14 Free and Essential Tools for Improving your Blog Strategy in 2020.

14 Free and Essential Tools for Improving your Blog Strategy in 2020.

Learn the core steps and tools needed to increase traffic to your blog and generate more leads for your business.

Many business owners – in Kelowna and across the world – are recognizing the value of moving their businesses, partially or completely, online. This transition calls for a thorough review of marketing strategies – specifically, ​content marketing strategies​. At the core of a content marketing strategy are blogs.

Blogging continues to be an essential part of successful content marketing strategies. ​Demand Metric​ reports that companies with blogs produce an average of 67% more monthly leads than companies that don’t blog. Increased website traffic, lead generation and higher search rankings aren’t the only benefits of blogging.

Quality blog content can build your audience’s and target market’s trust in your brand’s expertise. To achieve this, it is important to maximize your blog strategy. There are tools to guide and support you as you invest time and effort into your blog strategy. In this article, you will learn about the essential tools that are applicable to the six key steps of blog content creation.

The six key steps of blog content creation are ​planning​, ​writing​, ​SEO​, ​designing​, ​publishingand ​promotion​. Each step is crucial to the success of your blog. Together, these steps allow you to create a flow chart in your blog content creation process.

1. Planning

The first step to creating quality blog content is planning. ​Planning​ your blog involves defining your audience, deciding on key topics and keywords that appeal to your audience and creating a schedule for publishing your blog posts. It is during the planning stage that you would describe your ​buyer persona​ and establish the goals you want to achieve through your blog posts.

Your blog content should engage, entertain or educate your audience. One of the ways of doing this is by using certain keywords that your audience can relate to. ​Keyword Planner​ is a free tool that allows you to research keywords that are relevant to your audience and industry.

Along with Keyword Planner, you can use ​Google Trends​ to study the search history of your keywords in your target market’s geography. By using keywords that are relevant to and trending

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within your audience’s circles, your blog posts can address issues that are on your audience’s minds at the moment.

A successful blog strategy should include a content editorial calendar. A good content calendar allows you to create a workflow for planning and distribute content over time. It keeps your team members and writers focused on the goals and benchmarks you’ve set for your blog strategy.

Over ​90% of marketers​ use content or editorial calendars in their content marketing strategy. There are ​several platforms​ for creating content or editorial calendars. To find out what works best for you, you can ​download these free content or editorial calendar templates.

2. Writing

Now that you have a plan for your blog posts, the next step is to write. Writing is the bulk of the process of crafting good blog posts. Writing a good blog post involves coming up with engaging headlines, having the right tone and developing content that are free of grammar errors.

If you’re hiring writers for your blog posts, make sure they are aware of the plans and goals of your blog strategy. They should be familiar with or able to research your target audience and industry. The tone your writers use in their writings should highlight your brand’s identity.

The Hemingway App​ is a free tool that improves the readability of your blog posts. The app helps you identify complex, dense and complicated sentences and word structures so you can make corrections where necessary. You can also use ​Grammarly​ to highlight and edit grammar and spelling mistakes in your blog posts. With the premium version of Grammarly, you can learn new ways of improving your texts, sentences and vocabulary.

3. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

In the blog planning process, we discussed the importance of using the right keywords and topics in your blog posts. Tools like Keyword Planner and Google Trends are great for selecting the right keywords. That being said, during the writing process, you will need tools like ​Google Search Console​ ​and ​Check My Links​ to ensure you’re using your keywords and other SEO measures appropriately.

Google Search Console allows you to optimize the visibility of your blog posts on search engine results pages (SERPs). You can monitor your blog posts’ click-through-rates, backlinks and search queries and pinpoint areas that need improvements.

SEO measures – like ​backlinks​ – play a crucial role in search engine algorithms. Backlinks – likethis​ – are links that connect one webpage to another webpage on a different website. For

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example, if you share a link on your website that connects your audience to ​Exposed Marketing’s blog​, the link becomes a backlink for Exposed Marketing’s website.

The more relevant and quality backlinks your blog posts or webpages have, the higher it can rank on search engine results pages (SERPs). One way to get backlinks is by establishing your blog posts and webpages as a source of credible information though ​external and internal links​. You can use the free Google Chrome extension, ​Check My Links​, to double-check the links you share in your blog posts and make sure they aren’t broken.

4. Designing

Now that you have a well-written and SEO-ready blog post, your next step is to design your post by including images or infographics. Articles with images get ​94% more total views​. This should not be a surprise because we live in an era of visual culture. Images and graphics make your blog posts more engaging and improve your website’s visibility on SERPs.

You can find copyright-free stock photographs on ​Unsplash​ that are relevant to your blog topics or content. If you want to use infographics to support the messages in your blog posts, you can use ​Canva​ to create branded infographics from well-designed templates. By using these photography and design tools, you can ​improve your blog’s online growth and engagement​.

5. Publishing

Naturally, many businesses publish their blog posts on their websites. These websites are usually managed using content management systems (CMS) like ​Wordpress​, ​Squarespace​, ​Magnolia​,Weebly​, ​Wix​, ​Bynder​ and many others. A ​good CMS​ should have easy-to-use and customizable templates and great work functionalities.

In addition to using a reliable CMS, successful marketers ​repurpose their blog content​ by sharing short or long-form versions of their blog posts on platforms like ​Medium​ and ​Linkedin​. When sharing your blog posts on other platforms, make sure you link the content back to the original post on your website – this is an easy way of creating a backlink to your website.

6. Promotion

The final step in your blog content creation process is to promote your blog posts. We discussed how SEO measures can drive traffic to your blog posts and increase your readership. However, it is not enough to rely on these measures, you have to promote your blog to reach a wider audience.

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To do this, you should consider using blog promotion tools like ​Hubspot​, ​BuzzSumo​, ​Later​ orFlipboard​ to distribute your blog posts on different platforms. ​Content aggregators​ and social media platforms are two common sources of referrals and traffic for blog posts.

When deciding on the blog promotion tools to use, revisit the plans you made in the first step of your blog content creation process. Depending on your content marketing plan, use tools that will promote your posts to webpages and platforms your audience visit frequently.

To recap, these are the essential steps and tools for successful blog content creation:

  1. Planning: ​Keyword Planner​ and ​Google Trends
  2. Writing: ​The Hemingway App​ and ​Grammarly
  3. SEO: ​Google Search Console​ and ​Check My Links
  4. Designing: ​Unsplash​ and ​Canva
  5. Publishing: ​Medium​ and ​Linkedin
  6. Promotion: ​Hubspot​, ​BuzzSumo​, ​Later​ and ​Flipboard

Together, these six steps – and the blog tools involved in each of the steps – will help you optimize your content marketing strategy and boost your online sales. Wherever you may be – Kelowna or anywhere else in the word – these steps and tools are applicable to your online business. Start using and leveraging these tools to create engaging blog posts for your business, today.

Exposed Marketing’s team of experienced marketers, designers and writers are prepared to guide and support your efforts as you optimize your content marketing strategy. ​Contact us​ to get started.

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Word Count: 1393
Reading Time: 5 minutes Focus Keyword(s): Blog, Tools Keyword Density: 4%
Links: 52
SEO score: 98

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