When it comes to content creation, what do content marketers and Sisyphus have in common?
If your Greek mythology is a little bit rusty, Sisyphus was a character who was forced to roll a huge boulder up a hill for all eternity. He would push the boulder up to the very top, only to see it roll down again, then he would repeat the action.
Building a content marketing strategy can feel a little bit like a ‘Sisyphean’ task. It’s hard work and it’s never-ending.
But fortunately you live in the 21st century, and there are many amazing tools to help lighten the load for you.
In this article, we’re going to cover the best 21 content creation tools in 2019–everything from keyword research and idea generation, all the way through to email campaigns and analysis!
Keyword Research Tools
Ahrefs is a powerful, multi-faceted platform that covers everything from competitor analysis to rank tracking.
Using the Keyword Explorer tool, you can generate thousands of keyword ideas and get instant access to stats on the search volume, expected clicks and CPC (cost-per-click) of those keywords:
If you click on any specific keyword, you can get an even more detailed overview of the search term, such as keyword difficulty, search suggestions (related to this term), and even a list of keywords that rank on the same page as the keyword you inputted.
Similarly, the Site Explorer tool allows you to see what keywords your competitors are ranking for. You can drill down to see what position they rank and even which piece(s) of content is providing that ranking.
- New tools and features are added regularly
- Access to unprecedented amounts of data, including 12 trillion known links
- 24/7 support
- It’s a little bit pricey, with packages starting from $99 per month
- It can be overwhelming for beginners
With this feature, you can enter a broad search term and be presented with thousands of suggestions to help your content rank better, this includes long-tail keywords and related keywords.
The new Keyword Magic tool can give you an added advantage by finding keywords that neither you or your competitor(s) are ranking for. This will give you an edge when creating new pieces of content.
- They have a Keyword Magic tool, new for 2019, which has 9.4 billion keywords in the database
- They focus on multinational, multilingual environments, which is helpful if you have international clients
- It will cost you $83.28 per month (billed annually) to get started–and that doesn’t give you access to all features
- It covers a lot of the same ground as Ahrefs, but isn’t as visually appealing
AnswerThePublic is a beginner-friendly keyword research tool. You simply enter your search term and the site will generate results based on questions that people type into Google. Here is a search for ‘content marketing’:
As you can see by the button in the top-right, these search terms can be downloaded as a CSV file. Users also have the option to ‘Go Pro’ if they want to save their reports and search for language or location-based results.
- It’s free!
- It’s highly accessible
- Data is presented in a visual format
- There are no filtering options
- The feature is much more limited than Ahrefs and SEMrush
Keywords Everywhere is a free Chrome (and FireFox) extension that, once installed, gives you important keyword metrics across lots of huge websites, including Google and YouTube.
All you need to do is search for your keywords on your chosen site, and Keyword Eye instantly lets you know the volume, CPC, and competition. On top of that, the tool recommends related keywords and lets you know what people are also searching for:
- It’s free and easy to install
- Export keywords to a handy CSV file
- Great customer support
- The tool only supports English language keywords
- Data isn’t as comprehensive as other sites mentioned
Idea Generation Tools
Buzzsumo is a catalogue of the most shared content online. This is useful for idea generation because it allows you to see what titles people are more likely to click on, or what topics are most likely to be shared.
All you need to do is enter a keyword and you will be presented with the most popular content for that keyword:
As you can see, shares are broken down by site. You also have the option to filter by date, so you can even see what the most-shared piece of content has been in the past 24 hours.
Other handy features include being able to filter by content type and export data to a CSV file or spreadsheet.
- Extremely user-friendly
- It’s free to search the Content Analyser
- The filtering options are very useful
- Searches are limited to 5 per day (for free users)
- The Pro plan costs $948 per year
Google Suggest or ‘Autocomplete’ is essentially the suggestion(s) made by Google when you start typing into the search bar, like this:
As you can see, this is an easy way to get lots of content ideas based around your keywords or topics. It also gives you an insight into what your potential customers want to know as these suggestions are based on the searches that people enter into Google every day.
- It’s free
- It’s quick
- It’s easy
- There’s no solid data to go off (for example, keyword volume)
- You only get 10 suggestions at a time and there can be overlap
Visual Content Creation Tools
Canva is an online graphic design tool that allows users to create simple images using a library of content. They have different layouts, elements, and icons for users to choose from. And also a collection of royalty-free photographs that anyone can use in their content marketing.
The drag and drop functionality of the site makes it easy to use, even for non-designers! And there’s also the option to upload brand colours and fonts to make sure every visual created is on-brand.
- There’s a free plan
- Add your own branding
- Publish online in just a couple of clicks
- The free plan is limited
- Content can lack originality
Piktochart is an online tool for companies that want to turn their written content into beautiful visuals, but can’t afford to hire a graphic designer. With visual content becoming more and more popular, tools like this are invaluable for small businesses who are just starting out.
