The content marketing landscape continues to evolve, with an ever-increasing focus on understanding consumer intent and delivering quality, relevant, and trustworthy content.
And in order to meet these needs and demands of your target audience, you need the right tools to properly plan, write, optimize, and promote your best work.
So what do writers, editors, SEO pros, content marketing managers, and others keep in their content toolkits now?
We asked our network of content experts which tools they use to improve their content research, creation, optimization and more.
Check out the 30+ content tools they recommend, how they use them, and why each one has a place in their toolkit.
Content Research & Strategy Tools
There are three categories of tools for content strategy that Alexis Sanders, SEO Director of Merkle Digital, finds really useful:
- Competitive research tools such as Semrush and Ahrefs.
- Keyword trackers like Advanced Web Ranking or BrightEdge.
- And crawlers including Screaming Frog, OnCrawl, Botify, and DeepCrawl.
Each of the tools offers its own unique features and reports. Some of her favorite features include:
- The Keyword Magic Tool in Semrush for content ideation.
- Advanced Web Ranking for its ability to integrate seamlessly into GDS for keyword-level reporting.
- OnCrawl’s duplicate content reporting and interpretation of canonical vs. non-canonical clusters.
- Ad hoc extraction and custom search options within Screaming Frog.
Kayle Larkin, SEO Strategist and owner of Larkin SEO, shared her favorite tools:
- Google Analytics, to see what content type assists in conversions (and its conversion rate).
- Google Search Console for examining click-through rate and backlink patterns.
- Ahrefs for tracking organic share of voice.
Miranda Miller, Managing Editor here at Search Engine Journal, uses BuzzSumo to see what content on any given topic is already getting traction.
“The very first thing I want to know when considering writing about any given topic is what’s already out there. Who else is talking about this? Which takes are most popular?” she said.
Miller noted that she also uses AnswerThePublic.
Content Writing & Optimization Tools
Daniel Smullen, Head of SEO at Mediahuis Ireland, shared the following list of tools that content marketers should use when researching, writing, and managing content projects.
- Google Docs for writing with the Grammarly extension for editing.
- A project management software system such as Notion for content planning.
- A keyword research tool such as Ahrefs for keyword insights.
- An all-in-one SEO writing assistant such as Neural Text for topic research, identifying similar entities used in top 10 ranking URLs, and topic-based question research.
For text content, Laura Herman, CEO of Mint Marketing Inc, recommends Surfer SEO, which is helpful when figuring out what content is needed or what you might be overusing.
“For video content, I’ll take almost any platform that can help me to create captivating and professional-looking content,” Herman added.
Morgan Flores, Sr Manager of Content & SEO at Clutch, said that although she uses many tools in the course of her work, she has three favorites.
“I use Google Analytics for overall traffic analysis, user engagement and trends. Ahrefs is my top choice for keyword tracking, keyword research, and competitor analysis. I also use the heck out of the GS location changer Chrome extension to spoof my search location in browsers,” Flores explained.
Cynthia Hoy, a self-employed SEO specialist and writer, told us she uses the Hemingway app to catch and correct examples of the passive voice in her content. “Now that I’ve improved my passive voice I’m working on transition words,” she added.
Miranda Miller shared her favorite online writing tools here. In addition to those mentioned above, those include:
- WebFX’s Flesch-Kincaid Readability Test Tool for improving content readability.
- OneLook Thesaurus for finding synonyms and similar terms that can make your writing richer, less repetitive, and more interesting to read.
- Frase.io, InLinks, or MarketMuse for SERPs analysis, related topics and entities, competitive analysis and other AI-assisted content insights.
- Google Scholar for finding trustworthy, reputable, and often peer-reviewed information.
- Yoast as a final on-page SEO check before hitting Publish.
Alexandra Tachalova recommends repurposing content as an excellent way to promote it.
Canva or Venngage, for example, are two simple drag-and-drop design options that enable you to quickly and easily create hero images, infographics, social graphics and more to augment your written content.
Tachalova also recommends that you give RawShorts a try for quick, simple video production using your existing content. (Biteable is another videomaker with stock footage, animations and effects you might like to try out.)
For her part, Kari DePhillips, CEO of The Content Factory and co-founder of the Sisters in SEO Facebook Group, said, “I’m going to go outside of the box here and say Mixmax, which is an email tool.”
DePhillips gave three reasons why she recommended said platform:
“First, at $12 per month, it’s my best bang for my investment buck.
Second, it lets me track all email opens (yes, I can see when clients open invoice emails they claim to have missed…)
And third, their templates are such a time saver. I get at least 10 backlink/guest post requests per day, and some of these people relentlessly follow up.
I have a killer ‘We don’t allow this. Please remove me from your list’ template that gets these people out of my hair with two mouse clicks,” she shared.
As for me, I still like Hootsuite for social scheduling. Sendible, Loomly, and CoSchedule are good options for tailoring your content and scheduling it for various social platforms, as well.
Each has pros and cons and features that may be attractive to some users but not others. Check them out, take a demo, and see which one best suits your needs.
What matters most is that you’re getting out there and giving new tools a shot. You’ll find new ways to automate time-consuming processes, better optimize content to match searcher intent, improve your writing quality and tone, and more.
Search is a fast-moving space where if you aren’t trying something new and finding every advantage you possibly can, competitors are probably passing you by.
Stock up your arsenal with content tools that’ll give you the edge.
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