Have you ever thought over the question: What makes someone choose your content over a competing article on the same subject? The answer is simple. If you want to be competitive in the world of content marketing, you need to understand exactly what the reader wants. You must meet those needs in an attractive, enjoyable way. Then, you need to put that content directly in front of the readers. The content marketing process can be time consuming and difficult to implement. That’s why using the right tools is essential.
Fortunately, today there are plenty of apps and tools that can guide you through the whole process, from content discovery and distribution to making your writing and marketing stages easier and more effective. There is no longer an excuse for poor quality writing on flimsy topics that no one wants to read.
Here are 20 tools that are considered popular today and proved to be effective helpers of successful writers and content marketers. I’ve classified them by purpose, type of content and by stage of content creation process.
Fishing for Content Ideas
Before getting the message across you have to get the lay of the land. No one wants to provide content that is out-dated and not interesting for the audience. So, you should first check out the sites, networks, and resources that identify the latest trends. Find out what your audience is truly interested in and which topics are popular at the moment with the help of the following sites:
BuzzSumo is a tool that helps you determine which areas of given topics are trending at the moment. You can enter a keyword and check how often it is being shared across various social media platforms. You can even set alerts to find out if a given topic becomes popular in the future.
Quora is a unique social media platform. Members engage in a question and answer forum. Use Quora’s knowledge base for content research or just identify current trends by noting the most asked questions.
Gather all of your favorite blogs in one place. Sort through recent posts to get an idea of what’s popular. It’s very easy to implement and use due to the user-friendly interface.
Keeping Ideas Organized
So, you’ve gathered content ideas and now it’s important to organize your writing process. Keep all your sources, ideas, and research findings organized with the following tools.
Evernote is one of the most popular organizational apps. Use it while you’re conducting research and all of your notes will be in the same place. Plus, you can add your editorial calendar and monitor upcoming due dates. To get started working with Evernote you can simply create a free account.
This app is like a to-do list on steroids! Merge all of your upcoming task as noted in Outlook, Twitter, Google Calendar, and more. You can even integrate your writing tasks from Evernote.
Many times, we read something and think, “I want to come back to that later,” but when later comes, you can’t find the source you want. Now, you can put everything in Pocket. Store all of your favorite sources discovered on Twitter, Flipboard, Pulse, and tons of other apps. Your stored content ideas will be available on your phone, tablet, and desktop.
This a mind mapping tool like no other. Invite your writers and editors to collaborate on the brainstorming process. The application has a free plan with basic functional and paid plans for individual users and companies. The main benefit of the tool is that it is intuitive so it won’t take you much time to figure out how to work with it.
Texting, Checking, Editing
Now, that you have gathered and organized your ideas, it’s time to start creating content. Everyone writes in a different way and only some of these tools may be useful for you. Hopefully you’ll find one that will change the way you approach your writing process, for the better.
Remove all distractions from the writing process. This app helps you keep your current ideas at the forefront of your thought process by eliminating everything but the three lines of text you are currently writing. No spell check. No toolbars. Just writing.
If you need to write an article in markdown, this is a great editor to use. Mou makes the process totally painless. It has helpful tools like a word count, auto-completion while typing words, and a character converter (Chinese, Japanese, and Korean).
Once you’ve finished writing, you’ll need to polish it with these editing and proofreading tools:
Dictionary.com is one of the most popular online search tools. Now, they have a mobile app. Research words and their definitions on the go. As an added (and maybe unnecessary) perk, you can conduct voice-activated searches. Thesaurus helps find the perfect synonym. Plus, you can sort the results by relevance, complexity, length, and more.
Ginger claims it can help you write like a native speaker. Not only does it check for grammar errors, it also helps you reorganize sentences. Ginger also has a translator tool.
This tool provides copy editing and proofreading in real time. Don’t worry about quality; your writing will be reviewed by a real person. You are able to contact the editors directly. The app requires one time fee, however, it allows to add multiple users, so you can use the app either individually or share it with your colleagues.
Check for any plagiarism mistakes with this tool. PlagTracker will also tell you if a claim needs citation. The app is free, however if you need additional premium features you may buy a paid subscription. With premium plan you will get not only plagiarism, but also grammar check. PlagTracker is claimed to be more accurate than other plagiarism checkers available today and provides detailed reports on your writing.
Content no longer refers to just text, and it hasn’t for a long time. Now, there are many ways to visualize information and this kind of content is much more effective in getting your point across and is definitely more interesting. Studies show that 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual and 40% of readers will react better to visual information than text. Let’s check the tools that will help us create videos, infographics, presentations and more.
This tools is helpful for anyone who wants to explain, advocate, sell, teach, pitch or illuminate with online presentations. The app is so easy to use that you don’t have to be tech savvy at all or have any presentation experience. You may use the tool for free in individual purposes or choose paid editions offered for corporate clients.
This online tool creates memorable presentations. Customize them with images and videos of your choosing. You can even collaborate on the project with other writers and editors. There is a large variety of presentation tools available these days so if Prezi is not the perfect match you can always try out some alternatives to Prezi.
This multi-task content creation tool will help you with online magazines, catalogs and lookbooks. Note that Issuu is good for working with PDF files and enables to change the plain text into beautiful publications. It also allows you to share content via social media. As most of the apps today, Issuu offers flexible pricing system, with basic free plan.
The masterminds behind Piktochart say that making information beautiful has never been easier. Select one of their infographic templates, customize it, and then share it with your readers.
If infographics are your thing, check out these other options for creating your own.
Make your own animated video. This step-by-step tutorial will help you to make the perfect visual. As an added bonus, it’s free!
Spreading the Word
Great, your content is ready. Now your task is to spread it through your target audience by sharing it in the right places. Here are some tools to help you promote and distribute your content.
Buffer makes it possible to do all your social sharing from the once place and as the name suggests, you can schedule your posts to publish at your specified posting times. You are able to use the in-built post analysis to determine which of your posts are working well and at what times you should be posting.
The “Awesome” plan is $10 per month and there is a seven day free trial for the “Business” plan which ranges from $50-250 per month depending on the number posts and users you’ll be needing.
Since SlideShare is listed in top 120 most-visited websites in the world, it’s a pretty great place to share your content! Upload presentations, infographics, articles, videos and more. You can use SlideShare for free, all you need to do is to take a few minutes to create an account.
Outbrain is one of the largest content discovery platforms. Content-hungry readers come in search of personalized content from you that they can engage with and share. The platform works according to pay-per-click model, so you can scale the pricing according to your needs.
As you can see, there are many tools that can help you turn churning content into a productive process and make you proud of what you write and share. Content marketing can be time consuming, but with the right tools, you can streamline the process and make it simpler than you thought possible to produce high quality content and get it to those who are interested in reading.
If you have any other tools that you use or any feedback on those that I’ve mentioned please share in the comments!