Content marketing is one of the most effective strategies for growing your business. It generates three times as many leads as outbound marketing per dollar spent and costs half as much.
The problem is that many businesses are failing to harness the power of content marketing.
According to the Content Marketing Institute, only 30 percent of B2B marketers say that they are actually effective at content marketing.
All of this is to say that there is a lot of room for improvement when it comes to businesses’ content marketing efforts. The right tools, however, can allow businesses to create higher-quality content that serves its purpose: to get seen and to stimulate interest.
Ultimately, there are thousands of content marketing tools to choose from. The reality is that not all are created equal.
This blog post is a guide on how to improve your content marketing efforts — and make the process more seamless — by using some of the best, most essential tools available in the industry today.
These are the tools that will see you through the entire content creation process.
Idea Development Tools
One of the more difficult aspects of producing content is coming up with relevant ideas. Here are three essential tools to use during this phase.
We’re going back to basics with this one, but Google Adwords Keyword Planner is an essential tool for every content marketer. It allows you to get keyword ideas and to determine an estimate as to how many people are searching for those keywords.
All you need to do is to enter a topic idea and the tool will generate hundreds of suggested keyword phrases. Next, download these phrases into a spreadsheet and then develop content ideas.
Feedly is the equivalent of the past-departed Google Reader. It is essentially a blog aggregator. It allows you to keep a tight reign on all the latest trends in your industry by allowing you to follow all of those blogs in one single place.
It also tells you which topics are trending. This is a great way to get ideas for potential posts. Ask yourself, what can I do differently? What gaps can I fill? What spin can I put on it? Here’s how to blog like a pro.
Price: Starting at $99/Month
This tool allows you to locate the best-performing articles for a given keyword/competitor.
There are times when you know what topic you want to cover. At the same time, you need to know what content is already out there on that topic so that you can do it better.
When it comes to the best content marketing tools, BuzzSumo always makes the list for this very reason. It allows you to determine the top content based on any topic.
This is a very valuable function because it allows you to strategically create even better content than what currently exists.
It is also great from a content curation and guest post perspective.
BuzzSumo is also important for SEO, particularly when it comes to backlinks.
For example, a powerful way of getting backlinks — and an underground one at that — is to locate people around the web who mentioned you but forgot to link to you (this is more common than what you think). BuzzSumo takes care of this for you.
You can see who mentioned you in the past and set up alerts for the future.
How To: All you need to do to set up alerts is go to the Monitoring Tab.
Once you have developed an idea and written the post, it is important to ensure that the content is written well. The purpose of creating content is to establish yourself as an industry leader, but this can’t be done if your content is difficult to read or has grammar mistakes.
Both detract from the quality of your piece. As such, two writing tools are absolutely necessary for every content marketer are as follows:
Price: Free and Premium versions available (starting at $29.95/month)
First and foremost, every piece of content needs to be free of spelling errors, grammatical mistakes, punctuation errors and general typos (such as when you type a word twice).
You can use the stand-alone app, or you can install the Chrome or Firefox plugin from your desktop. The latter will highlight changes whether you’re typing an email or you copied and pasted a blog post into WordPress.
You can now also download Grammarly within Microsoft Word.
You can even change the settings on Grammarly to edit based on the kind of content you’re writing if you upgrade to the premium version.
Price: Free and Premium versions available (starting at $69)
Every content marketer uses the Yoast SEO WordPress plugin. Not only does it cover everything you would want from an SEO perspective, such as keyword optimization and internal link suggestions, but it is also great for content analysis — that is, determining the readability of a given article.
It will highlight any issues with sentence or paragraph length, ensure that your article has enough transition words, will detect the use of the passive voice and determine the post’s Flesch reading ease, all of which will be indicated by the green button.
From an SEO perspective, use the Page Analysis tab to see how to optimize your keywords and all other aspects of on-page SEO, like meta tags and outbound links.
Images are another essential component of any piece of content. They serve to break up a long piece of text and make it more interactive — and, in general, more Internet-friendly. Unfortunately, not every business is equipped to hire a designer for graphics or infographics.
Here are the best tools to use instead:
Price: Free and paid versions available (starting at $12.95 per month)
Canva provides an endless number of customizable templates for an equally endless list of possible content types, such as infographics, Facebook ads, e-book covers, email headers, website headers, Twitter headers and much, much more.
Price: Starts at $15/month
Rounding out our selection of must-have content marketing tools is Co-Schedule. This piece of software checks many different boxes.
First of all, it is the leading marketing calendar to keep your content on track. But it’s also useful for actually promoting your piece, allowing you to schedule posts and promote your content in an automated fashion.
CoSchedule even has a headline analyzer.
Price: Free, paid and pay-as-you-go versions available
Email marketing is one of the most effective forms of content marketing and therefore the best tool to accomplish that job couldn’t be left off this list.
Whether you are selling a product or sharing news, MailChimp allows you to create a beautiful email campaign and customize it how you want.
MailChimp also automates much of your email marketing, from welcoming new users to following up with your customers, all of which is essential to driving conversions. It also allows you to analyze your email marketing data so you can improve your marketing as necessary.
Content marketing doesn’t end once you hit publish. It is also imperative to monitor how your content (and your website) is performing. From a content marketing perspective, Google Analytics is one of the best tools.
It can tell you which content is performing the best (I.e., what your readers want to see so that you can strategically create more of it — you can see this through Top Pages), determine what users are specifically searching for, determine how well your conversions are going and much, much more.
The Bottom Line
Take your content marketing to the next level with these tools. These content marketing tools are the best in the industry and accomplish every important content marketing-related task while allowing you to streamline operations all at the same time.