When Apple turned “there’s an app for that” into a national catchphrase in 2009, the company promised that its technology would change the way we live and work.
Today, when it comes to content marketing, there really is an app for that, no matter what content marketers want to do. So many tools, tips and tricks have filled various niches that it can be tough to cut through the clutter and find what really stands out.
Here, we’ve collected 15 tools that are proving invaluable to content marketers today.
Ahrefs describes itself as “powered by the best and the most complete data in the industry” for tracking and ranking backlinks. Tools like the Content Gap feature tell users where their competitors are ranking for keywords they’ve missed, while the Keyword Difficulty Score tool helps content marketers decide where to focus their efforts first.
Ahrefs parallels content marketing stalwart SEMRush in a number of ways, notes BloggingWizard founder Adam Connell, but Ahrefs is pulling ahead of SEMRush in the keyword and competitor research department. The result is a tool that can help content marketing teams construct a roadmap to the results they want.
The downside to many keyword tracking tools is that they track uses of the keyword in real time — which means they can tell you what is trending, but they can’t tell you what will be trending.
Enter Almighty.Press. This tool’s algorithms are trained to identify topics and keywords that are likely to go viral before they actually do so, allowing content marketers to focus their work on what’s about to be big, rather than jumping on the back of an already rolling bandwagon.
Almighty.Press relies on a two-year, 50-million article analysis performed before its launch. In an article for Medium, the company broke down the seven biggest lessons for content marketers it learned from its analysis — which also serve as an excellent guide for creating the sort of content that will be “the next big thing.”
Clearbit has snuck up on a number of content marketers. In 2016, the suite of tools was quietly providing the “data backbone” of tech companies like Asana, Slack and Zendesk, according to Sarah Perez at TechCrunch.
Today, Clearbit stands out as one of the top tech tools of 2018. Clearbit’s tools work seamlessly with Salesforce, displaying data that can help companies improve sign-up rates, find new prospects, personalize customer contacts and even meet regulatory compliance demands, Perez noted.
ClickFunnels promises “everything you need to market, sell and deliver your products online.” While a couple of these tools, including CRM and member site capabilities, are still in development, the ClickFunnels suite offers the ability to control nearly every stage of the marketing and sales process from a single dashboard — from online store setup to webpage design and email newsletter management.
While a wide range of tools exist to address these functions individually, such as Shopify for online stores and MailChimp for newsletters, ClickFunnels keeps all the work and information in one place, making it easier to manage and to present a single unified brand image to visitors.
Tools like Clearbit insert themselves into platforms like Salesforce, enhancing the platform’s existing capabilities. Tools like ClickFunnel seek to replace the functions of other popular tools by incorporating them all into a single platform.
Cyfe takes a different approach, creating an “all in one business dashboard” that allows content marketers to combine widgets from the tools they use most often. For instance, a business that uses MailChimp for newsletters, Shopify for sales and PayPal to process payments can pull all of these tools (and dozens of others) into a personalized Cyfe dashboard. The result is an enhanced ability to monitor an up-and-running enterprise without having to transport it to a new system — or to waste precious time managing logins for every site.
GrooveJar (and family)
GrooveJar offers a suite of tools that make it easier to understand how and why customers behave the way they do — and to adapt your content marketing behavior accordingly in order to boost conversion rates at any stage in the marketing funnel.
“A tool like this is valuable because it streamlines and automates strategies you already know you should be implementing,” FE International founder Thomas Smale said of GrooveJar. The suite of tools can help content marketing teams turn their abstract knowledge of sales psychology and lead nurturing into real results.
Wish you could know exactly how users are scrolling, hovering and clicking on your site? And how to turn that information into better content, conversion and engagement? Hotjar knows.
Hotjar uses heat maps to track how site users click, tap and scroll. Recordings of visitors’ mouse movements provide additional feedback on how real people use the site in real time, while funnel and form analyses give essential data on how forms are used and where visitors drop out of the process. The result is a real-time view of customer behavior, combined with an array of UX tools and analyses allowing Hotjar to do far more than its mouse-tracking predecessor, MouseFlow.
How do you find the long-tail keywords that your audience actually searches for? Many content marketers use Google’s autocomplete feature to gather four or five options.
Keyword Tool offers an easier way to use Google Autocomplete. Instead of producing only a few most common options, Keyword Tool generates dozens or even hundreds of long-tail keywords. The tool allows users to specify which domains and languages to include in the results.
The free version generates up to 750 keywords, while Keyword Tool Pro doubles the length of this list and offers additional analysis features.
Several years ago, the big name in social media influence was Klout. Today, it’s Kred. The number one reason for the shift? Transparency.
