You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars to build a social media and content marketing machine. In fact, you can get by with spending less…a lot less…you just need to know where to look.
Why buy a restaurant when all you really need is a toaster?
Many businesses invest in expensive tools, applications and platforms only to end up using a fraction of the features.
Below are several great tools and businesses that you can use to build an amazing content marketing machine, à la carte. The tools are highly intuitive, automated, supported and easy to implement.
You’ll be able to get up and running fast, and at a fraction of the price you’re paying now, or would expect to pay in the future.
Tools and Apps
ThemeForest has thousands of website templates from for HTML, WordPress, PSD, Joomla, Magento, and many more. It is a part of the Envato Market and is made for the express purpose of buying and selling HTML templates for websites and CMS products for WordPress. Each item is priced based on its complexity, quality, how popular it is but almost all are under $55.00.
Each item is reviewed by Envato’s team of experts and customer service is available if you have questions or are unhappy with your purchase.
Thrive Themes and Content Builder
Content Builder is a drag and drop page builder plugin giving you the ability to see exactly how your content will look on your website, while you’re editing it. Content Builder is probably the closest plugin to a real ‘WYSIWYG’ editor in WordPress as you will find.
It’s never been easier to create any layout you can imagine, using Thrive Content Builder column layouts and perfectly intuitive drag-and-drop.
And of course, all columns & layouts you create are fully mobile responsive so that your site looks amazing on any device.
Access your own WordPress expert all day every day for $79 per month. 24/7 WP Curve empowers business owners to build their business without worrying about WordPress. You get 24 / 7 access to the world’s best developers for maintenance, support & small jobs. it 24/7!
LANDING PAGES – LEAD GENERATION
LeadPages is a very intuitive landing page builder which provides landing pages, l integrating with all major email service providers. All of their templates are 100% mobile friendly, so no matter the size of the screen your audience can easily view your site. They provide analytics for you to see the traffic your site brings. LeadPages is priced from $25 per month (paid annually) for standard features and up to $67 per month for an enterprise.
There is so many good things that LeadPages does, check out their site and see your page views climb.
Instapage is a super intuitive, super quick landing page builder used by over 55,000 businesses including Intuit, Avis, and Pingdom. Pricing ranges from basic at $29 per month to unlimited at $179 per month.
Instapage is great for its ease of use to get you up and running fast.
It can be difficult to create captivating, high-converting opt-in forms without investing a lot of time and effort, or a lot of money hiring a designer/developer.
Thrive Leads is a WordPress plugin that allows you to quickly and easily build amazing A/B test opt-in forms, with an incredible list of options for customizing and displaying them.
Visme is easily one of the best infographic creation platforms available online, but theres much more to it than just infographics.
It allows users to create any kind of visual content they need. A small example of content includes infographics, resumes, and product demos. Millions of free images are made available through Flickr, along with over 100 fonts supported in every language.
Visme also allows users to publish, embed, or download their content anywhere. Visme basic is free, and allows up to three projects and access to basic features. Standard is available at $6 per month billed yearly, offers more storage space removes the Visme brand from projects, among other features.
Visme complete gives users 1GB of storage, unlimited projects, and much more for $16 per month, also billed yearly.
CONTENT MANAGEMENT – CONTENT CALENDAR
CoSchedule is a standalone app which syncs with WordPress. It is trusted by Anytime Fitness, myfitnesspal, and Discovery Education. With CoShedule you can save time by scheduling social media posts while writing your blog posts at only $10 per month per WordPress Blog with a 2 week free trial period.
CoSchedule is excellent for content management working seamlessly with WordPress and Social Media sites to get your updates out on the fly.
I’ve used content calendars that cost hundreds of dollars each month and for me, CoSchedule has by far been the best.
AUTOMATION AND TIME SAVERS
Feedly condenses all of your favorite blogs and news site RSS feeds into one simple news feed with a great interface. Instead of loading page after page to catch up on all of your news, Feedly loads posts onto a customizable page. Favorite posts can also be shared and saved directly through Feedly.
Bufferapp is integrated into Feedly so it makes sharing these articles across multiple social platforms and accounts, simple and easy.
I currently have over 200 feeds in my stream but I can quickly go througth them and find the articles and information that is important to me and our audience.
