What are the best content marketing tools out there? Chances are, it’s mentioned in this article – along with thirteen other effective content marketing tools that can double your blog’s search traffic, get shared across social media and add to lead generation when paired with good stories and valuable content.
Content marketers are investing more into content marketing campaigns than ever before. But, just like them, you want to make sure that you get the best ROI.
One of the SEO myths that you shouldn’t believe is that “using SEO tools can get you penalized.” This just isn’t true. Google penalizes site owners, because they try to game the system with over-optimized keywords and anchor text in their content marketing, not because they used a specific tool.
In fact, once you’re armed with the best content marketing tools, the search engine space is yours to dominate. You just need to be clear about your goals – whether that’s generating more leads, closing more sales for your small business or something else to improve your marketing efforts.
Researching viral blog post ideas, creating high-quality content and reaching out to influencers to promote your content marketing campaigns and blog posts can be hectic. You don’t want to waste your precious time and that of your target audience. The right tools can help you save time alongside providing ideas for great content and nudging lead generation up the ladder.
Without further ado, let’s explore the 14 best content marketing tools for your small business.
1. Pingdom Website Speed Test
Speed is important to Google, so it’s important to know your page load time. Here’s how Google explains it on their Webmaster Central Blog:
According to Amit Singhal, Principal Engineer with Google’s Search Quality Team, a page’s relevance carries more weight than site speed. But, site speed is definitely taken into consideration as a ranking factor.
Another reason that you have to improve your site speed is because the average attention span of a user is just eight seconds – shorter than that of a goldfish. Users want quick answers to what they’re searching for. Even if you have the most effective content online, you need to ensure your users have access to that information fast. If you can provide those answers and engage your target audience, in spite of their short attention spans, you’ll keep them glued to their screen.
Consumers on a small business or a major ecommerce sites can be influenced, in a purchasing decision, by the speed of your site. According to Radware, 51% of online U.S. shoppers say that if a site loads too slowly, they won’t complete a purchase, even when they’ve already begun the checkout process.
What could site delay cost you? As it turns out, quite a lot:
Site speed can affect your rankings, so it’s important to test it and keep improving on it if you want to climb the search engine results page.
Follow these steps to find out your load time:
Step #1: Visit Pingdom Speed Test. On the homepage, plug your site URL into the search box and click “Test Now”:
Step #2: Analyze your site speed.
Squirrly is an SEO plugin that helps you optimize content for the right keyword and user, as well as measure the success of your effective content. With this plugin, you can increase traffic by 285%.
The challenge most B2B and B2C content marketers have is creating content for the user and optimizing for Google. This simple plugin takes care of that for you, making it one of the best content marketing tools you can find.
To install Squirrly, first search for the plugin from your WordPress dashboard. Go to Plugins > New Plugin. Then type “squirrly” into the search box. Hit the search button on your keyboard:
Next, install the Squirrly plugin, by clicking it and following these steps:
The next time you’re ready to publish a new blog post, Squirrly will be ready for use. Simply use it to search for long-tail keywords that are profitable to content marketers and easy to rank for in the search engines.
3. Keyword Tool Dominator
Keyword Tool Dominator is an easy-to-use and very helpful content marketing tool for researching long-tail keywords that your target audience is searching for when looking for useful and effective content and blog posts.
Targeting long-tail search queries has generated more than 20,000 search visitors to this blog, so far. And, I’m sure that number will only increase.
First, sign up with Keyword Tool Dominator. Then, log in and click the “Google Autocomplete Keyword Tool” tab.
Then, provide a head keyword and simply review the longer search phrases that KTD suggests:
4. Ahrefs Content Explorer
There is a new and powerful tool from Ahrefs. It’s called the Content Explorer and you can use it to find the most shared topic on social media in any niche. This is great news for those looking for new ideas for different types of content creation, making it one of the best content marketing tools in the industry.
It works much like BuzzSumo, but I’m beginning to fancy the clean results from the Ahrefs tool. Follow these basic steps, to find the most shared content, so that you can model its structure and replicate its success for yourself in your own content marketing campaign:
Step #1: Visit Ahrefs.com. Select the “Content Explorer” Tab.
