tech tools

Content Marketing Tech Tool of the Week: Twitter Landing Pages

Twitter landing pageThis week's Tech Tool of the Week is something that I just learned about from pistachio, but I think it's a completely genius tool. This week's tech tool is the Twitter landing page, which is a specific page created for your Twitter profile. For the Twitter bio, you have the option to include one link. Instead of including a link to your home page, this week's tech tool is a link to a specific Twitter landing page, where you can including not only a little bit about yourself, but also include the sort of things that you tweet about, your policies regarding following others, or even additional places to look for you, like your business blog or your other social media accounts.

As an example, take a look at my personal landing page. It includes some biographical information that can't be found on the rest of my site, and I also let people know what I tweet about and my policy about following others. I think this is such a great tool because 160-characters only goes so far in describing who you are and what you do (plus, that area is better used if it includes a few keywords or hashtags). A landing page offers an excellent opportunity to thank someone for following you or checking out your page, while describing who you are in a bit more detail. It also gives the person a chance to check out the rest of your site, or to provide any additional resources (such as a free offer or a link to your blog). It's a customized social media experience. Here's another example of a Twitter landing page, this time of Darren Rowse of ProBlogger.

Get the idea? It's really easy to put one together, so get started on this week's Tech Tool of the Week!

Content Marketing Tech Tool of the Week: Dreamstime

dreamstime business bloggingThis week's Tech Tool of the Week is especially crucial if you do a lot of business blogging It's no secret that pictures make your blog posts more attractive, and pulling your pics from Google searches can get you into trouble. The best way to avoid the copyright hassle is to use stock photos, and my favorite place to go to for stock photos is Dreamstime, this week's Tech Tool of the Week. There are many places to go to get stock photos, and granted not every stock photo would be fun or appropriate to use for a blog post (check out these Awkward Stock Photos), but the reason that I like Dreamstime is because it has free stock photos as well as ones that you need to pay for. Even through the free ones sound like they may not be very good, some of them aren't that bad at all. I've done a little of both, and keep them on my hard drive. This is just in case I could use the photo again for another article or blog post. This is also so I get my money's worth out of the one's I've purchased.

Granted, Dreamstime may not be as robust as iStock Photo with illustrations, audio, and video to choose from, but I don't need those as often as I need the photos. Plus, both work on similar pricing models, so although one may seem expensive for photos, it's really more of the going rate. And, yes, you can get your photos free from online searches and places like Creative Commons, but Dreamstime has a much better portfolio. I've never had any trouble finding a suitable image for my needs. I definitely have had that problem in Creative Commons.

If you need photos, then use this week's Tech Tool of the Week. That way, you don't have to worry about sourcing and licensing and copyright.

Content Marketing Tech Tool of the Week: content marketingMy parents have no desire to jump on the social media bandwagon and become avid users of Facebook and Twitter. As much as many 20-somethings would rejoice at not having to be "friends" with their mother and father, the reluctance of  my parents proved to be a bit of a problem for me. You see, I utilize social networks to amplify the content that I write for my clients. My parents would like to read such content, but don't want to go to the social networks to read them. "Can't you just email the links to us," they ask. Unfortunately, no. Some days, I have multiple articles coming out at different times of the day. I also don't have the time to remember to send things to them specially. I don't need another thing on my To Do list. Fortunately,, this week's Tech Tool of the Week, solved my problem. is a content curation service, where folks can publish their own daily papers by using the tons and tons of content shared on Twitter. Create a paper based on the articles shared by the people you follow, or create a more topical newspaper by curating content on certain hashtags. The Five-0 Redux Daily is a good example of the latter, curating content revolving around the new hit drama, Hawaii Five-0. You can even create a paper that curates the content of only a few specific followers, which is what I did for my parents.

Since, I already tweet the stuff that I write, creating a newspaper of my tweets, and my tweets only, proved to be the solution that makes my parents, and myself, happy. The online newspaper comes directly to them via email, through a communication method that they already use regularly. It includes all the links to the articles that I've written, as well as those that I've simply shared. Since it comes everyday ( allows you to set the frequency of your paper), my parents get anywhere from one to four articles in each issue, which doesn't take a whole lot of their time to go through. I've been doing this for about a week now, and so far everything seems to be working out fine.

Folks can have other reasons to set up their own newspaper (heard it's a good way to get some of those people you follow to follow you back), but if you're a freelancer who wants to direct your content to a few select people, may I suggest, this week's Tech Tool of the Week?

