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What’s In Your Toolkit? 30+ Expert-Approved Content Marketing Tools

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What's In Your Toolkit? 30+ Expert-Approved Content Marketing Tools


The content marketing landscape continues to evolve, with an ever-increasing focus on understanding consumer intent and delivering quality, relevant, and trustworthy content.

And in order to meet these needs and demands of your target audience, you need the right tools to properly plan, write, optimize, and promote your best work.

So what do writers, editors, SEO pros, content marketing managers, and others keep in their content toolkits now?

We asked our network of content experts which tools they use to improve their content research, creation, optimization and more.

Check out the 30+ content tools they recommend, how they use them, and why each one has a place in their toolkit.

Content Research & Strategy Tools

There are three categories of tools for content strategy that Alexis Sanders, SEO Director of Merkle Digital, finds really useful:

Each of the tools offers its own unique features and reports. Some of her favorite features include:

  • The Keyword Magic Tool in Semrush for content ideation.
  • Advanced Web Ranking for its ability to integrate seamlessly into GDS for keyword-level reporting.
  • OnCrawl’s duplicate content reporting and interpretation of canonical vs. non-canonical clusters.
  • Ad hoc extraction and custom search options within Screaming Frog.

Kayle Larkin, SEO Strategist and owner of Larkin SEO, shared her favorite tools:

Miranda Miller, Managing Editor here at Search Engine Journal, uses BuzzSumo to see what content on any given topic is already getting traction.

“The very first thing I want to know when considering writing about any given topic is what’s already out there. Who else is talking about this? Which takes are most popular?” she said.

Miller noted that she also uses AnswerThePublic.

Content Writing & Optimization Tools

Daniel Smullen, Head of SEO at Mediahuis Ireland, shared the following list of tools that content marketers should use when researching, writing, and managing content projects.

  • Google Docs for writing with the Grammarly extension for editing.
  • A project management software system such as Notion for content planning.
  • A keyword research tool such as Ahrefs for keyword insights.
  • An all-in-one SEO writing assistant such as Neural Text for topic research, identifying similar entities used in top 10 ranking URLs,  and topic-based question research.

For text content, Laura Herman, CEO of Mint Marketing Inc, recommends Surfer SEO, which is helpful when figuring out what content is needed or what you might be overusing.

“For video content, I’ll take almost any platform that can help me to create captivating and professional-looking content,” Herman added.

Morgan Flores, Sr Manager of Content & SEO at Clutch, said that although she uses many tools in the course of her work, she has three favorites.

“I use Google Analytics for overall traffic analysis, user engagement and trends. Ahrefs is my top choice for keyword tracking, keyword research, and competitor analysis. I also use the heck out of the GS location changer Chrome extension to spoof my search location in browsers,” Flores explained.

Cynthia Hoy, a self-employed SEO specialist and writer, told us she uses the Hemingway app to catch and correct examples of the passive voice in her content. “Now that I’ve improved my passive voice I’m working on transition words,” she added.

Miranda Miller shared her favorite online writing tools here. In addition to those mentioned above, those include:

  • WebFX’s Flesch-Kincaid Readability Test Tool for improving content readability.
  • OneLook Thesaurus for finding synonyms and similar terms that can make your writing richer, less repetitive, and more interesting to read.
  • Frase.io, InLinks, or MarketMuse for SERPs analysis, related topics and entities, competitive analysis and other AI-assisted content insights.
  • Google Scholar for finding trustworthy, reputable, and often peer-reviewed information.
  • Yoast as a final on-page SEO check before hitting Publish.

Content Promotion

Alexandra Tachalova recommends repurposing content as an excellent way to promote it.

Canva or Venngage, for example, are two simple drag-and-drop design options that enable you to quickly and easily create hero images, infographics, social graphics and more to augment your written content.

Tachalova also recommends that you give RawShorts a try for quick, simple video production using your existing content. (Biteable is another videomaker with stock footage, animations and effects you might like to try out.)

For her part, Kari DePhillips, CEO of The Content Factory and co-founder of the Sisters in SEO Facebook Group, said, “I’m going to go outside of the box here and say Mixmax, which is an email tool.”

DePhillips gave three reasons why she recommended said platform:

“First, at $12 per month, it’s my best bang for my investment buck.

Second, it lets me track all email opens (yes, I can see when clients open invoice emails they claim to have missed…)

And third, their templates are such a time saver. I get at least 10 backlink/guest post requests per day, and some of these people relentlessly follow up.

I have a killer ‘We don’t allow this. Please remove me from your list’ template that gets these people out of my hair with two mouse clicks,” she shared.

As for me, I still like Hootsuite for social scheduling. Sendible, Loomly, and CoSchedule are good options for tailoring your content and scheduling it for various social platforms, as well.

