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January 22, 2018 (Updated: March 2, 2020)
Marketers often start their content marketing campaigns with Google spreadsheets and a WordPress platform, managing most of the optimizations and scheduling on their own. While this is great for understanding the industry, it can be almost impossible to scale out your production without losing your mind. Furthermore, you’re missing out on options to drive more leads and generate content ideas based on concrete research.
It’s time to remove the guesswork from content creation and start using the right tools. Here are 15 content marketing must-haves to make your traffic and sales efforts thrive.
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Kissmetrics offers some of the most widely-used tools across the SEO industry. Content managers can analyze key segments, track their growth progress, and place audiences in specific buckets to see how their behavior changes with different marketing efforts. The Kissmetrics platform isn’t cheap, and teams can expect to pay at least $500/month for services, but many larger businesses and popular blogs swear by the insights. Even the basic package allows marketers to track five populations and send up to 250,000 emails per month.
Content marketing doesn’t operate in a vacuum, which means successful marketers will understand how their action affect other channels. Google Analytics provides a clear picture of your entire marketing efforts. Users can track specific web pages and see how they perform or determine which content types work best on different promotion channels. Marketing teams can then work together to create comprehensive plans to move audiences through the sales funnel. Users can also look for opportunities to improve content through keyword analysis on audience behavior on various landing pages. This service is free, with premium features costing extra.
Content Analysis Tool (CAT)
Content Insight has developed a Content Analysis Tool for blog managers juggling large publications. Along with analyzing the content you publish, this tool makes it easy to search through URLs, keywords, and topics to understand what content you have covered before and how it performed. For example, a brand could use this tool to generate ideas for under-covered keywords or pull relevant internal links for interlinking and SEO. You can test the tool for $25 to analyze 2,500 pages or sign up for the basic plan at $79 per month for 25,000 pages analyzed monthly.
SEMRush is an essential item for any marketer looking to improve their organic rankings. Use this tool to run an SEO audit and identify keyword opportunities, dead links, and position changes. SEMRush definitely helps marketers who want to improve the technical side of SEO, not just the content creation parts. It also offers competitor analysis options so you can find ways to overcome other blogs in your industry. The basic account level for SEMRush starts at $99 monthly and covers 500 tracked keywords, 100,000 crawled pages and five PDF reports.
The use of artificial intelligence is on the rise in content marketing as industry experts look for ways to automate processes and free up their time for strategic planning. MarketMuse is just one option to choose from. There are options for agencies, in-house marketers, enterprises, and even freelancers. MarketMuse will identify topics you haven’t covered, audiences you’re struggling to reach, and gaps in your SEO. Prices range in size, with the standard software costing $500 per month for midsize companies.
The gShift tool is more than an SEO solution, it’s a channel for your influencer-marketing strategy. Marketers can identify influencers through keyword research and target new audiences that they might not be reaching. This opens up your content marketing efforts and helps you grow your business. Suddenly, instead of just reaching your social channels and email list, you can reach people across the web. Through gShift, brand managers can track content performance across the web to see how these influencer-marketing efforts and guest posts perform. You don’t have to get all of their products, but the basic services start at $199 per month and grow as you add more options.
Pardot is a B2B marketing automation tool created by Salesforce to help teams generate leads, streamline lead prioritization, and move potential customers down the sales funnel. When audiences fill out your contact forms, AI software is able to evaluate the validity and interest level of the lead. Then it can generate an automated email to start the discussion and schedule a call with your sales team. With the first two steps taken care of, your sales team receives a set of already-engaged leads and can take over from the robot. This software starts at $1,000 per month, but can easily be worth it if it saves your team $1,000 in labor or helps your business see a $1,000 increase in sales.
Marketo is an alternative option for marketing automation. This software system can determine the best times to reach out to leads and audiences and maximize results. Through Big Data analytics and machine learning based on your company’s behavior, you can find the best possible times to connect with customers. This will increase clicks and engagement, which leads to better sales. Marketo also has lead generation options and analytics tools for marketers who want to take the lead in their optimizations. Pricing varies by company size and bundle of options.
Monetate brands itself as a leader in personalization software. It reviews your customers and makes recommendations for creating a personal experience for them. This tool allows brands to compile all their data for the benefit of the blog and develop multiple segments for targeting. Most importantly, Monetate acknowledges that your customers change over time. They have different needs and fall into different segments. This flexibility makes it easy to evolve and sell to your customers when they most need it.
Content creation isn’t easy, but Bottlenose can help. Its Nerve Center aggregates and analyzes data across more than two million sources for insights around what is trending. This is an essential tool for social media development and content creation. Brands can quickly see what topics are trending and create content reporting on various news stories to connect with interested audiences. Tracking the growth of various topics can also help brands learn what concerns customers so they can address their needs. Pricing varies by how much access you need and the size of your organization.
Buzzsumo has quickly become one of the most popular tools on the market for influencer marketing. Brands can search by topic, URL or author, and filter by publishing time. This website provides information on total shares as well as data for who shared various posts. You can link to pieces with high engagement levels or reach out to these authors or influencers. Plans start at $79 per month.
Brand24 provides real-time updates on what people are saying about your brand, topics, and industry. From there, you can reach out to these influencers and comment on their comments or ask them to follow up on your ideas. If you don’t know what people are saying about you, how can you create content that resonates with them? Plus, reaching out to influencers who are already talking about you is easier than sending cold-call messages. The basic $50 allows for 5,000 mentions per month, has a sentiment analysis, and is updated every 12 hours.
Blaze is another content audit tool that marketers can use to revamp their blog efforts and identify weak spaces in their production. You can evaluate your URLs and see which content pieces need to be updated or rewritten for better SEO. Don’t let poor SEO mistakes from the past haunt your future when you can easily audit your pieces and make corrections. Pricing plans start at $99 per month.
Marketers that schedule to juggle multiple social media channels, blogs posts, emails, and other content launches can use CoSchedule, otherwise known as One Calendar to Rule Them All. You can move projects forward with team workflows and keep all assignments in one place. With this tool, you will never have to scramble to make sure you have content for a particular slot or announcement. You can check everything before you publish with this easy-to-navigate project management and calendar tool. The basic package starts at $40 per month.
Optimizely is one of the top A/B testing tools on the market. You can run multiple tests at once and prioritize various tests based on management’s concerns. The clean analytics make it easy to see which options performed better. Even content marketers need to improve their website layouts. Test different headlines and format types to see which choices make audiences stay the longest and which ones generate the most leads. Know what works before you make any permanent changes. Plans vary by company size.
Not all of these tools will be right for your organization, but knowing what’s out there can help you decide on what you need to do your job better. By budgeting for these content marketing must-haves, you can exponentially grow your traffic in 2018.