matter where you all are.
From personal experience, managing a productivity tool still takes plenty of time. So unless you have a reliable project manager in-house, it makes sense to rely on a project management company.
It may actually save you money and minimize your headache with dealing with multiple to-do lists and processes. Distributed is a good example of a company that actually specializes in managing distributed teams all over the world. Hiring a virtual assistant is another option.
2. Use a reliable editorial calendar tool
I am a big proponent of using a year-long editorial calendar that lets you and your content marketing team get properly prepared for big holidays, seasonal trends and even fun days that can be turned into solid promotional material.
By preparing your content in advance, you’ll be always ahead of the game. It’s exceedingly important if you deal with an international teams when not everyone is aware of your local trends and holidays.
My all-time favorite editorial calendar management platform has been Coschedule that’s also perfectly set-up for distributed teams: You add your team members and watch everyone do their own thing:
If you are looking for a higher-level solution, take a look at NewsCred. It gives you a nice color-coded dashboard of your content marketing plans:
3. Invest into solid writing tools
Your writing team is as effective as the tools you provide them with. You want them to brainstorm, research and write productively. Different workflows may require different writing tools. I always encourage writers to use the following tools:
1. Google Docs to create content. It’s easy for editing and it’s real time, so teams can work on content assets while discussing it on Skype or in a Slack group.
3. Plagiarism Check to quickly check for any instances of copied content. This is especially important if you have new writers. Believe it or not, but many writers would just copy some parts of content (these could be too long quotes) without realizing it’s not an advisable digital content marketing tactic.
4. Use an effective social media sharing solution
It’s very important to engage your content writing team into the marketing routine. It’s obvious that they will be much more excited at seeing their articles succeed (after doing their brainstorming, research and writing tasks) than the social media team who may see the completed content assets for the first time.
Thus it’s essential to have a unified multi-user cross-channel social media sharing and scheduling solution that would enable cross team marketing incentives.
I use DrumUp to scale my social media marketing tasks. It has all the features I need:
- Easy one-click scheduling (for my articles to go to my social media channels repeatedly for more exposure)
- Multi-user support (for team members to see what they need to be shared)
- Leaderboard feature to encourage friendly competition among the team members
- Content library feature to store my promotions, ever-green content and seasons greetings in categories for convenient reuse
5. Use a marketing dashboard to monitor stats
Cyfe is a great customizable all in one business management software that allows you to create your own widgets to handle any aspect of your business, all for $19 per month. For higher-level content marketing stats monitoring I use the following boards:
- Growth of traffic referrals (Google Analytics)
- Recent traffic referrals (Google Analytics)
- Social media traffic analytics (Google Analytics)
- Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and Pinterest account growth
6. Use productive communication tools that spur creativity
Properly set-up communication between your remote employees helps creativity, experience exchange and marketing collaboration. It also helps your brand consistency because your team can properly discuss every content asset before they start working on it.
Slack is an awesome communication tool that lets you create channels and speak to different groups, or on different topics. Think of it as a more professional version of Discord.
There’s one reason I prefer Slack over emailing: It gives a centralized platform for your team communication but unlike a project management solution, Slack fosters a more relaxed environment which is so important for creative teams. Slack helps creativity and gives writers a place to brainstorm freely without being accused of cluttering the board.
Create your super team!
Don’t let your workforce get limited by borders. These days we have tools in place that empower you to build the content marketing team of your dream without investing time and money into moving everyone into a single office. How are you managing your remote content marketing employees?
A marketer is only as good as the tools they have access to. Make sure your toolbox is chock-full of the best.
The post Do You Have These Tools in Your Marketing Toolbox? by @JordanKasteler appeared first on Search Engine Journal.
Digital marketing is finally beyond well-defined cookie-cutter tactics. It’s all about creativity these days. Therefore collaboration has become an integral part of digital marketing.
There are many forms of collaboration that can help marketing strategy: You can collaborate with your team members and employees to empower them to participate in your brand marketing efforts. You can collaborate with your customers enabling them to spread your message. You can collaborate with your peers inviting them to help you make better content.
The internet has given us the ability to work with people around the world, and there are a few powerful tools that offer different types of collaboration to enhance your marketing efforts.
Note: I am not listing any generic project management collaboration tools here. I am a big believer in a productively-managed workplace but I have yet to find a good project management tool that will solve all my problems. This article is not aimed at addressing that, but rather at listing tools that specialize in one particular marketing task.
1. Collaborate on idea brainstorming
Stormz is a new brainstorming tool you may have never heard about. It’s an easy-to-use platform allowing you to make your brainstorming much more effective. Collaboration is the most essential element of brainstorming and the tool handles it perfectly.
