All of the Content Marketing Tools You Need in 2017 to Establish Your Authority
No one tool is going to magically make mediocre content great, earn thousands of followers or clients. It’s easy to think that the newest, greatest software or tool will do all the work for you.
But that’s just not the case. Tools can help optimize, but they’re not going to put in the effort to create the quality content for you.
The truth of the matter is, the only tool you actually need to develop great content is a place to blog. Whether it’s written, audio, or video you simply need a platform on which you can publish online.
If you’re just starting out, there’s plenty of places to do that for free.
If audio or video are your things, iTunes & YouTube are mainstays that will cost you nothing to begin building your audience.
Take Seth Godin’s blog for example. There have literally been hundreds of platforms that have come and gone, yet Seth doesn’t jump from one to another. He’s found something that works for him and he focuses on his writing. Consistent, quality content, every single day.
You just have to start where you are and keep going.
As a business, your website needs to be clean & professional to be a leader in your industry.
The free platforms can get you started, especially for personal branding, but they’re not your business website long term.
Whether you’re blogging on Medium or doing Facebook Live, you’re building your audience on other people’s platforms, ones that you don’t control.
They’re fantastic to spread the word and help gain traction with the network effects. But, what happens when they change things on you, when they make you pay for reach (ahem, Facebook) or simply disappear forever? (see MySpace, Vine and many, many others)
The whole point of creating content is to build awareness and convert prospects into clients. You need to bring them back to your website.
On your website you can provide resources in exchange for their email address, have purchase and consultation options or you can pixel your site to re-market to them with your offers & content.
You can only do that on a site that you control.
Start your business off on the right foot, first impressions can have a huge impact.
Once your site can convert, it’s about Consistent, High-Quality Content to help Your Audience solve their goals.
The tools won’t do the work for you, they’ll optimize the work and effort you put into it.
Using the right content writing tools can help you do everything from understanding your audience, allowing you to create better quality content, to scaling your distribution efforts in order to get more eyeballs on the great content.
In fact, having the right content marketing tool kit can be immensely helpful when it comes to:
• Figuring out the topics and issues that are most interesting and relevant to your target audience
• Finding the content formats that are best suited to your audience
• Distributing and expanding the reach of your content
• Discovering what content strategies are more or less successful for your brand
• Seeing more engagement and conversions from your content
• Saving time (and other essential resources) while generating better content
• Growing your audience, as well as your brand’s online authority and presence
So, what are the “right” content tools? There are literally hundreds of options out there. And trying to sort through them can be a giant time suck (that will likely slow down your content and digital marketing efforts).
Here’s the latest, Annual Marketing Technology Landscape Infographic done by Chiefmartec.com just to give you an idea of all your options.
This is just the Content Tools!
It’s enough to make your head spin. The good news is that you don’t have to dive in blindly!
Here’s the essential Digital Authority Content Toolkit, listing all the tools you need to create compelling, quality content for your business. The tools you actually need to use to scale and improve your content marketing in 2017 and none of the fluff that you don’t.
The Digital Authority Content Toolkit is categorized based on the different aspects or stages of content marketing — from content research and creation to distribution and analysis.
We’ve included all the tools you need to build a strong foundation for your content marketing, whether you’re just starting out or you’re a more seasoned content marketer.
Content Research Tools
Here are a set of dynamic content tools that you can use in the initial stages of content creation. These tools can reveal the specific stories and subjects that your target audience is focused on (at any given time). They can also reveal how your target audience is looking for those stories (so you can position your content to be found by more of your target audience).
Google’s free search tool is crucial for evaluating how any one or list of keywords performs. This tool can help you hone in on the best keyword phrases to target in your content. That, in turn, can help you shape your content around the topics and specific phrases your audience is most often searching for.
Beyond the Keyword Planner itself is a simple trick using Google Suggest.
Try typing in a phrase you think your audience would be searching for into google and don’t press enter… see what happens.
The next quick hack to get additional keywords or potential search terms your audience is using is simply to scroll down on your Google search.
