Content marketing is an effective way to grow your brand and acquire customers. The real challenge is choosing the right content marketing tools to support your strategy without breaking the bank.
Do they exist?
Yes, and this article takes a deep dive into some of the most effective tools for creating content that drives qualified traffic to your site and converts visitors to customers.
The collection touches on more than just content creation. It encompasses every part of content marketing from ideation to conversion optimization.
Let’s dive in.
Here are 16 of the best content marketing tools you can use to make 2021 your best year yet:
Social Animal is a content marketing tool that gives you the ability to deep dive into the best content on the web. You’re able to find how often content was shared, where it was shared, who shared it and sort it by different date ranges.
This gives you information that can be used to create your own content or even curate content to be shared on your social channels.
You’re also able to discover relevant influencers based on your keywords or competitors. The tool will give you information about their followers, average shares, and even rank the influencers for you. The lists you create are updated daily so you’ll always have the right influencers on your radar.
Taken together, the platform will make it easier to find the right angle for your content and the perfect places and ways to promote it for maximum impact. Pricing starts at $49/m.
In an era of ad blockers and dwindling attention span, content marketing is undoubtedly the most effective and less expensive method to acquire customers. Fresh, relevant content can grab your audience’s attention and instill trust in your brand.
The average customer acquisition cost for a large company dropped from $108 to $64 per lead when they switched to content marketing.
Businesses of all sizes should invest in content marketing to acquire, engage, and retain new customers.
Be it blogs, ebooks, whitepapers, infographics or videos, creating high-quality content consistently can position your brand as a thought leader within your industry and help with customer acquisition.
– Narendran Hariparanthaman, Cofounder of Social Animal
KyLeads is a lead generation and audience feedback platform and in the spirit of full disclosure, I’m the founder. It makes it possible to create popups to turn your visitors into leads that you can nurture over time. There are many different opt-in types such as full screen, slide in, inline forms, and more. It also has multiple triggers such as scroll percentage, time on page, and exit intent.
You’re also able to build interactive quizzes to engage audience members, create micro-commitments, and segment your leads at the point of lead capture. This gives you the ability to send better-nurturing sequences that are tailored to their unique situation.
KyLeads takes the interactive content and combines it with feedback surveys which you can use to understand your visitor’s perception of your content (and business) and fill any gaps to make it the most comprehensive piece on the web. Pricing starts at $50/m and includes all features no matter your plan.
Venngage is one of the most versatile graphic design tools on the market. Though it bills itself as an infographic maker, it can easily work for many other types of graphic design projects like proposals, marketing plans, reporting, and more.
It has a huge library of templates that span, of course, infographics but so much more like business cards, presentations, mind maps, diagrams, schedules, roadmaps, and many more. You can take any of the templates, tweak it to fit your brand, add your data, and share it with your audience.
Data visualizations have shown time and again that they’re extremely shareable and attract links – which then increase your organic traffic. Venngage is free to use and paid plans start at $19/m.
Content marketing as a customer acquisition channel is nothing new. Whether you call it ‘content marketing’ or ‘inbound marketing’ or ‘SEO’, it’s essentially the same thing. You’re using content to provide an audience with answers to various questions, or to entertain them or to inspire them, right?
Taking that into consideration, the first step is really just identifying what your specific content marketing goal is? Which part of the funnel are you trying to influence? If it’s lead generation (or any other form of acquisition), the main metrics you’re looking to influence are traffic which then ties into your top-level conversion metric.
SEO is the channel we use at Venngage, and therefore to influence traffic we need to rank on relevant and high volume keywords. So we use that research to inspire the kinds of ideas we write and publish. In my content framework, I cover this idea in detail. But in a nutshell, you can follow the GRAP framework to do this (Goals, Research, Authority, and Promotion).
I also recommend creating a timeline (it doesn’t need to too detailed right off the bat — in fact, Venngage has a timeline maker you can try out) that highlights the main milestones you’re looking to hit with your content strategy. I find that by visualizing your goals and the steps required to achieve them, all challenges suddenly feel much clearer.”
— Nadya Khoja, Chief Growth Officer at Venngage
Quuu is a curation platform with a team that hand curates in-depth and useful content and caters to almost every niche. They update your Quuu account with multiple recommendations relevant to your preferences every day.
It has a feature called pods that allow you to form a group of people who will work together to share content. Anything that’s added to the pod is automatically shared out to their respective social media profiles for instant amplification.
You can use the provided content to post to social media, serve as a basis for your content research, or to stay up to date on what’s happening in your industry. It starts with a free plan that delivers six content recommendations a day and one pod. The paid plans also have six content recommendations but let you bring on more users and social media accounts.
An important part of content marketing is generating leads and then nurturing them until you’re able to turn them into customers. An email marketing tool is essential during that process and Moosend is a great option.