Feedly is available through the web, Android, and iOS, allowing your feed to viewed through any device wherever you are.
Quite possibly the best tool available for curating content.
Buffers true power is in it’s simplicity. It’s an application that gives its users the ability to schedule posts and tweets of content from nearly any website to multiple social media accounts and platforms including Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and more.
Buffer allows users to schedule posts and tweets to their social media accounts anytime from immediately, to several days out.
Buffer also displays important analytics to the user about their posts. While the free version of Buffer offers many features, a business version is available for a monthly fee ranging from $50 to $250 depending on the size of the business, and contains features such as RSS integration and unlimited scheduled posts.
Free or paid, this tool is among my top 3 and will allow you to continue posting even when you’re away through scheduled posts.
IFTTT automates your daily tasks with a web application as well as Android and iOS apps. It lets you create powerful connections called recipes with a simple statement using triggers and actions of a sentence with channels like Facebook, Evernote and email. It is free to use.
An example “recipe” might consist of sending an e-mail message if the IFTTT user tweets using a certain hashtag. Or, if the user is tagged by someone on Facebook, then that photo will be added to the user’s cloud-based photo archive.
Although the concept is different, IFTTT really is great at automating things you do all the time. If (this) happens do (that). Every time.
Zapier lets you easily connect the web apps you use, making it easy to automate tedious tasks.
You can wait for third-party app developers to offer the SaaS integrations you need. You can hire expensive freelance programmers to build custom software for you.
Or you can simply do it yourself with Zapier, and then get back to the work that matters most to your business.
ManageFlitter is a tool that is designed to assist users with managing Twitter accounts. This tool allows user to sort the who they’re following, and being followed by, find new people, find out who stopped following, and gives the user important analytics.
The free version offers a glimpse of the available features, with a Pro plan for $12 per month, or the Business option for $49 per month.
Managing your Twitter account and growing your following in the right niche, demographic or industry is easy through ManageFlitter, and although there is a bit of a learning curve, once you learn it, you’ll be thrilled with the results.
SocialBro is another powerful Twitter management and analytics tool. In addition to managing your fans and followers, as well as those you follow, users can view detailed information about their tweets, competitors and more.
The free version of SocialBro offers limited access to tools. The basic plan gives the user access to many features, and is geared toward a single user at $13.95 per month
The Professional plan gets all of the features of the basic plan plus access to collaborative tools, E-mail import, and more for $39.00 per month.
A customizable Enterprise plan is also available, with pricing determined by selected features.
SocialBro presents analytics to help you determine the best way to manage, grow and utilize your Twitter account.
Tweepi is a tool that helps Twitter users manage who they’re following and who follows them. Users can choose to “flush” unfollowers by unfollowing them,”reciprocate” by following users back, “cleanup” inactive users that are being follow, and find new people to follow en masse.
Tweepi is free with premium options available. The Silver plan allows users to sort friends and followers by more than 15 criteria, removes advertisements, increases the users per page to 100, and grants access to premium tools for $7.49 per month or $74.00 per year. Platinum gives increases the users per pageto 200, and adds even more features for $14.99 per month or $149.00 per year.
Contently provides services and software to help brands tell stories to followers, help freelancers create portfolios, and more. Contently is focused on using storytelling to connect businesses with their audiences through original content. On top of helping to create original content, Contently offers software to help plan and manage the project.
NewsCred is a service that streamlines the marketing process. NewsCred gives users access to information on their audience to help them make content that connects with their audience.
NewsCred also offers a powerful publishing suite that allows the user to efficiently create and publish content so social media networks.
Brafton is a marketing agency that helps build a strategy based on business needs and brand objectives.
When it comes to content – they do it all. Articles, blog posts, white papers, case studies, infographics, video and more… much more
Brafton provides services that allow businesses to understand and connect with their audience through analytics, content writing, videos, and social media.
Problogger is a job board for professional bloggers/writers. It is a great place to find writers to do contract based work for your business. A 30 day job posting costs $50.
If you are looking for blog writers, you can find them on Problogger.
Elance has professional writers, translators, editors, graphic artists, and more. If you are in need of supplemental temporary professional contract business work, Elance is a great place to find it. The cost is 8.75% above the payment to the freelancer.
Elance is a great source for contract workers with excellent secure payment protection for both the client and the freelancer.
