Content marketing is about so much more than simply writing posts and articles.
To be truly effective in your content marketing, you must produce content which will encourage your audience to engage with you, build strong relationships with them, and ultimately convert users to customers.
More and more companies are using content marketing, including the world’s biggest brands. This means that in order to stand out from the crowd it is essential to understand your audience and be precise in producing the content they are looking for.
Thankfully, there are many content marketing tools which can support you in different aspects of your content marketing strategy from Social Media, to planning, to design.
In this guide, we will look at the best content marketing tools to support you to create and distribute content that will grow your business in 2018.
Why Use Content Marketing Tools?
Content marketing is an incredibly effective way for both B2C and B2B companies to build their brand and grow their customer base. Content marketing is relatively simple, as well as being much cheaper than traditional marketing strategies. However, once you begin to develop your content strategy, you will discover the amazing amount of opportunities presented by this type of marketing.
Content marketing tools are critical in order to take full advantage of the opportunities available to you through content marketing, as well as staying competitive with other businesses which execute content well.
With content marketing rapidly becoming one of the key types of marketing used by companies today, new tools, apps and software are being developed all the time to support businesses to create and publish excellent content which is optimally designed for maximum user engagement.
The tools discussed on this guide will not only help you to produce better content, but they will also let you learn more about your audience, make your content marketing efforts more efficient, and help your team to better coordinate when it comes to content marketing.
For a comprehensive introduction to content marketing techniques and platforms, see this guide.
What Are The Essential Content Marketing Tools?
Content Marketing Tools For SEO
SEMRush is a great tool which lets you see how much web traffic your competitors are getting and stack that up against the keywords for which they are ranking on search engines. Input your competitor’s site into SEMRush and it will show you the top 10 organic keywords which are directing traffic to the site, as well as backlinks and top referring domains. Having this information is invaluable in helping you work out how to drive more traffic to your site.
You need to sign up for an account to use SEMRush, but it is free to do so.
Ahrefs is a go-to tool for SEO professionals because of its comprehensive features for SEO support and analysis. Like SEMrush, Ahrefs can analyse your competitors’ websites to see which keywords they are ranking for, allowing you to be more competitive in your search engine rankings. It also has the largest database of backlinks of any SEO tool, allowing it to show you which content in your niche currently has the most backlinks. Additional features include a thorough site audit tool which will identify areas of your site where improvement is needed for better SEO.
Ahrefs has plans ranging from $99 to $999 per month, with discounts if you pay for the whole year upfront.
Content Marketing Tools For Analytics and Planning
Analysing the performance of your content is critical in order to gain insights into what is working, what isn’t working and what you should do to improve it. Google Analytics is an incredibly useful tool with a wide range of features. When it comes to content marketing, it can analyse and report back on information such as which of your pages get the most traffic, what users search for within your site, which of your blog posts receive the most shares and the geographical location of your users.
Having this kind of information can be invaluable for developing successful, popular content which will not only grow your audience but convert users into sales leads and revenue. Google Analytics’ basic version (which is sufficient for most small to medium businesses) is free to use.
Mintent is a tool designed to help you create a content calendar, in order to plan and organise your content. A formal content calendar or plan is a key part of developing a successful content strategy. Mintent will help you plan out your content schedule, and thus see if you have any gap, or should be focussing more on certain themes or types of content, as well as letting you track campaigns and content assets. It also has good tagging and filtering options, allowing you to search your content based on factors such as campaign, theme or author.
Mintent’s base version is free, with premium versions available at a subscription cost.
CoSchedule is another tool which lets you plan and organise your content. This tool arranges your content into a calendar letting you easily view scheduled posts across all channels in one place. It is easy to use and can be integrated with WordPress, allowing you to easily plan blogs and web content for your WordPress site. It also has features which will help you delegate tasks to team members and manage workflow.
CoSchedule is available through a few different plans, which range from $15 to $60 a month depending on the features you need.
When it comes to content marketing, you might not immediately think of project management. However, given the complexity and importance of a great content management strategy, chances are your company has a team of people involved in the process. That’s where using a tool like Trello is so important. Trello helps you manage projects, tasks and deadlines, as well as who is responsible for them. You can create cards for projects, checklists for the tasks involved in each project, and have team members mark them as complete once done. This free online tool also makes collaboration between team members easy by allowing them to tag each other and leave notes or messages under different projects and tasks.
