33 Must-Have Content Marketing Tools To Make Managing Your Whole Content Marketing Program More Efficient
Time-saving tools for everything from content creation to research and SEO — you’ll wonder how you ever lived without these.
Bonus Material: How I Use Frase to Create Detailed Content Briefs (in Under 15 Minutes) [Video] Coming Soon!
If you’re a content marketer, you’re probably always looking for ways to step your content development game up. Despite all the challenges and changes of 2020, it’s time to talk about the best content marketing tools for 2021:
- According to HubSpot’s Not Another State of Marketing Report, almost 70% of businesses are actively investing in content marketing in 2020.
- Yet, according to Content Marketing Institute research, only 18% of marketers think their organizations have the right technology to manage their content marketing efforts.
- Scott Spjut, assistant vice president, social and digital content, Fifth Third Bank said, “Content marketing is a delicate, interconnected ecosystem – you have to have the right technology for each aspect of the process.”
Pawan Deshpande, the founder and CEO of Curata, even pieced together the graphic below to show how many tools exist to help manage and monitor the flow of content, but obviously it’s hard to keep up with the rapidly evolving space of content marketing tools.
Image credit: Pawan Deshpande/Curata
Choosing the right content marketing tools can be overwhelming. In today’s post, I’m going to show you the only list of tools you’ll actually need.
Grab my screencast below to see how I create detailed content briefs (in under 15 minutes).
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Read on to learn about the best tools to use for content marketing that make your tasks less time-consuming…
Then filter through the list below to find the right tools to run your content marketing program.
Inside This Post
A good website analytics tool will help you understand your audience, measure conversions, and breakdown content performance in a clear and easy to understand way.
The tools listed below deliver what you need to know, without being too overwhelming.
Google Analytics is a free platform that allows you to:
- customize reports
- measure the impact of social media and mobile on website traffic
- measure conversion rates
- see which backlinks are driving the most traffic to your site
What I love most about Google Analytics is its intuitive interface and the fact that it includes every insight you need to make sound decisions (backed by data) about your content marketing.
Do you want to fully understand your customer’s end-to-end journey?
Then Woopra is the perfect tool to help you do just that. It delivers real-time statistics that can be broken down into an individual-level view.
Woopra helps brands track visitors across multiple devices and build comprehensive timelines for every user. This data is priceless if you want to understand how each piece of content is performing and if it’s leading to conversions.
Cost: There’s a free version, or you can upgrade for $79.95 a month
Webtrends offers tools to not only measure your digital campaigns, but also suggestions for optimizing them. They offer analytic intelligence including customer intelligence and behavioral segmentation, targeting, scoring, and more.
This is a great option if you want to dig a little deeper into understanding the actions your customers are taking on your site.
Cost: $49-$900 a month depending on the plan you choose
A recent study showed marketers spend an average of 16 hours per week (roughly 25% of a workweek) on tasks that could easily be automated.
If you’ve been holding the line against AI in fear of some sort of Terminator takeover, it’s time to let that go in the name of efficiency.
These tools can help you achieve the ultimate goal of content marketing: delivering the right message, to the right customer, at the right time.
Content marketing works best when all your systems speak to each other. Marketo helps do that by integrating your email, social media, on and offline events, content, and more.
This tool also uses demographic and behavioral data collected from your audience to prioritize prospects for sales and marketing teams.
Cost: There is a free trial, but plans start around $1000 a month
If you’re an inbound marketer, Hubspot is essentially the holy grail of marketing automation systems. Hubspot allows you to personalize landing pages for different visitors, emails, web pages, and more.
They also deliver customer insights that develop over time as visitors return to your site. Meaning, you can create extremely accurate customer profiles. Not to mention you can make use of HubSpot’s vast knowledge base around content marketing best practices.
Cost: Hubspot’s free version is pretty robust. If you want to add on features, you can pay for plans from $50 up to $3,200 a month.