Looking for a freelance writer to help you put that book together? Or what about those articles? Or that screenplay? What about newsletters, social media posts, press releases, annual reports, product descriptions, data sheets, presentations, or any other kind of writing job you just might need? At WriterAccess, you can find screened, professional writers who are ready to put together any piece of writing you need. On their website, you can search and browse through the writers of WriterAccess in order to find the perfect freelancer for your job.
Skyword is easily the most innovative a content marketing company could ever possibly be. Skyword has thousands of hand-picked creative minds ready to turn any business into a real brand with an exciting story. Skyword’s writers, videographers, photographers, all work to make brands as appealing as can be to their intended audiences. If you want a strong, effective approach at content marketing for your business, consider Skyword.
Freelancer.com is a great place to find Freelancers of all kinds of varying skills. You can find someone to help you out with whatever you need on Freelancer—whether it’s web development, graphic design, marketing, mobile app development, writing, or coding. Those looking for help with creative work can choose to either hire a specific freelancer based on their past work, or to host a contest in order to bring professional freelancers head to head in a competition of submitting the best work. Find a freelancer today at Freelancer.com.
Voice Recorder – Tap Media
TapMedia’s free voice recorder app is designed for the iPhone and iPad. The app features an extremely easy to use interface so that its users can easily record audio from their smartphone at any time. There is no limit on the amount of audio users can record on the app. All of the audio recorded can easily be looped, trimmed, favorited, and more. TapMedia also makes it very easy to back up any recorded audio onto Dropbox, OneDrive, Box, or any similar cloud-based service. Audio can also be uploaded onto a computer using a USB cable or WiFi Sync. Download TapMedia’s Voice Recorder on the Apple App Store today.
Rev is the internet’s #1 place for those looking to get any piece of audio or video transcribed quickly. For $1 per minute, Rev’s pre-screened, professional transcribers will turn any piece of audio into text. For the exact price, Rev also offers the option to get videos captioned. The great thing about Rev is that no matter what, they always aim to complete your order within 24 hours. Rev is very simple, quick and affordable. On top of this, Rev is extremely reliable and will always make sure to please their clients. Try Rev today at Rev.com.
Rev will transcribe podcasts, meetings, lectures and more – quickly turning them into valuable content for your website, blog and more.
Gotham Ghost Writers
Gotham Ghostwriters is New York City’s only world-class, full-service writing firm. they specialize in sophisticated, long-form writing (such as books, speeches, articles/op-eds, white papers, and corporate reports) for clients in the thought leadership arena (businesses, trade groups, foundations, advocacy organizations, etc.). They are among the best at what they do. If you need strong, well-researched and authoritive long-form content, check them out.
Have a share-determining speech to give at a major conference? Need to publish a delicately worded op-ed to explain a controversial decision? Want to issue an intellectually rigorous white paper to introduce a new concept or change public perceptions about an old problem? Called to testify before a congressional committee or another high-level government panel? This is where to go.
GRAPHIC DESIGN & CODE
Envato Market is the go-to place on the web for anyone looking for any kind of help with developing a creative project. On Envato Market’s website, you will find a separate marketplace for whatever kind of creative work you might be looking for. With Envato Market, you can have a professional graphic designer make you a custom logo and website. You can have a professional coder develop a program or script for you. Professional animators, professional audio engineers, professional photographers, professional videographers,—they are all just one click away at market. Envato.com.
Fiverr is a marketplace designed for all kinds of creative minds who have something they are willing to do for $5. Whether it’s graphic design work, online marketing, programming, animation, audio, or even tutoring, you can find it all over at Fiverr. Fiverr’s website is very easy to use for both the people trying to make a quick couple bucks, as well as those ready to throw a few dollars at something that catches their eye.
99designs is a unique, affordable way for businesses to quickly obtain a professionally-made, customized logo or graphic design. The way it works is very simple. With 99designs, anyone in need of some graphics work can just type out a little bit of information regarding what they would like your custom graphics to look like and set the amount of money they are willing to pay for their design.
Once this is done, professional graphic designers from around the world will compete for the money offered on the design, giving the client a very wide range of designs to choose from.
Simply Measured is a tool that basically “simply measures” social media analytics. It is the leading platform used in its field for a reason. With Simply Measured, businesses can view every detail of their social media analytics sourced from all top social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Vine, and LinkedIn.
