Businesses that invest in content marketing, generate 69% more leads than those that don’t. But setting up a content marketing strategy, running your content engine and optimizing for growth, requires a lot of consistent effort. Having struggled to do it all manually, I started exploring and testing different tools to complete certain tasks – right from choosing the correct keywords for creating trending content to syndicating the content for maximum exposure. So here’s a list of content marketing tools that will help you as well in jumpstarting your inbound efforts.
The ultimate list of content marketing tools
Content discovery tools
To jumpstart your content marketing efforts, you need a few tools to discover what is trending in your target audience.
Alright, I started using Flipboard a lot later than most marketers. But the platform curates stories and news across various topics ‘as of today’. It’s a good channel to see what is trending and what people are interacting with the most. I would say it is a good place to get new ideas for writing content that works!
A content research tool used by marketers across the world, Buzzsumo has literally been a part of my life for a very long time. It helps you analyze top social media posts, blogs and also the number of links the post has gotten from different channels after being syndicated. Simply put, you’ll know what’s trending, which channel it is popular on and where it is getting the maximum traction from.
3. Quora and Reddit
The best way to create content that actually works is understanding what people are really looking for. That is why you need to dive deep into the communities and conversations that your target audience is having. Quora and Reddit have been my favorites so far. But there are various Facebook and LinkedIn groups as well that you can join to discover the pressing questions of your audience.
Recommended by top marketers across both B2B and B2C industries, Alltop basically indexes content from a variety of publications. It then categorizes them under topics like work, health, culture, interests, tech, sports, people and others, placing top performing content at the top of the list.
DrumUp is a social media tool that curates interesting posts that your fans and possible partners are more likely to interact with. You can curate relevant content for your daily reads or getting more ideas for your content marketing strategy, by setting up the keywords you want to follow and RSS feeds. This is one of the content marketing tools that also help you identify the hashtags and mentions you can use on different channels, to increase the visibility of your content.
I know there are a lot of people out there who believe that Twitter is just a place for ranting. But hey, if you follow the right hashtags and the right people, it can actually serve as a pretty good channel to discover great content and have interesting conversations with those in the industry.
Zest is a marketing content stream that only accepts the best of posts to be shared by the members on their platform. Since it is difficult to crack into, the content is already vetted for the quality and value it brings to the other members on the platform. Honestly, it has become one of my favorites for discovering the freshest of content and also those that people are really liking – from the number of saves and clicks that the submission is getting.
Keyword research tools
I firmly believe that every content you create should help you in one way or the other in ranking on search engines. Hence, getting the keywords in place is important.
8. Google Adwords: Keyword Planner
When the first thing you want your business to do, is rank on Google, then why not focus on how people are searching for product/services similar to yours? All you need to do while using the Keyword Planner is enter the keywords/ phrases you want to rank for and then pick out a set of high volume, medium volume and low volume keywords for your calendar. You can work on shortlisting after!
A long tail keyword research tool, KWFinder shows you search trends, volume, CPC and the level of difficulty to rank in results. If you want to dig deeper, you can click on a keyword to see what domains are targeting it, the backlinks of the page, social shares, and the traffic it is getting from search results. If you ask me, I think this tool needs to find a place in your kitty for regular use – for not just content marketing, but also your paid ad campaigns on search.
Another one of the popular content marketing tools, SEMrush is used by marketers to conduct in-depth keyword research. Right from information on keywords you should be targeting, CPC, keyword volume, search trends, number of results and the ad copies being used in current campaigns. You can even find related keywords and phrase matches, and conduct a competitive analysis to get ahead in your industry with a better content marketing strategy.
11. Keyword Tool
If you choose Google Adwords to research keywords, I recommend you choose the Keyword Tool to complement your efforts. It makes use of Google Autocomplete data to create its own database of long-tail keyword suggestions. It is like the starting point of keyword data mining, helping you list down the right set of keywords for various content buckets that your strategy includes.
12. Moz’s Keyword Explorer
Moz is known to be a search engine expert and the Keyword Explorer can actually be called an extension of it. The tool adds an extra dimension to your keyword research, by offering keyword opportunities, ranking your keywords based on importance and the potential traffic you can garner from search results by combining all the keyword metrics to help you prioritize.
