Essential content marketing tools to use in 2015

Last year, a growing number of businesses started to invest more time, effort and money into content marketing and this trend looks set to continue throughout 2015. But if you’re still sceptical about its power and potential, here are some rather telling facts and figures:

  • Content marketing costs 62 per cent less than traditional marketing techniques but manages to generate about three times as many leads.
  • 90 per cent of organisations market with content, while 78 per cent of CMOs sees custom content as the future of marketing.
  • Website conversions are nearly six times higher for content marketing adopters than non-adopters (2.9 per cent as opposed to 0.5 per cent)

When you take these findings into account, it is clear to see that content marketing is an extremely effective and influential online tactic. What’s more, it could revolutionise your digital marketing activity.

But if you’re still unsure about how to capitalise on its myriad of benefits or need a helping hand, there are several resources at your disposal. In fact, the following tools, which come highly recommended by Search Engine Journal, could be absolutely essential if you want to achieve content marketing prosperity in 2015.

For researching content – Buzzsumo (from $99 a month for a pro account)

Over the past couple of years, Buzzsumo has been a fantastic resource for conducting research, finding content to share, keeping track of competitors, finding influencers and perhaps most importantly, coming up with content ideas. Buzzsumo gives you the ability to:

  • Identify the most shared content and most influential authors for specific topics
  • See the most shared content for a particular domain
  • Find out who has shared and linked to a certain article
  • Create content alerts and run analysis reports on topics and competitors

For creating content – Penflip (free for public projects, but starting at $8 a month paid annually)

Despite its minimalistic design, which allows you to fully focus on writing, Penflip is perfect for creating big pieces of content like eBooks, white papers and case studies. But its collaboration and publishing features puts Penflip ahead of the alternatives. You can:

  • Write content in your browser and revise copy with the markdown editor
  • Include chapters, links, footnotes, comments and images
  • Share your content, gather feedback, collaborate with others, accept or reject changes and see your revision history
  • Make your project public and compile to PDF, ePub, HTML and more

For organising content – Trello (The basic version is free, but added functionality with Trello Gold costs $5 a month)

Organisation is the key for several content marketing projects and if you have more than one person involved in the process, Trello will feel like a godsend. But in contrast to the other project management software programs and platforms, Trello features stronger visuals and has a better flow. It is possible to:

  • Drag and drop cards between lists to show progress
  • Invite team members to the project and request comments for instant feedback
  • Upload files, share links, create to-do lists and receive notifications
  • Add labels, due dates, and more

For finding content writers – Scripted (A typical blog post costs around $99)

If you need help with content, linking up with a dedicated agency is often the best way to go. However, for one-off blog posts check out Scripted, who claim to have the best writers on the web, as only 18 per cent of applicants are accepted. With Scripted you can:

  • Post detailed guidelines about what is required
  • Ask for blog posts, white papers, website pages or social media updates
  • Benefit from the expertise of writers with experience in various industries
  • Receive content in five business days

For content scheduling and publishing – Edgar (From $49 a month but you need to request an invite)

Although this is a relatively new content scheduling and publishing app, Edgar enables you to store, categorise and re-use your social media updates. Once you have created, uploaded and shared an update, Edgar will publish according to your schedule then store it in the library ready to be used again. With Edgar, you can:

  • Get more mileage out of every update
  • Design a posting schedule for each and every social network
  • Create a category-based schedule
  • Review analytics about each category

For paid content distribution – Zemanta (Cost depends on your content marketing requirements and monthly budget)

Content promotion and distribution tool Zemanta enables you to share your content on its most popular partner sites all over the internet. This gives you greater scope and accuracy when it comes to targeting specific audiences. Zemanta will:

  • Aggregate and index content for multiple formats including promoted recommendations, in-stream ads, in-text ads and sponsored posts
  • Promote at scale and distribute content across a broad platform of partners for maximum reach
  • Optimise performance by adjusting bids and testing creative to increase ROI
  • Centralise reporting from all supply sources into one dashboard

For content outreach and promotion – Streak (Free)

This CRM platform actually operates within Gmail but is ideal for the outreach and promotion stages of your content marketing campaign. Streak gives you the ability to create and save outreach templates so that when the time comes to promote content, all you need to do is customise your greetings. Streak also facilitates:

  • Simple collaboration for sharing contacts and email files
  • Working alongside other Google Apps securely
  • Access information from any computer as it is hosted in the cloud
  • Change your workflow on the go with no need for coding, engineers or consultants

There is little to no doubt that the popularity and uptake of content marketing will continue throughout 2015. But while this creates even more competition for attention and engagement, the aforementioned content marketing tools can help you conquer such a perpetual challenge.

Brands and businesses thinking of increasing their content marketing footprint should know that this is not a decision to be taken lightly. And while various resources and advice exists online, it is often most beneficial to speak to a dedicated content marketing agency for the most valuable and worthwhile guidance.

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