With Simply Measured, businesses can easily find out what their followers interact with the most, and what direction to take their social media pages in order to achieve maximum growth.
Clicky is just like Google Analytics, except it’s easier to use, and you can view how many people are on your site (and what they are doing) in real time! Your first site is free.
Easy Webinar is a feature-loaded software suite that works alongside its WordPress plugin to give entrepreneurs a very easy way of hosting an unlimited number of customized live events online.
Easy Webinar gives its users the option to host any kind of live online event, whether it’s a video chat, an on-screen tutorial, or a live presentation. To make things safe and simple, Easy Webinar uses Google Hangouts as well as YouTube Live to broadcast its users’ streams.
MailChimp allows you to create, manage, and deliver emails. It easily integrates with virtually any app including WordPress, Magneto, Social Networks, and SalesForce.
MailChimp is unequalled in the email automation and integration service arena.
There’s been a huge gap that’s needed to be filled in marketing automation for some time addressing 3 primary concerns for someone just starting out.
- Most platforms are fairly expensive to set-up and maintain and the cost grows as your contacts and leads grow
- Almost all platforms require specialized skills or training to set-up and manage
- Many have more features than you’ll ever use…or for that matter, learn.
- A simple platform that can tell you who is visiting your site and what content they’re consuming.
- Something you can set up and use in minutes, not weeks or months (and actually feel kinda smart using).
- Includes a CRM database giving you the ability to organize and segment contacts based on behaviors so you can continue to track and nurture them into leads
Oh, if it has something that finds and includes additional social details and adds them to the CRM database, that would be a BIG bonus.
Dynamic Signal VoiceStorm is a complete content and advocate management system which allows you to add employee advocates to extend your reach.
- Data, data and more data. VoiceStorm PRO offers the ability to track every single share down to the last impression and click.
- Curate company approved content and push it out to the right set of people at the right time. The days of sending the same tweet via email to every employee in order to promote a press release are over (at least they should be).
- This new self service offering starts at just $10 per user! (with a minimum of 20 users)
Dynamic Signal VoiceStorm is a great social networking promotion system for your business.
Yoast Premium SEO optimizes and syndicates your content with its Search Engine Optimized (SEO) driven plugin application.
When you want to take your WordPress SEO one step further, get WordPress SEO premium, with tutorial videos, Google Webmaster Tools integration & more!
The cost ranges from $89 for a single site to $329 for up to 20 sites. The price includes 1 year of upgrades and support.
Yoast Premium SEO gives you an SEO driven site to boost your traffic and views.
Triberr is a social network service for bloggers, companies, and agencies. Basically, you join a tribe of similar bloggers to get more post views and promote your content. The site is free to use.
Triberr is a social network for bloggers. The idea is to find other bloggers who write about the same topics. These writers group up in a tribe. Whenever one blogger writes a post, the others read, comment and share it with their social networks. Triberr does all the heavy lifting of importing everyone’s latest content, aggregating it in an easy to ready news feed, and scheduling sharing throught the day.
When you tribe up on Triberr, you’ve got dozens, even hundreds of fellow bloggers sharing your posts on their social networks, driving traffic back to your blog. And you have a stready stream of quality, relevant content to share with your hungry followers as well. Does it get any better?
Influitive provides a complete brand advocate/influencer marketing solution. It enables the wide range of activities that advocates actually want to do today – not just getting people to retweet or like your social media updates (but that is part of it). Acts of advocacy also include more powerful, sales-focused initiatives, such as referrals, recommendations, reviews, testimonials, product feedback, contributing to and sharing content, building buzz about events, and more.
Mashshare and Mashshare add-ons give you supercharged share buttons for WordPress, adapted from mashable.com. It is free to use.
I’ve tried most of the social sharing widgets, buttons and applications and when I discovered MashShare, the search was over.
It’s easy to use and works like magic.
RivalIQ allows you to see what your competitors are doing on social media. Know how you stack up against the competition. Pricing ranges from $199 per month for social businesses and organizations to $399 per month for mid-sized companies and agencies. Large enterprises and agencies should contact for pricing. Start with a 14 day free trial.
With RivalIQ’s competitive analysis, you can become a more impactful marketer.
This article was first posted here.