Content marketing is different these days.
You used to be able to publish blog posts on just about anything, and you’d get at least some traffic.
But now, you won’t get any.
Content creation levels are at an all time high as more and more marketers start to understand how effective it can be.
This has created a phenomenon known as “content shock.”
Now, if you want to really succeed, you need to do two things.
First, you need to create truly great content—there’s just no way around it any more.
But second, you need to promote it.
You need to find the people who would find your content useful and get it in front of them.
The more you promote a piece of content, the higher your return will be from it.
I’ve written about content promotion strategies quite a bit before because they are really important.
But there’s another issue:
Content promotion takes a lot of time.
In many cases, it takes longer than it does to create the content itself.
This means efficiency is key.
And to achieve efficiency, as well as consistent results from your promotion efforts, you need tools.
Tools help automate boring, repetitive tasks and give you insight into the relevant data by helping you analyze it.
Tools are what this post is all about.
I’ve put together a list of 15 tools that can help you promote content more effectively.
I’m positive that at least a portion of them will be brand new to you and worth a try.
Get more responses by sending more effective emails
Effective modern promotion should be based around email outreach.
You need to make connections with influencers, site owners, and writers and get them to take a look at your content.
If your content is relevant and high quality, you’re all set.
The most difficult part in this type of strategy is creating those connections and getting them to open and read your emails.
There are a few tools that will help you either get a better open rate, save time sending emails, or get a better conversion rate (converting views into reads and responses).
1. Nimble: Nimble solves a big problem of keeping track of everything you know about a contact.
Plus, it can save you a ton of time.
The tool has a few really useful features.
The main one is the “contact record” function. When you add a contact to the tool, it will pull up any easily findable information on that contact (like social media profiles on all the big networks):
You can go into any individual contact at any time and see all their social profiles as well as the information collected.
On top of that, it functions almost as a typical CRM (customer relationship management) tool by allowing you to add tasks for a person (for you or your team) and to keep track of your past communications with them.
One of the most useful parts of all this is that the tool actually draws information from all of those social profiles and somehow cuts out a lot of the redundant information. You end up with a really concise and useful profile of each contact:
2. Yesware: Before I found tools such as Yesware, I always had a huge question on my mind when I sent outreach promotional emails:
Are they actually reading my emails?
When you’re first starting out, you might get a low reply rate from the emails you send.
Before you jump to the conclusion that your emails need to be written better, it helps to know if people are getting or opening the emails.
If they’re not getting the emails because they end up in the junk box or promotions tab in Gmail, that’s an issue you can fix.
Or they might be getting the emails but not liking your subject line, so they don’t open them. And this, of course, kills your overall reply rate.
Finally, you may see that your emails are getting opened but aren’t generating a response. That’s when you know you need to write better.
You need to optimize all three of these areas to maximize your promotion success.
It’s primarily a Gmail plugin, and it allows you to track the specific times when your emails are opened by someone as well as if that someone takes an action (clicks a link or downloads something attached).
You can activate it by checking the little Yesware box at the bottom of any email you send.
This allows you to look into whether or not specific people are opening your emails.
On top of that, Yesware provides several insightful reports. They allow you to look at the performance of your emails as a whole.
If you’re sending a consistent number of emails and are trying to improve your process, these kinds of reports will make it obvious whether your results are improving or not.
3. BananaTag: This is another tool that is primarily a Gmail plugin (although it can be used with other email clients), and it works very similarly to Yesware.
I’ve tried them both, and they both work well, so it’s a matter of personal preference which one you choose.
It works the same way: you just check the BananaTag box at the end of an email you’re sending. It will track when emails are opened and what actions are taken.
At any time, you can look at the detailed performance of a single email or look at an overall report of opens and other activities:
4. FollowUpThen: When you start sending (and receiving) hundreds of emails in a short time period, things get hectic—fast.
At first, you might be able to keep your inbox fairly clean, but as soon as you don’t respond to a few right away, they start to build up.
This tool is the solution to that and a really simple way to keep your inbox clean so that you don’t miss important messages and are not stressed out.
Here’s how it works:
When you don’t want to deal with an email right away, for whatever reason, you simply forward it to an email address controlled by the tool.