Content organization tools
When you are getting started with content marketing, it can get pretty much out of hand. You can be all over the place if you’re not organized. That’s why it is important to use a smart productivity tool to declutter your work.
A free tool for organizing everything from content ideas to media files, to even saving important credentials, Trello has been a part of my work life for more than 6 years now. It helps me keep everything I am working on streamlined. I can create separate boards for different projects or purposes, break down the content strategy into separate cards and even create a process to follow my progress on the strategy. Oh, and team collaboration is always a breeze!
14. Google Drive
I don’t know about you, but working remotely, I need to make use of content marketing tools that enable easy collaboration. Google Drive is just like your regular folder – just online. It makes organizing and sharing of documents, pdf, excel sheets, etc very easy. In fact, you and the team can even drop comments or assign tasks on these documents for quick resolves.
15. Google Calendar
A content marketing calendar can be hard to keep up with – especially when you’re pulled into executing other aspects of marketing for your organization. Google Calendar is an effective way to organize and collaborate on your editorial calendar, and if I may say, stay on track as well!
I am big on Google-ing. I constantly like to search on topics that interest me or will help me grow and there are times when I can’t read up something completely because I need to work on something else. But why lose this great piece of content that actually can give you more ideas for your content marketing efforts? Pocket helps me save videos, articles and other resources from different sites, to check out later. The app makes it even better because I can do all this on the go!
A multi-use organizational platform, I have seen a lot of professionals use Evernote to remember things – professional and personal. It is another way of maintaining a checklist or listing down your content ideas and ensuring you don’t lose them in the process.
One of the nifty content marketing tools I recently discovered is Wunderlist. The tool and its app, helps you create well organized and powerful lists that outline your content marketing strategy. You can save all the content ideas from your desktop or on the go, to make sure you’re not missing out on an idea that can bring your business growth.
To make your content marketing efforts, you need to keep a check on the time you’re allocating to each task. A successful content marketing strategy follows the 20-80 rule, where you focus 20% on creating good content and 80% on distributing it to get maximum exposure. Harvest is a time tracking tool that can help you schedule tasks and make better decisions for your business.
The best way to boost your content marketing efforts is to optimize your productivity. That’s why you need to put the internet to work by creating ‘custom recipes’ using various web applications and platforms, by making them work together. IFTTT helps you do exactly that!
Content creation tools
21. Google Docs
As I said, I am a big fan of the Google suite. I use it for practically everything. Right from creating a rough structure to writing out the first draft of a content piece, I prefer doing it all on Google Docs. It makes it easy to share with your team, get their feedback on different sections of the content and resolve the feedback, making your content better in no time.
You want to make your content more appealing and shareable – in short, make it work for your business? Add plenty of visuals to it. Now if you’re someone like me, you probably struggle with creating social media posts or infographics. That’s why I swear by Canva here. The ready to use and editable templates, design elements and easy customizations, make it really easy for me to create visual content.
I personally love it when the content is interactive and gifs are my absolute favorite for exactly this reason. Giphy has a huge collection of gifs across all themes and it has been my go-to source whenever I want to add something interesting to boring or lengthy content pieces that I have written. The gifs are easy to share and embed too.
Working across different content management systems, one thing that I have realized is that you really need to compress your images a bit to optimize your site speed and hence your content performance. That’s why I love TinyPNG. Just drag or upload the image you want to compress and use, and it is done!
An online image resizing tool, ResizeImage helps you edit images to the right dimensions for publishing. This is important for when you’re following a certain theme in blogs, ebooks and PDF’s.
26. Embedded Tweets
To make your content work, you need to make it look more reliable. Embedded Tweets is a smart tool that helps you add live tweets to your content online. Embedded tweets make the content more interactive and enable readers to easily follow the author, reply or interact with the content you’re referring to in the content piece.
I love Hemingway to create content that is easy on the eyes of the reader. The tool helps you write in a bold and clear manner. It highlights lengthy and complex sentences and points out the common errors, helping you make the content more consumable.
Okay, I’m not a grammar nazi but I do like content that doesn’t defy all rules. While keeping a conversational tone is important, it is equally important to be grammatically sound – keeping up both can be pretty tough. That is why I like using Grammarly. Their browser extension makes it all easier – emails, Google Docs, and even my blog, it just points out what is wrong and helps me fix it in no time.