Content Marketing Tech Tool of the Week: Google Insights

Google Insights content marketingI've featured a few Google tools as Content Marketing Tech Tools of the Week, and this week is no different. This week's tool will compliment my previous discussion on keywords by providing additional information on keyword synonyms, and which variations are trending. This tool is not only helpful in choosing a proper business blog post idea, but also providing the optimum keyword variations that may be better for optimization and content creation. Introducing: Google Insights. With Google Insights you can look into specific search patterns regarding a keyword of phrase. As an example, I typed in "construction industry" since I do have to do an article on that later today. The very bottom of the results are what I'm most interested in, since that tells me which variations of the keyword are currently the most popular, and which ones are rising in popularity. This information is invaluable, since I can now optimize the article I'm going to write with keywords that are popular, or rising in popularity.

Google Insights also helps me find some of those long-tailed keywords. Those are those key phrases that often aren't as competitive, but if done right, could be the keywords that drive traffic to your website. For the construction industry example, judging from my results, I might end up going with "building construction industry" and "construction industry growth". Those are longer keywords that are popular, but also fit nicely with the article I am planning to write.

Overall, Google Insights provides the insight into search engine optimization necessary in order to make sure that the keywords you plan to use in your business blogging content are successful. The results also update regularly, so it's also a good place in making sure that the keywords you've implemented a year ago are still working for you. If they aren't, you can easily see with this week's Content Marketing Tech Tool of the Week which ones you ought to be using instead.

Content Marketing Tech Tool of the Week: Hubspot Marketing Grader

This week's Content Marketing Tech Tool of the Week comes from Hubspot, which has created a new Grader site called the Marketing Grader. This grader allows you to evaluate the inbound marketing of your website as a whole, and compare it up to two other competitors. It offers additional insights that are completely relevant to today's changing marketing landscape, which aren't necessarily provided by the other Grader tools. It's also a great tool to use if you provide web development or business blogging services, as it gives you a way to compare a potential client to its competitors. This week's Tech Tool of the Week Update evaluates three critical areas of your online marketing:

  • Top of the Funnel - Are you doing enough to bring visitors to your website and fill the top of your sales and marketing funnel? How are your content creation, optimization and website promotion skills?
  • Middle of the Funnel - How do you do when it comes to converting traffic into leads and leads into customers? Do your landing pages, conversion forms, email marketing and social media efforts compare?
  • Analytics - Do you know what marketing activities are working (or aren't working)? Do you measure your successes and failures?
I, personally, like the comparison to a competitor or two. Having competition is a strong motivator for me, and knowing that I am not doing as well as someone else in my field does not make me happy. For me, the Marketing Grader highlighted two weak points for me: a lack of search engine optimization of my internal pages, and a lack of engagement on my social media channels. The SEO is something that I need to take time to do in the next few days, while the social media engagement can be fixed with better blogging (and moving this blog from Blogger to my actual website. The Grader doesn't count this blog as part of my website, sadly. If it did, I would have better results. Something to think about.
If you liked Hubspot's other Graders, make sure to try the Marketing Grader out. When it provides the results, it does give you a list of actions to take in order to make improvements. That's always helpful, and so is this week't Tech Tool of the Week.

Content Marketing Tech Tool of the Week: Malwarebytes Anti-Malware

content marketing tech toolsThis past week, someone hacked into my parents' email account and started sending out malicious links. Because my Dad was out of town and my Mom is quite the workaholic, it took them a few days to realize the problem. Before the problem was stopped, about five or six links were emailed out to a whole bunch of people, myself included.

Although there's not much to be done after the fact, something that really ought to be done if this ever happens to you is to check your computer for malware. Malware has been known to send emails to your listserv. How embarrassing would it be for malware to get onto your computer, and then send spam and malicious links to your clients? Prevent this from happening with this week's Tech Tool of the Week: Malwarebytes Anti-Malware.

Malwarebytes is a free program you can download that screens your computer for malware. It works very much like an anti-virus program, except that it scans for things other than viruses, such as spyware, trojan horses, adware etc. Malware is short for malicious software, so malware is anything on your computer that's causing it to do things you don't intend, like send spam links from your email. If your email is hacked, and all you do is change your password, you might not have completely solved the problem. If it's malware that's doing it and not some hacker, then it would only be a matter of time before your email is sending out spam links again.

