You will know Alexandra Tachalova from her digital marketing work and being the founder of Digital Olympus, the online digital marketing conference that takes place every quarter…
Alexandra is a knowledgeable marketer and shares her tips and ideas in regular contributions for MOZ & SEJ. But, how does she get all of this done? We’ve been chatting to Alexandra about her favourite digital tools, which ones she uses on a day to day basis to ensure her time is not wasted and her digital marketing work is the best it can be…
Over to you, Alexandra…
Just like any other industry, working in digital marketing means you are dealing with some routine tasks on a daily basis. I’m not going to lie, sometimes it drives me crazy. Whether it’s an outreach strategy that involves gathering and organizing the database, or searching for expert’s contact details or analysing domain’s backlink profile. We all can agree that these tasks involve a lot of manual work that is, by far, the least enjoyable.
In this post, I want to let you in on what makes my work life a little bit easier and allows me to juggle multiple tasks at a time.
Apart from my other work activities, I do a lot of PR related work. And if there’s a tool that can help me improve my content marketing performance, I will most definitely use that tool. In other words, my favourite tools are those that save my time, improve my pitching strategy and help me target the right audience.
So, get ready to find some other things to keep you busy, as your schedule is about to get more flexible.
In a perfect world, PR managers can get their hands on contact details of any blogger or a journalist they want to pitch their stories to. Sadly, in reality, things look more like ‘catch me if you can’ game, with journalists constantly moving from one top industry magazine to another. As a result, the email you spent hours on digging up is no longer used. Tough luck. But that’s where Hunter.io can really help you. Even if a tool can’t tell you the email address of a person you’re trying to connect with, it shows you a pattern that a company uses to create their emails:
To give you an example, I typed in Hubspot’s web address and got a list of different emails with an explanation of how the company assigns an email name to each employee. And you can always export this information in a CSV spreadsheet.
So if you’ve never heard of this tool, then I just saved you several hours spent on exhausting research.
BuzzSumo is a must-have tool for every respectful PR marketer because it shows the names of authors who currently contribute to a specific site. Want to get a list of Entrepreneur’s or Inc’s contributors all at once within a few seconds? Then simply click on an export button in BuzzSumo and start working on your pitch:
Having this data can help you understand what kind of topics a contributor prefers to cover, so you won’t be wasting your time on guesswork. This gives you a unique chance to land a long-lasting partnership if you do the rest of the things right. On top of this, you can always refer to this data and demonstrate that you aren’t afraid to do your homework and care about other people’s time and value their work. Isn’t it great? Wait, it gets even better!
Searching for the best blogs that have added a backlink to your competitors, but the results aren’t so impressive? Then Ahrefs will definitely surprise you by delivering this data in just a few clicks.
Ahrefs also allows you to find the best performing content that your rivals are linking to, which gives you an idea of what kind of content you need to create and which sites to pitch to. Besides, I also like their Batch Analysis tool that lets you analyze up to 200 domains at once and see if these sites are worth your time and effort. It’s one of the best backlink analysis tools I’ve used so far. Not a bad time-saver strategy, isn’t it?
SEMrush has tons of features and reports that I can’t do without. When I select a site for my future PR campaign, I try to evaluate not only the domain authority that is based on the number of referring domains, but I also look at how well its content is ranking in Google. This is where SEMrush speeds things up for me. By simply looking at what kind of pages are getting the most traffic, you can evaluate the chances your future piece has to show up in SERPs. For instance, here’s a report that explains what posts on Contently’s blog have the most visibility and traffic:
This report also shows you the number of keywords an article is ranking for. And, as usual, you can save this information by exporting it in a separate document.
