Let’s face it: content marketing is hard. Every business, from decades-old establishments to enthusiastic startups, are all fighting for the attention of their audience online to grow their businesses. Original, engaging content is of the highest demand ever, and every successful content marketer must find that sweet spot between understanding their audience and creating content that will attract and retain their attention and keep them coming back while at the same time being educational and not too self-promotional. Here are some content marketing tools to guide you through your content creation and marketing process, all the way from coming up with ideas to distributing your message to your target audience.
I am not a user of ALL of these tools, but I do want to especially recommend the content marketing tools that I currently use. I will do so by adding a “*” after the name to let you know.
For your convenience I have organized these content marketing tools in the following categories:
- Keyword Analysis
- Idea Generation
- Writing Tools
- Social Media Content Distribution Tools
- Email Content Distribution Tools
- Analytical Tools
Now on to the tools!
Keyword Analysis Tools
Content marketing begins with the content creation process, and before you create content you need to plan out what to create. Enter keyword analysis tools, which will provide you a plethora of data to help guide you.
As a content marketer, you need to create content faster and efficiently without getting sidetracked. In this digital age, many powerful content marketing tools help you work better. One such tool is SEMrush, which offers a wide range of solutions for developing a successful content strategy and creating content that can keep your audience engaged. You can even find content gaps and audit the existing content.
It is an all-in-one toolkit that gives you a detailed insight into everything you need to know about content marketing. How does your competitor’s search ad look? What keywords are your competitors bidding on? You can get answers to these questions with SEMrush. With this tool, you can also look at the keywords that your company is ranking for gradually. Just enter a URL into this content marketing tool, and you will have tons of keyword information that you may have never thought existed.
You may even uncover keywords that your competitors might not know as yet. SEMrush offers various other features like you can check your backlinks and even your competitors. With the SEMrush data-driven approach, you can make your content marketing efforts more effective and more comfortable.
I currently use SEMrush as the main tool for all of my keyword research and search engine optimization.
If you want to outrank your competitors, Ahrefs is one of the best content marketing tools you can use. As a content marketer, you need to understand why your competitors rank high to develop a better content strategy. Ahrefs helps you in doing just that. You can monitor your niche and research your competitors. With Ahrefs, you can track mobile ranking, locations per website, keywords, update frequency, and more. Before you write any content, it is a perfect way to do research. Also, you can get insights on what is working for your competitor.
Once you create content and market it, Ahrefs can be used to measure how it faired- How often was it shared across social media? Did you get any backlinks? This amazing content marketing tool searches five-billion web pages every day that ensures that you have the latest information. With Ahrefs, you need not be a pro in SEO marketing to get a higher rank and more traffic. This tool is a one-stop shop that offers free learning materials that will help you in optimizing your website, studying what your customers are searching for, analyzing competition, tracking your ranking progress, and will also help you to learn from the industry’s top-performing content.
If you’re on the sidelines about Ahrefs because of its price, did you know that Ahrefs offers a free webmaster tool that you can use for your website and limited research? You’re welcome!
I currently use the free version mentioned above and highly recommend it as a no-brainer tool to have in your arsenal.
While most businesses know that the big 3 SEO-focused content marketing tools are SEMrush, Ahrefs, and Moz, there are a number of other tools that offer compelling functionality at a lower price. One of the best of these tools to consider is SpyFu.
Content marketing involves building authority and SEO results with time- the higher the ranking of articles; you get more engagement from readers. This is the reason why content marketing strategies need to be built on top of a well-reasoned and robust plan. SpyFu offers just what you need as a content marketer. It is a user-friendly content marketing tool with which you can search any domain and see the entire ranking history as well. From organic keyword ranking reports to PPC ad variations, this tool can crack Google’s algorithms that have been ranked as complex to provide tangible data.
As the name suggests, this content marketing tool helps you to “spy” on your competition. You can learn what keywords your competition is paying for, their organic ranking, who is linking to their website, and help you develop a better content strategy. However, that’s not only the best part of SpyFu. It also allows you to “spy” on yourself too. You can use it to identify your organic search competitors, discover your most valuable keywords, learn which keywords you share with your competition, see your ‘almost there’ keywords, and identify your backlinks. So if you want to learn about your competitors’ secret marketing formula, then SpyFu is just for you.