Content marketers, just like any other business or profession, need to protect their computers and data from security threats. A security threat can not only crash your computer or take your identity, but also make you look bad through spammy emails. Why wait for a security breach to happen before doing something? Take the first step with this week's Tech Tool of the Week.

Content Marketing Tech Tool of the Week: Amazon Kindle

Amazon Kindle content marketing toolThis week's Content Marketing Tech Tool of the Week involves a great method to keep your skills sharp, and to keep yourself up-to-date of what's going on in content marketing and in your industry. Meet the Amazon Kindle. Amazon just released its new tablet, the Kindle Fire, and both would make an excellent tool to improve your content marketing and business blogging.

Amazon Kindle is this week's Tech Tool of the Week because it is one of the easiest ways to keep your mind fresh while staying up-to-date with industry leaders. True, those things can still be accomplished with news articles and blog posts, but an e-book offers several benefits that a blog or an online publication may not.

First, an e-book can go much more into depth on specific topics, much more so than a blog post or article. For example, one of the books that I bought on the Kindle was How to Write & Sell Simple Information for Fun and Profit: Your Guide to Writing and Publishing Books, E-Books, Articles, Special Reports, Audio Programs, DVDs, and Other How-To Content, by Robert Bly. Yes, it's a lengthy title, and a fairly lengthy book. But, imagine a how-to article or blog post on how to write how-to content. It couldn't nearly provide the same depth and instruction as this book did. Bly was able to provide examples of good how-to content versus bad how-to content. The author was able to go into different genres of writing all in one place, instead of having to break it up into a series like you would have to in a blog or online publication. In a very nicely packaged e-book, Bly explained how to very nicely package information meant to show someone how to do something. Very hard to do in a blog or online publication.

Second, an e-book can offer insight from an industry leader that you might not be able to find in a blog or on a company website. A good example is a book by Dharmesh Shah and Brian Halligan called Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs (New Rules Social Media Series). Shah and Halligan are both with Hubspot, an inbound marketing software firm. Sure, Hubspot also publishes a lot of white papers and case studies, but you wouldn't get any specific insight from Shah and Halligan like you can in their e-book. I'm currently reading the book now and it shows you the basics of inbound marketing, something that could be used as a way to reinforce what you can do with the Hubspot software. The book also offers a new perspective on marketing, and new perspectives are increasingly hard to get as search engines tend to give us what we like, which may not necessarily be a new perspective.

Third, e-books sometimes come with free goodies. Ann Handley's Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars (and More) That Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business (New Rules Social Media Series) did just that. Those that purchased the e-book were provided with links at the end to free blog templates and content planning worksheets. It's a great launching pad for the reader to apply what he or she has learned in the book while adding an extra incentive for folks to get the e-book instead of simply reading blog posts.

How has your Kindle helped you in your career or daily life? What other benefits of e-books do you see?

Content Marketing Tech Tool of the Week: Google Calendar

content marketing calendarGetting all those deadlines straight can be tough. Even tougher may be setting your own deadlines to weekly or reoccurring work. Either way, it all needs to be organized, remembered, and stuck to like a diet regimen. There are many ways to do it, but this week's Tech Tool of the Week is the method that I prefer: Google Calendar.

Most people probably use Google Calendar as a daily or weekly planner. I prefer a paper one for the daily and weekly stuff. I like being able to see my entire day at once with a paper planner, while with online calendars like Google Calendar, you have to do a lot of scrolling. I hate scrolling, as I see no reason why online calendars have to show the hours of 11 p.m. to 7 a.m.. No one ever schedules anything for that time of night, except sleeping. Anyway, Google Calendar is great for things like deadlines, where there's not necessarily a certain time something is due, just a date. As include those at the top, as shown in the pic, and color code them depending on the publication or client (there are a few weeks when I feel that Google Calendar could use more colors).

I went this route originally because these deadlines clogged my planner. I had Google Calendar as part of my iGoogle home page, and figured that seeing each day's deadlines would be helpful for me. I also like that I get reminders each day via text message, just in case I forget. I also update the calendar every Friday, so I can plan for the week ahead. This helps me to spread out my work throughout, so I don't have eight things due on Tuesday, for example. It also helps me to gauge how busy my week is going to be before it even begins.

Using Google Calendar keeps me from putting certain tasks off and allows me to accomplish a certain amount of things each day. Do you use Google Calendar? If so, how? If not for deadlines, what do you do to keep track of deadlines? I'd love to hear about your thoughts and techniques.