Stormz lets you create brainstorming dashboards allowing your team to generate, select and enrich ideas that can solve their business problem or challenge. Participants can contribute and organize ideas as well as vote for those they like most.
The tool uses two effective brainstorming techniques enabling your team to produce and pick the best ideas:
- NUF (New, Useful, Feasible) evaluation: Is the idea new? Does it solve a problem? Do we have the ability (skill, money, resources) to do it?
- Virtual budget. Ask people to spend a virtual $100 budget on the options they like most. Using money, even if virtual, gives a very clear way to evaluate ideas
More tools to make brainstorming easier and more effective:
- MindMeister is an effective brain-mapping tool that allows you to visually break down complex concepts and show how each idea flows into another. MindMeister lets you add contributors to work on a mind map together
- Scribblar is another useful tool allowing you to brainstorm with others in real time. It’s also a great educational tool if you want to teach and collaborate in a virtual classroom.
2. Collaboratively monitor rankings & competitors
SE Ranking is a powerful keyword position monitoring tool that has an extremely clear interface and top-notch usability. One of the most frequent problems of keyword ranking tools is addressed here perfectly: Setting up projects to monitor keywords is extremely easy. And once set up, it’s even easier to track positions and compare your site to competitors.
The tool supports keyword tracking in Google, Yahoo and Bing as well as all their localized versions. You can also compare rankings in different devices. You can target your position monitoring to any city of the world.
You can also add extra users to your account allowing them access only to the data you wish them to see.
3. Collaborate on social media promotion
DrumUp is a social media management dashboard with a big focus on in-team collaboration. They have launched the brand advocacy program enabling companies to encourage and monitor their employees’ sharing brand-sensitive updates on social media.
You can add your team members to your social management dashboard and post your URLs, reviews and comments encouraging the employees to actively engage with that content.
The built-in leaderboard lets you monitor who of your employees are most active on social media spreading your word and promoting your content.
This is a great way to encourage and reward employees’ sharing, making them part of your company’s public image and turning them into brand advocates.
4. Collaborate on content creation
MyBlogU (Disclaimer: This is the tool I founded) is a free blogging platform allowing you to collaborate on lots of aspects of content marketing, from content brainstorming to promotion.
One of its most recent features is called “Article Collaboration“. It allows you to upload an article draft and invite members of the community to contribute paragraphs to make the article more varied and indepth. Contributors can also leave inline comments with their thoughts and ideas.
Here’s a quick article describing how the feature helped me to turn a pretty boring draft into a great article featuring diverse opinions and various tools.
More tools to collaborate on content:
- Google Drive is a great free tool allowing to invite collaborators to an article draft. It also enables contributors to add feedback too
- Medium lets you invite any Medium users to an unpublished article draft. The collaborators can add notes sharing their opinion on your future article.
Pakwired also gives a good roundup of more collaboration tools to try (none of them made it to my roundup above, so it’s worth checking out).
Are there any other marketing collaboration tools you are using? Please share them in the comments!
Thinking of investing in SEO tools or software to get that much-needed boost? Unsure how much you should allocate to these tools? Wondering which tools are worth spending on? We've got answers for you in our latest #SEJSurveySays poll!
The post 31% Spend Over $1000 Monthly on SEO Tools [POLL] by @rinadianewrites appeared first on Search Engine Journal.
Many tools provide access to their APIs, aiming to facilitate routine work for specialists.
APIs can make SEOs’ lives much easier by helping to:
- Data mine and extract keywords faster
- Collect the necessary data directly to an external service or program (i.e. Google Spreadsheets, Cyfe, etc.)
- Perform advanced search term research via XML or Excel
- Integrate all kinds of data from different sources (i.e. rankings and backlinks)
- Create complex reports combining all kinds of data
- Automate reporting
- Build and market your own tools
- Create internal tools to optimize your team workflow, etc.
While we all have our favorite SEO tools we use on a daily basis, APIs give us the flexibility no tool can provide by letting us grab the data we need and sort / filter it the way our SEO tasks require.
I’m constantly working with keyword research tools and I have had the opportunity to give many APIs a try. So I decided to carry out a small study comparing the keyword research APIs I have looked into, and share my research in a blog post.
I took the best-known SEO tools which provide APIs for working with keywords and analyzed how much it will cost to make a call for 1,000,000 units.
All-in-one SEO dashboards
SpyFu is a platform for SEO and PPC specialists focusing on competitor analysis and keyword tracking. Spyfu is one of the oldest keyword research tools I am aware of — which means its database is actually huge, storing years of data.
SpyFu offers three subscription levels: Basic – $49, Professional – $99, Team – $299. An API is included into subscriptions starting from Professional level.
