Like a carpenter building a house, creating, editing and distributing quality content requires a good toolkit. With thousands of apps and software available on the market, it can be challenging to choose the best one for you and your business.
Here are our top recommendations for content marketing tools to help you analyse, optimise, and write clever content.
Tools for Data Analytics
Before you start creating content, you need to establish a benchmark of your current performance and then use this data to shape your content marketing strategy.
To achieve this, you’ll need two essential tools: Google Analytics & Google Search Console.
Understanding how your current content is performing and how visitors are behaving is essential to creating good content. You should, ideally, always start by looking at Google Analytics and establishing a benchmark.
What content is performing the best? The worst?
What landing pages have a high bounce or exit rate?
What type of acquisition brings you the most traffic?
These questions can help you start to formulate a content marketing strategy and improve your existing offerings. Read more about how to use Google Analytics for content marketing here.
Google Analytics is free for any website owner. You simply need to install the tracking codes on the backend of your site. Your web developer or designer should be able to set this up for you.
Google Search Console
Likewise, Google Search Console also allows you to understand your current SEO ranking and the search terms people are using to find your site. You can see how often your website appears in SERP results and for what queries, whether users click through to your site and individual page performance.
However, Google Search Console provides somewhat limited data, if your site isn’t already correctly optimised. But, once you’ve fixed this with some expert help, you can use Google Search Console to determine whether your investment is paying off. And, how to further improve search results.
Like Google Analytics, Google Search Console is also free for website owners and you only need to install a tracking code.
After you’ve examined your existing content, you then want to analyse your content through an SEO lens. SEO tools like SEMRush, Screaming Frog and Keywords Everywhere are extremely useful for SEO analysis, keyword research, identify content gaps, and, of course, report on your progress.
SEMRush offers an all-in-one, comprehensive suite of SEO tools. You can evaluate backlinks, look at the keywords your competitor’s targeting and ranking for and determine your current SERP position.
You can also conduct keyword research for long-tail and short-tail terms, glean helpful SEO suggestions and conduct a site audit for any technical issues.
Anyone serious about SEO will need a tool like SEMRush or Moz. Without such a comprehensive SEO tool in your toolkit, you’ll only be shooting in the dark.
SEMRush offers a FREE 7-day trial, which allows you to learn more about this tool and determine whether it’s worth the pricey investment.
Screaming Frog takes you to go behind the scenes and see your website how Google does. The tool crawls your site to provide a breakdown of your metadata, h1s, h2s, and alt tags, which makes it easy to identify technical SEO problems.
Screaming Frog is particularly useful for understanding how Google sees your site and picking out quick wins for improving your SEO. You may discover that 98.5% of your h1s are duplicate, or 60% of your page titles are too long. Addressing these issues first could allow you to move up the SERP rankings with minimal effort or investment.
While SEMRush offers similar capabilities, you can access Screaming Frog for FREE (up to 500 landing pages), which should be plenty of most small to medium businesses. So, if you don’t want to invest in SEMRush, Screaming Frog is a useful workaround for SEO analysis.
Other Keyword Research Tools
If you choose not to invest in an expensive SEO tool like SEMRush, you’ll still need a way to conduct keyword research.
Keyword research should be an integral part of your SEO strategy and content creation. Looking at average monthly search volumes allows you to understand the terms, questions, and types of content relevant to your audience.
There are lots of excellent SEO keyword research tools. Some, like Moz or SEMRush, come with hefty price tags. But, others, like Keywords Everywhere, Ubersuggest or Keyword Planner, are free of charge or low-cost.
Content Idea Tools
Around the same time that you’re conducting keyword research, you’ll also need to come up with some exciting, engaging content ideas. Understanding what topics are trending within your industry and the questions your audience is asking allows you to create valuable content that customers actually want to read.
Google Trends provides useful insights into topics that are currently trending within your industry. Simply enter a search term like ‘economy’ and set a search region. Google Trends will then show you topics that have recently experienced a boost or ‘breakout’ in searches and how this topic has changed over time.
Talking about trending topics allows you to add your voice to meaningful, popular conversations and establish yourself as a trusted, informed source.
You can access Google Trends for FREE.
Answer the Public
Likewise, Answer the Public is another great (and FREE) content marketing tool for coming up with relevant topics.
You enter your search term into the box and Answer the Public shows you all of the questions people are asking related to your query.
Google’s algorithm loves question and answer structured content. So, creating blog posts that answer several questions can boost your rankings as well as provide much-needed customer support.
