Consumers are gradually starting to ignore sales pitches and tune out the invasive marketing methods that many businesses still employ regularly. And subsequently, these changes have made way for a new method of bringing in new customers – inbound marketing. Inbound marketing has recently become a very popular method of marketing among digital-first businesses, especially in terms of content marketing – which is considered a subset of inbound marketing. As a result, many content and inbound marketing tools have since been developed to make these strategies more efficient.
In this blog post, we will discuss six different kinds of content and inbound marketing tools, as well as several popular tools that fall under these categories.
Content Marketing: A Subset of Inbound Marketing
Inbound Marketing revolves around the understanding that consumers no longer want to be interrupted by marketing while they are trying to do something else. Instead customers are targeted when they are intentionally seeking out a company, product or service on their own, whether that is via a personalised offer or a specific Call-To-Action. In other words, it focuses on providing the right content to the right person at just the right time. This is where we get into ‘content marketing’.
By sharing content that presents the problem and educates your potential customers on how your solution or product can solve the problem, these businesses are often able to ‘sell before you sell’. Here are some of the top benefits of content marketing:
- Increases brand visibility: A good SEO strategy will bring your posts up in Google Rankings.
- Helps build authority and credibility: Establishing a content footprint will win over a lot of your readers.
- Generates more traffic to your site (which improves lead generation)
- Opens communication with social sharing and comments
- Helps customers with purchase decisions: Clear content helps clarify any doubts.
Different types of Content Marketing Tools
Here is a list of the top categories.
- Social Media Management & Communities
- Content Creation & Collaboration
- Paid Promotion
- Marketing Automation
- Conversion Optimisation
- SEO Analytics
These categories and the tools that fall under them are outlined in more detail below.
Social Media Management & Community Management
Managing several social media accounts or online communities at once can be a very overwhelming task, especially if you’re an agency that must look after it’s own accounts as well as those of its clients. From creating content and scheduling posts to engaging with your followers and repurposing content, it’s a lot of work. To effectively manage all of social media channels at scale, many businesses choose to work with social media management and community management tools.
Quora is a well-known Q&A website with nearly 100 million monthly visitors. Members of the Quora community can submit questions as well as answer questions in threads – based on a large number of different topics. What’s great about Quora is that answering lots of questions can help you build up authority, which ultimately leads to improved SEO (if the post is upvoted enough – meaning that it’s popular among readers). Additionally, users can publish posts on their own ‘Quora blog’. This is another great way of getting additional exposure.
Pricing: Quora is free for all users.
Staying up-to-date with the latest online marketing news can be difficult. Almost no one has enough time to search for specific content and therefore we use up all of our time searching rather than reading. Inbound.org, a community-based news platform has now solved this problem. This tool uses pre-selected topic tags that users can choose to follow and create their own personalized content feed.
Inbound.org also helps marketers find jobs within in the community. Users can filter and search through the database based on location, category, keyword, or just plain searching.
Pricing: Pricing Unavailable
BuzzSumo is a social media analytics tool with a powerful social media search engine that enables users to find/analyse best content in any niche. This content marketing tool helps you improve your outreach and influencer marketing by searching for key influencers in any topic area and following them directly in BuzzSumo. BuzzSumo users can now export all results such as content curators, influencers and most shared content as a CSV or Excel file for detailed analysis.
Pricing: BuzzSumo offers four packages (Pro, Plus, Large and Enterprise) while Plus being the most recommended package ($139/month).
Hootsuite is a content marketing tool used for managing social media sites and launching marketing campaigns. It offers a social media dashboard that helps users collaborate and schedule updates for various social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and WordPress. Users can also track campaign results and industry trends to adjust their strategy.
Pricing: Hootsuite offers different packages with starting €19/month. Unlimited Scheduling feature is accessible in all the packages.
Trapit, mainly focused on social selling and employee advocacy, created a platform that makes it very easy to engage customers on social channels. This content marketing tool’s technology helps you to discover news, insights, trends and analyses from around the world. Trapit enables you to organize your content based on team, geography and role, and then distribute that content to the right sales reps, employee advocates and executives.