Content Marketing Tools for Idea Generation
Now that you have a keyword strategy, get your creative content marketing juices flowing with these tools:
Google Trends is one of those content marketing tools that you’ll find hard not to use once you start using.
It helps you in understanding your target audience’s behavior and interests. You can get a glimpse into the topics the world is searching for since 2004. It has many customization options to help you with your personalized requirements. The trends can be sorted by types of searches including news, image, web, YouTube, products, geographical areas, categories, and time span, and can allow you to compare up to 5 search items at one time.
You can easily find the volume of traffic from a related keyword phrase and gain insights for content marketing. Google Trends also offers features like Top Charts, Hot Searches, and Explore Trends. Top Charts (available for the United States only) include the most popular searches in Google according to the updated categories every month. At the same time, Hot Searches lists the top searches by the day, which is updated in real-time. With Explore Trend, you can search topics and terms against each other and add relevant news headlines.
Google Trends is a remarkably useful tool, and a little creativity can yield significant search marketing insights.
It all begins with a search, and sometimes Google may not be enough to give you the insights you need. Enter Newswhip Spike, a tool that not only searches through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest for the most engaging content, but also predicts how what’s popular today will perform in future. That is, you can know what’s going to go viral before it does, and with almost alarming accuracy. Few other content marketing tools provide this service for marketers, and you can start with a free trial to test it out.
BuzzSumo helps you identify the ideal content that will resonate with your audience. You can BuzzSumo’s content discovery solution to discover trending content over time, from 12 to 24 hours, by the social network or domain that’s fueling it. BuzzSumo comes with a research and planning tool shows you the most shared content formats to match your keywords, whether that’s photos, videos or slideshows to help you with your overall content marketing strategy.
I currently use BuzzSumo as the main tool for all of my content curation needs.
Whether you’re looking content ideas for tech, sports, entertainment, business, health or lifestyle content, AllTop is an excellent place to start. AllTop is primarily a content aggregator, meaning that it curates the top sources of news all across the internet and presents it to you on one page. For a content marketer, this is a handy tool to understand the hottest topics on the web in real time. AllTop continually updates its search algorithms to keep on top of the fast pace of news on the internet. It gives you a link to the news story, along with all the top comments or conversations about it from social networks, including Reddit.
This is a convenient, straightforward way of generating ideas for the title of your content material. You may have the perfect content idea, but getting the right title can be a headache. That makes Portent’s Idea Generator an indispensable tool for your content marketing strategy. You enter your keyword, hit enter, and this tool offers you a range of titles for your choice. Granted, some ideas generated by this tool can be a bit over the top, so Portent advises you to use the singular version of your keyword, avoid capitalizing, and keep revising the title until you hit perfection. For example, if your keyword is “content marketing,” some titles generated include “Content Marketing in 14 Easy Steps,” and “The Unconventional Guide to Content Marketing.”
Linkbait is a title generator by Content Row that gives you 24 possible content titles every time you hit enter. Just pick out the best one from the list and let your ideas flow. This Linkbait tool works similarly to Portent mentioned above, but with a much more straightforward user interface. Enter the keyword “web content” into Linkbait, and one of the titles generated is “The Most Incredible Article about Web Content You’ll Ever Read.” You’ll never get stuck for titles with these easy tools.
Zest is a Google Chrome extension targeted towards finding and aggregating digital marketing content. The tool aims to simplify the content curation journey by appearing naturally within the workflow of marketers & writers– instead of typing in a URL for a separate community or subscribing to a daily email, Zest refreshes every time you open a new tab or window in Chrome. All content is manually reviewed by marketing experts to ensure it’s insightful & relevant to the marketing industry. Using the tool’s advanced filters (which even allow you to specify between audio, video and written content) help you find content that speaks directly to your audience.
Inoreader is an advanced RSS reader coupled with a growing community of users and content curators. Content is organized within the tool in ‘Subscription Bundles’ allowing you to access all content about a specific subject in one-click. Once subscribed you can use their productivity-boosting ‘Rules’ feature which can tag and organize content for you in real-time. Unlike other tools, Inoreader also has a full RSS archive which means you don’t lose old blog posts or articles after a year. If you’re looking for a new RSS tool, Inoreader could the answer.
I am a huge fan of Inoreader and currently use it as my main RSS application.
