In a recent survey by Smart Insights, content marketing was indicated as the top performer for driving commercial results in 2015. Needless to say, it's becoming more and more imperative for digital marketers to create not only consistent online content, but engaging content as well. And that can be a very daunting and overwhelming process.
The following list includes 8 tools that I find particularly helpful as a content marketer. Each tool tackles a different obstacle: content management, visual content creation, personalizing email outreach, idea generation, scheduling, writing and note-taking, idea organization and content discovery.
1. CoSchedule (Content Managing)
I only recently discovered CoSchedule and immediately fell in love. First and foremost, this tool is a content managing system, and not only does it let you schedule your upcoming posts, but it has a built-in social media scheduler as well. You can integrate it directly with WordPress and ensure that your social media posts go out the moment your article is published. You can also integrate Evernote and Google Docs with CoSchedule as well - so if you're like me and have a tendency to write your content on a range of different platforms, you can easily drag and drop your document right into your calendar.
2. Venngage (Visual Content/Infographic Creation)
Noah Kagan, the founder of AppSumo, did a study that analyzed over 100 million articles online and found that Infographics were the most shared format of content, on average. But not everyone can afford a graphic designer, especially if you're a small business owner.
There are a lot of great online infographic tools that make the process of creating an infographic a lot easier. Venngage has plenty of free and premium infographic templates to make it easier for marketers who are non-designers, to create visual content.
3. Yet Another Mail Merge (Personalized Mail Merge)
If you do a lot of influencer and blogger outreach as part of your content marketing strategy, it can be very time consuming and very redundant. Rather than writing every single email from scratch, you can use a mail-merging tool like Yet Another Mail Merge to make the process more effective. They great thing about this tool is that it makes it very easy to personalize your messages with customizable tags. It also has a Chrome extension, so all you need to do is draft an email in Gmail and it pulls the data from a Google Sheet in your drive.
4. Klock.work (Idea Generator)
Klock.work is a relatively new tool and is completely free to use. It's a title and idea generator that can be very useful if you are struggling to come up with content ideas. What differentiates Klock.work from other tools (like Portent's Content Generator) is that it also recommends an infographic layout or template that can be paired with your article so that you are killing two content creation birds with one stone.
5. Sunrise (Calendar)
If you're ever working on co-marketing efforts with other companies, managing and scheduling meetings and calls becomes crucial. Sunrise is a calendar app that synchs with Google Calendars and iCalendar as well. That way, if you have multiple clients sending you meeting invites on a number of different calendar tools, you can just merge them all together on Sunrise. You can also create different calendars with different email addresses if you want to as well. And just like Google Calendar, Sunrise can be colour coordinated to make your life more vibrant.
6. Evernote (Writing and Notetaking)
Evernote is a very user-friendly note-taking app. If you don't know what Evernote is, well it's about time you got on the bandwagon. Not only can you synch all the notes you create on your computer with your smartphone and tablet, but Evernote allows you to organize your documents into different notebooks and also send them directly to colleagues with the built-in messaging app. You can also scan and digitize business cards, turn your notes into presentations and even see content that's related to your notes.
7. Trello (Organize Your Ideas)
If you've ever worked for a startup, chances are you've written plenty of your ideas down on Post-its and pinned those thoughts onto a whiteboard in some shared office space. Trello works similarly, except you're less likely to lose the notes. You can organize your ideas by creating different boards for different projects, and additional tabs with individual ideas. You can also drag and drop your idea tabs along different boards, making the experience seamless.
8. Buzzsumo (Discover Trending Content)
Finally, Buzzsumo is a great tool to help you discover trending content on the web. You can quickly and easily find content that's getting the most shares and trending online. Identifying what works and what doesn't becomes a simple task, and you can also find influencers associated with the content you are producing. You can also filter content by date in order to assure you're only seeing the most recent and relevant information.