All of the subscriptions with an API come with 10,000 API rows/units returned a month. Every additional 1,000 units are charged at $2.00. Hence 1,000,000 units would be $1980 additional in charges.
So the final price for 1,000,000 is $2079.
Maybe you’ll be glad to hear that SpyFu does not put any limits on the number of requests.
Spyfu API documentation is here.
To summarize, to get 1,000,000 results via API you’ll have to buy a plan worth $99 and pay $1980 more for 990.000 API units.
SEMrush offers analysis of organic traffic and paid ads, backlinks, and keywords. SEMrush was the first keyword research tool I ever used. I love their data output.
The tool includes three subscription levels starting at $99.95, but an API is only included into Business tariff worth $399.95.
But that’s not all. API units are not included into the plan, so you have to purchase them additionally. 20,000 API units cost $1, so to process 1,000,000, you need to pay $50.
So with SEMrush you have to pay $449.95 for 1,000,000 of API requests. There are no daily limits.
SEMrush API documentation is located here. To summarize, to get 1,000,000 results via API you’ll have to buy a subscription ($399) and pay $50 to use enough API units.
Serpstat is an all-in-one platform for SEO and PPC specialists providing keyword research and tracking tools as well as on-site analysis and backlink tracking.
It includes eight paid plans of different limitations from $19 to $2500.
An API is enabled starting from Plan B which costs $69. As I didn’t exactly understand the API conditions, I sent a letter to Serpstat support as well.
Turns out Serpstat provides access to API separately from their subscription plans. So you can use the API without actually upgrading to PRO:
So with Serpstat you can get 1,000,000 units for $150.
Serpstat API documentation is located here. Short summary: 1,000,000 units cost $150 without any additional payments.
Pure keyword research tools
Wordtracker is a solid keyword research solution with a huge database. They claim to operate the database of 3.5 billion search terms (350 million unique keywords) these days.
Their API comes in their Gold subscription level, but to have more flexibility with the API you’ll likely to have to purchase one of the API-only packages. Besides, Wordtracker API access is subject to approval from their team, so it sounds like they may not accept some applications.
If their API packages seem confusing to you, you are not alone. I had to contact them to confirm what I need to buy to get 1,000,000 units. From their reply it sounds like the “Enterprise” plan will be enough.
Each call is priced for 100 seeds, so for 1, 000,000 terms you’d need 10,000 calls. A simple volume search is priced at 10 units per call so you’d be using 100,000 units.
Wordtracker API documentation is here.
KeywordTool.io is a keyword selection tool that uses autosuggest results from Google, YouTube, Bing, Amazon, and Apple App Store.
KeywordTool.io includes a free limited version and three types of paid subscription levels. The API is available separately from the paid subscriptions and it’s priced as follows:
As you can see in the image above, KeywordTool.io API includes three subscription plans of different limitations and prices, starting from $280/month.
Looks like their API Lite plan handles the amount of keywords we need. So, for $280 you can handle 1,000,000. Note that you can make only 100 requests per day, so it will take 13 days to conduct the full amount of work. If you need it quicker, you’ll have to purchase a more expensive plan.
KeywordTool.io API documentation is available here.
Short summary: 1,000,000 API units are available in the API Lite Plan which is worth $280.
I haven’t included a few APIs in my research, so here they are:
- Raven Tools: I was told API wasn’t their priority at this time. They focus on their Audit tool instead.
- Keyword Discovery: They seem to have a good API but I couldn’t figure out how to get 100,000 units there. They charge $495 per month per 10,000 queries and it seems impossible to buy more units.
- Wordstream: They have retired their API altogether.
The Bottom Line
Advanced professionals who have a lot of projects, and little time, always choose an API for their professional needs. I hope this little research of mine will help you pick a suitable keyword research API:
|# Of Units||Daily Calls||Price|
|Spyfu||1,000,000 units||No limits||$2,079|
I cannot comment on the quality of the databases, to be honest. I have been using each of the above tools and I find it great that they all present the information differently. That lets me find what I failed to with other tools. That being said, the more keyword research offered, the better.
Thinking of investing on digital marketing tools or software to up your game? Unsure how much your monthly spend should be? Want to know which tools are worth spending on? We polled the SEJ Twitter community to get insights on their approximate monthly spend for digital marketing tools and the #SEJSurveySays results are in.
The post 52% Spend Over $250 Each Month on Digital Marketing Tools [POLL] by @rinadianewrites appeared first on Search Engine Journal.
Setting up online presence for your business can be overwhelming. So much to plan and so much to invest (in terms of both time and money).
How much would it cost to set up and market a business site? This is by far the most frequent question I’ve come across for years.