Content Marketing Tech Tool of the Week: Klout

klout logo content marketingAs content marketers, it's sometimes hard to measure how well we are doing or how our work has helped a client. For some, the amount of money they make is simply enough. But, for me, that doesn't tell me anything. I like hard numbers that demonstrate how my web content has improved web traffic for a client, or how many leads have been generated from those blog posts I'm contributing. Although I don't have all those numbers, this week's Tech Tool of the Week provides measurement to our social media activities. Meet Klout.

Klout measures your social media influence, based on your ability to drive action. This includes everything from retweets to Facebook comments to blog post shares. Each day, Klout updates your Klout score, which ranges from one to 100. Along with the score are numbers for your network influence, amplification possibility, and true reach.

I grant that it may seem superficial to worry about a number on a daily basis. I also grant that in the long run, no one cares about my Klout score except me. But, one benefit that I have gotten from using Klout is a better sense of how to use social media, and how to use it to broadcast messages effectively. I've got my Klout connected to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Blogger. Especially with Twitter, Klout has encouraged me to utilize hashtags, to use the @, and to compose more tweets that do more than just toot my own horn. The Klout score has also added a sense of competition for me, so learning to use social media better isn't just for the sake of skill improvement, but for the satisfaction of having a higher score than my friends (and a score that's growing too). It never hurts to have some friendly, conjured, competition.

I like Klout. I like seeing that my score is improving, that I'm getting better at using social media, that the way I am currently using social media is working. Maybe you will too.

Content Marketing Tech Tool of the Week: Technorati

Technorati logoThis week's content marketing Tech Tool of the Week is Technorati. Technorati was originally founded as a blog search engine, but has expanded into a full service media company. Not only does Technorati highlight the best content from the best blogs on just about everything, they do have their own set of writers that publishes content, and that's where the importance of Technorati comes it.

I am one of those writers for Technorati (it's not that hard to become a writer if you have some talent). Although Technorati does not pay in money, it's one of the few sites that actually does pay in exposure. I know us content marketers aren't supposed to work for exposure, but if you're looking for a good avenue to build an expertise, a good avenue to write for yourself, or to do some article and content marketing, then Technorati is the place.

Just how worthwhile is Technorati? I've gotten clients and Twitter followers because of my work on Twitter. I've also utilized Technorati as part of an article marketing strategy for another client, and those articles are now on the first page of Google for their respective keywords.

Technorati and Content Marketing Strategy

First off, Technorati does do some marketing of your content (by posting them to their Facebook and Twitter accounts), so without doing anything on your own, your work reaches thousands of people. This is on top of the other folks who decide to retweet or to share your content through their own networks. It happens more often then you think. A recent article I published about photos and Facebook got 14 retweets. That's in addition to the two from Technorati and my own retweet. I don't know any of those people who retweeted my work, although one or two of them have retweeted more than one of my pieces. Not bad for writing 300 words.

Content Marketing Ideas

Second, Technorati does a good job of offering you topics to write about. Sure, you can write about whatever you want, just as long as it's in good taste and is newsworthy. However, if you wouldn't mind a few ideas thrown at you, Technorati does have a Yahoo group for writers. It's through this group that a Trending Topics list is sent out almost every day, sometimes twice a day. If you see something you like, give a shout out to the group, and then write the piece. Sometimes, the particular channels will send out their own lists of topics to write about. The women's channel does it often, as do the cloud computing and sports channels. If you're uneasy about all these lists and shout outs clogging up you inbox, use the Mute feature on Gmail. If you don't know what the Mute feature is, then checkout Gmail labs. Writers always have the option of opting out of the groups.

Quality Content Marketing

Third, Technorati writers publish quality content, and each channel has an editor to go through the content to make sure that it is publish worthy. So, you don't have to worry about your excellent content being next to mediocre content like on other websites. Technorati isn't a content mill that's looking to churn out content. They're about highlighting the best in blogging while blogging themselves. Many of the other writers on Technorati already have their own blogs, or are simply experienced writers with strong expertise. Freelancers and content marketers would find themselves in good company.

Overall, I think Technorati offers something different, whether it's the chance to write for yourself once in a while, to write about topics you don't normally get to write about, or to garner a bit more exposure for your work and what you have to offer. I think freelancers and content marketers who aren't on Technorati are certainly missing out.