You have probably heard the saying “it’s all in the tools”, right? This is absolutely the truth in both social media AND content marketing. In fact, using the right tools as part of your content marketing strategy can make all the difference in the world! There are many free and paid tools that can help you find, create and promote your content – and that will not only save you tons of time, but will ultimately mean better, more relevant, and moreshareable content.
Following are some of my favorite tools that can help at every stage of the process: from coming up with new blog or social media post ideas, all the way to syndicating and promoting your content. Please let me know YOUR favorite content marketing tools at the end of this post!
Finding Original Content Ideas
Portent’s Content Idea Generator – Type in a topic, and get tons of ideas for your next blog post.
Quora – Look through the questions, or ask your own. Use these Q&A’s to brainstorm issues or problems your audience could use help with.
Spezify – Searches images and videos across the social web to find content related to your keyword. Use this content to come up with new and creative topics to write about.
Reddit – Find trending topics on the web. Search through relevant subreddits to find hot topics in your niche (RedditList shows you the top 5000 subreddits at any given time).
Quandary Content Idea Generator – Answer 18 questions about your business or products, and this tool will give you hundreds of ideas for your content!
Google Trends – Search for some keywords related to your niche to see which ones are trending. Use the Hot Trends feature to see the most searched for news stories…and think about how you can incorporate these into your content.
Soovle – Type in any keyword and find out which related terms are popular on sites like YouTube, Wikipedia, Google and Answers.com.
HubSpot’s Blog Topic Generator – Type in a few nouns, and the tool will give you a week’s worth of blog topic ideas.
Finding Content You Can Share (Content Curation)
PostPlanner – PostPlanner is one of my favorite content curation tools. I use it daily! What makes PostPlanner unique is that you can find proven content…content that is already resonating with audiences. Truly an invaluable resource for sourcing great content!
Trapit – ‘Trap’ relevant content from around the web, and then share it with your audience.
Google Alerts – Set up alerts for topics or keywords to be notified of any blog posts or news stories you can share with your audience.
Storify – Collect content from around the web to create ‘stories’, and then share these stories with your audience.
Scoop.it – Helps you discover and collect relevant content, add your own perspective to it, and then share on your blog or on social media.
Tagboard – Search and follow hashtags to see what’s being posted, and to find popular social media posts you can share with your audience.
Addict-o-matic – Enter a keyword, and get a list of where this term is being used online: on WordPress, Bing News, Ask.com News, YouTube and other popular sites.
Social Mention – Monitor keywords and hashtags across multiple platforms, allowing you to find trending content you can share on social media.
Finding Keywords for Your Content
Ubersuggest – Gives you hundreds of keyword suggestions related to the term you enter.
Google AdWords Keyword Planner – Keyword Planner will give you data like related keywords, average monthly search volume, and the level of competition you can expect for a particular term.
SEO Book – A fantastic tool for finding related keywords, estimates for monthly search volumes and even the cost per click or a particular keyword (should you want to bid on the keyword in AdWords).
Moz Keyword Difficulty Tool – The best tool – hands down – for estimating how difficult a keyword will be to rank for. A paid tool, but worth every penny.
Wordtracker – Gives you an estimate of the traffic you could receive for a particular keyword, as well as the level of search competition. Offers a free trial, but a full membership will run you about $27/month.
For more of my favorite keyword research tools, see my post RIP Google Keyword Tool: 4 Free Alternatives for Your Keyword Research.
Finding Blog or Social Media Images
Hubspot’s Free Business-Themed Stock Photos – 160 totally free images, no attribution or link required.
Creative Commons Search – Search for free images available on sites like Flickr or Pixabay. Many will require attribution, but hey…they’re free!
Free Digital Photos – Huge library of free images; attribution required.
morgueFile – Archived collection of photos, ranging from amateur to professional-quality. Free, and many do not require attribution.
iStock Photo – Professional-quality images. Not free, but worth it for the level of quality you get.
Shutterstock – Another site that offers high-quality, royalty-free images…for a fee.
Managing and Automating Your Social Media Content
Hootsuite – One of the most popular social media management tools; allows you to manage and schedule all your social media posts in one place.
Sprout Social – Comprehensive social media solution that allows you to publish your social media content, and then tracks how well it’s performing with your audience.
Social Oomph – Social media management with powerful automation features like adding content to your ‘queue resevoir’ (allows you to promote popular content again and again in different ways).
Buffer – Manage multiple social media accounts, schedule your content and collaborate with your team, all in one easy-to-use platform.
For more of my favorite social media tools, see my posts 9 Social Media Tools to Save You a Ton of Time and 11 Social Media Tools that Will Save You Time and Provide Key Marketing Data
Promoting Your Blog Content
Obviously, much of your content distribution and promotion will be through your own earned channels (your email list, social media, etc.). However, here are a few tools that can help you take your content promotion to the next level.
Outbrain – An advertising platform that allows you to promote your content alongside related content elsewhere online.
BuzzStream – Software that allows you to conduct link building and PR campaigns to help you build relationships with influencers who can potentially share your content.
StumbleUpon – Share your blog posts on social bookmarking sites likes StumbleUpon to generate reams of free traffic to your site.
AllTop – Getting your blog listed on a popular Alltop page can help you consistently get tons of targeted traffic to your site.