Last Update October 19th, 2014
A guest post by my colleague, Ivana Taylor
You've got a business to run, customers and clients to serve, oh, and then there’s your blog! Starting a blog is a HUGE responsibility to your business and your readers. It requires persistence and consistency and when it’s just your staff of “me, myself and I”, this can become truly overwhelming.
Today, I’m going to share the blogging tools I use that make my budget brand look big and save me at least two hours a day in busy work.
1. TweakYourBiz Headline and Title Generator
You need a headline and you’ve been trolling the web, news feeds and swipe files – still no great headline. Ditch those and try the TweakYourBiz Headline Generator.
Enter your phrase, click on submit and out will pop HUNDREDS of proven, tested and creative headlines that will not only inspire you, but generate sticky traffic and crazy social sharing!
2. Optimize Press 2.0
DIYMarketers runs on Optimize Press 2. This was the best investment I've made in my site in YEARS! You can use it as a plugin to create landing pages, opt-in forms and even membership downloads for training that you offer for your community. You can run it as a theme (like I do) or you can get the plugin to use with your existing blogging platform.
I’m recommending it as a blogging tool because of one awesome little feature – the ability to insert opt-in forms ANYWHERE inside your blog post.
Blogging gurus recommend relevant downloads and opt-ins that seem close to your blog post and that offer a download or offer that amplifies your existing post and I've found this to be the best-value option. Sure you can use HubSpot and pay about $800 per month, or you can pay for each plugin, but this is already included in your single price for Optimize Press.
Here’s what it looks like in action:
I inserted this opt-in form inside of an article about how marketing and gardening teach similar lessons. Then I made the offer to receive a free guide that helps readers “prune” the overwhelm out of their marketing.
This took as long to insert as an image – and has doubled my opt-in rate.
3. MyCurator Content Plugin
Since I’m always on the lookout for low-budget tools, tips and strategies, I decided that I wanted to use a “curation tool” to help me leverage the time I spend researching online. This one does the trick like a dream!
This is a FREE plugin (up to a point) and if you make it a larger part of your blogging strategy, the professional version goes for $10 per month and the business version is $30. I’m still using the free version and would recommend you start there.
MyCurator helps you grab content from the web and easily whip it into an engaging blog post. You can do this manually and this is fantastic.
Here’s an example of a post I did that way: How to Track and Measure the Success of Your Social Media Campaign.
I grabbed the post and wrote my own intro, then simply selected the key points from the original article and then sent the reader to the original post.
You can also automate MyCurator to automatically find you relevant posts based on criteria that you set up. That means it’s ALWAYS running in the background collecting posts. All you have to do is go into the dashboard and select the ones you want to customize and post.
And get this – it LEARNS. The more you use it, the smarter it gets and the more relevant posts that it delivers daily.
This is a fantastic way to round out your blog AND support influential bloggers and their content. It’s like getting a guest post – without getting a guest post.
4. SocialOomph for social media automation
This is my secret weapon against overwhelm. It’s not free, It’s about $27 per quarter, but it’s like having a social media manager working full-time.
SocialOomph gives you the ability to BOTH schedule and automate your social media posts across multiple platforms.
One of my absolute favorite features is their ability to create Queues and then to bulk upload posts to those Queues.
Think of Queues as “categories” or “campaigns” for example here is a snapshot of the different queues that I have:
Notice I have #FF (Follow Friday for Twitter) and then I have “Holiday Quotes” as well as queues for specific time-sensitive events. My staff and I research who to follow, create tweets and shout outs and upload them here. When we find great quotes, we upload them and when we run specific events and promotions, we can upload the promotional messages to these queues.
SocialOomph is NOT a replacement for your engaging in social media, but it’s a fantastic way to get conversations started, help promote your partners and free yourself from the shackles of social media platforms that you want to take part in, but just don’t have a lot of time for.
5. Use BuzzSumo to discover influencers and viral content
Are you looking for a blog topic or influencer to build a relationship with? BuzzSumo Is your tool.
This tool has received a lot of “buzz” , and for good reason. It’s free. It’s easy to use and after spending just a few minutes playing with this tool will help you not only uncover the blog topics that your audience wants to read more about, you might event build some great relationships with influencers.
6. Use Nimble to nurture profitable relationships
Are you doing most of your networking online? How many times have you “met” someone online and then lost the conversation? If you’ve experienced either of these circumstances, then you really need to check out Nimble.
Nimble is a “social CRM” which means that it’s function is to help you move relationships that started online into profitable relationships.
Nimble saves you time and money by eliminating the need to enter contacts into the system. Nimble is populated by your existing contact, and by simply right-clicking on people you find online. Nimble magically grabs their social streams and online conversations and then allows you to insert these conversations into a sales pipeline so that you can focus on turning these prospects into customers.
7. Blog Post Ideas Generator and the Blog Post Ideas Generator.
Two great tools to think of blog post ideas and headlines!
Set goals first
If you’re like me, you’ve probably been reading and clicking over to these tools and thinking “WOW! That’s cool, I’m going to use this!” But hold on a minute! Don’t just dive into a tool without being clear on what you’re trying to do. Start with that, then pick the tool that works best for you.
These best blogging tools will help you save time, money and aggravation!
Ivana Taylor is the publisher of DIYMarketers.com – an online marketing publication that provides marketing advice and short cuts for CEOs with no marketing department. She is the DIY Marketing expert and book editor for Small Business Trends and a contributing author to AMEX Open Forum. Her strategic consulting firm, Third Force specializes in helping companies find their best customers and be the one they choose – regardless of price. Ivana is the co-author of Excel for Marketing Managers. You can find her on Twitter as @DIYMarketers and @StrategyStew