Content sharing tools
If you have read my previous posts, you probably already know why I swear by Buffer. It helps me share content easily across various social platforms and I can keep the posts scheduled for days to make it all easy. After using plenty of other scheduling tools, I feel the interface of Buffer is the simplest – URL shortening, ability to choose images and upload new ones, analytics and more.
30. Meet Edgar
This one is pretty much similar to Buffer, but with a key difference. On this tool, the user creates a library of content they want to share on various social networks. Then they create a schedule for sharing and Meet Edgar simply automates the sharing. Simply put, it is one of the ‘set it and forget it’ content marketing tools that are great for time-saving!
An advanced content engine, Scoop.it monitors global sources to find and curate relevant third party content. With this content curation tool, you can boost credibility with readers and build brand awareness. It also helps you establish thought leadership and strengthen your network.
Previously known as StumbleUpon, Mix.com is a great platform for content sharing and content curation. You can further add relevant tags to the URLs you add to the platform, to help others in the industry also discover your content.
Alright, I am an inbound marketer and I prefer working on driving in organic traction before going for paid ad campaigns. But once you’re done distributing your content on all possible channels where your target audience is, it is time to boost your content marketing efforts with advertisements. These include social media and search ads.
Content automation tools
HubSpot is an integrated inbound marketing system. The smart automation tool helps you create personalized landing pages, emails and more for digital content campaigns. But what I love about HubSpot, is the extensive knowledge base around content marketing.
An automation tool that integrates email, social media, content, offline and online events and more, Marketo is known to help optimize marketing and sales efforts by prioritizing prospects based on their demographics and behavior. It also helps you measure the performance of your content marketing campaigns.
Like I mentioned at the beginning of this post, content marketing results in businesses getting more leads. Pardot is a smart lead management tool that lets marketers and salespeople move prospects through the sales funnel in an optimized manner. It also enables you to create automated campaigns that are highly targeted, based on your audience’s activity.
Content marketing is a lot about sending the right message at the right time. Customer.io lets you do exactly that. The rich segmentation of your leads and the existing user base, helps you personalize your content marketing efforts for better results.
Content analytics tools
39. Google Analytics
Google Analytics is definitely the go-to for everyone when it comes to numbers. You can customize the reports, measure the impact of your social media efforts, the traffic you’re driving from mobile devices, the conversion rates and more. You can further customize your analytics as per your business goals.
Don’t just measure page views. With Mixpanel, you can measure user actions such as searches and shares of content, to gain greater insights into user behavior. The more you know about how your users are reaching your content, the better you’re able to optimize your content marketing strategy.
Webtrends offers tools for measuring your digital campaigns. It offers analytic intelligence including customer intelligence and smart behavioral segmentation, helping your target and score your target segment better. The actionable insights help you optimize your content marketing efforts for better results.
To be successful at content marketing, you need to be able to look into the entire customer journey. Right from the point of when, where and how they discover your business, to their first interaction and, if and when they convert into your customer – mapping your customer journey from end to end, Woopra will help you drive your content marketing efforts backed by data.
Simplereach is one of my personal favorites. It helps me collect real-time data to track the impact of all the digital content published for a project. It offers actionable insights, that help me further plan the content calendar based on what direction the users are more likely to take.
The reason why I absolutely love SumAll is that it measures your social channels, websites, and any other digital assets. It provides you with a comprehensive look at the success of all the content marketing efforts you have made so far.
45. Rival IQ
Rival IQ is one of the content marketing tools you need to stay ahead of your competition. The tool helps you optimize your content marketing efforts and promotions by reporting on past and competitor performance.
Getting to work
Content marketing is not a campaign. To make it work for your business, you need to be consistent with your content marketing efforts.
I have worked and am working with multiple startups. It means I need to switch between various content marketing campaigns from time to time, and the tasks under each strategy are never-ending. That’s why I keep these content marketing tools at hand to ensure I remain on track.
No, I am not saying they are going to do all the hard work for you. But they are definitely going to make you more productive and focus on running content marketing campaigns that aid to your growth.
While these are some of my (current) favorites, there are plenty of other tools in the market that you could probe. What you choose, depends on how comfortable you are using the product and if you have the resources for it.
I am still looking for more tools to add to my toolkit. Is there any tool out there that has previously helped you optimize your content marketing efforts? Would love to hear your recommendations!