For a digital marketing agency to stay competitive, it needs a robust tech stack. Advanced tools help marketers understand what customers want to see and generate outstanding content that’s optimized for those all-important search engine rankings.
In my experience of running the content and outreach departments at Accelerate, these tools are also essential for helping us stay organized, communicate with clients, and collaborate with our team of writers and editors based around the world.
But which are the best content marketing tools to use? I’ll show you the 10 favorites that make my job easier.
What Are Content Marketing Tools?
82% of marketers actively use content marketing, which doesn’t surprise me. The strategy enables us to reach and engage users on multiple platforms, and it typically costs less than traditional marketing. However, we need efficient tools to get it right.
Content marketing tools include any software or app that assists in the creation, curation, and promotion of content. Automated and analytical tools can enhance anything from SEO and SaaS backlinking strategies to task management and social media scheduling.
As well as spotting new opportunities for promotion, you’ll save a lot of time that would otherwise be spent on tasks like keyword research or image creation. That means content managers can focus on strategy, and provide writers and editors with the resources they need.
The 10 Content Marketing Tools I Couldn’t Live Without
Because content marketing is so popular, there are hundreds of tools to choose from. To make things simpler, I’ve picked out the 10 tools that help me do my job with minimal stress!
Pitchbox is an outreach and link-building tool, which we use for sending thousands of outreach emails and managing them in one place. We can personalize our outreach emails (or choose from a selection of templates), and send automated follow-ups to maximize response rates.
As well as scheduling messages to hit the prospect’s inbox at the right time, Pitchbox helps us find and target high-value opportunities for outreach. It’s far quicker than manual prospecting. And if we need to find link-building opportunities, it does that too.
The reporting and analytics features allow us to track each step of the outreach process and manage emails by campaign, which really helps us stay organized. It also ensures that we answer the highest priority emails first!
When we create content briefs for our writers, it’s essential that we include details of the articles’ keywords. Frase, an AI writing software, automatically creates high-quality briefs based on the primary keyword we want to target.
It does this by identifying the questions people are asking about that topic, and offering suggestions to further optimize the post. This includes details such as headings, keyword count, and relevant subsections—so our writers have everything they need to optimize content quickly and easily.
Frase is a time-saver because we don’t need to do the research manually. We just input a keyword, and it will return a list of questions along with the source and keyword data. It also enables us to analyze competitor posts without leaving the platform.
We use Dialpad for agency communications. It’s a unified cloud-based platform combining a VoIP phone system with messaging and video. Like all the best SaaS companies, it provides a flexible and scalable solution, letting us add and remove employees with a few clicks.
Most editors and writers at Accelerate are freelancers who work remotely, so a strong comms tool helps me to manage the team. We use the video conferencing feature to facilitate meetings—we think it works better than Zoom or any other Zoom alternatives! For example, we can meet for up to five hours with 150 participants, with HD call quality and unlimited recordings.
Dialpad Ai also offers real-time transcription with sentiment analysis, summaries and highlights. With screen share, we can share the whole thing, a window, a tab, or a specific document and invite external guests to join via an SMS message with a link (no need to download the app). In fact, anyone can join a video conference using any device.
Dialpad automatically adjusts video resolution based on available bandwidth, and has robust security settings. The host can mute people, limit screen sharing, remove unwanted guests, and lock the meeting. When we’re discussing business, it’s reassuring to know that the connection is protected by DTLS, and the audio/video is protected by SRTP.
Most writers will be familiar with Clearscope, an SEO optimization tool that works similarly to Frase. Clearscope is great for optimizing onsite content in more detail than Frase, and benchmarking it against similar content that’s already ranking for the targeted primary keyword. That means our content is highly relevant to what people are searching for.
For any keyword, the tool analyzes top-performing organic content and provides a breakdown of all the relevant terms in order of importance. It recommends headers and readability level, and creates a checklist of keywords for the writer to use. Content is graded according to how many keywords are used.
Writers can either type their articles directly into Clearscope or paste their copy in from another document. Plus there’s a Google Docs add-on and a WordPress plugin, so people can work in the way that suits them best.
Our agency is on course to produce more than 4,000 guest posts this year. That’s a lot of content to keep track of, but Airtable allows us to manage it all in one place. This tool is basically a “spreadsheet on steroids”—a hybrid of a spreadsheet and a database with more functionality than you’d get from either.
Airtable lets you track resources, events, and projects on a customized timeline, but you can also choose other “views” including Kanban boards, Gantt charts, or Calendar View. These provide a quick glance at our key metrics and KPIs, and help us visualize everything that’s happening across the agency. We can generate reports, too.