Trapit’s customers include IBM, Microsoft, GoDaddy and New York Life.
Pricing: Pricing upon request
Very similar to Hootsuite, Buffer is also a content management platform. This content marketing tool makes it very simple and easy to schedule posts, track the performance of your content and manage all of your accounts in one place rather than signing in to multiple accounts. With Buffer you can instantly see which posts are performing best, so you can do more of what works and continually increase engagement.
Pricing: offers different packages starting from $99/month to $399/month for teams and agencies.
Content Creation & Collaboration
According to the Content Marketing Institute, superior content marketing drives higher conversion rates. However, not everyone has the time or resources to create regular content that offers real value to their readers and potential customers – which is why content creation and collaboration tools were created. Below are tools that can help you get started with creating content as well as boost your communication processes, if already producing content.
SnapApp is an interactive content creation and marketing platform. With SnapApp, content marketers can build dynamic interactive experiences that get better results in order to help them improve both the quality and quantity of content they produce. To ensure customers are properly onboarded SnapApp has developed a training program for the first 90 days. The training focuses on getting customers on track with creating great content quickly. SnapApp Interactive video turns a monologue into dialogue (this means moving from a passive to active viewing experience) by allowing users to actively engage with your content rather than just passively watch while also collecting valuable insights about their viewers.
Pricing: SnapApp offers 4 different packages ( starter = $1650/month, Basic = $2400/month, Professional = $3600/month and enterprise=Custom pricing).
8. Hemingway Editor
Hemingway Editor is a writing specialist app which highlights lengthy, complex sentences and common errors. It helps you write bold and clear to make sure that your reader will focus on your message, not your prose. The great thing about Hemingway Editor is that you can use it wherever you write—no internet connection required. As long as you have your computer, you’ll have Hemingway. With this content marketing tool, you can publish blog posts directly to Medium and WordPress.
Pricing: Hemingway Editor 3 App for $19.99 (one time payment)
Along with many other great features, CoSchedule enables you to get a bird’s eye view of your marketing activities with its drag + drop calendar. With this content marketing tool, users can plan items or tasks in months and months ahead. CoSchedule also enables you to add your content (example: articles in WordPress) or social posts to a queue, and then it will intelligently send it out at the best possible traffic times for each network. This tool can be integrated with tool such as WordPress, Google Docs, Google Analytics and many more.
Pricing: Offers variety of packages starting from $9/month up to $2200/month.
Copify is a great content marketing tool for businesses who do not have a content writer on staff. Their team of (qualified) writers delivers all kinds of content including website content, blogs, ecommerce content, articles, press releases, and email writing services.
Pricing: The rate is 6 cents per word for copywriting tasks. They also offer a blog package for $89/month.
ClearVoice is a unique content creation and marketing platform for web publishers who are in search of website copy or blog posts. Users can invite freelancers to pitch content ideas directly to you. You can then filter and organise requests and submitted pitches. With “Freelancer Matching” users can share their brand guidelines, set their price and ClearVoice will match them with vetted freelancers. Paying the freelancers is made faster with automated payments. No invoices, tax forms or administrative delays.
Pricing: Pricing on request
Has your business already successfully produced content but still struggles to get discovered? Maybe you should consider using paid promotion tools. These tools provide content marketers with an easier path to their targeted audience and quickly grow their reader base in many different ways. There are tools that promote sponsored content by turning it into advertisements or plugins that join your content with similar topics written by other content marketers. There are also tools that insert your content into relevant social media conversations.
Outbrain is a content discovery engine helping publishers and readers discover interesting content. Outbrain reaches an audience of 557 Million every month, which includes 80% of the world leading brands such as Microsoft, McDonald’s and CNN. One of Outbrain’s interesting features is that it puts you in a position to better cater to your mobile users, with your own great content plus the tool set needed to monetize any mobile asset – on any platform and any device.