There are tons that you can choose from. But here are some examples:
- firstname.lastname@example.org (3 months)
All you do is send the email to one of those addresses, and it will resend you that original email when you’ve specified.
Keep in mind that you could also BCC one of these addresses when you send out an email if you want to make sure that you follow up with the recipient.
Here’s an example of it in action.
Let’s say you get an email from me about a new post. You’re super excited (right?), but you just don’t have the time to read the post right now.
Instead of letting it wait around in your inbox, possibly forgetting about it, you forward it to “email@example.com”.
Now, you can clear the email from your inbox and know that it will be back in three days when you’ll have more time.
5. BuzzStream: BuzzStream is probably the most established email outreach tool there is. It’s been around for years and is a really useful tool.
Its main goal is to save you time by helping you find contact information and send emails in bulk.
To start with, you can add domains or people to the tool that you’d like to connect with.
Then, the tool will find as much contact information as possible so that you can choose from the different options.
Then, you can select as many of those contacts as you’d like and pick a template (that you create) to send them. The tool will automatically fill in details like name and site name if you include it in the template.
Finally, it’s created mainly for marketers, so it has a few nice features like being able to set the stage of your relationships.
This helps you keep track of the people you shouldn’t contact again, those you need to contact, and those you might want to follow up with.
Finally, there’s another really cool aspect of the tool.
It integrates right into your browser. That means you can automatically pull all the information on any page you come across. Next, you can import these pages into your BuzzStream account, and it will begin pulling additional contact information.
There are many sites that this is useful for; one of them is BuzzSumo (which we’ll look at later in this post).
You can do a search on BuzzSumo to find popular content and then import all those popular websites into an outreach campaign.
If you’ve ever done an outreach campaign from scratch, you can understand how this tool will save you several hours per week.
6. ContentMarketer.io: This is a more recent alternative to BuzzStream, and it’s specifically geared toward content marketers.
It has a beautiful design and is really user friendly, so you can start using it immediately.
Once you start a project in the tool, you have three functions to choose from (the big blue buttons at the top):
The first feature, “scan a post,” lets you enter one of your posts to allow the tool automatically find website owners who publish relevant content. You can then reach out to them to try to get a link.
The next feature is the “research contacts” function, which is pretty self-explanatory. The tool finds email addresses and social media accounts of contacts you add.
The final function is the “outreach” component, which allows you to send emails quickly using your own (or their suggested) templates:
Again, this can save you an incredible amount of time, and it combines three important functions in one simple tool.
Get more views from social media with these tools
There are many goals of content promotion, but most of them revolve around getting more traffic.
As you might know, social media sites are one of the best places to find traffic for your new content.
There are some things you have to do manually, but there are now a ton of great tools that will help you save time on social media and get better results.
7. Narrow.io: This is a new tool, but it seems to have a lot going for it, which is why it’s on this list.
I haven’t used it extensively myself, but others have reported being able to use it to grow their Twitter followings up to 2,160% faster.
The tool has one goal: get you more Twitter followers.
What sets it apart from all the other tools that have the same goal is a slightly more sophisticated algorithm.
You can find users who might be interested in your business by searching for relevant keywords and hashtags.
With this information, the tool will create an audience you can target.
Then, Narrow will follow those users and even favorite relevant tweets.
If those people don’t follow you back, Narrow will unfollow them automatically.
There is a risk: Using tools to automatically follow and unfollow people could get your account suspended. However, you can lower your risk by not being very aggressive.
Additionally, the creators of the tool claim that they have actual people manually doing the following and unfollowing, which may circumvent the rules. Just remember that there is still probably some risk.
Also keep in mind that there are no free accounts. You can get a 7-day free trial, but then you’ll have to shift to a paid account.
8. Topsy: This is another tool that is a must if you use Twitter for content promotion.
Topsy is basically a high quality Twitter search engine. I don’t know if you’ve ever used Twitter’s internal search engine, but it’s mediocre at best.
Here’s how you use Topsy.
Say you just wrote an article about content marketing.
Ideally, you want to promote this article to people who already have an interest in content marketing.
Search for “content marketing” in Topsy, and it will bring up a list of results of the most shared content marketing articles on Twitter.
Notice that you can specify the time range on the left sidebar. This is really useful if you’re writing about time sensitive topics.