Content Marketing Tools For Social Media
Social Media is the most common type of content marketing used by business and an essential part of any marketing strategy. Hootsuite helps you to schedule your Social Media posts, letting you schedule posts ahead across multiple platforms, according to the peak engagement times of your audience. This not only means you can optimise your Social Media by posting at peak times without needing to be online, but you can also schedule batches of posts in advance, which is much more efficient, freeing you up to work on other important projects.
Hootsuite is a “freemium” tool, coming in free and paid premium options. Hootsuite Pro starts at $19/month and includes extra features such as multiple profiles, message scheduling and analytics.
BuzzSumo is a fantastic tool which will help you improve your Social Media strategy by creating more shareable content. This tool will show you the Social Media content of any given Social Media channel which is currently getting the most shares, helping you work out how to create content that your users will engage with.
To get the most out of BuzzSumo you should use it to analyse your own channels, to see what has performed the best in the past, and your competitors’ channels, to see the type of content which is giving them the most engagement.
Buzzsumo has free as well as subscription options, with free trials available for the latter.
Buffer is another tool which lets you schedule social media content across various platforms, specifically Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Buffer’s strength is its simplicity: although it does not have as many features as HootSuite and many other Social Media scheduling tools, this makes it lightweight and easy to navigate.
It is available in free “individual” and paid “awesome” versions, the latter costing $10 a month to subscribe. As the free version only allows one social media profile per platform and 10 scheduled posts per month, most businesses will likely need to subscribe to the paid service.
Content Marketing Tools For Email Marketing
Email marketing is one of the key components of any content marketing strategy, and great tools are essential in order to effectively use emails to engage with and convert your audience. MailChimp is undoubtedly the most popular and widespread email marketing tool today, and it is easy to see why: it is free (for most), packed with features and easy to use. MailChimp’s core features allow you to build a mailing list, create and send template or custom emails, and track opening and click-through rates. It also has many more tools and features, which do everything from letting you create landing pages to tracking unsubscribe rates.
The free version of MailChimp has a cap on a certain number of subscribers and emails sent, and from there you can sign up to a pro plan from $209/year, or “pay as go” from $30 per campaign.
Convert Pro is a WordPress plugin designed to help you build your mailing list and increase rates of conversion, turning your site visitors into customers. It has a pretty comprehensive list of tools and features, from integration with email marketing software to A/B testing of calls to action and segmenting users. In essence, however, it creates popups and opt-in forms to help businesses convert users and/or gather their data.
Convert Pro has two pricing options available: an annual licence at $99 or a lifetime licence for $399, both of which cover all of the plugin’s features, updates and support for the length of the licence period.
Content Marketing Tools For Design and Editing
Canva is a free, simple design tool which lets you design graphics for your blog posts, social media and emails – even if you do not have any specific design skills! Having engaging graphics make your social media posts stand out, increase the readability of your blog posts and emails, and will encourage your users to click, share and generally interact with your content. This free online app is incredibly easy to use, with countless pre-designed templates and elements meaning you can easily make blog banners, Facebook squares, email headers, Instagram graphics, and much more. However, all of the designs are completely customisable, so you are not limited to staying within the template parameters.
The basic version (which will be sufficient for the majority of content creators) is completely free, with premium subscription options available, as well as the option to purchase certain design elements one at a time.
A good content marketing strategy means producing high quality content. This means making sure that your content is free from spelling and grammar mistakes, as well as typos and careless errors. Manual checking and proof-reading is of course a must, but Grammarly will also go a long way in helping you pick up errors and mistakes which regular spell checkers miss. This free plugin can be downloaded onto your web browser and will then identify and highlight any mistakes in your WordPress copy, Social Media posts, or on any other webpages.
Content Marketing Tools For Sales and Marketing
Sales funnels are critical because they allow you to convert your online presence into actual sales, revenue and profit. In brief, a sales funnel is the journey a customer takes from when they become aware of your business to when they make the final decision to make a purchase. Whatever the goals and objectives of your content marketing strategy, chances are they will include driving sales in one way or another. Clickfunnels lets you set up a sales funnel with easy to use templates. It can also set up funnels to persuade users to sign up as members, and additional features include email integrations and A/B testing.
Pricing starts from $97 per month, with the option for a 14-day free trial.
Conclusion: Content Marketing Tools Help You Grow Your Business
If you are not using some of the many great tools available to help you execute your content marketing strategy, you are missing out.
There are some fantastic tools available in 2018 which can help you analyse your content’s performance, plan out content posts and distribution, make it more SEO-friendly and visually appealing, and much more.
Taking advantage of some or all of these tools will allow you to produce content that will build your brand, grow your audience, and ultimately grow your business through more sales and greater revenue.