This quick checklist will answer your questions. Below I am giving yearly minimum expenses, but of course the less money you are prepared to pay, the more of your own time you will need to invest in figuring some of the tasks.
1. Setting up costs
To create a site you basically need to pay for the following things:
- Your domain name (about $10.69/year for a .com domain)
- Your site hosting
Some hosting companies will include the domain name for free, but you’ll need to start paying for it after the first year.
If you go with the shared hosting option, you’ll pay as little as $3.5 per month, sometimes even less. Here’s a good selection of shared hosting providers you can trust.
While I am torn over whether you need to invest into a shared hosting, knowing how much of a pain it might be to migrate the site to a dedicated solution in the future, I totally understand why it could be a valid option for someone who is trying to save money at the start.
More setting-up expenses will include a basic layout and a design. I would totally recommend using WordPress as a content management platform, simply because it’s a free, regularly updated (hence up-to-date) and easy to customize solution.
You can totally customize it at home for free and even use the free WordPress theme it comes with. It looks professional and modern enough. I was a total WordPress newbie when I started my own blog and I was able to customize the free theme to make it look unique and catchy on my own. And you can too.
You can also get a logo for cheap by shopping at Fiverr or DesignHill. But be prepared to spend at least $100 here. You may invest more in your design down the road, but you don’t want to have to change your logo in a year or so. A logo is something you’ll integrate into social media channels, video and image watermarks, downloadable assets, etc. It’s better to do it right once.
If you are going to sell from your site, WooCommerce is probably your best bet. It’s free, but you may need some paid plugins. This article explains what you may need and how much it will cost. Here are more WordPress plugins you’ll need – all of them are free.
So, to summarize, setting up budget for the first year:
- Domain name: ~$10
- Hosting: ~$40 a year
- WordPress + WordPress theme + WordPress plugins: Free
- Brand identity (i.e. a logo): ~$100 (at least)
Mind that I deliberately emphasize on the minimum setting up cost to allow for more marketing budgets. You want to see people coming and converting before you can reinvest into setup and design. Even very minimal website designs convert well!
2. Basic SEO and conversion optimization
If you are going to use WordPress, you won’t need too much SEO done. Installing Yoast SEO (free) would be enough for a start. Do go through its documentation thoroughly to make sure you clearly understand all the settings you are playing with. I’ve seen users unknowingly blocking all their pages with nofollow noindex meta tags when using the plugin settings.
Going through keywords is also highly essential at the start. Look at your competitors and find valuable phrases to optimize your page for. Keyword research is the most essential step when you start planning your SEO strategy. Serpstat seems to be the most affordable solution.
Make sure you have your conversion paths set up right from the very start. Don’t wait until you have traffic coming. Your website should be ready to convert even those first two visitors into your customers, or at least members of your community.
I use Sumo (formerly known as Sumome) for my lead generation and opt-in forms. It’s very easy and mostly free. You won’t need to pay any professionals to get it installed or optimized. Unless you have some solid traffic coming in, there’s no need to even upgrade for A/B testing and additional features. Once you are ready to play and optimize, it’s $29 per month.
Here are more landing page tools you may consider, depending on how much conversion optimization and testing you are planning to do at the start. And for other tools to improve your SEO on a budget, don’t miss our list of 26 expert-recommended free SEO tools.
If you are selling services or a SaaS solution, setting up sales management software is essential at the very start. Good thing, it’s quite affordable too. Pipedrive is a neat customer relationships management platform that will help you make your lead generation and onboarding strategy efficient. Moreover it has recently announced an integration with Ringostat, a solid and affordable solution that offers call tracking and call-back features.
So for SEO and conversion optimization, first year expense would be:
- Yoast SEO: Free
- Sumo: Free or ~$340 (If you get enough traffic to play with)
- Serpstat: Free or $182.40
- Ringostat + Pipedrive: $600 + $100 (You may want to start with either and then integrate the two when you are ready)
3. Yearly advertising budget
Since you aren’t going to see much organic traffic in the first months after the launch, paying for ads is one of the few ways to see people coming to your new site. If I were on a tight budget, I’d break the advertising budget as follows:
- Facebook ads: $50 per month
- Google ads: $100 per month (Depending on your industry, this is the minimum imaginable budget)
Yearly minimum advertising budget thus is about $1,800.
Now, if you are investing in advertising, make sure your landing pages are converting well (see call-tracking, A/B testing, etc. solutions above). Here’s a good post on what to keep in mind when starting an online advertising campaign.
Again, keep in mind this is a minimum budget, which assumes you are on a very tight budget but that isn’t going to prevent you from starting your new venture. If you know how to save, please do comment!