Pricing: Pricing on request
Taboola, considered to be best in generating traffic to its customers websites, has quickly gained lead in the market. It now reaches 400 million monthly unique visitors and serves 1.5 billion recommendations each day. It’s features help improve brand awareness, boost sales, and build a larger audience for its users.
Pricing: Pricing on request
Many marketers are responsible for carrying out a number of repetitive tasks, such as emailing, social media and many other website actions throughout the day. To make it easier for these marketers, there happen to be many tools on the market that help automate the process of carrying out these tasks. These are known as marketing automation tools.
SalesPanda is a cloud-based content marketing management system. Using SalesPanda’s Content Editor, Content CMS and Content Showcase, you have a 360-marketing suite for all your content creation needs. All pages built with SalesPanda’s Content Editor can be viewed on mobiles, tablets, and other devices.The Content Editor also allows you to edit the mobile versions of your content pages separately, so if you want to follow a different layout or add additional sections just for mobile users, you have the freedom to do so! For channel marketing purposes, SalesPanda gives your distributors or dealers the option to co-brand or personalise the content in their library with their logos and other contact information. This makes it easier for your distributors to share customized content with their customers.
Pricing: Offers variety of packages depending on the number of contacts you have, starting from $99/month for 1000 contacts .
Mailchimp is a very well-known email marketing software that integrates with popular apps and services like Salesforce, Eventbrite, Google, Twitter, Facebook, Shopify, and SurveyMonkey. This inbound marketing tool allows you to easily sync your data from those services, import content from other sources, and learn how your campaigns are affecting your business. Along with reports to show you how well you’re connecting with your audience and how much money you’re bringing in, Mailchimp gives you tips for improvement. Mailchimp Mobile Dashboard enables you to check in from anywhere.
Pricing: Offers different packages: ‘New Business Package’ which is free, ‘Growing Business’ which is $10/month and ‘Pro Marketer’ which is $199/month.
HubSpot is a well-known inbound marketing platform that integrates blogging, email marketing, marketing automation, social media monitoring & publishing and analytics all in one. It can also help you create landing pages and offers a content management system that assists you in optimising your content. HubSpot caters to nearly 18,000 customers across the globe.
Pricing: HubSpot offers a wide range of packages including: Free, Starter (€46/month), Basic (€185/month), Professional (€740/month), and Enterprise (€2,200/month).
The understand your readers content preferences and be able to provide with them with more quality content (and thus, boost conversions), sometimes it can be helpful to measure it piece by piece. There are several conversion optimisation tools that can analyse and compare the performance of web pages, as well as measure how your readers behave on your content pages (e.g. blog post or news item). Additionally, there are a number of tools that provide Call-To-Action solutions.
BrightInfo is an automated content personalisation software with a self-learning algorithm that analyses website pages and learns their content assets. When visitors arrive to the user’s website, the self learning algorithm tracks individual behaviour, considers it against crowd behaviour, and finally presents each visitor with the most relevant content from existing content pool – all in real time. BrightInfo users are brands such as Richardson, tufin, REIS and harmon.ie.
Pricing: Pricing upon request
Optimizely is a great tool for those of you who are a little ‘less handy’ when it comes to working with code. This tool offers a visual editor, which allows you to make changes by clicking instead of coding. Optimizely also allows its users to create variations of a webpage. It then tracks how customers respond to the different versions. This can help you see what your audience likes best and what is engaging your readers the most.
Pricing: Pricing on request
Sniply adds your custom call-to-action to any page on the web, allowing you to engage with your followers through every link you share. For example, you can attach a button to the page that links to your own website so that people can discover you while reading. Sniply monitors how your audience is engaging with the links you share – so you can trace clicks, conversion rates, and more.
Pricing: Offers variety of packages starting from $29/month to $299/month.
This list wouldn’t be complete if we were to ignore one of the most important aspects of content marketing: SEO Analytics. The best way to explain this relationship is with the following quote, ‘SEO demands the requirements and Content Marketing fulfills them’. This basically means that you cannot have a good content strategy without first considering SEO tactics. For example, defining a keyword for your blog post. Here are some great tools that will boost your SEO efforts.