Step #2: Plug a keyword into the search box (e.g. link building). Click the orange “search” button:
Step #3: Analyze the results. From the list, check the most shared types of content and carefully study the headline and structure, to determine the factors that turned this blog post into a piece of effective content that people wanted to read and share on their social media accounts.
From the results above, you can see that the most shared blog post, relating to “link building,” in the past 30 days is “Link Building Tactics: The Complete List.”
Obviously, people liked the headline enough to click on it and they liked the content enough to share it on their social media. Use that headline to model a unique headline for your next blog post.
If your headline can captivate your audience, they will share it on their social networks, you’ll drive engagement for your small business and increase your conversion rate. Here are some headlines modeled on the example:
- Email Marketing Tactics: The Complete List
- Twitter Marketing Tactics: The Complete List
- Blog Monetization Tactics: The Complete List
This is my own content marketing and search engine optimization Tool. QuickSprout tells you what you’re doing wrong with your site and gives you suggestions on how to increase search traffic. It’s easy to use and may change the way you do SEO and approach content curation and your content marketing campaigns.
Step #1: On the homepage, just enter your site URL (e.g. nerdfitness.com) into the search box, then click the “LOG IN WITH GOOGLE” button:
Step #2: Review your results, to find out how your site is performing, in terms of speed and search engine optimization. If your results include warnings, it just means that you’ve got some tweaking to do. Once you complete that work, you’ll significantly increase your search traffic. Having these guidelines to hand makes this one of the best content marketing tools for adapting your blog posts, editorial calendar, and content creation to work in harmony with your SEO.
In the SEO analysis report above, you’ll notice that nerdfitness.com generated three errors, which can be fixed instantly:
There are more warnings for the images:
These are simple ways to fix the above warnings:
- Write heading tags that contain 15 – 65 characters. If the length exceeds 65 characters, your headlines will not display fully on search engine results pages, which jeopardizes your own digital marketing success.
- Images should have descriptive alt attribute values. Don’t leave them empty and don’t use generic descriptions. Make sure that at least one keyword appears in the alt attribute, in a natural way.
You can also analyze your competitors’ sites, using QuickSprout’s content marketing tool. This can help you determine what you can do to improve your content marketing campaign for your small business :
Just click the (+) icon to expand the section, then add up to three of your competitors’ URLs:
When you spy on your competitors, you’re likely to discover opportunities to outsmart and outperform them with your content marketing efforts. Just as you spy on their keywords, you can also get a sense of their overall SEO performance, then come up with an effective content strategy to do a better job.
6. Emotional Headline Analyzer
Over the years, I’ve learned that customers make purchasing decisions based on emotion and justify their decision with logic. For that reason, another one of the best content marketing tools that you should always use is the Emotional Headline Analyzer, from Advanced Marketing Institute.
What do you think a brand is? Isn’t it how people feel about a business and product?
This means that if you’re not appealing to people’s emotions, your blog posts will not be read, let alone shared on social networks. According to Zig Ziglar, “People don’t buy for logical reasons. They buy for emotional reasons.” Keep this in your mind when working on your content curation.
Oftentimes, we buy things that we don’t necessarily need, only to wonder later what prompted us to do so. That’s the emotional truth of being human. Smart copywriters already know this and take advantage of it in their copy, using those emotions to craft effective content and social media posts.
The rational buyer wants to be given a logical reason for every choice. The emotional buyer, on the other hand, doesn’t care and may not analyze the decision, until after it’s made and the purchase has been made.
Since the headline is the first contact point between you and your customers, you have to craft it carefully using an emotional approach to your social media and marketing strategy, so that it appeals to your customers.
Follow these simple steps to nail an emotionally compelling headline:
Plug the headline that you’ve created into the Headline Analyzer, select your categories and click the “Submit for Analysis” button:
Here’s the result:
Note: An Emotional Marketing Value (EMV) of 22 or more means that you have a good headline – especially when it’s empathetic, like the one above. It appeals to people who want someone to feel their pain and solve their problems. These two things are so useful for small businesses to connect with their audience, and can be worked into a savvy content marketing campaign.
