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After our blog post earlier in the year of ‘How to Set up A Successful Company Blog‘  we decided a follow up was most definitely in order, and have rounded up 7 great tools to keep productivity on the up and procrastination on the down-low!

blogging tools for businesses

#1 Disqus

Disqus is a fantastic free tool which aims to help engage a community around your blog. Essentially, its a commenting tool – allowing readers to interact with your piece of writing. However, rather than the standard ‘leave a message’ type, it allows you to up/down vote comments, track recurring commenters, and has a really user friendly ‘threading’ function.

Disqus can be installed across ‘most any platform or website, and everything is real time, allowing you to track and interact with your readers as the conversation is happening.

#2 InboxQ

InboxQ is a  fantastic tool to use in conjunction with your social media strategy, and allows you to focus content on exactly what your readers want to see by using clever Twitter filters.

Once you have typed in your keywords (for example, for us it might be “SEO, Social Media, Marketing”) a list of questions that have recently been asked on Twitter.

You can go on to create campaigns with keywords from topics you specialise in, and when someone asks a question with any of your keywords, you will be updated and can respond accordingly. You can even integrate their app into Hootsuite – keeping your Social Media strategy all the more linear and manageable.

Its not only a great tool for content generation and can provide a whole host of new ideas  that you know people are looking to read and interested in.

#3 PopSurvey

It is always important to know what your customers and readers are thinking – and when you’re behind a computer screen and not in person, it can be pretty difficult to gauge exactly what that is.

That is where Popsurvey comes in!

This is a really snazzy tool that is well designed and not as ‘stuffy’ as the Polls we remember from yester-year, giving you a greater level of engagement and a fantastic insight into your blog visitors.

The free version allows you to conduct two surveys per month and collect up to 100 responses, with price plans rising from there to suit your needs there on in.

#4 Podcasting

Okay, so this isn’t a ‘tool’ per cé, but it is a great way of engaging your community on another level, and would open up your content to a a whole new audience and definitely worth looking into.

Sometimes we’re just too busy to read blogs and never get around to it, or we’re stuck in traffic or on the Underground/Subway with no signal – a Podcast is perfect for commuters. Giving your audience downloadable content not only lets you connect to your readers (or listeners!) in a different way, but it gives you added depth as a business – a great way of getting potential customers to ‘buy in’ to you.

#5 Alltop

It can be a bit of a nightmare keeping track of everything on the web – and all too often we find ourselves jumping from one site to another and another and spending a lot of time trying to keep track of everything happening. Some industries are incredibly fast paced, and unless its a huge breaking story, chances are – you might miss out.

Alltop collects headlines of the latest stories and best bits from sites/blogs for you – and collates them in easy to navigate categories and subject headings. Its not only great for reading the news on your chosen topic, but its a great tool for researching what’s hot and what’s not in your area.

#6 Flickr

Adding in a touch of photography to your blog posts is a great way of luring in the reader to find out a bit more about you and what you have to say. Of course, if you’re a budding David Bailey then thats great, but some of us aren’t always blessed with a diverse catalogue of images or don’t have the one thats ‘just right’ for your particular topic.

Flickr is the ultimate photo sharing site, and highly effective for sourcing great images for your posts. It has a easy to use advanced search option, allowing you find images with creative commons that allow commercial use.

Don’t forget – always check the rights before selecting an image, and always give the photographer credit at the end of your post with a link back to their page etc.

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