Klout established itself by being the first site on the block to quantify social media influence and presence, but it did so in a black box fashion that some, including Forbes’ Scott Levy, found unsatisfying and too easy to manipulate. “Hire someone to spam your twitter handle (like some gurus I know) and all of a sudden you’re a social rocket scientist,” Levy wrote.
In May 2018, Klout folded, leaving content marketers who used social scoring to choose influencers looking for alternatives. In June 2018, Kred announced the launch of Kred 2.0. The new and improved Kred incorporates additional social media networks, offers verified Kred profiles, and even incorporates a Kred-specific cryptocurrency, according to Cameron Bale.
Throughout the process, Kred’s rules for calculating scores have stayed transparent, and its willingness to shift along with the Internet’s interest in image-heavy social media sites like Instagram and Pinterest and in digital currencies indicates that Kred may continue rolling out useful tools for content marketing.
Video remains a growing priority with a growing base of interested viewers, according to Gary Henderson, founder and CEO of DigitalMarketing.org, in an article for Forbes. As a result, many content marketers are turning their attention to the best ways to use video to meet their goals. And tools like Magisto are making video easier than ever.
Magisto’s smart video editor uses AI to help marketers edit and release high-quality, attention-grabbing video in minutes. With video taking over the Internet, a tool that can improve both the quality and quantity of the video a content marketing team produces can be game-changing.
Mix (formerly StumbleUpon)
StumbleUpon has been an old standby since 2002, but on June 30, 2018, the website and its related app closed for business. Instead, StumbleUpon reincarnated as Mix.
Mix operates on the same basic principle as StumbleUpon — introducing users to content based on their topic interests and what other users have added to the site or marked as interesting — but with a twist: It also incorporates users’ social media presence, says founder Garrett Camp.
Mix’s great contribution to content marketing is twofold. First, in taking some of the “wacky game of roulette” feel out of StumbleUpon, as Megan Farokhmanesh at The Verge described it, Mix makes it easier to put content in front of audiences that are genuinely interested in what it offers.
Second, Mix makes it easier than ever for marketing teams to snag relevant, interesting content and influencers that might otherwise never cross their radar. It’s a great source for articles to include in a curated content newsletter.
If you’re uncertain about Mix — as a number of the app’s Google Play reviewers appear to be — several other options exist, notes Mihir Patkar at MUO. Those include Discuvver and URL Roulette, which operates on a “give a link, get a link” system that encourages content marketing teams to put their own work into the system in order to see what fans are posting as well.
When is the best time to tweet? Both urban myths and data-backed studies abound, according to Nathan Ellering at CoSchedule. The latter are often based on how Twitter users as a whole behave, resulting in answers that are highly predictable for the general population.
But the very best time to tweet isn’t when everyone is available. It’s when your target audience is available. That’s where Tweriod comes in.
By analyzing both the user’s tweets and their followers’ tweets, Tweriod can provide a specific timeframe in which the bulk of the user’s followers are listening, making that window the best time to put information in front of their eyes.
Much of marketing today is about selling customers an experience rather than just a product or service. Uberflip focuses on selling the experience by helping content marketers “personalize content at scale,” creating custom experiences for each customer.
The concept of creating engaging, personalized customer experiences at scale is a compelling one: In April 2018, Uberflip announced the closing of a $32-million funding round, according to co-founder and CEO Yoav Schwartz.
One of the biggest hurdles for marketing teams is the bounce, when website visitors leave instead of stepping into the sales funnel. Unbounce seeks to reduce the bounce rate by offering a cohesive suite of tools for creating and testing custom landing pages, website popups and sticky bars.
For content marketers who are new to HTML or who want to focus their energies on content creation rather than landing page design, Unbounce’s templates are designed for ease of use — no coding required.
Unbounce’s client list includes such content marketing luminaries as Hootsuite and Uberflip. Many of Unbounce’s users are so devoted to the site that they’ve invested the energy to develop workarounds to some of its limitations, such as Robin Lord’s recommendations for getting around the one-form-per-page limitation of Unbounce.
One of the best ways to get more mileage from outstanding content is to repurpose it in various genres and contexts. A longform blog post can make a great video script, infographic or white paper — if you have the time and energy to devote to its transformation.
Xtensio makes the transformations easier. Content creators and marketing teams can collaborate on Xtensio folios, which can easily be shared, downloaded and transformed from document to slideshow. Perhaps best of all, Xtensio is free to use, allowing content marketers to get the most from their best content without an onerous investment.
The Future of Content Marketing Tools
Content marketing continues to be one of the most popular forms of reaching an audience, and the tools to do it have risen to the challenge. Whether you want to know the best time to reach your Twitter audience or you need a one-stop dashboard to manage your entire marketing funnel, there’s a tool for that.
Images by: stockasso/©123RF Stock Photo, everythingpossible/©123RF Stock Photo, sifotography/©123RF Stock Photo
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