Moosend is an all in one email marketing automation platform. Yes, you can send sales emails but it’s also the perfect tool to promote new content, segment contacts before pitching, build landing pages, and instilling the right buying beliefs.
With it, you can set up automations for specific goals and that react to contact behavior. For example, if a contact viewed your post on jeans, you’ll be able to send an email sequence about the jeans you have in stock and why they’re awesome. Other features include A/B testing, advanced reporting, multiple templates and more. It’s free to use and paid plans start at $10/m.
Content Marketing has been our go-to marketing strategy for the last couple of years and we don’t plan to change that any time soon. We live in the era of customer-centric marketing where consumers are more educated with unlimited access to information, reviews and a wide range of products.
This leads to a market bulletproof to the traditional advertisement.
In 2021, if you want to acquire new customers you’ll first need to establish your brand and there is no better way of doing that than creating free content that offers value and answers the questions that the internet is looking for.
– Nick Dimitriou, Head of Growth at Moosend
Mintent bills itself as a one-stop-shop for your content marketing needs. It makes it easier to plan, produce, and measure the performance of your articles. Think of it as a PM tool specifically for content marketing.
You can add ideas, set priorities, upload different assets (images, audio, documents, etc.) and even assign tasks to different team members. The centralized marketing calendar makes it easy to tie everything together, ensure everyone knows what they should be working on, and promote knowledge sharing amongst your team.
Mintent also has a content analysis aspect that allows you to drill down and find your best channels, messages, and even audience. This, coupled with the SEO features which include backlink monitoring, keyword research, competitive analysis, and social signal monitoring make it a robust content marketing tool that’ll help you quickly grow your traffic.
Pricing is custom based on your needs but starts at $300/m.
Feedly may not be the first content marketing tool you think about when it comes to customer acquisition. At its core, content marketing is a way to engage your prospects over the long haul. If you’re only sharing articles, videos, and podcasts your brand creates, people will eventually turn elsewhere.
Feedly has an AI research assistant that learns as you interact with it. Choose a number of news sources or blogs that you know produce compelling content and organize them by category. When you’re setup, you’ll get a steady stream of updates from those sources.
The AI assistant named Leo will go in and curate your feed in a number of ways. You can let it read your curated boards to learn your preferences, teach it keywords that matter to you or show it relevant industry events that you care about. Once it has learned, you’ll have a hyper-relevant feed that will serve as content inspiration and research.
Pricing starts at $6/m up to $18/m.
Mulch is a standalone tool from Reve Marketing that helps you recommend the right content to the right visitors without disrupting their experience. It combines a number of features to achieve this outcome.
First, it lets you ask simple questions that give you insights into what your prospects want and who they are. With that information, the AI content recommendation engine (or rule-based engine) shares relevant content from your library such as articles, podcast episodes you’ve created, eBooks, white papers, and more.
You’re also able to gate specific pieces of content as a lead generation play and increase the number of qualified contacts you generate. When the tool begins curating content and sharing it with your audience in real-time, you get access to analytics that pinpoint your best performing content so you can make more of it. It’s free to start but the paid plans are tailored to your business needs.
The podcast industry is growing rapidly and over 70% of the American population is familiar with the term and 50% have listened to one in the last month. Worldwide, hundreds of millions of people tune in to their favorite shows. There are less than one million active podcasts which means less competition than blogs or videos.
A major factor for podcast hosting success is recording high-quality audio. This is achieved via two steps, the equipment used to record and your editing software. Audacity is open-source editing software that allows you to record and edit your audio files.
You’re able to cut audio ticks, enhance low sound, remove ambient noise, and many things to get your audio quality to where you want it to be. After that, it’s just a matter of uploading it to your favorite podcast platform and attracting the right people.
It’s free to use.
An often-quoted phrase from David Ogilvy goes “On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar. “
The CoSchedule headline analyzer helps you get more bang for your buck. Type in the headlines you’re contemplating and it’ll grade it using a number of criteria. Some of them include the length for SEO and click-throughs, the type of words you’re using (word balance), the format of the content, sentiment, and more.
If you’re able to get a high score with the CoSchedule headline analyzer then you’ll be in a good position to get more click-throughs, a higher ROAS when using ads for promotion, and more traffic from sharing. It’s free to use the tool but requires an email address.
Answer The Public is, on the surface, a simple tool that’ll help you find the most common autocomplete suggestions for your chosen keywords. If that’s all you used it for then you’d be missing out on its true power.
Google and Bing autocomplete reveal a wealth of data about the intent behind a user’s search query. For example, if someone is searching for “best insurance options” and “different insurance options,” they’re looking for varying things.