For example, if someone was interested in a beginner article on content marketing a year ago, they’re probably way past that stage by now.
But if they shared a beginner’s guide last week, chances are that your new content (if it’s for beginners) is perfect for them.
Next, you need to do something with these results.
Click the orange “# more” link on any of the results. This will give you a detailed breakdown of everyone who shared it on Twitter during that time period.
If you have limited time, focus on reaching out to the “influential only” users because they have many more followers than the rest.
Once you have a list of people who might be willing to share your content (as well as read it themselves), it’s up to you where you go from there. Here are a few basic strategies:
- Follow them, then send them a direct message if they follow you back, and ask if they’re interested in your content
- Tweet at them (include “@username” in the Tweet), and share your content
- For influential users, click through to their websites and find their email addresses. Send them an email about your content.
9. Tweetdeck: This is the final Twitter tool, I promise. It’s actually offered by Twitter itself.
It’s a great tool to monitor your Twitter activity all at once, similarly to HootSuite.
You can have as many columns as you’d like, but you’ll probably only want 4-5 so that they all fit on your screen at once.
You can remove any of them at any time and add new ones by clicking the “add column” button on the left sidebar:
There are a ton to choose from, so you can really customize it to stay updated on the parts of Twitter you care about.
In addition, you can send tweets right from the tool and even schedule them beforehand (although other tools are easier if you need this function often):
How does this factor into your promotion?
First, you’ll want to tweet out your content to your followers, and not just once, but multiple times over the following few weeks and even a few times sporadically after that.
It’s nice to be able to schedule all of these activities at once, which you can do with TweetDeck.
The other side is monitoring. There are a few ways you can use this tool to your advantage.
The first is by monitoring tweets of your content. If someone is nice enough to share it, you’ll want to favorite it, retweet it, or reply to it. In addition, you can connect with any of that user’s followers who liked it as well.
Another great way to use it is to set up a search column for a main term in your content.
For example, I would set one up for “content promotion tools” if I was promoting this article. Then, when someone tweeted asking or saying something about some good promotion tools, I could reply with a link to this post.
10. Buffer: If you want to save time scheduling your social media sharing on any of the main social networks, Buffer is the tool to go with.
It’s probably the only tool used by almost every professional social media marketer.
Buffer lets you schedule posts on all major social networks:
To top it off, you can schedule one post to be posted on multiple networks at the same time.
It can save you a lot of time, which you can then use to send more emails.
The first thing you’ll need to do when you create an account is to set up your posting schedule for each network (they can all be different).
You can choose how often you post on any specific day of the week, and you’ll never need to do it again after the first time:
The main component of your Buffer account is your “queue,” which contains all the posts you want posted in the future to one or more of your social media accounts.
Once you add posts to your queue, Buffer will post them at the times you specified.
You can add posts to the queues of any of your profiles in the tool itself. Just type it in, and click “add to queue.”
On your main queue page, you can also see all the posts you currently have in your queue and edit them if needed:
But if you had to do it all manually, it’d still be kind of a pain.
That’s why you install the Buffer browser extension.
Then, when you’re on a page you want to share, you just click the icon in your browser (or any sharing icon on the page).
Immediately, you can add a post to your queue (for multiple social profiles if you’d like):
On top of that, you can tell Buffer to schedule the post multiple times by going to the power scheduler:
When you publish a post, visit it, and schedule your own sharing of it right away. It’ll take less than a minute this way, whereas it would take several minutes with most tools or if you were to do it manually.
Finally, Buffer also offers some good insights through its analytics. It will track how often posts are viewed, shared, and clicked:
This lets you try out different posting styles, and then you can continue using the ones that work best.
Including images in your social media posts automatically makes them more successful. People are attracted to images and are likely to share them.
This plugin makes it easy for your blog readers to share your pictures on their favorite image-based social networks.
Once you install and activate the SumoMe image sharer plugin, all of your images will have sharing buttons added to them (you get to pick which networks you want displayed):
When a visitor clicks one of the buttons, a pop-up for that network will open, which will let them make a post that includes the link to the page and the image selected.
Not only does this make it easier for your own readers to share your content but it also guarantees that you will get more traffic from those shares (since the images get more attention).
