With the rise and rise of content marketing expected to reach new heights in 2015, marketers are more likely than ever to use WordPress as an integral content marketing tool this year. If you don’t believe me, then take a gander at some of these stats:
- Content marketing is used regularly by 93% of marketers
- 57% of marketers cite content marketing as their number one priority
- 76% of B2B marketers blog regularly (a large percentage of which probably operate using WordPress)
- Best of all, the price tag associated with content marketing is 62% less than traditional marketing tactics, and generates three times as many leads.
With this burgeoning use of WordPress for content marketing, it should come as no surprise that there is a whole gamut of plugins for successful content marketing to help your program run more smoothly and deliver greater return on investment.
WordPress Plugins for Content Marketing Strategy, Planning & Organisation
One of the most important tenants of any successful content marketing strategy is consistency. High quality, engaging or educational content must be produced and disseminated regularly, and for the long-term, for content marketing to deliver any substantial return on investment. That makes plugins designed to streamline scheduling and organisation one of the most important aspects of any WordPress powered content marketing program.
The Editorial Calendar plugin is extremely useful when it comes to scheduling content marketing programs. Out-of-the-box WordPress doesn’t make scheduling easy – the user interface certainly doesn’t make scheduling straightforward. Editorial Calendar does. You can use this plugin to get an overview of your scheduled posts, drag and drop posts, and even edit scheduled posts directly from the calendar itself. Clearly it’s a popular plugin, with over half a million downloads and a 4.8 star rating. And, it is regularly updated as well.
Developed by Copyblogger Media, Scribe is the veritable ‘Big Daddy’ of all WordPress plugins for content marketing. Using Scribe you can undertake in-depth research into content marketing opportunities as well as social media leads and traffic. It allows you to align your writing style with your content marketing program objectives, so that you can make sure all on-page content is optimised for the search engines. You can even use it to pinpoint similar social media profiles and websites. The plugin follows a simple formula for successful content marketing: research, optimise, connect. There are a couple of limitations on Scribe: your website must be running a compatible theme, and it will only analyse English. More than 83,000 content marketers have downloaded the plugin, which seems to be regularly updated.
If you include curated content as part of your content marketing program, then the My Curator plugin is made for you. It churns away in the background, delivering engaging, popular, and (most importantly), useable content all day every day. It searches for articles that are relevant to your website, based on the existing content posted therein. It even classifies the articles for you, and is intuitive enough to filter out the spam. This plugin delivers not only the articles themselves, but includes attribution links and images, all of which can be inserted into a blog post with one click of your mouse. My Curator has inbuilt notebooks that you can use for research purposes, and to save articles (either found by My Curator, or articles you find yourself). With its handy ‘thumbs up / thumbs down’ system, you can rate each article that is sourced to help improve future searches. This powerful plugin does have a price tag attached though. You can curate one topic for free, but for any additional topics there is a charge: $10 per month for a Pro Plan, or $30 per month for a Business Plan. This plugin has had approximately 20,000 downloads and has a 4.6 star rating.
The Edit Flow plugin is a collaboration tool for those companies that are lucky enough to have a whole content marketing team. It makes the content marketing workflow (in WordPress, obviously) much more streamlined. The plugin has been designed with modular functionality. So, you can customise it for your particular team, choosing (or refusing) whichever of the modules you happen to require. The modules include a calendar, custom statuses so that you can define specific phases within your workflow, commenting so that the team can all contribute feedback on posts, editorial metadata, notifications, story budgets, and user groups. With almost 100,000 downloads and a 4.7 star rating, Edit Flow must be doing something right.
WordPress Plugins for Content Marketing Creation & Audience Engagement
Obviously, every content marketing program must include content creation. You must be producing blog posts or infographics or images, which can then be consumed and shared by your target audience. So, I now come to plugins that can assist in content creation. If you spend much of your time writing content, then make sure you take a look at one of my recent posts (The Best WordPress Plugins for Writers and Writing) as well.