Pardot (by Salesforce) is a CRM and lead management system that allows marketers and sales teams to move prospects through their sales funnel based on automated, targeted messaging driven by a customer’s activity.
One cool thing about Pardot is that you can test your emails against all of the top SPAM filters, giving you an accurate idea of how your email will perform in most email clients.
Cost: The annual cost of Pardot can range from $15k to 48k depending on the plan you choose
Many content marketers see social media as a necessary evil: it’s the ultimate channel for reaching customers, but it can be a huge time suck if you don’t have the tools to manage it efficiently.
The tools I’ve chosen below are my favorites for streamlining all the time and tasks social requires.
If you manage multiple social media accounts, Hootsuite can bring all the insights and detail you need into one nifty dashboard. The platform can help you:
- analyze social media traffic
- track brand mentions
- collaborate with other team members
- schedule messages and tweets
Bonus: it’s all in one system so you no longer have to log into the analytics dashboard of each individual platform for your reports.
Cost: Free, or you can choose the enterprise plan for $15 a month
Buffer is an easy to use, social media content curation, and scheduled posting platform.
It allows you to batch write your social posts (to save time) and add articles, photos, and videos that Buffer will automatically post to your social media accounts throughout the day (AKA no more logging in at 9 pm for a “quick” update!).
Cost: Free, or you can choose the unlimited plan for $12 a month
Sprinklr is mostly used by large or global companies as a comprehensive social media management system —so if you’re an SMB this probably won’t be your cup of tea.
However, if you manage the marketing for an enterprise company, Sprinklr is worth checking out. It lets you directly engage with customers, connect with CRM systems, build custom widgets, publish and manage content, and more all from one platform.
Cost: Sprinklr’s pricing ranges from $6K-$100K per year, depending mainly on the number of social media profiles integrated into the platform. (Again, this is mainly for large enterprise companies.)
Most successful content marketing programs do two things well: creating great content, and sharing other’s great content. Today’s best content marketers also know when it’s time to give up the reins and outsource content.
There are a ton of tools out there to help you curate top content or find professionals to assist in creation, but the three below are tried and tested.
10. Curata CCS
Curata lets you search for, organize, and share relevant content for your audience.
It works by scouring the web and social media to find quality content that relates to your business. It then lets you share directly from its platform.
Curata is pretty neat in that it starts to form an algorithm of the type of content you prefer so it can begin to offer you smarter content suggestions over time.
If you’re ready to hand over the content creation baton, check out DOZ. This platform qualifies and selects the best local marketing professionals to help with your marketing tasks.
Imagine Pinterest, but for the entire web. Pocket is a content curation tool that allows you to save articles, videos, (or nearly anything you find on the web) that you can save to a dashboard and share at a later time.
Pocket also functions as a discovery platform where users can browse through interesting and targeted content by major publications and other curators. Pocket is a great choice for marketers who like to build up a content database when browsing!
Cost: Free, or upgrade to Pocket Premium for $44.99/yr for no ads
When you’re looking for ranking keywords, competitor insights, and any edge that can help you rank better, SEO tools can be a marketer’s best friend.
Aleyda Solis, SEO Consultant and founder of the Crawling Monday video series, did an informal Twitter poll to find out how much people spend on SEO tools and how many paid tools they use, she found 56.8% of respondents use between two and four paid SEO tools.
Because there are so many SEO tools with varying features and price range, I’m going to share my 3 favorite SEO tools.
Frase was designed to be an intelligent writing tool with an integrated AI-powered Research Assistant.
But it’s also one of the best SEO tools because it helps you identify the questions your target audience is asking online and quickly create and optimize content capable of answering those questions. How? Enter a topic and Frase will find and automatically summarize the best content so you can create research-driven content that matches user intent
You can use Frase to whip up detailed content briefs.
Bonus Material: How I Use Frase to Create Detailed Content Briefs (in Under 15 Minutes) [Video] Coming Soon!
Cost: There’s a free trial, and pricing starts at $39.99 a month
SEMrush is a popular SEO tool you can do a lot with.