Besides storing the data, Airtable has customized filters to help organize it. It lets you add comments and mentions to the spreadsheet, and teams can collaborate on a shared view. To avoid overlapping work, audit trails that show all the changes made to different documents.
Asana is a work management tool that allows you to assign tasks to specific people, and attach a brief and a deadline. This way, everyone can see at-a-glance who’s responsible for which tasks and when they should be completed, so they know who to contact if there’s a query.
I find it super useful for delegating tasks, and it helps my team manage their day efficiently. Tasks can be ordered by priority, and the system sends updates whenever a change occurs to any task. It also allows teams to share and work together on projects, daily tasks, and goals.
Our developer recently coded an integration with Airtable, which means we can now create an Asana task direct from Airtable and delegate a task related to a specific content record in the tool. This is a lifesaver for ensuring follow-up tasks are completed, without having to remind people.
Speaking of integrations, Asana also allows you to integrate tasks with a calendar and block out time without leaving the app.
Rytr is an AI-powered writing assistant that edits and proofreads content to ensure it’s well-written and professional. By weeding out any typos, spelling or grammatical errors before submission, there’s less work for our editing team to do. It also has a handy built-in plagiarism checker.
Rytr will simplify your content by rewording or shortening sentences, which is ideal if the client has requested a stripped-down style. You can edit for a specific tone, and the tool will even write in other languages if required. There’s a browser extension or plugins for your existing apps.
It also has a writing generator for content creation—just pick a use case, enter some context, and it automatically comes up with copy. Our writers don’t usually use this, but you never know when you might need a helping hand to draft a blog outline or meta description.
8. Viral Content Bee
With 4.62 billion social media users in the world today, it’s become a priority marketing channel for many businesses. Viral Content Bee is a free social media promotion tool that enables us to give guest posts a little extra “buzz” (see what they did there?) on social platforms.
The tool is designed to help you build your branding and content marketing strategy, by putting your content in front of influential social media users. If your content is good (which ours is, of course!), it picks up more and more re-shares. You earn “credits” by sharing other people’s posts, and then use those credits to share more of your own posts.
It’s a great way for us to promote our clients (and ourselves), build up a following, and gain social signals that help content perform better in Google’s search rankings. By engaging with new followers and promoters, we get insights into the kind of content people want to see—and it helps us figure out which platforms are most relevant.
9. Google Stack
Google has a great set of tools in its stack, and Accelerate makes full use of them. From Gmail to Drive to AdWords to Calendar, they’re simple to use and we know exactly where to find everything. We use Google Docs exclusively, with the cloud-based platform making collaboration super-easy. This means writers, editors, content brief-makers can all share and work on the same document.
Thanks to version control, there’s no getting confused over which doc is the most recent, or accidentally overwriting someone else’s work. You can give editing access to specific people and encourage them to share their thoughts via the suggestions and comments features.
We also love Google Analytics, which automatically tracks website data and helps us learn more about the people who access the content we create. Google Search Console lets us monitor and troubleshoot a website’s presence in the search results, and spot opportunities for featured snippets.
When we’re creating onsite blogs and guest posts, we like our writers to include images to make them look as eye-catching as possible. Visuals break up blocks of text to help readers stay engaged and remember the article later. There’s a whole paper exploring how the visual characteristics of images can affect likes on Instagram—and it’s a good content marketing strategy for any platform.
Alongside stock images and screenshots, it’s great to include bespoke visuals—which is where Canva comes in. Canva is a tool for designing high-quality visual content, including infographics. You don’t need any graphic design skills to get started with one of their templates, although it’s also possible to create a new design from scratch.
Each template is already optimized in the right dimensions for things like banners, headers, and cover photos for specific sites like Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. There’s a handy drag-and-drop editor, a built-in photo library, and even a font-pairing tool. Teams can collaborate on a visual within the same platform.
Build your own tech stack as a content marketer
When your agency handles as much content as Accelerate does, you need the ability to manage both the content itself and the people who produce it. Content marketing tools make a huge difference to productivity and efficiency by speeding up and automating time-consuming tasks. They also provide the analysis and inspiration that helps us keep our content relevant.
With so many SaaS marketing tools to choose from, every agency will have its own favorites. Check out the options I’ve listed in this post, and compare them with others on the market to find the software that best suits your working style.
Stevie Carpenter is the Head of Content & Outreach at Accelerate, a SaaS SEO Agency. With over 10 years agency experience, Stevie has most content-related roles on his CV, from writer to manager. He now oversees a department that operates across the world, delivering high-quality content for SaaS brands looking to scale.