Do you consider yourself a good or great writer? The word “good” and “great” can be relative, depending on your perception.
But, if you’re a website owner or blog content creator, you always want more people to read your content and blog posts. You want to reach the right audience with your message, because you believe that a single idea can make the world a better place.
TrendSpottr is one of the best content marketing tools for predicting emerging trends. With it, you’ll know exactly what your target audience is desperately looking for, right now and how to meet their needs with effective content. When you hit this nail on the head you will be able to create the types of content they want to share across their social media accounts, which in turn leads to a successful content marketing campaign.
Good writing is a pinnacle skill requiring attention to detail, broad general knowledge, logic, clarity of thought, persuasiveness and technical skill.
If you’re a writer for a small business, but you can’t gauge the impact that your article or blog post might make, it shows that you’re not versatile or knowledgeable enough in your industry. Yet without the latter skill it will be tricky to curate effective content.
If you want to improve your search traffic, you have to carefully plan your content and your editorial calendar and continually study your customers, to stay on top of your game.
But, even that isn’t enough. You also have to hone the skills that will help you craft amazing and effective content that will keep people up until midnight, in order to read it and have them pushing that click to tweet button like their life depends on it.
Strong writing skills that spur people into action can double your blog engagement and propel your content marketing campaign.
And, the more engagement you create, the more social shares your content is going to generate via Facebook likes, click to tweets, and other social media shares, especially when it’s in-depth and contains visual information (e.g. images, videos and so on).
TrendSpottr capitalizes on the fact that certain types of content tend to go viral. Content that is funny, controversial or emotionally provocative is more likely to be shared widely on social networks.
Kelsey Libert, of Inc. Magazine, said that optimizing your blog posts for large social media networks is key to getting more shares and likes. This means that Facebook should become one of your primary focal points when it comes to your content marketing campaign, because it can get you more readers and site visitors. This is especially true for small businesses.
Interestingly, over 350,000 international blogs embedded the video into their content creation and that was a huge factor in the success of the “elephant video.”
Chris Gimmer, of Bootstrapbay.com, also used the Skyscraper Technique introduced by Brian Dean to get 17,584 visitors in a single day.
And, that’s not all. Gimmer also generated over 200,000 visitors in 4 months, because he created content that people love to read and promoted it strategically with the help of some of the best content marketing tools and a decent strategy.
Even if you don’t have a great, emotionally evocative idea to base your effective content around, you can join and share a trending story. Be a part of what’s trending right now and you’ll see a significant increase in search traffic. This was exactly what Glen Allsop did in 2013 and he got 9,000 unique views in one day.
If you’re looking for one of the best content marketing tools that will predict the success of your content, even before you write it, TrendSpottr is your best bet.
Beyond predicting the latest trends and helping you to work viral content into your editorial calendar, the tool helps you find key influencers who will gladly promote your content for more traffic juice.
Influencers are people who command influence through a strong, sizeable network (on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest or Google+). In a nutshell, they’re social media giants.
Being an influencer is something that you have to work hard to earn. One word or recommendation from an influencer can spread your marketing message and drive more visitors to your site.
In fact, a research study by Nielsen showed that 90% of consumers trust peer recommendations, as opposed to the 33% of consumers who actually respond to or trust ads. The study also revealed that 74% of consumers rely heavily on social media to help them make buying decisions.
Here’s how to use TrendSpottr to spot and take advantage of trending topics and viral ideas and to connect with social media influencers:
Step #1: Visit TrendSpottr.com. On the homepage, click the green “GET STARTED” button:
Note: TrendSpottr is not cheap. It costs $199/month. But, you can sign up for the 14-day free trial period and test the waters. If you’re not satisfied or don’t have enough money to renew, just opt out.
Step #2: Click the green “Start Your Free Trial” button.
Step #3: Register an account. Simply fill in your personal information (email, name and country).