You can do keyword research to find a list of terms you can easily rank for, do competitor analysis to see what’s working (and steal your competitors’ traffic sources), and do topic research to get content ideas.
SEMrush’s SEO Writing Assistant will check your content to see if it follows the best SEO recommendations.. You can even use the tool to do site audits and identify pages that aren’t doing well so you can take action by updating that content, merging it with better content, or removing it.
Cost: There’s a free version with limited features, or paid plans start at $99.95 a month
BuzzSumo lets you use the world’s largest index of social engagement data to identify content that has received the most shares, links and comments.
You can also monitor your performance and identify influencers.
For content marketers, some of the coolest things you can do with BuzzSumo include:
- Popping in a keyword and getting endless content ideas
- Finding the most popular questions asked on forums, e-commerce sites, Quora and more
- Identifying the content that performs best and discovering new potential outreach opportunities
Plus, you can run Content Analysis Reports to analyze content type, length, reaction and popular domains.
Cost: There’s a 30-day free trial and pricing starts at $99 a month
Email marketing is a great way to accomplish content marketing goals like creating brand awareness, educating audiences, and building trust. And 50% of B2B marketers say email is the most effective channel in producing high return on investment.
But with so many options available to help you create emails, build subscriber lists, set autoresponders, etc. how do you find the one that meets your unique needs? Here are three email marketing tools that will help you easily create, send, test, optimize, and report on your email campaigns.
ConvertKit has everything you need to manage email marketing campaigns. *Disclaimer I use it
This includes automation, tagging, and sending out a sequence of emails. You can also set up forms, landing pages, and autoresponders.
It’s easy to use, there are a ton of integrations, and recently they rolled out ConvertKit Commerce which lets you sell digital products right from the platform.
Cost: There’s a free plan with tons of features. With paid plans, pricing is based on list size.The Creator plan starts at $29.00 a month and The Creator Pro plan starts at $59.00 a month.
Use Mailchimp to do everything from sending simple newsletters to automated campaigns to cart abandonment emails.
You can also create landing pages, Facebook Ads, postcards, do Google remarketing and other social ads. If you do e-commerce, Mailchimp allows you to connect your store and capture order information, create targeted campaigns, automate product follow-ups, and send personalized order notifications.
There’s also simple CRM tools and an integrated app.
Cost: There’s a freemium plan that lets you send up to 12,000 emails to 2,000 subscribers (monthly) and use most of the features. Paid plans start at $9.95 a month.
SendFox is a simple email marketing tool from the Sumo family of companies.
It has a WYSIWYG editor (no HTML email editor) and allows you:
- Unlimited Automations
- Unlimited Landing Pages and Forms
- Scheduled Emails
- Multiple Domains / Businesses in One Account
- Integrates with Zapier
SendFox’s pricing structure is a bit different from other email marketing tools. For $49 you can have up to 5,000 contacts across an unlimited number of lists (Then it’s $10 for each additional 1k contacts.).
Cost: There’s a free plan — you only pay for features when you’re ready. The paid plan is $49 (Single Payment up to 5k contacts) + $10 each for additional 1k contacts
As podcasting becomes more mainstream, more and more people are tuning in to learn new things and be entertained.
This isn’t a channel marketers can afford to ignore: Research shows 54% of podcast listeners are more likely to consider buying from a brand after hearing its advertisement on a podcast.
Here are three podcasting tools that make launching a podcast easy… without getting overwhelmed by the tech involved.
Are you looking to get started in podcasting?
Well, Audacity is a free and open-source audio editor that’s easy-to-use and available for Windows, macOS, GNU/Linux and other operating systems.
You can easily import, mix, and combine audio tracks (stereo, mono, or even multitracked recording) and render the output as one. PC Magazine gave Audacity a 4 star rating.
Audacity was developed as open source software and has been downloaded more than 100 million times since it’s debut 20 years ago.
Alitu is a simple, intuitive platform for people who are looking to tell a story via podcast.