The app has hundreds of different templates for users to choose from, and these can be narrowed down by format, such as infographic, presentations, or printables.
Each template can also be personalised with your own data, text, and icons, to make it more unique to your brand.
- It’s a low-cost option
- Intuitive Editor
- Hundreds of templates to choose from
- You need to sign up in order to test out the features
- You have to upgrade your package for watermark removal
Survey Creation Tools
If you want to create original research then you need a tool to help you gather that research. SurveyMonkey, an online survey creator, can help you do that.
With over 100 templates and 2,500 questions written by experts, SurveyMonkey makes it easy to get started. And it’s just as easy to personalise each question so that you can really drill into what is important to your target audience:
You can share your survey on a variety of different platforms and also utilise SurveyMonkey’s pool of users to get answers from people who fit your target market.
- Reasonable pricing, starting from just $25 per user, per month
- Easy to use
- Data is easy to filter and analyse
- HIPAA compliance and other features for corporates must be purchased separately
- Buying respondents can become costly
Typeform is an online survey builder that can be embedded into your website so that you can find out more about your visitors.
Main features include a smooth interface, a simple analytics platform, and the ability to see changes happen in real-time with a live previewer.
Typeform has a focus towards making surveys engaging with the use of images, GIFs and video. There’s also a focus on creating surveys that are conversational to really get to the heart of what your customers want:
- There’s a free plan
- It’s visually appealing
- Integration with many apps is available, including MailChimp and Zapier
- The free plan is limited to just 10 questions and 100 responses
- You can’t buy respondents like you can with SurveyMonkey
Video Marketing Solutions
Wyzowl is a world-leader in the animated explainer video game, if you’ll pardon the self promotion!
We’ve created over 2,500 bespoke animated videos for our clients, from small start-ups to huge enterprise businesses. Our videos can, and have, been used in almost any situation–from homepage explainers, to product demos, and trade show videos.
Our talented team of copywriters will distill your message into an impactful script, and our designers and animators can adapt to any style to ensure your video will always be on brand and stand out from the crowd.
From our extensive experience in video production, we’ve perfected our process, step by step, to ensure our clients know exactly what is happening at each stage. We pride ourselves on customer service, and we work to fixed turnarounds, welcoming feedback from our clients every step of the way.
- An in-house team of creatives
- Fixed pricing and unlimited amends
- Videos are of a much higher quality than DIY options
- There’s no live-action package
- There are less-expensive (DIY) options out there
Animoto is a DIY drag and drop video maker for people who have no experience in video production. The site is partnered with Getty Images, giving users access to over one million stock photos and videos (but this is only for users in the professional or business plan).
There’s no free plan, and the least expensive package is $8 per month and very limited. Users only have access to 12 templates, 3 fonts, and videos are restricted to 720p (standard definition).
- You can make a video with no experience
- Signing up for the Business plan gives you a 30 minute consultation with a video expert
- You can personalise your videos with your own assets
- The transitions are very limited, so it can sometimes feel like you’re watching a presentation instead of a video
- The interface seems a little dated
Email Campaign Software
Mailchimp is an email marketing service that has millions of users and sends out 6 billion emails every single week.
The drag and drop email designer is easy to use and you can upload and store your own files within Mailchimp’s content manager, making it easy to find and re-use your branded content.
It’s also easy to collaborate with your team. Users can leave comments on emails and send tests back and forth to make sure every campaign is perfect before it goes out to customers.
- There’s a free plan
- Access to a wide range of tools, including A/B testing and advanced segmentation
- The site has lots of handy guides and tutorials
- Mailchimp deals with a LOT more than just emails, so newcomers could feel overwhelmed
- Templates are available, but customisation is required if you want to stand out
ConstantContact is a drag and drop email editor with dozens of customisable templates to choose from.
The platform has a focus towards eCommerce and allows users to sync to their Shopify and/or BigCommerce stores automatically. Speaking of ‘automatic’, ConstantContact makes it easy for users to trigger automated emails, such as welcome emails for new customers and abandoned cart emails.
ConstantContact also has a huge focus on customer support. Unlike a lot of email marketing services, including MailChimp, the platform offers several different contact points, including calls and live chat support.
- Pricing is very reasonable
- Automatically sync to eCommerce sites
- Great customer support
- There’s no free package
- It’s not the prettiest interface
GetResponse is all about creating beautifully-designed emails that will encourage your users to convert. In comparison to ConstantContact’s dozens of templates, GetResponse has over 500 that can be customised using a drag and drop editor. Alternatively, customers can also start from scratch and use a HTML code editor to create their own email.
In addition to being obsessed with design, GetResponse are also really into personalisation. Their Dynamic Content feature allows users to create content that is customised for individual subscribers. So you can display different images, CTAs, and wording to different customers depending on their preferences and actions.
