There is no shortage of content marketing tips on all the popular blogs. The problem is that most articles focus on high-level tips like defining your audience or developing your goals. These things are important to be sure, but they take time to perfect and aren’t something you can just start doing full stop.

Instead of giving you yet another list of esoteric content marketing suggestions, this article will cover 5 downright binary — you can either do them or not do them — tips. It’s as simple as that. And each suggestion in this article showcases a specific tool to help you begin. There are alternative tips and tools for everything, but these 5 hacks work well and are mostly cheap or free. So there’s a minimal downside to trying them.

On Keyword Research

Any good content writing effort starts with keyword research. You’ll need to pick a primary keyword and wrap your entire article around it — and be sure to use it in a really engaging title.

Use this keyword ranking formula by Visme.

Don’t simply look up the keyword difficulty for any particular search phrase. Take it a step further and apply a simple formula to decide which keywords are better than others. Start with a spreadsheet of keywords from Ahrefs or Moz or any other keyword research tool having columns: keyword difficulty, search volume, clicks, and click-through rate. Export your list to Excel and insert this formula from the Visme Marketing eBook to calculate an opportunity score.

Opportunity score = (1 / Keyword Difficulty) * clicks * (CPC + 1)

Source: Ahrefs

Above, is an example of exported keywords via Ahrefs for the “productivity” search term. The top 3 keywords in this group are instantly apparent. Now go and write articles about that.

On Writing

Before you start writing a new content marketing article, you’ll want to develop an outline. An article outline will save you or your freelance writer tons of time when it comes time to begin putting words on paper. According to Adrian Tucci, CEO of MrPaint, “The hardest part about building an outline is researching the information you plan to include in your post. This step can take hours combing through search results and pulling out worthwhile nuggets to make your own.”

Use Frase to build comprehensive content outlines.

Frase will speed up outline creation 100x and it’s simple to use. Start by entering the keyword phrase you’re targeting and Frase will search Google for top article results and organize everything into a simple interface. Then just start plucking out section titles and content blocks to build your outline. You obviously can’t use this content word-for-word, but you’ll be able to quickly cobble together a unique information set and write your own version of the content.

Source: Frase.io

Above is an example screenshot from Frase.io for the search term “teaching skills”. You will get 20+ articles with each section (H1, H2, H3, strong) summarized. Click to add to your outline on the left with source information and even statistics to use.

On Creating Visuals

A blog post without engaging graphics is just boring. Any article you publish will get more traffic and higher readership with compelling visuals. Most content marketers aren’t also graphic designers too, so coming up with exciting visuals can be expensive or at least quite a bit of extra work. One of the simplest and most informative types of blog visuals are annotated screenshots.

Use Markup Hero to create amazing blog graphics.

Markup Hero is a tool that enables you to take a screenshot, add some markup, and embed it in your articles with ease. This handy resource has a ton of annotation tools like arrows, text boxes, comments, colors, pen tools, line thickness, and more. Plus, you can organize your markups with tags and quickly share with colleagues using public or private links, embedding in Slack or other communication tools or simply copy to clipboard and download.

Source: Markup Hero

Above is an example of the different ways you can use Markup Hero to create interesting and engaging content marketing graphics. Incidentally, the two images all of the tips in this article were created with this tool.

On Planning

Creating a content calendar and organizing your keywords, posts, sources, writers and everything else that goes along with a content marketing strategy can get messy. Sure, Excel or Google Sheets can do the job, but there is a much better way.

Use Notion to organize content posts.

Notion is an all-in-one note-taking tool on steroids and it’s loved by content marketers, product managers, designers, entrepreneurs, and just about anyone else with a computer. One of the best aspects of Notion is the ability to add different content blocks to the same note. This can include tables, calendars, lists, kanban boards, galleries, and more. So from one single note, you can have everything you need to research, plan, write, schedule, and track your entire content marketing strategy.

Source: Notion

Above is an example Notion note showing a typical content marketing organization. First with a table with keyword research including difficulty, search volume, clicks, and keyword grouping. Next is a list of articles using those keywords also showing status, writer, distribution source, domain rating, and of course the content itself. Then you can see a day-by-day calendar view of content publications. This of course is just a start, but you can get the idea of how flexible Notion is for keeping track of all the aspects of your marketing plan.

On Outreach

Finally, let’s talk about link building. You can write all the content in the world, but unless you’ve got some domain authority your site won’t get much traffic. One of the fastest ways to pump up your website rating is to get backlinks from other high ranking websites. As you write great content, this will happen naturally, but you can accelerate your growth by doing direct outreach to other blogs.

Use Respona to do outreach at scale.

Respona is a SaaS tool specifically designed to find articles relevant to your content, search for contact emails, and automate outreach requests for links. The backlink outreach strategy is a volume game and there is almost no way to scale your efforts without a tool like Respona; although I guess you could do it with a boiler room of interns. Of course, be careful not to spam your targets, and this tool has built-in email throttling to ensure you don’t. On top of that, Respona can automatically find the best contact to target and lets you build email template sequences to increase response rates.

Source: Respona

Above shows the campaign creation screen for Respona. You can see a list of target articles along the left side and the corresponding email drip messages on the right. Just search for your keyword, make a list of articles (or import from Ahrefs, etc.), create an email sequence, and hit send. Then just wait for the responses. You can expect to get around an 8% conversion rate from this tool.

Summing Up

You don’t have to look far for content marketing tips and tricks. Like anything, it’s about implementing these ideas to start seeing results. Here we’ve covered 5 critical aspects of content marketing with 5 simple and incredibly actionable tips. 

If this is all you did to enhance your marketing strategy it would pay dividends in short order. Go ahead and read more articles, get smarter, and become a better marketer. But if you want to start seeing impact fast, these tips will make the grade.Opinions expressed here are the opinions of the author. Influencive does not endorse or review brands mentioned; does not and can not investigate relationships with brands, products, and people mentioned and is up to the author to disclose. VIP Contributors and Contributors, amongst other accounts and articles, are professional fee-based.