If you’re looking to edit your own podcast episodes, this easy-to-use tool will help you to produce a professional-sounding podcast.
There are tons of features that save you time and if you’re not a tech genius, this is a platform with a low learning curve.
Cost: There’s a 7-day free trial, and the paid plan is $28.00 a month
Upload your audio file to Buzzsprout and their easy-to-use interface allows you to get your podcast in front of eager listeners.
This podcast hosting service has tons of options for sharing your podcast in Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and more. You’ll get quality stats to track your audience, the ability to create a podcast player that matches your unique brand, and feeds that are compatible with all the top directories.
It’s easy to go back and make corrections to your audio, even after you’ve published an episode!
Cost: There’s a free 90-day trial, and an ad-supported, free plan with limited features (episodes only hosted for 90 days; Limited to 2 hours each month). Paid plans are $12.00 a month, $18.00 a month, and $24.00 a month. Buzzsprout offers episode transcription as an add-on at $.25/minute.
Successful content marketing strategies are built on customer insights, data, and industry knowledge. Establishing trust with your audience often requires finding statistics and facts.
How can you organize and store all of your notes? And do it in a way that makes creating content a breeze?
Use one of the research tools below. Thank me later.😉
Airstory is a drag-and-drop document builder that helps you move content from idea to production to distribution.
You can use the Airstory Researcher for Google Chrome to clip research, data points and other information you find online complete with the source URL. Then, you can create taggable note cards and invite researchers and editors, and other collaborators to work with you inside one or more Airstory projects.
Other cool things you can do with Airstory include:
- Use a kanban board to organize your notes into sections
- Keep a project-based and running library of all your research and notes
- Grab Copyhackers-Approved Templates from the Airstory Market to help with everything from blog posts to emails to sales pages
Chris Lema, VP of Product, LiquidWeb, said, “If Google Docs & Evernote had a love child, they couldn’t have done better than Airstory.”
Use Airstory to create outlines, ebooks, landing pages, and more. When you’re finished you can export your writing to Google Drive, WordPress, HTML, Microsoft Word or publish right to WordPress with the Airstory WP plugin.
Cost: There’s a free 7-day trial. Paid plans are $25.00 a month and $125.00 a month
Evernote is an app for your smartphone, computer, or desktop — for iPhone and iPad, macOS, Windows, and Android — that lets you capture research, notes, content ideas, even draft blogs, books, and more.
It’s simple to clip web pages, images, PDF files using the web clipper and you can sync notes between devices — computer, smartphone, or tablet. This is a great app for saving articles you want to read later. Two cool features?
- Evernote gives you a custom email address. You can send photos, memos, audio, or webpages to that address and they pop up inside your Evernote account.
- Siri can take notes in Evernote. Just tell Siri, “Take a note in Evernote.” and say what you want to remember, and Siri will save your words to a new note. You can ask Siri to add to existing notes or search for notes. This even works on Apple Watch and HomePod.
Check out this article from Content Marketing Institute with even more ways to use Evernote for content marketing.
Cost: There’s a free plan and free trial available, or you can use paid plans for $7.99 a month or $14.99 a month
24. Dropbox Paper
Paper is a free collaborative editing tool with drag and drop features from Dropbox.
Dropbox bills it as “an easier way for your marketing team to coordinate launches, streamline content calendars, and plan social campaigns.” And they’re trying their best to live up that claim, especially with their available templates like:
- Content calendar
- Launch plan
- Social media plan
- Creative brief
You need a Dropbox account to use Paper. It’s basically an endless piece of paper (Get it?) where you can collaborate on projects, store rich media, and assign tasks.
Visual content has the power to take your content marketing to a whole different level. Perhaps that’s why 64% of marketers said original graphics (ex: infographics) and videos & presentations helped them reach their marketing goals in 2019
Venngage research found 53% of respondents said they spent between 2-15 hours a week creating visuals.
Use these visual content creation tools to save time.
