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Content doesn’t have to be hard.

This is the first article in a series that focuses on specific tools, useful during the content marketing process.

Whether you’re doing market research, designing your content strategy or simply deciding how many keywords to use in your following blog posts, this is the article for you.

There are dozens of tools online that can make your life easier whenever you’re dealing with a difficult content marketing task. After all, keeping up with an editorial calendar is enough of a challenge to have to think how many times a keyword should occur in a text without being considered spammy.

We’ve put together a list of tools that can help you better handle your writing from the very beginning of your content marketing endeavour. Here’s how the tools will be structured:

Market analysis and keyword research.

Content research

Content creation/Copywriting

Content distribution

Evaluating content performance

Any thorough content strategy begins with an analysis of your target market. Once all of the buyer personas have been clearly identified, a list of possible keywords needs to be established. Optionally, an inventory of the most prominent competitors and a quick glimpse at their blogging strategy can help you adapt your writing depending on the trends. Don’t get carried away, though. It’s best to stay original and have your own, very personal and convincing voice with which to bring innovative, unique input.

Market analysis. Competitor ranking.

a. Open Site Explorer.

This is our all-time favourite app. The free version of it gives you the possibility to see which websites featured the website content, thus generating the inbound links needed for high online ranking. Additional information comprises root domains, page authority and domain authority. This doesn’t mean that you have to do exactly as your neighbour. Originality is key to online success, and you should never try to copy your competitors. What works for some will not work for all. However, peeking into the PR strategy of authoritative websites can prove useful in the long term.

MOZ SEO tool

b. Quicksprout

Quicksprout competitive analysis table

You’ve probably heard of Neil Patel and his Quicksprout blog posts. One of the many helpful tools and guides that they offer helps you compare competing websites from an

SEO and a social media perspective.

The Website analyzer tool will show you how many backlinks each website owns, as well as any eventual errors that can be traced back to the SEO infrastructure. At the same time, it will count the total number of social shares the website has witnessed.

quicksprout website analyzer

c. BuzzSumo

One of the best tools for topical analysis of online content, BuzzSumo displays all links/articles that cover your subject of interest. Websites are listed according to the total number of social media shares, from the most “famous” to the least.

Buzzsumo is great if you have a general idea of what you’d like to write, but haven’t really got down to how you should organize your text. Knowing what gets circulated most should give you a hint about what your blog post must/must not contain.

buzzsumo content strategy

d. Alexa

The free version of this tool offers general insight into the global rank of the website, audience demographics and geography, as well as the top keywords that lead visitors to the website. The upgraded version allows for inbound link listing and website exits preferred. We’re not really sure it’s worth paying a full subscription to get access to that sort of information, so sticking to the free one should do it, especially if you’re just starting out.

alexa analytics

e. Monitor Backlinks

Monitor Backlinks

Monitor Backlinks is a tool that focuses on the backlink structure of your website. And, since inbound links are at the very heart of content marketing, you should check this one more closely. All links identified are listed and detailed, which allows you to track down their origin and to even get in contact with the website owner/article author.

Once the account is created, additional information comes in handy: competitor analysis and keyword rankings are some of the benefits that come with the free, 30-day trial.

The major plus: emailed reports of all new backlinks that lead to your website.

Monitor Backlinks analytics

f. Raven Tools

raven tools competitor manager

A cluster of tools that can help you pin down important issues of your website (internal links, broken links, missing meta descriptions, duplicate pages, duplicate content), Raven Tools can help you compare your website to those of the competition. More of a site auditor than an actual SEO tool, Raven can be useful especially if you’re trying to see what’s not working as it should on your website.

raven tools site auditor

Market analysis. Keyword research.

a. SEM Rush

SEM Rush market analysis

The free version of this tool allows access to a general geographic display of the targeted keyword, as well as other general website information: main competitors and predominant traffic sources (organic versus ads). Organic sources presented are limited to 3, whereas a paid version of the app gives an exhaustive list of all keywords leading back to the website.

SEM Rush analytics

b. Google AdWords Keyword Planner

By far the best tool for content writers, the AdWords KeyWord Planner doesn’t only help you customize PPC campaigns (which is what it’s most famous for). Knowing what people search for (and in what volumes) can help you better trim your blog posts, according to what’s trendy. Let’s say, for instance, that you plan on writing a general article on content strategy, but aren’t very sure what it should comprise. A quick look in Google Adwords will tell you that people in Boston, Massachussetts are very keen, among others, on things related to “sales strategy”, “marketing strategy” and “internet marketing”.

Google Adwords search

c. Wordstream

Another tool that we particularly enjoy using is Wordstream. With 30 free searches available, this tool suggests the most popular word combinations on the web. Somewhat similar to the Google AdWords Keyword planner, it helps you get a better grasp of what your content should ideally consist of, in order to receive as high a number of shares as possible.

Wordstream keyword search

d. Ubersuggest

A tool that can make your writing easier is Ubersuggest, that suggests words additional to the generic area you have in mind. Therefore, writing an article on “content analysis” can touch on issues such as “content analysis software”, “content analysis definition” and even “content sociology”, that will render the article more appealing to social networks.

Ubersuggest keyword suggestions

e. Keyword Eye

One of the most aesthetically pleasing tools in the technical world of SEO tools, Keyword Eye suggests keywords that can ease your content creation efforts. The basic version of the app shows you

– a word map of related results (with level of competition – high/low and exact search volume)

– a chart of the keyword volume share

– a grid of all results in the word map, centralized according to PPC competition score.

Keyword Eye keywords generator

Our next article will touch on tools that help you do your research better. Therefore, not so much focused on SEO, but on the actual process of content writing.

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 [Header Photo credits: Lachlan Donald cc]