Content Marketing Writing Tools
Once you have good ideas for content, here’s how to get the words down:
This free online tool checks your content for grammar and readability. You paste your content onto the page, hit the edit button, and Hemingway will highlight the use of adverbs, passive voice, and difficulty of reading. It offers suggestions along the way, such as what to omit, simpler alternatives for phrases and so on, all to make your writing clearer and bolder. Hemingway gives you an estimated reading time for your article so that you can gauge how long your audience will spend on your content, which is crucial for understanding audience engagement.
Grammarly is another writing tool that helps you polish your writing. Grammarly’s free Chrome extension checks what you’re composing directly on your website and integrates into all sites with which you interact. You can be sure that whatever content you’re putting out there is flawless, from contacting influencers via email to posting content on Facebook and Twitter. Grammarly has an optional weekly progress report to monitor your writing skills as you execute your content marketing strategy. Grammarly Premium offers you the extra option of detecting plagiarism to ensure that your content is 100% original.
Copyscape is a simple online plagiarism detection tool. By typing in any URL it allows you to check whether or not similar text content appears elsewhere online. Aside from checking your posts, you can also utilize Copyscape to see if your work has been taken or duplicated by other bloggers!
As I have a lot of contributing bloggers on my website, I use Copyscape to ensure that all content is 100% unique. If you work with freelancers or outside services to source content in whole or even partially, I highly recommend that you use Copyscape to ensure that all of your content being published is 100% unique.
This tool finds and highlights clichés in writing. Just paste your content on the site, and it will identify all the expressions and phrases that might be overused or stale. Why would you need a cliché finder as a content marketing tool? Simple: Original content generates the highest engagement. You don’t want your readers rolling their eyes at clichés in your writing. As you work through your content with Clichéfinder, you’ll become more aware of which words or phrases you should omit or replace, making you a much better writer in the process.
If your best ideas come when you’re under pressure, then this site is for you. The Most Dangerous Writing App works on a simple premise: keep writing or lose all your progress. You choose the length of your sessions, say five minutes, and you must keep writing until the end when you get a chance to save your work. Pausing for more than five seconds erases everything. It gets you into your writing zone, and it’s perfect for shutting down your inner critic for a moment as you create your marketing content.
You all should know that Canva is a design tool for graphic-style content. With Canva, you can design newsletters, infographics, web banners and ads, as well as graphics optimized for Facebook and Twitter. You don’t have to be a graphic design expert to create graphics and banners for your content marketing strategy. Canva makes it incredibly easy to create beautiful, engaging content for your website by providing preset image sizes, endless customizable templates and fonts, and it’s free. If your main content marketing platforms are Pinterest and Instagram where images are king, try Canva.
I currently use Canva as my main graphics editing app.
You’ve heard of Canva but have you heard of Easil? Easil is a drag and drop design tool that can help polish all your visuals, from social media graphics to posters and even GIFs. While quite similar to Canva, a standout feature of this tool is the ability to load in all the components of your brand’s visual identity and create what’s called a ‘Brand Kit’. This can be major time saver when you have multiple team members or freelancers working on your graphics & want to maintain consistency in your content! Easil also offers the standard free layouts, fonts and images with the option to upgrade whenever you need to. With a variety of pre-made templates for Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn Easil can definitely elevate your visual content.
Social Media Content Distribution Tools
You have your content ready. How will you get it to your key audience? These tools make content distribution a breeze.
This tool is your one-stop shop for content distribution. It allows you to post your marketing content across multiple platforms all at once on a regular schedule. So if you’d like a new post on your Facebook page every Friday, for example, you can prepare all your Friday posts well in advance and schedule them to post on your page automatically. That takes out the stress of having to log in to all your separate accounts to publish your content manually.
I currently use AgoraPulse as my main social media engagement dashboard.
Tailwind is one of the most popular scheduling tools for businesses that prioritize Pinterest and Instagram marketing but don’t want to spend hours scheduling content. There are two main features that set Tailwind apart from other content distribution tools: ‘SmartLoop’ allows you to maximize your evergreen content and schedule reshares of your popular pins in just a few clicks. ‘Tailwind Tribes’ are built-in niche communities where you can share your own content and curate content from other influencer and experts. These two features along with hashtag & posting time recommendations (both based on your specific audience) push this tool to the top of our list.