Content Writing & Design Tools
Once you’ve looked at the data and come up with some exciting content ideas, it’s time to start writing. These content writing and design tools give you a way to bring your ideas to life and start publishing original content.
We’d be lost without Google Docs.
Google Docs at first looks quite similar to Microsoft Word, but it saves your work to the Cloud. Online versions of your text make it easy to collaborate. Team members can use ‘suggested edits’ (like tracked changes) to provide input and directly edit the same doc.
Rather than emailing multiple versions back and forth, Google Doc serves as one source of truth. So you know you’re always seeing the latest version of the document and can collaborate in real-time.
You can add multiple people to the doc, send the link to relevant parties via email and even control who has access to it.
Even better, Google Docs is completely FREE for any Gmail account users.
Before you hit publish, make sure your content is error-free by running it through Grammarly. Grammarly is spell-check on steroids.
It not only flags simple errors but takes this one step further by showing you repetitive words (perhaps you’ve used ‘allow’ too many times), dangling modifiers (my biggest weakness), and monotone sentences.
Grammarly also picks out jargon-heavy and confusing sentences, making it easier for you to create highly polished content that’s easy and enjoyable to read.
We use Grammarly Pro as it provides better insights and more detailed suggestions, but there’s also a FREE version.
Once you’ve created the perfect article, you’ll need to add some design elements. If you’re strapped for cash and can’t afford a graphic designer, Canva is the next best option.
On Canva, you can create attractive graphics and designs using their FREE templates. We typically use Canva for simple designs and leave the more complicated or important projects to the professionals.
Some ideas for relevant Canva projects might include:
A checklist that readers can download and print (like our on-page SEO checklist).
A simple banner for your Linkedin profile
Or, a colourful eye-catching graphic for something simple like an abbreviation. Think ‘what does SEO stand for?’ Search Engine Optimisation.
Stock Image Tools
You’ll need some stock images and photos for your article and content. If you’re creating website copy, you should invest in a professional photographer, so you have photos unique to you and your brand.
However, on the other hand, if you’re looking for a hero image for your blog posts, you might not be able to afford a professional photographer.
After bespoke imagery, ShutterStock is easily the next best option as it gives you access to a wide range of high-quality images for a small fee.
If budget is an issue, there are also some FREE ways to legally source images. Sites like Pixabay or Unsplash connect you with photos available for commercial redistribution. While these images are high-resolution, they're very popular. So, you might encounter other brands using the same, identical images.
Content Distribution Tools
Publishing your article is only half the battle. Once you’ve hit publish, you need to promote your article to give it the best chance of success.
We typically recommend creating LinkedIn posts, gather prospect and customer email and getting marketing consent to produce newsletters, and even developing re-marketing campaigns.
LinkedIn Publishing Platform.
After Google has indexed your content, you can publish it again directly onto LinkedIn. Publishing it directly onto LinkedIn provides better visibility on the platform as LinkedIn deliberately slows down posts with external links to stop people from leaving the site.
LinkedIn’s publishing platform is FREE and easy to use. You simply hit publish an article, copy and paste your text into the box and make sure the h1s & h2s are formatted correctly. Add your images, and you’re good to go.
When you publish your article on Linkedin, make sure to have some social media content at the ready. It’ll ask you for a short snippet to post your article, which will then appear on your connections LinkedIn feeds.
Posting directly on LinkedIn highlights your expertise as the articles remain at the top of your profile and, unlike posts, don’t get buried by your frequent LinkedIn activity.
You should, ideally, be slowly building an email list through lead generation content and newsletter subscriptions. Once you have an email list with the correct consent, you can distribute your articles through newsletters.
MailChimp is the go-to email marketing platform. It not only helps you create snazzy, professional-looking designs, but it also allows you to track your performance. You can see open rates, which links readers clicked on, and whether your newsletter was successfully delivered.
Tracking performance then allows you to determine whether your marketing efforts are worth the investment, and if your current subscribers are engaging with and enjoying your content.
Even better, MailChimp offers a FREE version, which should be enough for most first-time email marketers. As you get more advanced and start to see the benefits, you might choose to upgrade to the premium version.
Get Started with Copy House
Whether you’re looking for help with keyword research or to hand over your content strategy & production completely, we offer a range of content services. We'll work with you to understand your goals and how we can support you throughout the content marketing process.
Contact us today to arrange a FREE consultation and learn how we can help you create clever content.