If you’re serious about content creation, then you need to have an arsenal of content tools at your disposal.
No two writers work the same, and no two writing processes are identical. That’s why it’s important to find tools that work for each phase of your process, from research to content creation to content marketing efforts.
Here are 10 essential content tools that will help you supercharge your process:
Content Research Tools
The start of the content creation funnel is finding what your audience wants.
While you could always just write about whatever interests you (nothing wrong with that), if you are writing to attract others to your work, you need to start with what they’re looking for. Content research tools help at this stage.
There are many ways to tackle content research. But the most common revolve around:
- Mining social media for current topics
- Doing keyword research (“SEO” tools)
So with this in mind, let’s look at several content research tools that cover both bases:
Social media tools
This content research tool allows you to see the most popular content across all social media platforms. This is a great way to see what content is resonating with your target audience and to find content ideas.
This free tool allows you to see the latest trending topics on Google. You can also enter topics relevant to your niche and see how much interest they are generating and other related topics that might be more popular.
This is a great way to find content ideas that are popular right now and to see what people are searching for. And when focused solely on your niche, it’s helpful to see which topics will garner the most interest so you can focus your content creation efforts accordingly.
Since it’s Google pulling it’s own data, it’s obviously very authoritative and a good first check for high-level ideas. That said, when it comes to actually doing keyword research and coming up with a specific content plan, it’s time to move to a third-party tool well-suited for this task.
This SEO tool is essential for keyword research. It allows you to see the top-performing content in your industry, backlink data, and keyword rankings. It offers many free SEO tools (with more limited capability) like:
- keyword generator
- website authority checker
- WordPress plugin
- keyword difficulty checker
- backlink checker
- and more
Both Ahref’s free and paid capabilities help a content creator with SEO in many ways, including:
- Keywords driving volume: if your content plan includes driving high traffic, knowing the monthly search volume is an important first step.
- Keyword difficulty (“KD”): if you are just starting out, the only way you’ll have a chance at appearing high in search results are going after non-competitive keywords. This tool gives you insight into the difficulty of ranking for a given keyword.
- Keyword ideas: by inputting a basic keyword root, Ahrefs produces a long list of variations including the above information, so you can determine what related keywords you can target with your content.
AnswerThePublic (by Ubersuggest)
AnswerThePublic is an easy research tool that helps generate tons of content ideas from a simple keyword. It taps into Google’s search data to generate phrases and questions users are inputting around your keyword.
AnswerThePublic’s free tool allows you one free result per day. But even just one serves up tons of variations for you to add to your content marketing plan. Upgrading to the paid plan obviously opens up your daily allotment, but also adds alerts (amongst other features) which we love.
Content Creation Tools
Once you’ve completed your research using the above content research tools, it’s time to actually draft content.
There are many tools that helps with the actual content creation process.
For purposes of this list, we’re breaking down the top writing tools into three categories:
- AI writing tools to help create content
- Content marketing tools that integrate SEO and help optimize for keywords
- Collaboration tools that help house content plans, ideas, and drafts
AI Writing Tools
As we explain in detail in our Jasper ai review, Jasper is an AI copywriting tool.
The platform is built to help content creators draft original content quickly, while also incorporating keyword research, proofreading, and website publishing (via third-party integrations).
Jasper ai allows a user to move amongst various copywriting methods throughout a piece of content. For instance, for a blog post, inserting a headline template, intro paragraph template, and so on. This pairs the context you provide to Jasper with structure for the content, enabling quicker creation of a piece of writing to then edit.
It also flexes well and can handle social media content creation well too.
Content SEO Tools
Surfer SEO is a content research tool that uses artificial intelligence to help you turn your content ideas into articles others will actually find through search.
This tool offers a free version for newbie bloggers and other creators at the start of their content creation journey.
The free tool “Grow Flow” helps by proposing ideas centered around one theme. You select an idea to start with, and then SurferSEO serves up a recipe on how to draft content optimized for SEO.
It then tracks your progress so you know when content is ready to publish (from an SEO-perspective, anyway, you still have to make sure you’re writing great content that people want to read).
Google Docs is the versatile online word processing program that lets you create and share documents with others online. You can create new documents or open existing files, and Google Docs will save your work as you type.
Since almost everyone uses or is familiar with the Google suite of products, it makes for an component of your content tool arsenal.
We typically use Google docs for notetaking, storing content ideas and outlines, and as we draft content, for collaboration purposes as well. With everything in one place, accessible from anywhere, and tracking of who’s doing what, it’s an integral part of our content marketing process.
Content Editing Tools
Content editing tools are essential for ensuring that your content is effective and reaching your target audience.
Named in honor of the author Ernest Hemingway, Hemingway Editor is a content editing tool that helps you to improve your writing style. It highlights common errors and makes suggestions for improving your text.
The author Hemingway is known for his simple, direct, and plain language. He believed that the best way to communicate with readers was to write in a clear and concise manner.
By focusing on writing simply and plainly, Hemingway was able to ensure that his readers would understand what he was saying.
Additionally, by avoiding flowery language and unnecessary details, Hemingway was able to keep his writing concise and easy to read.
The best part about using this tool, we think, is the lessons it drills into the user. We use this free tool all the time, and find its lessons ingrained in our writing process before even using it.
Content Marketing Tools
This tool is essential for managing your social media accounts. It allows you to schedule posts, track analytics, and engage with your followers.
For emerging and established content creators alike, management of a content marketing process can be overwhelming. A content marketing tool like Hootsuite and it’s peers make it much more palatable.
Some key features include:
- Content scheduler – schedule all your social media posts on your time. By scheduling your content, time throughout the week spend on social media can be focused on engagement, the key to actually gaining traction in this area.
- User targeting – use Hootsuite’s insights to target your ideal audience and get your content in front of them at the right place, right time.
- Audience insights – know what your audience is saying and engaging with in real-time, creating content ideas and other actionable items easily.
- Process and team management – Route new content, responses to existing content, and other such action items to the right team members. You can focus on your task, Hootsuite will route it to the next step from there.
This content marketing tool provides a suite of features to help you grow your website traffic. It includes tools for social sharing, email capture, and content promotion.
Sumo’s most basic (and free!) features include email opt-in forms and email marketing management. The paid plan provides more robust features.
As any content marketer knows, an email list is the most powerful asset of any content plan, so a tool like Sumo shouldn’t be overlooked.
While there are 100’s if not 1,000’s of options out there, we’ve found these to be the most impactful components of content research, creation, editing, and marketing processes.
Each offers a great set of features to find what your target audience wants, write content that helps that audience, make sure it’s top-notch. And then of course, actually get it in front of them on social media, blog posts, and other important venues.
New offerings arrive every week it seems, and we’ll stay on top of what’s out there. As we do, this list will update accordingly!
Do you swear by a content tool that we missed here? Let us know – we’d love to hear.