Click the “Register” button, then log into your email account and click the link in the verification email.
Step #4: Log into TrendSpottr, to see trending topics you can use to create effective content.
One feature that makes this one of the best content marketing tools (as opposed to Google Trends) is the ability to share, engage and connect with top influencers, directly from the dashboard. Google Trends only shows you the trends and nothing else.
By following the trend, establishing a strong connection with your target audience and leveraging influencers, you can double your search traffic and online small business growth.
For example, Xero, a cloud-based accounting alternative to QuickBooks, went public without any sales, but grew to be worth $2.5 billion, with over 400,000 customers worldwide. According to Market Wired, Xero also grew subscription revenue by 80% in its financial year ending March 31, 2015.
8. Google Analytics
You have a wealth of the best content marketing tools available to you, yet Google Analytics remains indispensable. Daisy Downs, Chief Marketing Officer at UrbanSitter.com, shared a success story on how Google Analytics reduced her company’s customer acquisition cost by 30%.
This is very important, because it costs five times more to acquire new customers than to retain existing ones. KISSmetrics discovered that globally, “the average value of a lost customer is $243.”
But, studying the data provided by Google Analytics helps you understand not just the search engine queries people use to find your site, but also the demographics behind your visitors which you can then work into your editorial calendar and content marketing campaigns. This information can ultimately help you double your search traffic.
In other words, they started focusing on customization through search queries that are used by their target shoppers.
Through my work with clients and content marketers in improving their search engine traffic, one of the surprising things that I’ve found is that most of them either don’t care about Google Analytics or aren’t aware of its full potential. This means they are letting an opportunity to improve their marketing strategy slide.
If you want to double your search traffic, the three things you should study on your Google Analytics dashboard are:
- Landing Pages
- Search Queries
- Geographical Summary
1). Landing Pages: This will show you the pages that users click when they visited your site – the most popular page, the exit page and how many page views you get. This tells you which pages are your high-converting landing pages and ways to improve on their performance.
If you find that a particular landing page is performing well in the search engines, you could improve it by adding more unique and effective content, building authority links and increasing the content length, which can improve rankings further.
When you log into your Google Analytics Dashboard, click Acquisition > Search Engine Optimization > Landing Pages:
2). Search queries: This is the second most important thing to work on, if you want to double your search blog post traffic. Google Analytics provides a long list of search queries (keywords) that are sending you the most traffic.
To find these search queries on your Google Analytics dashboard, click on Acquisition > Search Engine Optimization > Queries. You’ll see a default page, asking you to “set up webmaster tools data sharing.” Go ahead and click it, then follow the simple steps as prompted.
When you log back in and click on your search queries, you’ll find a result similar to the one below:
Looking at the “queries” screenshot above, you’ll notice that the most searched keywords that are generating search visitors to QuickSprout.com are:
- inspirational quotes
- american express
- business quote
- content marketing
Now that I know the best keywords to optimize my content for, I could pick one of the keywords and find long-tail variations that have less-competition and are easier to rank for. Without a doubt this is going to improve my content marketing campaign and boost my small business.
When I plugged one of the keywords (e.g., inspirational quotes) into Google AdWords Keywords Planner, here are the additional keywords that I got:
3). Geographical Summary: Where are your visitors located? If you want to attract visitors from a particular country, Google Analytics will show you whether you’re successfully doing so.
On your dashboard, click on Acquisition > Search Engine Optimization > Geographical Summary:
An effective content marketing strategy relies on exclusive research and promotion. Inbound.org is an inbound marketing community, and not exactly considered one of the best content marketing tools per se. But, it can be helpful for researching social media and blog post ideas and for connecting with other people.
In the digital marketing world, relationships with other small businesses and content marketers are important. You need to network with other people and cross-promote each other’s blog posts to improve your content marketing campaigns.
Inbound.org is great for content promotion. For example, Robbie Richards generated 1,324 visitors to his blog page when Umar Khan shared his blog post on Inbound.org.
