Ah, content marketing. Such a vast and confusing world to dive into. Not only does your content strategy need to be rock solid, but you also need to decide what type of content you want to produce. Do you want to zero in on blog posts? Email marketing? White papers? Ebooks? The sheer amount of choices out there can certainly be overwhelming.
However, for those willing to go the distance and put in the time to learn, the rewards are plentiful. In fact, content marketing produces conversion rates six times higher than that of traditional marketing methods. Rest assured, tackling the content marketing beast and learning all the not-so-well-kept content marketing secrets will be well worth all the effort.
|Content Marketing||Digital Advertising|
|Reaches out to an already interested audience||Disruptive and invasive|
|Focuses on problem-solving and customer needs||Focus is largely on the company itself|
|Produces consistent ROI over longer periods of time||Designed for quick results in a shorter time frame|
|More cost-effective||Costs tend to be higher|
But how do you successfully navigate the complex world of content marketing?
Well, just like a carpenter would never attempt to build a house without his trusty tool belt, a successful content marketer has a wealth of content marketing tools at his disposal. From content scheduling to image creation, each tool serves a unique and important purpose.
“But which tools do I really need?”, you might ask. “Which content marketing tools are the best of the best? The cream of the crop?”
You’re going to need several different tools to accomplish different types of tasks such as:
- Content research
- Topic generation
- Social media management
- Content organization/scheduling
- Image creation
So let’s dive into some of the best content marketing tools for each situation and see how they work.
1. BuzzSumo - Content Research and Topic Generation
Look, we get it. Coming up with ideas for content can be a daunting task. How do you know what topics will resonate with your target audience? What topics are trending right now? What topics are your competitors covering?
Enter BuzzSumo. You’d be hard-pressed to find a better tool for content research and analysis. Using BuzzSumo, it’s easier than ever to get that spark of inspiration you need to come up with great content ideas. Simply type a keyword or key phrase into the search bar and you’ll be shown the content that has been performing the best across all different channels.
Here’s a search for the key phrase “machine learning”:
From here, you can see not only what the trending topics are, but also where they’re being shared. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Reddit. This can help you get an idea of where to promote your own similar content to maximize your engagements.
BuzzSumo doesn’t stop there, though. Some other key features include:
- Competitive benchmarking
- An influencer finder
- An account API
- An intuitive alert system, whether you’re tracking your own content or a competitors
If you want a swiss army knife of content research and competitive analysis tools, look no further than BuzzSumo. It’s an indispensable content marketing tool that will serve you well no matter how significant of a content block you’ve hit.
2. Feedly - Content Research and Topic Generation
Conversely, if you’re looking for a more focused content marketing tool for research and inspiration, Feedly is right up your alley. Instead of a broad spectrum of different features and uses, Feedly concentrates on topic research. And it hits the nail right on the head.
Feedly’s gimmick is a little AI assistant named Leo who you can train to sift through heaps of articles in order to find the ones that are relevant to you. All he needs is a database to pull these articles from. Instead of spending hours looking for posts on specific topics or keywords to spark inspiration, Leo does all of this for you, saving you loads of time and effort.
Here’s an example directly from the Feedly site:
Leo has been asked to prioritize articles about autonomous cars. Boom. A list of articles across several saved databases all pertaining to autonomous cars.
So how can you make Feedly work for you as a content marketer?
Well, content research and topic generation is the name of the game here. Use Feedly to prioritize content covering a certain topic or keyword to help inspire your own ideas. Or, you can also use it to help you research topics you’re covering already.
Feedly is a nifty little content marketing tool you should be using to help fuel your creative juices.
3. Portent’s Content Idea Generator - Topic Generation and Title Creator
Here’s an outside-the-box content marketing tool that may seem goofy on the outside, but can actually help you come up with great content ideas.
With Portent’s Content Idea Generator, all you need to do is type in a subject. Any subject. The tool will then generate a working title for you. It’s that simple.
Sometimes the generated title needs a little tweaking to make it work grammatically, but generating a new title is as simple as clicking the little refresh button on the side.
A simple search for the subject “content marketing” generated this intriguing result:
They even give you some humorous insights to keep you sane while you desperately search for content ideas. How nice of them.
While you may need to spend a little time hitting that refresh button to generate a title that really sets off that spark you need, don’t count out Portent’s Content Idea Generator. One-click of that button could provide you with that perfect title you’ve been yearning for.
4. HootSuite - Social Media Management
Social media is a juggernaut that keeps growing every year. We all know it. So how do you properly take advantage of all the benefits that social media has to offer when it comes to content marketing?
