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From the strategy, to the execution, to the first positive results; the journey is not always smooth and the process is often arduous. Content marketing strategies are no different. Content marketing is no sprint, but a marathon that goes from the strategic focus, the setting of goals, research, planning, production, up to the distribution, to the measuring of overall success.
In order to make the entire process easier and more efficient, most marketers make use of tools and templates. Here, we compile a list of the top content marketing tools.
- Research tools
- Content marketing tools for planning and organization
- Tools for content production
- Spreading content
- Content marketing software: analysis and monitoring
The internet is full of valuable information and fascinating stories. So how do you find relevant items that will interest and intrigue potential customers? Content marketers are always searching for new subjects, interesting questions, and potential problems to create high-quality content. There are several tools out there that can help with inspiration, ideas, and keywords.
Together with the Keyword Planner, Google AdWords is the classic choice when it comes to search engine optimization tools. Above all, the keyword analysis option is very handy for researching themes and subjects. Keyword Planner helps to identify relevant search terms, as well as other auxiliary words and terms that consumers also use in combination with these main keywords.
There are also other handy Google tools which make searching for subjects, and in turn marketers’ jobs, that little bit easier. Google Trends and Google Suggest provide brief overviews of the popularity of a variety of subjects and issues, as well as further relevant search terms. A summary of the most important Google tools can be found in our digital guide.
Feedly serves as a RSS reader, primarily used for managing the RSS feed of different blogs and news portals, which makes it a valuable source for content ideas. As a marketer, Feedly gives you the option to design a personalized news desk; one that will then provide interesting and relevant content heavily based around the content marketing strategy. Feedly is also available as an app for iOS and Android.
Buzzsumo is a search engine for the social web. This particular tool helps marketers find subjects and buzzwords that have and are gaining in popularity across social media – for example through lots of likes and shares on Facebook. As a marketer, you can quickly find out whether a topic is currently being discussed across social media. It is possible to vary your search between different formats, like texts, graphics, videos, and interviews. Buzzsumo also gives you the opportunity to find influential individuals, so-called influencers, and with that, also the potential of finding possible brand ambassadors for your content. If you want to find out more about influencer marketing you can do so here.
Visual.ly is a community platform for data visualization and infographics. On this site, users create their own charts, diagrams and infographics, or they search ideas for graphics, videos, and other forms of content. In order to help with the search for relevant content, the tool has a filter for various categories and ‘trending’ topics. There’s also the option of using Infogr.am, an alternative infographic and chart maker.
Content marketing tools for planning and organization
At the very heart of a content marketing strategy is content planning; a mammoth task that has also been covered extensively in our digital guide. There are many aspects of planning and organization which need to come together. Ideas are brainstormed and collected, a strategy is decided on, and with that, a concrete editorial plan is brought together. In order to make sure you maintain an overview of these tasks, it is highly recommended that you make use of a corresponding planning and organization tool.
Trello is an example of a standard project management tool and content marketing software that is ideally suited for organization and planning. Alongside the planning and assignment of individual tasks, Trello users can also record concrete article ideas and then refer them to a fellow team member. The program also features a very handy calendar display, which can be easily turned into an editorial calendar.
Described by its own creators as being a “virtual memory”, Evernote is a tool that helps with the organization and filing of to-do lists, documents, and notes. As early as the research and planning phase, it makes sense to record all notes and files, as they could prove to be relevant later for the creation and production of content. Another feature is the possibility of saving content from RSS feeds and other sources, which may later be relevant to certain articles. One especially handy feature is the team function, which makes it possible to share notes and comments with colleagues and stimulate the exchange of ideas.
Pocket is a bookmarking service and a favorite among editors, writers, and bloggers. It allows for the saving of interesting and relevant articles, which you may want to access and go back to later. Articles and content encountered during research can be saved and sorted under keywords. Later, during the content production phase, individual articles and pages can then be found very easily. The program can be accessed both on desktop and via the smart phone app.
Nowadays known as Google Docs, Google Spreadsheetsis a free online service for the creation and organization of documents. Over the last few years it has become a fixture of the online world and office communication, and it is hard to imagine a world without it. In terms of content marketing, it acts as the perfect platform for collecting and sharing ideas, and if needed, assigning them to different authors.
Tools for content production
Just as important as the research is also the professional execution of the stated subject ideas. Content should not only be relevant and engaging to the user, it should also be of the highest quality production-wise. There are various tools and services that can help with content production.
Grammarly is an automated proofreader that checks for errors relating to spelling, grammar, and punctuation. The tool is able to check for over 250 types of these errors, and also offers the possibility to enhance vocabulary and suggest citations. Potential grammatical, spelling, and language issues within a text are highlighted by the tool, which then also offers an explanation behind this highlighting, allowing the writer to make an informed decision on whether and how the issue should be corrected. Texts can be copied and pasted into the online text editor. There is also the option of downloading the browser extension, which is compatible with Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. The basic version of the editor is available for free, with the additional possibility of paying for a premium version.