- The site has over 5,000 Shutterstock images that can be used to personalise emails
- All templates are mobile-ready
- They promise 99% email deliverability
- There’s no free package
- The Enterprise package (which allows access to all features) is very pricey at $1,199 per month
If there’s one thing Google knows, it’s website traffic. So it only makes sense that they’ve got their own analytics platform that can track and record a website’s key metrics. These metrics include data points such as, how much traffic a single page is getting or where your users are coming from (among many other things!)
Google Analytics can help you to review the performance of particular pieces of content and your website as a whole. The interface is clear and easy to use and the data makes it easy to quickly see what you can do to improve your content marketing efforts.
However, there are some capacity limits, such as 50,000 data rows and 5 slots for custom variables. Although, for a small to medium-sized business these limitations will rarely cause an issue.
- It’s free – mostly
- The data is so valuable and some of it can be tracked in real-time
- Create custom reports
- An upgrade to Google Analytics 360 will set you back $150,000 per year!
- Google Analytics can tell you which pages are popular and which pages are not, but it can’t tell you why – and that can be frustrating
Google Analytics tracks page visits, goals and events that have been pre-defined. Heap Analytics has stepped in to change that.
Heap automatically captures every interaction on your site, such as views, clicks, JS events, transactions and more, so you can gain an insight into what your website visitors are doing, what they want to see more of, and what they want to see less of.
The HUGE benefit with Heap is that it tracks every interaction a user makes, so if you decide you want to see how many people have performed an action at any time you can query that data.
Heap was built with the modern web and mobile apps in mind, so there’s a larger focus on customer experience, retention and lifetime value. To track these behaviours, Heap uses behavioural cohorting features, event-based conversion funnels, and much more.
- There’s a free package
- They track every interaction on your site so you can query the data at any time in the future
- They have some pretty notable customers, including Microsoft
- There’s a lot of ‘data lingo’ on their site. If that’s not your thing, you may feel a little lost
- The volume limit on the free package is limited to just 5,000 sessions per month
Social Media Scheduling Tools
Social media management platforms, like Buffer, make it easier to get more mileage out of your content when sharing it on social media.
Buffer allows you to schedule posts across your social media sites so that you only post at times when you are going to see the most traction. The site also allows you to bring all of your social media accounts together in one platform, making it easier to manage.
The analytics feature lets you track your social media performance so that you can improve your posting schedules in the future.
- Pricing is reasonable
- Bring all of your social accounts into one place
- Add up to 25 team members to the platform
- There’s a free package called Buffer Publish, but this is very limited
- The pro package (which is the least expensive) doesn’t come with advanced social analytics
Hootsuite is a social media management platform with over 16 million users. Like Buffer, you can manage all of your social accounts in one place and schedule posts to go live at a time that suits your audience best. The great thing about Hootsuite is that, based on analytics, it can choose the optimal time to post for you–so it takes the guessing out of it!
Hootsuite also allows you to organise content that is ready to post in your content library, and even plan ahead with a content calendar.
Overview reports are created automatically by Hootsuite to show you how your posts performed on social media. And you can further customise these by drawing on over 200 metrics to measure the impact of your content across different social channels.
- Create custom reports
- Hootsuite Academy helps you improve your social media skills
- Assign tasks and permissions rights to members of your team
- There’s a free plan, but this is very limited
- To access custom analytics you need to be on the Team plan (or higher) and this starts from $129 per month
Writing Assistant Tools
Grammarly is an online grammar and spell-checking tool, as the name suggests. The tool can be downloaded to your device to check your offline writing, or it can be added as a Chrome extension to help you improve your online writing. This is particularly helpful when writing emails and/or content for your blog.
The premium version gives even more detailed feedback on things like ‘wordiness’ and sentence structure. It also checks work for plagiarism against 16 billion web pages.
Writing is perhaps one of the most difficult and time-consuming aspects of content marketing, but Grammarly can make it more enjoyable with features like a performance report and the ability to set goals.
- Check your writing online or offline
- There is a free option
- The ability to track your performance makes writing more fun
- The corrections available within the free package are very minimal
- It’s not perfect and relies on users to flag incorrect suggestions
Ernest Hemingway was known for his simple and direct prose, and so is his namesake app. The Hemingway app is designed to improve the readability of content. It searches for five different aspects of writing which degrade the readability. Then highlights these in different colours, making them easy to find and correct:
To reduce distractions, you can toggle the editor to ‘write’ while writing, and this removes all of the editing features. Then, when you’re ready to edit, you just toggle it back and your work will be highlighted.
There is also a desktop version of the app for writing offline, and this currently costs a one-off fee of $19.99.
- It’s absolutely free
- It’s easy to use
- It challenges you to improve as a writer
- It doesn’t give suggestions on how to improve your writing
- If you want to edit offline, you need to pay for the desktop version
Thanks for Reading
Creating a continuous stream of high-quality content is a monumental and laborious task, but, with the assistance of the content creation tools in this article, it can be made easier.
For more helpful content marketing tips & tricks, head to the Wyzowl blog.