When you publish a useful blog post, head to Inbound.org and submit your page URL as part of your marketing strategy.
You may think that writing a useful blog post is all there is to solving your readers’ problems, but that’s not true. Along with effective content you have to give them what they want, wherever they want it. If you put them first, your blog traffic will increase and your content marketing program will improve.
One of the ways that you can do that is by collating your best blog posts in one place. This can double your traffic, because you’ve saved readers the time that they’d otherwise spend scouring search engines.
Paper.li is a user-friendly platform to help you easily curate effective content and ultimately increase lead generation.
Paper.li is the easiest way to give your published blog posts a slick new format. As one of the best content marketing tools it helps you collect, publish and share high-quality content all over the web. And, it’s 100% free. Just follow these simple steps:
Step one: Sign up at Paper.li. Click the “Get Started” button.
Step two: Log in, with Twitter, Facebook or Email: I personally prefer to log in with my Twitter account, but the choice is yours.
Step three: Create your newspaper-like page. Just fill in the title of your paper.
Step four: Set your page’s main keyword. Just type in the exact keyword that you want to collate blog posts on – this should be fairly easy, if you’ve clearly defined your target audience.
Next: select the blog post that you want to share and make your paper.li page.
Remember that your blog traffic depends on how useful and interesting your blog posts are, not necessarily how gorgeous your site is (although that, too, is important).
Your Paper.li page will look something like this:
Paper.li works, because the technology is based on iterating ideas and blog posts for readers. And, the more often they see and read your content, the higher the chances of converting them, the very ethos behind a strong digital marketing strategy.
PowToon is one of the best content marketing tools for creating animated videos and presentations. You and I know the impact of utilizing visual marketing in your content creation. According to Dr. James McQuivey, of Forrester Research, a one-minute video is worth 1.8 million words. At that rate, you’d need to work for 150 days, before achieving the impact of a one-minute video.
Diode Digital also found that video marketing is 600% more effective than direct media and print media combined, probably because it can be easily shared across social media accounts.
The study further revealed that 60% of site users and customers prefer to watch a video than read plain text, if it’s available on the page. YouTube videos remain popular and have been a popular promotional tool for small businesses and multinational companies alike.
Discovery Digital Networks saw a spike in YouTube video views when they added captions to their videos. They’ve created and published over 300 videos, so far. And, their target audience members always respond to them.
Their YouTube views increased by 13.48% in the first 14 days.
Consistency is the key to successful video marketing. Flight Drummers founder, Josh Coffy, shared a guest post on how he captured 500,000 YouTube views by posting materials frequently. They also built a subscriber base of more than 8,000 loyal fans with their content creation choices.
You need to start creating useful and interesting videos, for several reasons:
- To educate your target audience
- To persuade customers
- To nurture a raving community of prospective customers
- To inspire customer loyalty
- To promote your text-based content
- To impact a wider audience by leveraging YouTube
- To build your brand image
And so on…
Video influences purchasing decisions, as well. A recent statistic, released by Digital Sherpa, revealed that 12% of viewers buy a product featured in a video ad, after watching the video.
To further inspire you to create videos to promote your small business, here are more video statistics, from Virtuets:
Now that you’ve seen the immense impact that video content can make, it’s time to learn how PowToon works for creating animated videos and presentations as part of your digital marketing strategy.
Step #1: Get started with PowToon. On the homepage, click the “Get Started” button. Then, sign up by filling in your information.
Step #2: Sign in and create your first animated video. If you’re a professional, you could start from scratch. But, I personally prefer the second option – customizing one of the templates.
Click on the custom template that you prefer. For example, if you want to create an animated video for your business goals, select the one below:
Step #3: Edit the animated video.
After you click the gray “edit” button, fill in the spaces on your animated video and customize it for your product or business.
RememberTheMilk is an online to-do list and task management tool. With this content marketing software, you can increase your productivity level as a blogger or content marketer and focus on improving your conversion rate.
A to-do list tool, such as RTM, simplifies your life and gives you a sense of direction.