SimilarWeb’s free report is an incredible source of data when you’re trying to estimate how many users you’ll be able to reach if your post gets published on selected blogs. This data plays a major role in my work routine because it helps me prioritize which sites I need to pitch to first. If you don’t mind getting a paid account, then you’ll get yourself a set of other handy features. For example, SimilarWeb paid account offers you a report that presents what kind of posts are sending the highest number of visitors to your rivals. When it comes to PR, it’s important to remember about referral traffic. No doubt, brand awareness and links matter, but users you attract can one day become paying clients. And that’s a lot better.
I can’t imagine working with content without using Google Tag Manager. It can do a lot of things. The one thing Google Tag Manager does exceptionally well is helping you understand exactly how users interact with your content. GTM can answer questions like whether your visitors are reading your post in its entirety if they are clicking on links or scrolling to the end of your post. It can also tell you if your page visitors left their contact details on that page. Another reason why Google Tag Manager fascinates me is that it shows how efficient each of your channels is in acquiring new leads. This feature is very convenient when you need to analyse your social media channels:
If you look at the screenshot above, you’ll see that Twitter is the leader in bringing new users on board.
I hear that sometimes Canva is underestimated by the marketers. Well, that’s too bad because this tool can create excellent pictures to accompany your content pieces. It offers a variety of features you can take advantage of as you customize your design. You can create GIF images that prove to outperform regular static images in terms of engaging your audience with your content. If you want to diversify the types of visuals you’re using, build your own infographics or simple graphs for a better presentation of your data.
Prnews.io will be your devoted sidekick in accomplishing your PR goals. It is a sponsored content marketplace that can help you reach a much broader audience by effectively promoting your content. Some blogs are really hard to pitch to, and you can spend months on trying to get hold of someone to assist you. That’s why I recommend my clients to consider purchasing sponsored content. PRnews.io helps me understand a current price range within a niche or industry without going through an excruciating process of requesting prices from every blog. PRnews.io gives me both the pricing and the number of visitors each site has to offer. All I need to do is log on, type in a website and forward this data to my client. It also makes it easier for a client to make a right purchasing decision: Very few sites openly display their prices. So, believe me, it takes a lot of time to research this kind of information. And this tool has already done all the legwork for you.
Email is not dead. In fact, it’s as alive as ever. And MailChimp helps to automate and manage your email communications with your users. For one, you can design a full-fledged email campaign with funnels for your gated content. Secondly, you don’t have to pay to use the tool if you don’t mind seeing MailChimp’s logo at the bottom of your newsletter. This email automation platform also offers some basic analytics and tracking which is a nice bonus. Basically, you can design and send emails, set up different email funnels, and play around with this tool if you’re not sure you want to invest in your email strategy just yet.
I use FollowerWonk mainly to build custom audiences on Twitter. It’s a known fact that Twitter is flooded with bots. So if you don’t want to advertise to fake accounts, you will have to spend some time working in Excel. With FollowerWonk’s unparalleled features, you can export either your competitor’s followers or followers of accounts that publish relevant content. The cherry on the cake is the fact that you can get rid of bots as much as it is possible thanks to the following rows you get in your export file:
- The date account was created (I always delete recently created accounts)
- The number of retweets an account has (the higher this number is, the more likely this account is real)
- The date of the latest tweet (this really helps to eliminate inactive accounts)
- The number of followers (if an account has unrealistically too many of them, I delete it – it looks too fishy to me).
To Sum Up
Time is a precious commodity. So why give yourself a hard time with performing manual work when they’re so many amazing tools to facilitate your routine tasks? In this article, I told you about the top 10 tools I can’t work without. Are there any other tools out there that can help you fight the routine? Most definitely! I’d like to know what tools offer you a lifeline in the sea of monotonous work. Share your examples in the comment section below.
Like Alexandra, many of us have multiple projects running simultaneously, so it can be amazing when you discover a tool that helps free up some of the manual, laborious tasks. We hope you’re enjoying the suggestions of new tools through our series of ‘10 Digital Tools … Couldn’t Live Without’ as we continue to publish from digital marketing industry experts across all channels, continents and specialisms!
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