Content marketing is not a one-time affair. Constantly publishing content on your website, as well as on other websites, is an integral part of contemporary online marketing strategy.
And it’s not just about writing content and publishing it, it’s also about keeping your thought process focused, your productivity optimized, sticking to your editorial guidelines, coming across and creating compelling writing ideas, and creating the most apt content for your target audience.
Although there are many online publishers who encourage simple ways of writing, and I am in total agreement, there are certain digital resources and tools that can help you create exceptional content without going crazy. Presented below are eight such tools and resources. All of them might not be specifically writing related, but they can certainly help you organize your content writing effort and make it more fruitful.
Dropbox is a cloud drive, which means it’s a server-based storage system that operates online, rather than on your own computer’s hard drive or an external storage device. Once you have created an account, you can download and install an application that creates a dedicated folder on your computer, through which you can create folders, and upload, download, and access your files. By default it creates a folder on the main disk drive (C drive for PC users, or your system drive on a Mac), but if you have multiple partitions, you can easily create a Dropbox folder on any drive of your choice.
How does it help your content writing efforts?
You can access your files from anywhere, wherever you have installed applications like Dropbox (Amazon Cloud Drive is another option, Google Cloud Drive recently launched, and more are continuing to come on the market) — your home PC, personal laptop, iPad, Android tablets, smartphone, etc. This way you can work on your documents from anywhere, even while travelling, and if your device can connect to the Internet, your files are instantly synchronized across your devices.
You don’t necessarily have to install the Dropbox folder locally. You can also access your documents via its web interface, though after a while having to download and upload files each time you work on them can become a hassle.
Using applications like Dropbox, when you want to share your files with someone, you don’t even have to send the files as attachments; you can generate direct access links from your Dropbox folder itself and send those links to the person.
When you sign up you get 2 GB free storage space, and this is more than sufficient for writing purposes (you can also purchase additional space if you need it).
You will be surprised to know (at least some of you will) that despite various cloud-based drives and applications available, a majority of content writers still use conventional word processors. As an alternative, the Google Docs (soon to be updated to Google Drive) document writer is well known, and though many people might already be using it, not everyone is aware of the efficiencies it can create.
A few weeks ago I came across frantic tweets of a content writer who had lost all her important documents because her PC hard drive had crashed. Although I asked her why she doesn’t use Google Docs (though she might have started using it by now), this didn’t help her situation at the time.
Aside from the fact that it is a pretty decent word processor (recently it also enabled right-click copy/paste, in case you found its absence nagging), every character you type is instantly saved. So you don’t have to worry about saving your document at various intervals.
You just need a browser — this also means that you can have your documents with you wherever and whenever you have an internet connection and a web-enabled device with a browser.
Like all the apps in the Google Docs suite, its word processor is best known for its collaboration features. Not only can you work with multiple authors and writers — whom you can invite to access any documents you’d like — you can also save different versions of the same document.
Q10 is a text editor devoid of distractions. In contrast to a word processor, it has no menu bar or formatting options — just a blank screen in its maximized form — and files are saved in the TXT format, so there’s no need to strip out any errant code when transferring your copy to a content management system). When you work in Q10, there is nothing else to see on your computer monitor: just you and your text. Of course you can decide your screen color, font type, font size and font color, but other than those, there is nothing else to distract you from the pure joy of writing.
Since it is a desktop application, it can best be utilized when you combine it with Dropbox. Save all the files that you create with Q10 in your Dropbox (or other cloud storage system) folder so that your text files are available whenever you need them.
Even if you don’t want to save documents in a cloud drive, Q10 is a stand-alone executable file, so you can easily carry it around in a pen drive/flash drive and work on your writing wherever you want to.
It is neither an application nor a tool — it’s an essential content resource. When you’re looking for great content writing ideas, just go to getprismatic.com, create an account (though you may need an invitation), choose your areas of interest, and refresh. All the content that comes in front of you is gathered from various social feeds and it is organized according to popularity.
Suppose you want to read material on content marketing. Add the term in your “Interests” list, and the next time you visit Prismatic whatever is being published and promoted in the field of content marketing comes up in front of you. It’s sort of addictive.
You might say that you can also subscribe to RSS feeds of various blogs and get Google alerts, but then it is easier to simply go to a website and access the content minus all these extra steps of subscribing to RSS feeds and checking your email inbox. I have come across many interesting content writing and content marketing blogs and websites through the service.
Although, Hootsuite is a browser application that allows you to manage your various social networking profiles, it is also a great tool for getting highly targeted updates. You can create columns based on hashtags and keywords. You can create separate columns for, let us say “#contentmarketing,” “content marketing” and so on.
The slight problem might be that most of the updates might not be very useful, but if you are quite active on Twitter, you can quickly browse through the timeline of that column and find some great links and recommendations.
Evernote is a note-taking application. Whatever you find, whatever you jot down, whatever you scribble, etc., simply save it in this application and you will always have it on hand. You can clip online materials easily by installing a browser add-on (bookmarklet) and it will automatically be saved in your account. You can use its web-based interface, or you can also install it as a desktop application that always runs in the background of your computer.
But these are just its usual features. My favorite feature in Evernote is the ability to create stacks and notebooks. This can be the best way of organizing your information.
Suppose you create a stack named “Content Marketing.”
Under that stack you can create notebooks like “Own Blog,” “Article Marketing,” “Guest Blogging,” “Useful Information,” “Research Notes,” and so on and then keep on saving notes in these notebooks. You can also assign tags to various notes, so even if you have thousands of notes saved, it’s just a matter of typing a few alphabets of the tag in the search box and you can access that particular note in a flash.
For more on the wonders of Evernote, take a look at Michele Linn’s recent CMI post on this tool.
Android WordPress and Tumblr applications
Since I use an Android tablet, I can only talk about mobile applications for this operating system. Two of my favorites are WordPress for Android and Tumblr. You can download and install these applications from GooglePlay. They are great tools for quickly publishing short blog posts on the go. With these applications installed on your tablet or smartphone, you don’t have to rush to your computer or laptop the moment you are hit by an idea. You can quickly jot down whatever you want to publish and tap the publish button. These applications have all the usual features that you may require to publish blog posts on WordPress as well as Tumblr.
Android Touchpal keyboard
Actually there is no sense in talking about writing from your Android device unless I mention this amazing virtual keyboard. You have to use it to realize what a great product it is, especially when you have to work on smaller touchscreen devices.
Instead of tapping on individual alphabets, you simply slide your finger to the next alphabet — it is like running handwriting digitally, which practically quadruples your writing speed. As is the case with every new interface, it might take a little bit of getting used to before you can fully appreciate its usability. Like WordPress and Tumblr, you can install it from Google Play.
To be frank, I firmly believe that it’s not the tools and resources that help you create effective content but rather your own resolve. These tools can assist you, give you timely information, can help you write whenever and wherever you want to, and they can also help you save massive amounts of data in an organized manner; but in the end, it’s your decision to establish a sustainable content marketing strategy and then stick to it, that will matter the most.
Want more content marketing inspiration? Download our ultimate eBook with 100 content marketing examples.
Web tools image via Shutterstock