For best insurance options, they’re likely looking for a provider. For different insurance options, they’re likely in the research phase. Answer The Public helps you find and define the intent behind the different queries you’re trying to rank for.
If you’ve been doing SEO for any length of time then you’ve likely heard of Ahrefs. It’s an all in one content research, competitive analysis, rank tracker, and more. First, you’re able to use it to research your industry and spot competitive gaps where you can create content that’ll produce links and traffic.
Once you’ve made a few pieces of high-quality content and started to build backlinks, you can monitor progress with Ahrefs. Stay abreast of all the keywords your content is ranking for, get alerts with progress updates, and understand ranking trends over time.
Finally, it’s a great tool for detailed competitive and niche research. For every competitor for your chosen search terms, you can see how strong the domain is, the number of backlinks, how difficult the keyword is, clicks per search, and a breakdown of the countries traffic is coming from.
The tool starts at $99/m.
Most people with problems that your business solves don’t know that your business exists. That means that they’re not searching for you in Google; they’re just searching for a solution.
For example, we have a competitive research tool called Site Explorer that helps people to find and build more links to their websites. But not everyone who wants to build more links knows about this tool. So, instead of searching for “site explorer” in Google, they search for “how to get backlinks” instead.
Knowing this, we wrote a blog post about that very topic which now ranks on the first page and gets hundreds of visits a month from organic search. In the post, we explain how to solve the problem the searcher has, and how our product can help.
– Joshua Hardwick, Head of content at Ahrefs
Biteable is an essential tool if you want to share compelling videos on social media or launch ads that capture the attention of your audience. It has almost one million pieces of stock video footage and animations you can use with the large library of video templates.
If you don’t want to use the clips provided, upload your own images and clips to be used with the templates. It also makes it simple to brand each video with your colors so your audience always knows it’s coming from you.
Finally, Biteable has a large library of music content that can be used in your video to make sure it gives the right impression. You can also upload audio content from your collection and use it with your videos. Biteable is free to use but you’ll have to upgrade to a paid plan if you want to download your content. Plans start at $19/m.
Buffer started as a social media scheduling app for Twitter but has since evolved into something much more. Today it offers a suite of tools for social media content amplification, customer support, and social media analytics.
The publishing aspect of Buffer gives you direct access to publish content on all the major platforms on a set schedule. Combined with Quuu, which you can connect to Buffer, you’ll have an endless stream of high-quality content going out.
Invite teammates and collaborate on social media posts. Create something unique for every content channel where your brand maintains a presence and get the most mileage out of every piece of content on your website. It also has a number of Instagram specific features such as first comment and direct scheduling.
Buffer starts at $15/m.
Social media can be an awesome channel for so many different aspects of the customer journey. Posting consistently and having a reliable, unique voice and tone can do wonders for your brand awareness.
When it comes to acquisition specifically, we’ve seen a couple of different strategies work really well: user-generated content (UGC), where your community is sharing pictures of your products that you can then resurface and showcase; and many native social network features like Instagram Checkout can work wonders for capturing intent right away.
– Kevan Lee, VP of Marketing at Buffer
Loom is one of my favorite content marketing tools. It makes it dead simple to create screen recordings to share specific concepts or a tutorial of something. Even though it’ll only take you a few minutes to create, it instantly increases the perceived value of your content.
While Loom itself focuses on being an internal collaboration tool, it has many features that make it ideal for content marketing. You can add a call to action, highlight elements, do basic editing, and even make videos private. The team has many features on the roadmap that’ll make Loom an essential part of any content marketing strategy for both collaboration and creation.
It’s free to use and paid plans start at $10/m.
Unbounce is a tool that helps you create one of the most essential aspects of your content marketing strategy – landing pages. Without them, it’ll be much more difficult to convert your visitors into leads and sales.
The Unbounce landing page platform helps you optimize the traffic you’re already getting and has all the tools you’ll need to build pages that convert. Those features include A/B testing and multivariate testing, AMP compatibility for mobile pages, powerful conversion tracking, dynamic text replacement, tons of templates, and a drag and drop editor.
Of course, Unbounce has a large ecosystem of tools that you can integrate with to quickly pass contact information to the right place. When you want more than just traffic from your content marketing, landing pages are non-negotiable and Unbounce is among the best in the business.
Pricing starts at $99/m.
There are countless content marketing tools to help you acquire customers and we’re just scratching the surface here.
This list has shared tools in each category of content marketing so you’ll be covered from the planning stage all the way down to the measurement stage.
Though you may have the right tools, it’s important to create clear goals, focus on specific formats, and find the right distribution channel. That’s when you can take full advantage of the tools you’re using and generate a steady stream of new customers for your startup.
Editor’s Note: The article is part of the blog series Grow Your Business brought to you by the marketing team at UniTel Voice, the virtual phone system priced and designed for startups and small business owners.