HootSuite just might be the answer to your problem.
There’s a reason why 18 million customers trust HootSuite for all their social media needs. It’s a one-stop-shop for all things social media related. Some key features include:
- Scheduled posts
- Social media monitoring
- A team management dashboard
Schedule your content across multiple social media platforms, analyze how that content is doing, and communicate with your social media team across an intuitive dashboard. HootSuite really can do it all.
In fact, the University of St. Andrews partnered with HootSuite with the goal of increasing their social media presence and engagements. The result? 4500 new followers on Twitter, 9000 new likes on Facebook, and over 400 000 engagements on Instagram. All from using the consistent scheduling of posts that HootSuite can provide.
There’s no getting around having an active social media presence. It’s going to be vital to your success as a brand. Achieving that success is significantly easier using HootSuite.
5. Ahrefs - SEO Analysis
Your content marketing tool belt wouldn’t be complete without an SEO analysis tool. You need to know how well-optimized your site is for SEO, what your rankings look like, and what keywords your competitors are having success with.
Managing all your SEO endeavors can be a task and a half. That’s why you need Ahrefs to help you out.
Ahrefs is an SEO analysis tool with several important features to help you tackle the SEO challenge. Features such as:
- A site explorer tool to analyze backlinks
- A content explorer tool, similar to BuzzSumo
- A keyword tool to give you the lowdown on traffic
- A site audit tool to monitor your SEO health and remedy any issues
Here we have an example of the Ahrefs site explorer tool in action:
Not only do we see the amount of monthly organic traffic, but we also see a value placed on it as well.
Ahrefs is constantly updating due to the ever-changing landscape of SEO. They’re always one step ahead. Look no further for all your SEO needs.
6. SimilarWeb - Competitor Analysis
Competitor analysis can be tough. How exactly do you figure out what’s working for your competitors? What information is useful and what is just background noise?
It would be nice to have a content marketing tool to help you understand competitor analysis, wouldn’t it?
SimilarWeb to the rescue. While packed with features, at its core, SimilarWeb is all about gathering information on your competitors.
Simply type a URL into the search bar and SimilarWeb will give you the lowdown on several different benchmarks, including:
- Overall traffic
- Search info
- Social traffic
- Display ads traffic
- Audience interests
Using all of the info you gather from SimilarWeb can go a long way to understanding which channels are working best for your competitors.
A quick analysis of the SimilarWeb site itself also shows the top keywords they use:
This can give you strong insight into which keywords your competitors are using and how well it’s working out for them. Indispensable information when you’re looking to create new content.
Competitive research can be a bit of a bore, but if you want a leg up on the competition, you’d better buckle down and get started. SimilarWeb can help you streamline the process and get you the information you need.
7. Sendinblue - Email Creator
Regardless of what you’ve heard through the grapevine, email is here to stay. With an outrageous ROI of $40 for every dollar spent, you’d be hard pressed to find a reason not to use email for your content marketing efforts.
However, you know better than your competitors. You know that sending horrible looking, unpersonalized emails isn’t going to get you anywhere. You need a content marketing tool to help you craft amazing emails that will hook your audience and have them begging to click through.
Sendinblue can fill this void. With an intuitive drag and drop email builder, it’s simpler than ever to get started on crafting the perfect emails for your content.
Sendinblue works on a 4 step process:
- Designing your message
- Personalizing your content
- Choosing your recipients
- Sending intelligently
In other words, Sendinblue allows you to craft the perfect professional looking email using one of their pre-designed templates. Or, if they don’t suit your needs, you can create one yourself. Personalization features allow you to speak directly to your audience by adding anything from their name to the email all the way to specific designs based on your customer database.
Sendinblue’s list builder gives you full control over segmentation and lets you target those segments with different emails based on customer demographics. No guesswork needed.
With different levels of service depending on the size of your company, Sendinblue has everyone covered. From small agencies to large enterprises.
8. Canva - Image Creator
No matter you slice it, imagery is an important part of content marketing. From blog posts to social media, professional-looking images can take an alright piece of content to an excellent piece of content.
But programs like Adobe Photoshop can be very expensive. Not only that, but it seems like they take a bachelor’s degree to learn how to use them properly. Tons of features and tweaks that you may or may not ever use when all you want to do is create effective images quickly.
If only there were an easy to use program that allows you to create high-quality images in record time...
Oh wait, there is. And it’s Canva.
|Drag-and-drop builder||Complex interface|
|Has a free version||No free version available|
Canva is all about simplicity. The dashboard is packed with different templates. From simple shapes and borders to stock images, they’ve got you covered.