I know you’ve seen it before because we rarely even go to page number two of a google search. See what the related search terms your potential audience is using.
One of the best tools for ideas, even if you only use the free version with limited searches. It allows you to find out what blog posts, infographics, ebooks etc. have had the most social media shares over a given timeframe.
This is invaluable when you’re trying to create quality content.
You are literally able to find out exactly what posts are the most popular in your niche and be able to create your own content that is above and beyond that.
BuzzSumo can also give you information about the primary content influencers or websites for various topics (and do a lot of other stuff — definitely worth it).
AnswerThePublic.com is phenomenal when it comes to providing content ideas and insight about exactly what people are searching for around your topic in Google or YouTube.
Intended to help people create “content that’s useful, funny or inspiring,” this tool provides a visualization of the data. This can make it far easier to dial into the questions that may apply to your brand, so you can “start answering your public better.”
If you want a quicker way to find new keywords than the more complicated Google Keyword Planner, try Ubersuggest.
The tool is super simple to use. Just go to their website and enter your keyword in the search bar. Then select a source for your search from a drop-down menu, the default of which is Web.
You can also select the language of your search, hit suggest, and wait as the form populates with related keywords. Choose and then use!
5. Keyword Tool
Another alternative to Google Keyword Planner, Keyword Tool generates 750+ suggestions for every search term you input.
You’ll get long-tail keywords (those that have four words or more) that are very specific to whatever your topic is. Very helpful when you’re targeting a particular audience.
And the best part? The tool is free, and you don’t need to have an account to use it.
Uses RSS feeds to empower you to explore and share content from your preferred sources.
This tool can enhance your content curation efforts by keeping you abreast of the latest news related to your brand or industry. And that can reveal good topics or stories to target in your content.
Easily keep an eye out for the more popular posts:
Writing & Organizational Tools
In order to craft content coming from a number of information resource, you need a system or tool to put everything in order. It’s easy to lose track of ideas since it can come from anywhere and at any time.
If you ever need a place to dump all your ideas in and you like lists, Workflowy is a great tool to use. It’s a web-based app that creates an outline for you, which can go as deep as you want. A list within a list within a list, with each bullet or item in your list working as a separate document.
Evernote is also a fantastic place to store ideas, drafts or to write. I personally like both, but generally use Evernote for more storage and prefer Workflowy when outlining and brainstorming.
Take a look at how easily in which you can create or move sentences or whole paragraphs when brainstorming or editing.
Google Documents is the online version of your word processing program. What’s great about it is you can collaborate with your team in editing or adding information on the document anytime, anywhere, and on any device.
• Paired with Dropbox, a file hosting system that offers cloud-based storage for documents, videos, images, etc., they’re mainstays in any digital marketing toolkit.
This free and simple to use web and mobile application is one of the best ways to track your team’s work. From managing projects, assigning and reassigning tasks to sharing files, Asana enables you to collaborate on work from start to finish.
• Trello – is web-based project management tool that makes work look like a lot of fun. The visual list tool allows you to organize and collaborate on anything and everything from work to travel plans.
• BaseCamp – is another online project management tool that organizes your work and internal communications in one place
• Any alternative task management systems that you prefer.
Visual Content Tools
Visual content can be just as important as written content. In fact, according to Hubspot:
• Audiences are about 4x more likely to watch a video about a product (or service) than read text about it.
• When a relevant image is paired with information published online, the average audience will remember 65% of that info 3 days later.
Now that you know why to include visual content, here are some essential tools you can use to develop, distribute and promote eye-catching visual content for your brand.
10. Adobe Photoshop
Make your content visually stunning and engaging with one of the world’s most popular imaging and photo editing software. The software allows users to crop, resize, manipulate, and correct color on digital photos for any number of use whether online or offline.
Canva is a design tool offering filters, millions of stock photos, hundreds of fonts and much more. With Canva, you can create engaging visual content for social media posts, blogs, and many other aspects of content marketing.
This online photo editor tool gives you “everything you need to make your ideas come to life.” In addition to offering graphic design tools, PicMonkey has filters, overlays, photo text tools, collage tools, and much more.