Get more high quality backlinks (and the SEO traffic they bring)
The final class of tools in this post focuses on helping you get more links to your content.
Links are a hugely important part of any promotional campaign. Often, links bring you immediate traffic, but they also bring you steady, long-term traffic because they help you rank better in search engines (that’s SEO 101).
12. Citation Labs: Citation labs isn’t actually a single tool; they offer many:
However, there are two in particular that are very useful for what we want here.
The first one is the broken link builder tool.
I’ll break down the main features for you quickly here, or you can just watch this 2-minute video:
The tool is very simple to use. You add in a keyword or multiple keywords that describe the topic of the content you created:
Then, the tool will bring up a large list of broken URLs. These no longer work the way they’re supposed to.
But there’s one more column of the results that is crucial: the number of links that point to that broken page.
The idea here is to contact as many of those sites that link to the broken page as possible and tell them that their link no longer works. Then, you can suggest your new content as a replacement.
The closer your page is to the old content, the more successful you will be.
For more in-depth guidance, check out my guide to broken link building.
The link prospector: This is the second Citation Labs tool that can be useful here.
Again, you search for a keyword that matches your content.
This time, the tool brings up a list of pages and websites that you might be able to get links from:
Some of these will be resource pages. You can just email them and ask them to add your content.
Others might be guest posts. In this case, you will have to pitch your own guest post topic, and then you might be able to link back to your original piece of content.
This tool returns several types of content that are relevant to your content, so if you can get links from any of them, they’ll be useful.
It leaves you quite a bit of work to do yourself, but it will save you some time finding good sites and pages to target for links.
13. Ahrefs: You can’t do scalable link building without access to a good link database. There are a few different options, but Ahrefs has arguably the most complete database of links.
You can test it out with a free account, but it will be pretty limited. Eventually, you’ll need a paid account, which costs a decent bit. If you want a slightly cheaper option, you can opt for the next tool—Majestic.
There are two main parts of Ahrefs.
The first is the content explorer, which is still relatively new.
When you search for a topic, the tool returns the most popular content in its database that is relevant.
You can sort by the number of social shares on any of the major networks as well as by the number of sites that link to the content.
The most basic way to use this information for promotion is to sort by linking domains and then to look at who linked to each of those results. Then, do email outreach to each of those linking domains, and see if they’d link to your content as well.
The second main part of Ahrefs is the link database, which is what it was originally known for.
Type in any domain or URL into the tool:
It will then return you a ton of useful linking information.
This pairs up nicely with the content explorer because then you can find all the sites that link to each piece of popular content.
You can also order the links by authority so that you only spend time reaching out to pages with a high URL rating that will have a significant effect on your search rankings.
14. Majestic: This is a realistic alternative to Ahrefs when it comes to a link database. It doesn’t have the content explorer, but it has one of the largest and most useful link databases there is.
It works almost in the same way as Ahrefs does. You input a URL or domain, and the tool returns all the link information it has:
You’ll notice that the tool splits the URL and domain ratings into citation flow and trust flow. It makes it really easy to spot spam links because their trust flow numbers are always much lower than their citation flow numbers.
Again, you can use this in a similar way. Find content that is similar to yours and that has backlinks to it. Then use Majestic to find those backlinks and contact them to try to get one to your content.
15. BuzzSumo: I saved a good one for last. BuzzSumo is probably the best tool when it comes to finding popular content around a topic.
It’s very similar to Ahrefs’ content explorer but was created long before it and for this single purpose.
Again, you use the same basic strategy for promotion.
Type in your content topic in the tool:
You’ll get a list of the most popular content based on shares on all the major social networks.
Then, you can either put those links into a link database tool (like Majestic), or you can click on “view sharers” to see who shared the content on Twitter (and reach out to those users).
You should always be developing your skills as a marketer.
However, to fully utilize your skills, you need the right tools to help you out. You wouldn’t ask carpenters to build a house with a spoon; instead, you’d give them hammers and saws.
These content promotion tools will help you get more traffic in less time—both are very good things for you as a marketer.
If I missed a content promotion tool that you love, I’d appreciate if you shared it below in a comment. It might be a useful one I’m unfamiliar with, and everyone else reading might like it too.