20. Yoast SEO
Yoast is currently considered the most comprehensive search engine optimisation software available for WordPress users. The software runs on more than 4 million sites and on 9.5% of the top 1 million sites in the world. This content marketing tool’s internal linking feature takes care of internal linking by analysing your text and suggests links to related posts – as you write. Yoast also enables you to see through the eyes of the Google use, e.g. what your post or page will look like in the search results and or on mobile screens.
Pricing: €79 for 1 site
21. Google Keyword Planner (GKP)
GKP is a combination of what used to be two separate tools: Google Keyword Tool and AdWords Traffic Estimator. What it does is helps users get keyword and ad group ideas (for pay-per-click campaigns), as well as retrieve historical statistics, keyword trends, competitions, bidding, and more. GKP is especially useful when the user has multiple version or pages of sites (for example, English and Dutch).
UberSuggest is a free keyword suggestion tool. Users can get the most common terms associated to their query from this content marketing tool’s ‘Word Cloud’ column. UberSuggest uses Google suggestions as well as some other keyword suggestion services to provide you with relevant keywords for your target market. Works great in combination with Google Keyword Planner!
SEMrush is an SEO tool that provides various functionalities such as keyword research, domain analytics, search position monitoring and crawling. It’s a great SEO analytics tool for small to midsize businesses and offers a unique project-based SEO campaign structure. It also has a nice feature called SEO Checker (designed to optimise websites for better search rankings) which gives this tool a nice edge.
If you work with Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox and want to improve SEO efforts, MozBar might be a good SEO Analytics for you. A product of Moz, this toolbar uses several different SEO metrics and allows users to track statistics of their customised searches. Users can also see the precise ranking of certain keywords and phrases. Moz can be used for both your own page, your competitors or any other page on the web.
Pricing: MozPro ranges from $99/month (standard package) to $599/month (premium package).
Majestic is an SEO tool that is specialised in backlinks, which means it does not offer features such as keyword difficulty, rank tracking, monthly search volumes and organic traffic data. However, this SEO analytics tool does offer many reports, visualisation and analytics to show off this strong backlink feature. Other features include an own ‘search engine with transparent ranking factors, an extensive crawler, API, SEO browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox and more.
Pricing: Majestic packages range from €74.99/month to €379.99/month.
This all-inclusive, web-based SEO software is widely used by marketers. It is considered one of the best rank tracking tools which can be used to your website’s monitor search engine positions based on your target keywords. It also shows you how you successful you are in attracting quality backlinks to your webpages. Other features include Social Media Management, Website Audit, Marketing Plan, Keyword Grouping and more.
Pricing: this ranges from €5/month to €139/month.
Ahrefs offers the world’s largst index of live backlinks. This SEO analytics tool is very easy-to-use and gives users very comprehensive and understandable data visualizations as well as data export capabilities. Another great feature Ahrefs offers is its Positions Explorer tool, which shows you the keywords with which your competitions is ranking for in the search engines and what kinds of traffic they’re receiving.
Pricing: This ranges from $99/month to $399/month. They also offer an agency package for $999/month.
Tying it all together
As you can see, a good content strategy requires a well-rounded approach that ties in all of these categories: Social Media Management & Communities, Content Creation & Collaboration, Paid Promotion, Marketing Automation, Conversion Optimisation and SEO Analytics.
However, there is still one element that is absent and that is gathering feedback from your readers. Whether they are customers or prospects, asking your readers what they think of your content or even presenting them the opportunity to help you improve certain aspects of your content is so crucial to the success of your content strategy. Your readers experience your website or mobile app first-hand and are therefore the best informant when it comes to identifying the quality and reach of your content.
For example, is it what your potential customers are looking for? Can they apply this knowledge to their own situation (e.g. is it relatable)? Does it make sense to them or is the level of information too in-depth or complex? These are all questions your feedback can answer.
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