Do you have a weakness for marketing tools?
I do, especially for content marketing tools that can help with:
- Editorial acumen for planning and shaping great content
- Project management skills for getting it t all done
- People skills for interfacing with all the different groups
Here’s my list of 20 essential content marketing tools for small businesses that can help make your work a little bit easier. I’ve broken them out according to the task or area of content marketing they help with. We’ll start with strategy and planning, then go on to SEO, content creation, promotion and more.
I hope you find a new gem in here to help you.
SETTING A STRATEGY
It all starts with a good strategy. You’ll want to know what’s working for you now, and what’s working for your competitors.
1) Google Analytics
This free, world-class tool shows you how people are finding and using your site, and its reports are incredibly helpful.
Buzz Sumo will show you which pieces of content are performing best for a given URL or a search phrase. You can sort the results by content format, by time frame, and more. It’s also great for finding influencers.
3) Hubspot’s Marketing Grader
Hubspot’s Marketing Grader will tell you the strengths and weaknesses of your site. It gives you the scoop on your competitors, too.
4) Hubspot’s Make My Persona
It’s critical to create content that fits each of your buyer personas. This free tool from HubSpot makes it easy. Just answer a few questions to clarify how your personas consume content, what their challenges are, and what they hope to achieve.
CoSchedule is a widely-used app for planning, assigning and monitoring content from idea to promotion. It syncs with most of the major social media platforms, making promotion just a bit easier.
6) Google Calendar
If you don’t want to use CoSchedule, Google Calendar is a good runner up for managing content production. It works with most of the popular tools and apps, which means you can create a truly customized system.
Trello can be used for anything from project management and idea collection to content production and even planning your kid’s birthday party. It’s also free and interfaces with many popular apps.
Our Recommended Books
8) Hemingway Editor
This free app shows you how to improve text-based content. It’s genius for finding overly complex, murky sentences. Spend a little time with your copy until it hits about a 6 to 7 th -grade reading level. Your audience will appreciate not having to struggle through confusing writing , even if they’re Ph.Ds.
Even one typo can damage how your audience perceives you. Take a few minutes and run everything you publish through Grammarly. There’s a free Chrome plugin to make it easier.
Images are a fundamental element of content marketing; Canva makes it easy to create them, even if you lack design skills.
11) Windows Movie Maker or Wondershare Filmora for Mac users
There are dozens of free video editors available. The two mentioned here almost always make a “best video editors” list, and they’re free. Use whatever you want to edit videos, but please – do add some videos to your content marketing. You’ll love the results.
Want to know one of the best secrets in content marketing? It’s content curation. To do it, you take third party content, add some of your own commentary and share it with your audience.
Curated content can include blog posts, social media updates, email newsletter content and more. Scoop.It! automates much of your content curation, but also gives you tools to add your own commentary and context. That’s where the real value of curation lies.
EMAIL MARKETING AND SEO
Or Aweber. Or Constant Contact. Or any of the other email marketing service providers. MailChimp is the most widely used and it has a generous free plan. Whichever tool you use, get started with email marketing. It’s one of the most effective tactics in content marketing.
Smart content marketers are always looking to grow their email list. SumoMe is one of the best tools to do it. This suite of WordPress plugins can do everything from help you build your email list to help you get more traffic.
Our Recommended Books
List Builder Pro is their core list-building tool. Also check out their Welcome Mat. Once you know what this plugin (and its sister plugins) look like, you’ll start noticing them on a lot of sites.
15) Yoast SEO WordPress plugin
You know SEO is super-important for content marketing. But maybe you don’t have much SEO knowledge or a full-time SEO staffer. Yoast to the rescue. This is about as close to “paint by number” as SEO gets, but it works, and works very well. It’s also free.
16) Social Warfare
There are dozens of plugins and tools to create social sharing buttons – the kind you put on your blog posts and other parts of your website. Social Warfare appears to be the best of them. That’s according to a lot of very smart social media gurus who mention this as their #1 choice for sharing buttons. It’s also according to what I see them using on their blogs.
This is a paid social media tool that’s great for sharing content from your “backfile” – they stuff you haven’t published in the last week. Way too many content marketers create good content, but only promote it for a week or so. MeetEdgar solves that problem.
Not getting many shares for your content? JustRetweet to the rescue. This paid tool lets you get shares from real people who elect to share your content. It costs just pennies per share. Don’t overdo, but a sprinkling of shares from JustRetweet definitely helps.
PostPlanner is basically a smart content curation tool. It scours content across the Web, looking for unusually high engagement. Then it grabs that content and makes it easy for you to share on Facebook and Twitter .
The result? PostPlanner users get 650% more engagement than their peers, at least according to a recent study from Buffer. That sounds almost too goo to be true,but it’s worth trying, just to find out.
Buffer is so widely used and well-loved in the content marketing community that it would be negligent to leave it out. If you have a small budget and want to automate your social media updates, try this.