As you can see, Canva’s menu makes it easier than ever to start designing the image you need. Simply choose which template you want and Canva will size it accordingly, from full-size imagery down to Instagram thumbnails.
If the templates don’t tickle your fancy, you can also set custom dimensions as well.
Start using Canva for all your imagery needs. You won’t regret it.
9. Audacity - Audio Recording Software
It’s pretty much a given that podcasts have grown immensely in popularity over the past little while, with 48 million weekly podcast listeners in 2018, and 115 million projected for 2021. There’s an added personal touch when you get to listen to someone’s real voice instead of reading their words on a screen. It’s also far more convenient, being able to listen while on a walk or in the car.
But how do you go about creating a podcast? Sure, you have all these great ideas, but you’ll need some sort of tool in order to bring your podcasts to life.
This is where Audacity comes in.
Now admittedly, there is a slight learning curve when using Audacity. However, there are a plethora of great videos and online tutorials showing you exactly how to record your very own podcast. All you need is a decent microphone and you’re set.
Audacity probably isn’t thought of as a must-have content marketing tool by most. However, with the growing demand for podcasts as a form of content, it would be wise to grab audacity and add it to your content marketing toolbox. Your audience will thank you for it.
10. ClickFunnels - Marketing Funnel Creator
Finding success with content marketing doesn’t come without a rock solid content strategy in place. A good sized chunk of this strategy involves your marketing funnel. How else would you know what content is appropriate for your leads? The last thing you want to do is send your top of the funnel audience a piece of content that would be appropriate for your bottom funnel audience and send them running for the hills.
If you want to improve your customer’s experience with content instead of hindering it, creating an effective funnel will be necessary. ClickFunnels can help you achieve this with ease.
Of course, you could create a sales funnel on your own. But who has the time for that? Your focus shouldn’t be on trivial tasks like that. With an easy to use drag and drop builder, ClickFunnels allows you to create your funnel with little to no difficulty.
Their website really says it all:
The simplicity behind ClickFunnels is the attraction factor here. Whether you want to create a funnel for more leads, more sales, or even an online event, ClickFunnels has all the templates to set you on the path of funnel creating success.
It’s no secret that creating an effective sales funnel can be a task and a half. But with ClickFunnels, the job can be made significantly easier.
11. Airtable - Content Organizer
When it comes to content marketing, being organized is key. Whether it’s content scheduling, collaborating, or even tracking your content efforts, you’ll need a content marketing tool for the job.
Airtable allows you to stay organized with your content marketing efforts. A fully customizable dashboard lets you use Airtable in any way you want.
Need a robust content scheduling calendar? An intuitive spreadsheet to help your social media team figure out their tasks? Airtable does it all.
Here’s what Airtable looks like in grid form in an image pulled from their website:
This makes it plain as day to see what tasks need to be done, which are already finished, and how high of a priority they are.
Airtable is marketed as a spreadsheet that behaves like a database, which means it can be used as a CRM software as well. A truly adaptable content marketing tool.
When you’re looking for content marketing software to help you stay on task and organized, Airtable should be your solution.
12. AnswerThePublic - Topic Generator and Search Analysis
If successful content marketing is all about solving the problems your audience has, why not ask them directly? What are they having issues with? What questions do they really have?
If you’re looking to provide answers, why not try AnswerThePublic?
Using autocomplete search databases, AnswerThePublic gives you a wealth of different questions being asked that are based around the keyword you provide. This helps take all the guesswork out of topic generation if you know exactly what kinds of questions your audience has.
For example, if we were to type in the words “content marketing”:
AnswerThePublic gives us the lowdown on what people are searching with the keywords “content marketing”. From here, it’s easy to come up with content ideas which answer the questions and solve the problems that your audience has.
On top of all of that, AnswerThePublic also provides ideas involving other prepositions, comparisons, and even alphabetical word association.
If you aren’t sure what types of problems your audience has, AnswerThePublic can fix that for you and set you on the right track with your content creation.
Content Marketing Tools Summary
When you take the leap of faith into the content marketing vortex, you’re sure to be bombarded with all different types of content marketing tools. The fact of the matter is, it’s on you to decide which ones are right for you. All you need to know is you won’t get very far without the right ones.
Start gathering your content marketing tools now, because you’re gonna need ‘em.
Did We Miss Out on a Great Content Marketing Tool?
There are all kinds of tools out there designed around making the content marketing process a little easier. Are there any that we missed? One that you’ve found great success with? Let us know. We’d love to hear all about it.