I’m really thrilled to welcome Ruth Buckingham from Kandu Marketing to my blog this week. Ruth offers jargon-free content marketing support for small business owners. Here, she has some brilliant tips to improve your productivity:
When budgets are tight and you are managing your marketing yourself, any tools that can help improve your productivity or increase engagement with your blog posts can be beneficial.
Below are the top 6 free tools that I am working with on a daily basis for different client needs.
As my business has started to grow I have moved on from a timesheet approach to tracking time that I spend on different activities and clients using Toggl. Toggl is a simple to use, free time-tracker tool that also provides reports as and when needed.
I can ensure that my precious part-time working hours are well-spent. I also have a record of how much time various activities require on a regular basis. This can help me when preparing quotes for customers so that I can be accurate in budgeting.
- Buffer – social scheduling covering LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Instagram and Facebook
I use this tool for my own accounts as well as my clients for scheduling social media posts. Prior to discovering Canva I also used to love the Pablo extension which has a range of free images which can be customised for my needs or you can upload your own and edit with logos, quotes etc.
Once the posts have been published you can also go back and view analytics on engagement at a basic level. By scheduling batches of social media messages in advance it allows us to be active on multiple platforms but still have time free to focus on core business activities.
A note on images – I always like to use my own but on the occasions I am sourcing images for client or for a specific image, another two great free picture resource sites are Pixabay and UnSplash. Always credit the photographer if you can, even if it’s not required on these sites, I think it is good etiquette!
I also use Later for my Instagram scheduling. I probably will combine them at some point but for now I’m happy to keep them separate as I do use the platforms differently and Later shows you a lovely graphical view of your posts to check that everything flows nicely.
Recently, Instagram updated its platform so it is now possible to auto-publish to your account, rather than get a notification on your smartphone to post.
If you are writing your own blogs or email campaigns you might find this one useful. I love this tool, it really does what it says on the tin, by helping ensure the title of your blog will get more opens and ultimately engagement. The teacher’s pet in me loves getting a score of over 70 and a smiley face!
As an example, for this blog post I started out with the basic topic “B2B blogging and social media tools” which scored 44 points and used the headline analyser to refine it to “Useful social media tools for small business” which got a whopping 71 points! On review I didn’t feel this accurately reflected the content of the blog so have compromised on the title above – a score of 64 so not too bad!
A well-known plugin for WordPress, Yoast is great to help you ensure you have your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) basics in place on your blog post and also to edit the post for readability. I find this is a great last sense-check before posting a blog. A “virtual” second set of eyes so to speak.
As a copy-writer I find it quite easy to come up with blog ideas for my clients, less so for myself!
However, you may feel a little stuck sometimes. Perhaps further down your blogging journey and have already covered why you started your business and key trends in your industry. This little generator can help spark your next great idea to think about what your customers might want to read about and what ties into your own usps.
I hope you have found this round up of tools useful! Most of the companies I have recommended also have great blogs of their own that you can follow for further marketing tips.
*About Kandu Marketing*
My name is Ruth, I am a Freelance Marketing Consultant operating as Kandu Marketing. I provide jargon-free B2B marketing support. This usually starts with content strategy or copy-writing but also covers a range of other marketing activities. www.kandumarketing.co.uk