“So… What content marketing tools do you guys recommend?”
This is a frequent question we get at EVG, whether it’s from clients trying to figure out how to “do” content better and gain a competitive advantage or curious vendors just checking in to see how our year is going.
2015 is starting just fine, thanks—new projects ramping up, existing projects rolling over—but the core question about the tools we prefer remains.
Undaunted, I turned to our crack team of content strategists and project managers to see what tools they dig the most on their projects. To better facilitate answers, I left the rules simple: The tool must be free, it must be content marketing related and it must be easy to use (defined as: you don’t need multiple days of training and/or a computer science degree to use it).
Below are the EVG team’s top 6 responses:
A social media management tool, Hootsuite is essentially a dashboard for managing, monitoring and analyzing content published across social media channels you manage. This tool is especially golden if you’re a B2C retailer relying on social campaigns to build and reinforce your brand image. Bonus points earned for their mobile app, which basically forces social media managers to be on the clock 24-7.
Cost: The basic plan is free.
- Open Site Explorer
Brought to the world by the excellent folks at Moz. If you’re a webmaster or a content marketer, and you’ve never used OSE to create a backlink report or conduct a bit of competitor research—I hate to break it you, but you’ve been doing it all wrong.
Cost: Free, but Moz’s fairly priced Pro version is worth its weight in gold.
- Google Trends
The Big G makes its first (spoiler: there will be another) splash on our list with Google Trends. Sure, the G-Persons took away that once valuable keyword info from analytic reporting, but even the blackhats among us can cut them a bit of slack for offering a free tool that provides insight on the popularity, seasonal and otherwise, of particular terms. In other words, you learn what is trending in the realm of search. That popularity is then broken down geographically and by language. If you’re trying to get your junk read online, you must use this tool.
Cost: Zero point zero.
“Email was never intended to be a document delivery service.” – James “Slofunk” Copeland. But sometimes, in our day-to-day operations as a content marketing agency, our clients don’t want us to use our customized CMS to deliver their fancy new content in XML feeds. In these cases, especially with large volume deliveries, a sharing system like Dropbox is clutch. As a bonus, it also has a desktop version that makes collaboration much easier.
Cost: Free to start, but you get additional GBs when your friends join. Companies can pay for beaucoup storage (we’re talking TBS, here) with the Dropbox for Business version.
- Webmaster Tools
Okay, this one isn’t exactly of the secret sauce variety. Most of you are probably already plugged into Google Analytics, which is free. But in order to make the really informed, raise-worthy content decisions for your organization, you must tap into the power of Webmaster Tools.
Cost: Gratis from Google.
- Quiet Time
My colleague, Kathleen Gossman, rightly weights this highest, noting: “You need quiet time to think about the story you’re telling. Tools can help you work better, but without a vision and a bit of imagination, your efforts are wasted.” In other words, the best content marketing tool at your disposal is your focused, uncluttered human brain. After all, we can’t rely on the machines to tell us what to do—sometimes they’re (hilariously) wrong.
Cost: What do you think?
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Joseph K. Hall – VP Content Marketing