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As a content marketer or business blogger, you’re probably looking for all the help that you can get to get you to become a better, more productive content creator. As a blogger of five years and an avid tools and apps fan, I want to share some of my favorite tools – the ones that help you not only get better results, but also ones that help make your life easier by simplifying your workload.
Read on to find out what are the essential tools for the productive content marketer.
1. Grammarly – for perfect writing
No matter how good your grasp on your language is, everyone makes some mistakes; everyone needs to be edited.
While Word is OK for basic grammar checks, it overlooks a lot of mistakes and sometimes, it feels like it corrects inexistent mistakes.
Grammarly, on the other hand, can catch over 250 different types of errors and it goes way beyond simple spelling mistakes; it can understand context and help you make sure that your writing is not only grammatically perfect, but that it always makes sense to the reader. As a bonus, it also explains your mistakes, so that you can avoid making the same ones in the future.
You can add Grammarly as a browser extension so that everything you write while online is automatically corrected – on social media, in emails, in WordPress and basically anytime you write something on your browser – or you can get the desktop app for Mac or Windows to correct everything you write on your computer. You can get the tool for free as a browser extension, or, if you want it to correct all of your mistakes and get the full premium version (which also includes a plagiarism detector), it will cost you $29.95 per month or $11.66 a month when you pay for the whole year.
2. Trello – for keeping track of your tasks
As a content marketer, you need to keep track of a lot of different tasks: writing, content promotion and much more – it’s not exactly easy to organize your content marketing. With a task manager like Trello, you can keep track of all your tasks, as well as collaborate with other team members, easily, to improve your teamwork.
I discovered Trello a year or so ago when I was trying to find a new task manager and since finding it, it’s made my life so much more organized – and easier!
You can create different, separate dashboards and within each dashboard, add as many different task lists as you want. You can then color code your tasks, add team members to collaborate with and assign them tasks by writing @their_username and upload any kind of file you want to a task. Another benefit for bloggers and content marketers is that you can turn a Trello board into an editorial calendar template.
You can get all of the important task manager features completely for free; but if you also want app integrations (with tools like MailChimp, Evernote and Dropbox) and more security, it costs $9.99/month or $20.83/month for large companies that have multiple teams. I will say that, personally, the free version has enough features that I never felt the need to upgrade to the paid version.
3. Agorapulse – for managing your social media marketing
As an avid social media user for about a decade now, I’ve tried and tested many different social media management tools over the years. My favorite now, for a few years, is Agorapulse.
What I love about it, is that not only is it easy to use and it has all the main features you would need from a social media dashboard (social media monitoring features, scheduling and publishing), but it goes beyond that with a few extra, very useful features.
First, there’s the social inbox, which is where you see all of your social mentions in one place; then, as you go through them, they disappear from your inbox, which makes it much easier to make sure you don’t miss any mentions.
The tool also allows you to publish content to multiple social networks and schedule updates as a one-off, or to be added to a queue and be re-published regularly.
You can create social media monitoring searches for multiple keywords, add keywords to be excluded from your search and you can even monitor only particular locations (although this might not always work perfectly, as people don’t always provide their location on social media).
In terms of reporting, they offer surprisingly in-depth reports (at least compared to most other management tools I’ve tried) which are also fully customizable. As a bonus, there is a contest tool which you can use to create sweepstakes, quizzes, personality tests and other types of contest for your Facebook Page.
Agorapulse also provide a powerful CRM tool which you can use to keep track of all your friends and followers, get their contact information and see all your past conversation. Plus, the tool automatically tags any social influencers or brand influencers in your list, so that you can start engaging with them as soon as possible.
There are multiple pricing plans for one user and enterprises with big teams.
4. Canva – for creating beautiful visuals for your content and social media
Visual content is an extremely important component of a good content and social media strategy. Since I’m no expert at design, I’ve had to look for alternatives – tools that were easy to use as a beginner, but that could still be used to create beautiful, compelling imagery.
Canva turned out to be exactly what I was looking for; not only is it very easy to use, but they provide a plethora of useful templates for different social networks, for e-books, infographics, blog images and much more. All the templates are in line with dimension sizes (especially important for social media) and they can all be easily customized with text, illustrations, icons, charts and much more. Plus, you can also upload your own images to use, your logo and anything else you want.
Canva is free to use and the templates are free – however, some images, icons and so on cost $1 a pop. That said, there are enough free options in there to help you create some beautiful visual content!
5. Yoast SEO – for content that is optimized for search engines
Keeping track of your search engine optimization is extremely important – all your content, written or visual, should be properly optimized, so that you can climb up in those search engine rankings and get more organic traffic.
Yoast SEO is a WordPress plugin that helps you make sure that each of your blog posts is properly optimized. It checks your posts’ readability, it lets you optimize it for keywords (1 with the free version, up to 5 with the Premium version) and it provides tips and advice for how to improve your optimization.
I’ve been using this plugin for years after it being recommended to me – it’s incredibly easy to use and it’s perfect for both beginners and more advanced users. And if you have no knowledge of SEO, don’t worry – the tool explains exactly what you need to do in order to optimize your blogs.
You can try it for free, or, if you want the Premium version, it’s priced at $69 – compared to the free version, it allows for 5 keywords per post, it provides internal linking suggestions and content insights and it also allows you to add a redirect manager, meaning you can redirect old URLs to new ones.
So, there we go, my five favorite content marketing-related tools; I’ve been using them all for years, regularly, and they helped me become more productive and efficient when creating content for my blog.
What are your favorite content marketing and blogging tools?