In his book, “The Productive Person Action Guide: How to Become More Productive,” Chandler Bolt said that distractions can suck your time, like vampires such blood and they can come in all shapes and sizes.
Don’t take these distractions lightly when it comes to content creation and marketing. They can cripple your efforts and greatly reduce your ROI. Most companies who have discovered the power of using a to-do list have successfully increased their productivity by 256%.
Tim Ferriss introduced the Four-Hour Work Week. And, ever since, it’s been a popular mantra for digital marketers whose primary objective is to increase profit and reduce work time.
Smart marketers are working smarter than ever before. As a result of this, they want to work less and earn more. Don’t we all?
RememberTheMilk can help you keep pace with your obligations and it’s 100% free.
To use RTM, just click the “Sign Up Free” button on the homepage. Then, follow the prompts to get your first to-do list ready.
So many things are going on, in the mind of a digital marketer. To save time and achieve more, RTM’s task management features may be helpful. This is one of the best content marketing tools if you find yourself struggling to juggle your editorial calendar and marketing strategy.
I use Visual.ly to create all of my videos, presentations, and infographics, including the ones you see on QuickSprout.com. I’ve tried several other infographic software tools, but Visual.ly best meets my needs.
Infographics have the potential to generate more traffic and socialmedia shares than plain text does, if you promote them strategically. In the past, I’ve generated over 60,000 visitors to my blog, through infographics. Once built, you can syndicate your infographics across social media networks and increase your reach exponentially.
Your customers and target audience are human beings. Consequently, their brains process images and graphics 60,000 times faster than plain text. Also, the eye is an extension of the brain, which means that even one look at an infographic can make your brand stick in the minds of your target customers.
The KISSmetrics blog generates over 100,000 qualified visitors per month. This significant success is due, in large part, to over 200 infographics that we created and shared in the past few years.
LinkBird used infographics to boost SEO and encourages you to do so, as well. However, you’ve got to research extensively.
I made sure that every infographic that I put out there is data-driven and useful, as with the following example:
Note: Visual.ly is not a free infographic tool, so it’s better suited to businesses with a marketing budget.
If you’re on a tight budget, you may want to use dribbble.com, to find an infographic designer at a cheaper rate. On the site, type in “infographic designer” and hit “enter.”
Simply choose a designer whom you’d like to learn more about and find the right fit for your infographic needs.
Note: Learn as much as possible about the infographic designer. Check their portfolio and any comments left by clients. When you’re satisfied, you may want to hire the infographics designer for your small business and, from there, build a relationship with them for your future needs.
14. Meme Generator
Out of the 15 types of content that drive the most traffic, memes are unique – and under-utilized by content marketers. Memes are fun ways to express powerful ideas to your target audience. When well done, they can appeal to diverse groups of people, simultaneously and spread like wildfire.
The typical meme is usually composed of stylized text on an image.
People love memes, because they’re funny and highly relatable.
However, bear in mind that memes may not be right for your readers – especially if that’s all you share. Just like infographics, you have to create effective content around it.
Memes are best used for complementing your blog post. Use them when they add to your content. Also, because they’re images, don’t forget to do basic SEO, such as having your keyword or LSI in the title, caption and alt sections.
Animated gifs are also growing in popularity. Not only do people want static images, but they also want images that will evoke emotion and trigger their brain cells to act – animated gifs and videos do exactly that.
There you have it – 14 tools that you can use to boost your content marketing and double search traffic to your blog. As I said earlier, you can achieve much better results from SEO, if you focus your attention on your users.
User optimization will improve your blog traffic by 83%, within seven months, if you get serious about your content marketing campaigns.
Every tool on this page is aimed at helping you convince your target audience to perceive you as the authority in your industry.
Ideally, you can use storytelling to communicate clearly with blog readers and customers, thus building a strong value proposition for your online business.
As long as your content is well researched and always appeals to the user – not because you want to impress them to trust you, but to express your own world view and offer practical solutions to their problems – you’ll ultimately drive more search traffic to your blog.
Have you used any of the content marketing tools listed here? What results did you achieve?