TechCrunch called this collaborative platform for creating images, videos, and GIFs “Adobe for the meme generation” and it’s not hard to see why.
You can upload, edit, and share files with your team securely and cross-device.
You can even share a link to work on content with your team in real time – just like Google Docs. There are a bunch of features for creating content like:
- Meme Maker
- Multi-Video Montage Maker
- Video Collage
- Video Filters
- Image To Video Converter
- Add Overlaid Text To Video
- Add Music To Video With MP3 Uploads
- Resize Video
- Reverse Video
- Loop Video
- Trim Video
- Mute Video
- Stop Motion Maker
- Sound Effects Maker
Cost: There’s a free version (limited features & watermark on all exports) or a paid plan for $20.00 a month
Canva is a drag-and-drop graphic design platform that makes it easy to create social media graphics, presentations, posters and other visual content.
Available on the web, iOS and Android, Canva has a huge library of templates and design ingredients like fonts, illustrations, stock photography, video and audio content.
Canva is super easy to use for quick, professional marketing especially if you don’t have experience with Adobe or in graphic design (*raises hand*). You can create content for social media, email campaigns, ebooks, flyers and more.
There are a bunch of templates that are easily customized to make your own. And you can define your brand rules and colors with your company’s designers into Canva. After that everyone in your company can use it and create marketing materials that are on-brand.
My favorite feature? No need to calculate the image dimensions (Width x Height) set by different social media platforms… Canva does that automatically for you!
Cost: There’s a free version, For paid plans, the Pro plan starts at $12.95 a month and the Enterprise plan starts at $30.00. Pricing depends on how many people you have on your team.
Giphy — one of the largest GIF sites on the internet — has tons of tools for creating, sharing, and remixing GIFs.
Just pick your source material from YouTube, Vimeo, or Giphy Links, and you can select any portion of the video to turn into a GIF. You can also add captions if you want. You can turn a collection of still images into a GIF, for instance, or edit any of the existing GIFs on Giphy.
You can also create animated GIF slideshows. Here are 10 more ways to use GIFs in your marketing.
The bar for content is higher than ever before. Consider: The average blog post takes 3 hours and 55 minutes to write.
If you want to deliver high-quality content to the world, use these three tools. They will help you make sure your content is ready to publish (and save you time doing it)!
If you write in Google Docs and publish to WordPress, you need this app. Full stop.
Wordable.io lets you send blog posts from Google Docs to WordPress with the click of a button.
That’s all this app does. And it does it seamlessly. Seriously, just click a button and your post is waiting in your draft folder for you to make any final adjustments, schedule and publish.
All your images and links show up in WordPress. All your heading, table of contents, raw HTML. Wordable is a massive time-saver!
Cost: There’s a 3-export free trial. There are three pricing tiers: Solo for $19.00 a month; Pro for $49.00 a month; Pro Plus for $99.00 a month
29. Hemingway Editor
Hemingway App is a distraction-free writing and editing tool. It highlights lengthy, complex sentences and common errors.
You get readability stats, reading time, and highlights to help improve your writing.
The paid version allows you to use it anywhere, no internet connection required. You can also publish directly to WordPress & Medium using one-click integrations and save a PDF of a piece of writing, with all the Hemingway highlights intact to share with colleagues.
Cost: Free. You can also make a one-time purchase of $19.99 to get access to Hemingway Editor 3 for Mac and PC which has additional features
This free web app helps you improve your blog posts or emails by suggesting actions to take on your writing based on your goal (traffic, leads, sales).
It was created by Jeff Goines and Bryan Harris and it serves as a great reminder to think about the business goal of your content as you’re creating it (or at least before you publish it anyway 😉).
It shouldn’t be a big surprise that B2B brands are reallocating resources from live events to webinars. In fact, between February and March 2020, the number of (U.S.) brands offering webinars grew by 36%.
Not to mention 73% of B2B marketers say a webinar is the best way to generate high-quality leads.
Here are three webinar tools that can handle the heavy lifting for you.