I currently use Tailwind to manage all of my Pinterest.
This tool is similar to Hootsuite, but with a simpler, more interactive user interface. Edgar comes with features such as an unlimited content library, native video support for all your video content marketing, GIFs and photos optimized for Facebook and Twitter, and auto-expiring content for seasonal promotions and other time-bound marketing events. Edgar works with Bitly and Rebrandly to shorten all your links, or their own Ed.gr, with no special setup required. Edgar takes all the technical fuss out of content distribution and makes your marketing life so much easier.
Needless to say, can be a major asset in your content marketing and distribution plan. It lends credibility to your business and grows your professional network better than any other social network. On LinkedIn, it’s best not to try and sell something with every post. Instead, share original content like industry updates and useful tips for personal or business growth. Get involved in LinkedIn groups to get your content to engage with a greater audience and find influencers. LinkedIn also comes with SlideShare for all your interactive slideshows and presentations, giving you a little extra style to integrate into your content marketing strategy.
I am on LinkedIn every day … are you? Feel free to connect with me here on LinkedIn and download my free ebook on Maximizing LinkedIn for Business.
CoSchedule and their variety of marketing products can be your one stop shop for content management & distribution for everything from daily blog posts to monthly emails. Focusing on their distribution capabilities, the CoSchedule calendar function allows you to see all scheduled content for the month at a glance & assign different related tasks to team members. Need your freelance writer to edit their last blog post? You’re able to note that and see when they’ve completed it, so you know the post is ready to be published. CoSchedule integrates with or has plugins for most content publishing platforms including WordPress (which we use & love).
CoSchedule powers the editorial calendar for this blog.
This tool scours forums and message boards for keywords that may be relevant to your topic and share your content with them. You can search Boardreader by either posts or threads, and by date so that you can see the most recent mentions of relevant keywords or topics. Identify which groups on Reddit, for example, that you should target with your content and go get them. The advanced search feature can search keywords by the exact phrase, exact dates, and by a specific website or domain. Boardreader also gives you a handy chart to see how your keywords have been trending over a given period.
Audiense Connect analyzes your Twitter community to help you understand and interact with them efficiently and offers specially tailored audiences for any advertising you may have. Set up Twitter chatbots with Audience Connect in a few clicks and automate direct messaging and broadcast chats for your audience to opt into and engage with you. Audience Insights, another one of their products, tracks your audience engagement across all social networks, so you need not restrict yourself to Twitter.
Email Content Distribution Tools
Social media isn’t the only place that you can distribute your content. Email is another great option to market your content, so here are some recommended email tools to consider:
One of the standard techniques of content marketing is email marketing. Email should be an integral part of your online marketing strategy, and Mailchimp offers a perfect solution for this.
When companies start email marketing, Mailchimp is usually what they choose because of their ease of use and free plan for up to 2,000 contacts.
This email marketing tool allows you to access your personalized dashboard from both desktop and mobile. It comes loaded with features; however, the most popular ones let you build an email list with subscribers who are genuinely engaged with your content.
Moreover, you can even track them. Another useful feature is that it allows you to monitor metrics such as click and open rate along with your average rate of email subscription and opt-outs. With Mailchimp, you can bring your audience data, insights, and marketing channels together to reach your goals faster and that too from a single platform. It will help you reach the right people and create better content. You can add a personal touch without much effort through automated messages that will reach your customers just at the right time.
When you’re ready to outgrow Mailchimp and you want some additional functionality and automation in your email marketing, you’ll want to transition to GetResponse.
As a content marketer, you know that email marketing brings you a great ROI and is also a key to customer retention. Most companies overlook the fact that it costs more to gain a new customer than to retain the present one. GetResponse offers various features that have put this content marketing tool ahead of many other email marketing providers. It uses automation to trigger emails or events based on a specific time frame or actions requested by a recipient.
With GetResponse, you can create professional emails and landing pages conveniently. The email intelligence features can analyze the performance of your content marketing campaign. GetResponse provides you with accurate customer targeting to assist in generating more leads and improving the conversion rate. It is undoubtedly one of the best email marketing tools since it offers a plethora of options at a reasonable price. You can even automate evens and use the CRM functionality to help in boosting your brand.
Check out the lead magnet webinar I did with GetResponse.