Content Distribution & Scheduling Tools
Once you’ve created great content, here are a handful of helpful content marketing tools that can help you publish, circulate and maximize the reach of your content.
Hashtagify is a powerful (and free!) research tool that allows you to figure out the best hashtags for a given topic or phrase.
By pinpointing the most popular hashtags to pair with your content. You can effectively get your content out in more spaces – expanding its reach and your audience!
Offers a dynamic editorial calendar that allows you to plan and schedule the publishing and distribution of your content and social media posts.
This tool works with a variety of platforms and channels, including (but not limited to) WordPress, Chrome, and various social media platforms.
One of the best features of CoSchedule is you can create social share templates that you can use over and over with all your blog post. Just load it and tweak it accordingly.
Buffer allows you to distribute your content across various social media channels and “schedule your posts to publish at ideal times.”
This content distribution tool can amplify each piece of content you have, empowering you to “get the most out of each post.”
A social media management tool that offers options for disseminating different content formats. This includes blogs, quotes, long-form articles, and various other types of content.
With MeetEdgar, you can distribute your content to various platforms and channels, allowing you to create “a never-ending update queue that fills and refills itself automatically.”
Content Analysis Tools
After you’ve put your content online, use these robust tools to evaluate which pieces of content are more or less engaging to your target audience.
This can help you assess which topics, formats, and platforms are best for your content (and what you should avoid doing).
In other words, with these content tools, you can continue to improve and refine your content marketing strategies and campaigns.
Allows you to “track, analyze and optimize” your content “across all campaigns, mobile and web.”
Kissmetrics delivers deeper insights regarding how users move through your content and what roadblocks may be impacting your audience retention rates. It is a powerful content analytic tool that can help you develop content that converts.
Provides insight into how your content is performing. Much more than simply an analytics tool, Contently can “manage all of your corporate content in one place.”
This can mean streamlining your approval process and optimizing every aspect of your content marketing in lesser time.
SqueezeCMM can evaluate and track your audience’s activity. It can also help you assess just how relevant and engaging specific pieces of content are to your audience.
With SqueezeCMM, you can build a content taxonomy that reveals your content’s context while providing “insight into your content you never imagined possible.”
Getting Started with Content Tools: 4 Indispensable Tips for Success
If you’re just getting started with content tools (or content marketing) — or if it’s been awhile since you’ve tried out any new content tools, here are some helpful tips to keep in mind as you dive in:
1. Know your content processes before trying out new content tools
Have a standard operating procedure (SOP) for your content processes (like writing, publishing and distributing content).
This foundation can help you understand exactly how a tool will fit in (and facilitate) your processes. It can also help you figure out which tools you don’t need right now.
2. Prioritize your needs and the tools
Think about what aspects of content marketing you could use the most help with. Also consider what you could automate, what results you want to see, and your skill level (in terms of using simple versus complex technologies).
Use these factors to prioritize the tools you want to start with and what you want to use next, and so on.
3. Start slow
Start with one to a few content tools and get familiar with those first. You can always phase in more later once your key tools are nailed down and working seamlessly for your team.
If you try to incorporate too many tools all at once, you may never figure the best ways to use them. You may also end up wasting more time and money than you need or want to.
4. Don’t be afraid to try new content tools
New content tools are being released (and old ones are being updated) regularly. In all likelihood, your business and content processes will also be evolving over time.
So, stay open to new content tools, and revisit what you’re working with as your content marketing and processes change. This can help you position your content marketing for long-term, ongoing success.
Content Tools: The Bottom Line
The bottom line on content tools is that the right tool kit can help you effectively:
• Monetize your content
• Conserve more of your resources
• Grow authority, as well as an audience, for your brand
What content marketing tools do you use? Which tools have you found to be more (or less) effective?
Share your experiences and keep the conversation going in the comments below and/or on social media.
(Note: In the spirit of full disclosure, some links herein are affiliate links. This means that I may get a commission if you decide to purchase anything from an affiliate company. I only recommend products & systems that I use or have used and love myself, so I know you’ll be in good hands.)