GoToWebinar has been around for years. You can use it to host one time events, multi-day conferences, or a recurring web series.
It’s easy to schedule your webinars, get your attendees to attend with emails prior to the launch of the webinar, record and send the recording to absentees, etc.
The registration system works seamlessly. There is a bit of a learning curve but it has everything you’d need from a webinar platform.
Cost: There is a free trial. Tiered pricing with four plans: Lite is $59.00 a month; Standard is $129.00 a month; Pro is $249.00 a month; Enterprise is $499.00 a month. You can save a bit on the monthly fee by opting for an annual plan.
32. Webinar Ninja
WebinarNinja lets you get started with webinars quickly.
You can run live, automated, series or hybrid webinars.
WebinarNinja has all the email sequences created. All you need to do is set the webinar information, and you’re good to go. Then, as you have time, you can customize all the emails, registration page, and thank you page.
All plans include:
- Unlimited Registrations
- Unlimited Webinars
- Paid & Free Webinars
- Multiple Presenters
- Auto Recording & Archiving
- Auto Email Notifications
- Instant Chat with Emojis
- Integrations with 1000+ Apps
- Add To Calendar Feature
- Stats & Analytics
Attendees do not need to download any software and can attend on any desktop or mobile device. You can even play video over a webinar.
Cost: There’s a 14-day free trial. Tiered pricing with three plans: Pro $95.00 a month; Plus $159.00 a month; Power $249.00 a month
33. Zoom Webinars
So, you probably already know how to use Zoom.
But have you tried Zoom Webinars?
If you’ve ever used Zoom for a meeting before, it’s pretty much the same interface. Setting up a webinar in Zoom is basically filling out a one-page form. Choose from several options, click on schedule and you’re done.
Zoom has excellent audio and video quality. Zoom Video Webinars integrates with leading CRM, video platforms, and marketing automation systems like Marketo, Eloqua, Pardot, Salesforce, and Kaltura. And you can customize and brand your emails and registration forms
Some cool features Zoom offers include:
- The option to monetize your webinars through our integrations with PayPal, Eventbrite, and CVent
- Presenters and attendees can join from any device including desktop, laptop, mobile, Zoom Rooms, and Zoom Conference Room Connectors
- You can use Virtual Backgrounds that project your favorite images and videos behind you
Cost: There’s a free plan. Tiered pricing with three plans: Pro $14.99 a month; Business $19.99 a month; Enterprise $19.99 a month. You can add Optional Add-on Plans to any paid plan.
When people ask, “What are the best tools to use for content marketing?” they’re asking the wrong question.
Because it all depends on you and on your needs.
That’s why this isn’t an “ultimate list” of all the content marketing tools. It’s designed to be only the tools you need.
There are literally 100s of marketing tools out there. Everything from software for solopreneurs to enterprise platforms for big companies.
Noone can (or should) use all of these tools.
Hopefully, this post gave you enough insight to help you choose the right content marketing tools to help you with your content creation challenges.
The first thing you should do is take a look at your workflow of content production. And then, use this post to decide which tools you will use in your content marketing tech stack.
For example, if you choose one tool from each of the 11 categories, you’ll be able to handle every aspect of your content marketing program. Here are some of the technologies B2B companies are using to help with content marketing.
Image Credit: Content Marketing Institute/Marketing Profs
And here are some of the editorial tools B2B marketers use when creating content:
Image Credit: Content Marketing Institute/Marketing Profs
When many small (and one-person) content teams are trying to do more with less due to layoffs and spending freezes, it’s important to know how to make content more efficient.
What You Should Do Now
If you are serious about creating content efficiently, you should download our amazingly useful Bonus Material: “How I Use Frase to Create Detailed Content Briefs (in Under 15 Minutes)” [VIDEO] Coming Soon!
For 1:1 marketing help, click here
At Professional Pen, we help SaaS and technology marketers with content strategy, content creation, and content promotion. So, if you need help, let’s connect to discuss your situation.