Other Content Distribution Tools
These content distribution tools incorporate email, social, and more. For larger businesses and enterprises, you’ll want to investigate these tools if they aren’t already a part of your marketing technology stack.
Of all of the email tools here, Hubspot is by far the most comprehensive and offers the most general content marketing functionality.
Since its inception, HubSpot has continued to grow. It can be used by content marketers of all experience and skill levels. This content marketing tool offers a complete CRM platform and all the integrations and tools required for a highly effective content marketing campaign. Whether you are looking for an increase in lead numbers and sales, or want to streamline customer service, or even if you want to build a website, each HubSpot tool is powerful enough to cater to your requirements. However, it gets even better when used together. Many of its content marketing tools are free to try, such as- popup tools, chatbots and live chats, a powerful form builder, and an all-in-one WordPress plugin for marketing.
HubSpot offers one of the best CMS and a powerful marketing platform that allows you to centralize the whole thing to a CRM, which means that at each level of the company’s growth, HubSpot has a solution that can help you build an effective content marketing program. It also offers products for service and sales teams. In other words, it can be a ground control for the entire business. As a content marketer, if you are looking for resources to create content, optimize it, and want to make sure that it reaches the right audience, HubSpot is the answer.
Uberflip is one such content marketing tool that helps you take charge of your buyer’s journey. As a content marketer, you can create optimized and customized content at every stage of the buyer’s journey. Uberflip offers a platform for marketing automation that can help you to bridge the gap between demand generation and content. This tool provides a collection of valuable content marketing tools, account-based marketing, lead generation, and sales enablement. You can easily manage videos, blogs, e-books, and more from one single location, and this means that your workflows are in one place.
Additionally, Uberflip allows you to build sales streams or content hubs to ensure that your visitor interaction with your brand remains uninterrupted and consistent. Regardless of size, Uberflip allows every marketing team to launch campaigns faster and distribute relevant content. What is more amazing about Uberflip is that it is an easy-to-use platform that can help create personalized destinations quickly. It offers AI-powered content recommendations that encourage buyers to speed up the decision-making process. To sum up, it is one of the best tools to create mega-hype for your content and give a seamless content experience to your customers.
Tools to Analyze Your Content Marketing
How successful is your content marketing? There’s a tool for that!
Tracking analytical insights for your published content can be an overwhelming task. Your target audience prefers different content types, and many will read your content for years before they hit the ‘buy’ button.
Enter Google Analytics, a tool that can help you understand whether your content marketing strategy is worth the effort and time. Google Analytics makes tons of data available at your fingertips that can help you in understanding which type of content is most popular, which content format performs best in search, how often you should publish new content, the times of the month, week, or days that people are visiting, and whether your content results in conversations.
For a content marketer, Google Analytics can be a best friend, and it offers endless opportunities with the data. Google has built a very robust platform to gather all the data and update it in real-time. All you need to do is use it effectively, and Google Analytics is already there in your toolkit and is free to use. To make full use of this tool, make sure that you take time out to set up goals for your website to track insights that are most important for your business.
Hotjar is quite similar to Google Analytics and has been designed to provide insights on any page’s performance on your website that includes your blog posts. Hotjar is one content marketing tool that enables you to see how people interact with your content. It combines a bunch of helpful features with heatmaps to allow you to visualize how users are actually using your website. This means you can easily tweak your content marketing strategy so that you show people what they actually want to see.
In other words, you can enhance the user experience on your website by identifying the hot areas that require improvements or need some changes. Heatmaps can be customized for any page that has been assigned to this tool and shows you exactly how far people are scrolling down on your content, with which links or Call-To-Action they are interacting. As a result, you can see if your 2,000 word post is a waste or whether your Call-To-Actions are working or not. The bottom line, Hotjar, offers some high-quality and really valuable tools that can make content management smooth and more straightforward. The basic plan for individuals is free, so you must give this one a try as a content marketer.
With all these indispensable content marketing tools at your side, create your content marketing strategy with the highest confidence that your content is catchy, optimized for your audience, flawless in grammar and style, and reaches whom you need it to for maximum impact. Before you know it, you will be a content marketing guru!
Looking for more content marketing tools? Check out these other posts we have on marketing tools and free content marketing tools!
So, which of the above are your favorite? Which are missing? Please chime in!