If your content marketing program consists of multiple blog posts all using the same format, then it might be worthwhile investigating this plugin further. Using the Easy Content Template plugin, you can define templates, and then quickly and easily apply them to both new and existing posts and pages. This plugin could be a real time saver. It has been downloaded only 16,000 times, but is updated regularly and scores 4.7 stars.
Zedity is an innovative editor that enables you to create better content, with a much more flexible user interface than the standard WordPress visual editor. Best of all, you don’t need to know any code at all. It relies upon drag and drop functionality, and allows you to move your content quickly and easily around the page. It is particularly helpful if you have a lot of graphic content (images, infographics, videos). The creators have designed the interface so that it is as easy to use as drawing on a piece of paper. It gives you more design freedom. It’s had nearly 200,000 downloads, and has a 4.6 star rating.
Prior to researching this article, I had not come across the Listly plugin before. Now, it has me intrigued. This whole point of Listly is to encourage your audience to actively contribute to, and engage with, your list posts. It’s no secret that list posts are an effective content marketing tool: because people can easily scan a list post article, they are shared more often. But with this plugin, your list posts can go that one step further; they can become real-time, audience ranked numbered list posts. Listly encourages you to begin with an imperfect list. Leave gaps, and encourage your audience to post comments, and add suggestions. Then, most importantly, ask your readers to vote. Get them to rank their favourite items on your list, making your list much more useful over time. Listly allows you to get your audience to join in the conversation. Through Listly, you can also quickly and easily moderate comments. Listly also helps in terms of generating new, constantly evolving content for your website, which we all know improves your SEO. With just over 13,000 downloads, this plugin is regularly updated and has a 4.9 star rating.
If you’re going to allow your readers to comment on your content marketing efforts, then you might be interested in installing the Captcha plugin on all your forms. Like all other Captcha interfaces out there, it protects your website by using math logic that is easily understood by real human beings (not so much by automated bots). This little plugin generates a really simple sum, using basic addition, subtraction or multiplication, which your website visitors have to complete before their comment will be lodged. It’s even compatible with the popular Contact Form 7 plugin. It has had 2.5 million downloads, and boasts a 4.6 star rating.
One of the biggest objectives of many content marketing programs out there is get potential clients off social media, and onto your own communication platforms like email (where you don’t have to pay to boost posts to ensure reach and engagement). My preference when it comes to e-marketing is MailChimp. One of the reasons for my preference is that there are a number of different MailChimp WordPress plugins available, depending on what functionality it is that you’re looking for, including:
WordPress Plugins for Content Marketing Image Needs
One of the main objectives of content marketing is often to reach as many people as humanly possible. One of the best ways to do this is through awe-inspiring, eye-catching images. Just think: are you more likely to share an inspirational quote, overlaid on a breathtaking photo, or a big slab of grey, drab-looking text?
The WP Inject plugin does exactly as its name suggests: injects images into your WordPress blog posts, quickly and easily. Through this plugin you can search a database of thousands of free images (all with a creative commons licence), and then insert your chosen image as your post’s featured image. WP Inject searches Flickr as well as Pixabay, automatically adds any required photo attribution, uploads the image to your WordPress media library, and inserts all title and alt tags. Given all of its features, I was surprised to find that it’s only had 23,500 downloads. It does have a 4.9 star rating though.
Similar to WP Inject, the Compfight plugin is a quick and easy way to use creative commons licenced photos to accompany your WordPress posts. This plugin also automatically adds the photo’s associated attribution, but doesn’t seem to have as wide a range of features as WP Inject or as high a star rating (at 3.8 stars), but is has been downloaded around the same number of times (22,955). It really comes down to personal preference with these two plugins.
Not unsurprisingly, there is a vast number of WordPress plugins that can assist any content marketer. In fact, there seems to be a plugin for every single phase of every content marketing campaign. So far, I’ve covered off the strategy, planning and organisation phase, as well as the content creation phase. Tune in next time, when I take a look at plugins designed for the content sharing and amplification phases, as well as content marketing monitoring and evaluation.
If you think I’ve missed any plugins that are essential to the first two content marketing phases, please feel free to include them in the comments below; the more the merrier!