Content marketing takes talent, time, tenacity, and tools.

What, you think ebooks and blog articles appear from our bare hands? No, we have quite an arsenal of apps and tools available—many of them available for free—at our disposal that help us ideate topics, see what other content marketers are up to, and collaborate to ensure our content is the best it can be.

Want to know what’s in our toolbox? Here are five content marketing tools we can’t live without (and you shouldn’t either):

1. Keyword Research and Content Ideation Tools

Of course, Google Keyword Planner is at the forefront of our toolkit. We use Google’s essential keyword search tool every time we start a new content marketing campaign because it easily and accurately displays search volume and competition levels for keywords and search terms that we can create content around.

UberSuggest also helps us find more data on more obscure keyword phrases such as volume, competition, how expensive a keyword is, and how hard it could be to rank organically. Both keyword tools are essential for the research phase.

2. Tools to Evaluate the Competition

SEMRush is an incredibly handy “all-in-one marketing toolkit”, so you know it’s a content marketing tool you should. Useful for keyword research, content and social media strategy, and competition analysis, you can also find out what keywords your competitors are using and get some insight on what your company should be doing by simply plugging in a website URL. You can even check on your competition’s—and your own—backlinks.

3. Tools for Content Creation

What about the tools for actually writing and creating content? We’re big fans of Google Docs, which is a cloud (and collaboration friendly) version of the Microsoft Word (which we also love and use pretty much every day). It’s super-easy to create drafts, track edits, and cooperate in real-time with fellow content team members through comments and chat windows. It doesn’t get much easier than this.

As for when we’re stuck and need a little bit of grammar and sentence help, there’s the Hemingway App, a web app we’ve been using for some time to help refine our style and to keep things breezy and punchy—which is up to personal preference of course. Think of it as a helpful suggestion app.  

4. Collaboration and Workflow Tools

We have multiple team members across multiple states working on multiple projects, so we need an easy way to organize and brainstorm all our content, deadlines, and time tables. To collaborate and visualize all our ideas in one place we use Basecamp, a central hub where teams and team leaders can manage the workflow in a variety of ways: We communicate via comments and chat windows, ideate using forums, and manage the overall workflow with project and team pages, to-do lists, and a notification system that alerts writers of their deadlines, complete with well-organized and customizable timelines.   

5. Publishing and Lead Capture Tools

Most of us come from a publishing background where we’ve seen myriad eldritch abominations of content management systems, a.k.a. CMS. They’re mostly dusty, outdated things that actively hinder work. We don’t miss them.

Thankfully, WordPress is not like that. It makes the process of getting a post ready and online quick and easy, with an intuitive interface that lets you easily edit drafts, drop in images and embed video, and schedule posts for publishing. It even automatically adjusts your posts for responsive web design and gives you a glimpse of what the post will look like on tablets and smartphones, an essential part of making sure no one in your audience is left out of viewing content. Plus, its basic version is free.

And what about leveraging traffic and collecting email subscribers, one of the most vital parts of content marketing? Sumo’s List Builder makes that free and easy with customizable pop-ups, forms, scroll-up boxes, and welcome pages you can install on your page without fuss.

Of course, you could overlook these tools and let us handle the content marketing for you. If you’re curious about our process, looking for a quote, or just want to chat about all things content and all things marketing, drop us a comment, email, or line.

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