Internet Marketing Ninjas
When it comes to producing content that is helpful with regards to SEO, the on-page optimization tool InternetMarketingNinjas allows you to analyze internal links, Meta information, and overall page content. The free tool provides information on the likes of metadata, keyword density, link accounting, headers, and source codes. It also displays the number of keywords used in a text, both within the anchor texts of internal and external links. All of this allows for keyword optimization.
The browser application LanguageTool checks texts for correct spelling and grammar. While you may think that your own text editor already does this, it won’t spot as many as this tool does, which also gives you the option of checking texts in over 20 languages. Anyone using open source programs like OpenOffice or LibreOffice, simply needs to integrate the tool via a plug in.
Forest and WriteBox
While the three tools outlined above are there to improve the quality of texts, these two aim to help both editors and writers to work more efficiently and in a more concentrated manner.
Focused work and avoiding distractions in order to increase output and quality; for many content producers this is a lot easier said than done. With the browser app Forest you can help strengthen both self-discipline and self-motivation, in that you block access to websites that are seen as classic ‘time guzzlers’, like Facebook and Twitter, for an established period of time.
Writebox is a tool for content production, which allows you to really detach yourself from all imaginable distractions – even the interface of your writing program. The tool allows you to write texts on a completely white page, without any sort of interface. This is particularly useful for blog post, which usually don’t require any of the additional features offered by the respective text editors, and allows the author to focus on the actual writing.
A lot of work, time, and money goes into coming up with ideas, coordinating and producing content. And now it is time to bring this content to the people. Depending on the focus and communication strategy, things like blog posts, videos, etc. can be used to find the way into different social media channels. Or they can be shared in the form of e-mail campaigns or via advertising networks. Here, we provide any overview of several different tools.
Buffer and Hootsuite
Buffer helps to play and display content across all important social media channels: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and in the fee-based version, also Pinterest. Through specific time scheduling and automatic posting, the tool makes it possible to plan the distribution of content in advance. The free version allows for the automatic scheduling and publishing of up to ten posts. By analyzing user engagement, the tool also identifies the ideal time for publication. However, direct interaction with fans and followers is not possible.
Hootsuite is another extensive social media tool suitable for the distribution of content. The program supports Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Foursquare, WordPress, Mixi, as well as others. Each account can integrate a maximum of five social networks. In terms of scheduled posting, Hootsuite offers a similar range of functions as Buffer. And in addition, you also have the possibility of interacting with users over the various channels, respond directly to comments via the tool, and react to visitors’ votes.
Outbrain is a huge content discovery platform; one of the largest in the world, and is the right choice for anyone looking to bring a lot of traffic to their content via third party websites. For a fee, you can find your content on sites like CNN, Slate, or US Weekly. The content delivery platform works with some of the largest online publishers, covering a wide range of topics, like sports, entertainment, finance, health, and technology. Information regarding pricing is not immediately available though.
Creating and sharing the content for presentations is the central function of the platform SlideShare. The tool provides the ideal opportunity, particularly in B2B, to prepare content that is tailored specifically to your target groups while demonstrating your own expertise.
MailChimp, Newsletter2Go and co.
Anyone who places particular emphasis on e-mail marketing is naturally going to make use of a corresponding newsletter tool for distributing content. Most tools facilitate the quick and uncomplicated sharing of content with followers. We discussed the best software solutions in a previous article.
Further tools relating to the topic of sharing content as well as helpful tips on how to successfully market your content and maximize its reach and visibility can be found in another section of our digital guide on content marketing.
Content marketing software: analysis and monitoring
In the world of marketing, nothing works without measuring your success. For that reason, analysis and monitoring are very highly rated and valued. This means that it is no real surprise that there is a big market for tools that are meant to help measure the success of content marketing, keeping an overview of all relevant figures and statistics. Some of the top content marketing tools include:
- Google Analytics is one of the best-known analytics tools. The basic version is available for free and can be integrated into nearly every website and blog. The tool allows for the analysis of the most important figures and channels through which visitors came to the site
- Piwik is an open source analysis platform and a good alternative to Google Analytics, particularly in the area of data protection
- Socialbakers provides exact analysis and performance measurement. By allowing you to examine the performance of individual links, the tool makes it possible to constantly update and optimize your sharing strategy.
- Talkwalker offers comprehensive analysis opportunities of everything that happens on your website, while also showing the user path to your site
- Chartbeat is another analysis tool, which helps marketers better understand their website’s activity as well as connected social media channels
More information can be found in our extensive guide on the topic of measuring performance in content marketing.