Each has pros and cons and features that may be attractive to some users but not others. Check them out, take a demo, and see which one best suits your needs.

What matters most is that you’re getting out there and giving new tools a shot. You’ll find new ways to automate time-consuming processes, better optimize content to match searcher intent, improve your writing quality and tone, and more.

Search is a fast-moving space where if you aren’t trying something new and finding every advantage you possibly can, competitors are probably passing you by.

Stock up your arsenal with content tools that’ll give you the edge.

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Featured Image: breakermaximus/Shutterstock





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12 Powerful Email Marketing Tips You Need to Know

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12 Powerful Email Marketing Tips You Need to Know

There is no doubt that email marketing is effective. But how many times have you sat down to begin an email marketing project and immediately felt overwhelmed?

Sometimes, it’s hard to know where to start, especially when working with a newer brand.

The good thing is that email marketing has never been easier, thanks to automation tools and innovative ways to deliver emails directly into subscribers’ inboxes.

If you don’t know where to begin or want to improve your current workflow, this article is for you.

So now, let’s look at some simple steps you can follow to ensure you’re using email marketing wisely.

Where To Begin With Email Marketing

So, you’re planning your email marketing strategy for your client. Where do you begin? Here are some helpful tips to get you started:

  • Keep your emails short and sweet. People get tired of reading long emails, so keep yours between 60 to 200 words.
  • People love visuals, especially in email marketing, so include images of your products or services.
  • Social proof helps convince readers that your offer is legitimate and worth their time. This includes sharing links or information in your emails from experts in the industry, positive testimonials, or influencers using the brand.
  • People want to know where to go next after reading your content. And since emails are usually opened on mobile devices, you need to provide a clear CTA at the end of each email. Whether it’s to a product page or recent content produced on the website.
  • Email marketing works best when you send regular emails. But even once a week isn’t enough. Studies show that people respond better to frequent emails than infrequent ones.

Now, let’s discuss the top 12 email marketing components for your strategy:

1. Create Optimized Lead Magnets

So, how do you get people to actually subscribe to your email listing? An effective lead magnet.

A lead magnet is usually the first thing visitors see when they land on a brand’s website. It gets them to click through and read more about a brand, so it needs to be eye-catching and compelling.

And if you don’t optimize your lead magnets for conversion, a brand could lose out on potential leads.

So, how do you make sure your lead magnets convert?

Your lead magnet should grab visitors’ attention right away. That means making it interesting, unique, and relevant to the business.

For example, you can use an incentive like a freebie or discount code to entice people to take action. You could also give away a free report or ebook in exchange for their name and email address.

Your lead magnet could also be the first email they receive, which can be a part of your welcome series (which I’ll talk about briefly).

It entices the users to keep receiving emails, so they don’t immediately unsubscribe after they receive a discount code or something similar.

2. Segment Your Subscribers

You’ve probably heard the term “subscriber segmentation.” It refers to a way of grouping your subscribers into groups based on their interests and behavior so that you can send them more relevant content, offers, and other messages.

This is an integral part of email marketing because it allows you to target your audience with personalized emails.

You can also use this technique to create multiple versions of your emails, such as a welcome email, a thank you email, and a follow-up email.

Segmenting your subscribers can help build trust and long-term interest for a brand because it presents them with information or offers they actually want to receive.

3. Craft A Welcome Series 

Welcome emails are usually sent automatically to new subscribers when they sign up, purchase a product, or make an account.

When creating a welcome series, you need to consider where the customer is in their journey with a brand. So, it’s beneficial to space the emails out over a set period of time and create each one with a specific intention.

A welcome series is a great way to keep potential customers engaged after they sign up. Especially since they receive emails from companies almost daily.

Some examples include: “Welcome! We hope you like our product” or “Your account has been activated.”

You can also send welcome emails to existing customers who haven’t logged in for a while.

For example, if someone signs up and doesn’t use the service for three months, you could send an email saying, “Hey, we noticed that you signed up recently. Would you be interested in using our service?”

This type of marketing is very effective because it’s personalized and targeted. It shows that you’re not sending out mass emails but rather ones specifically tailored to specific customers.

These emails are also a great way to help build trust with your customers and get them used to receiving emails from you.

4. Implement Automation

So now, you’ve done the work to craft an email series. Next, it’s time to automate their delivery, so you don’t have to send them out each time you need to, according to your schedule.

Automation in email marketing is easy to do using tools like MailChimp, Constant Contact, Campaign Monitor, and Convertkit.

These types of programs allow you to create automated emails based on triggers, such as when someone opens your email, clicks on a link, or purchases something from you.

This way, you no longer need to manually send out those emails, which can alleviate some stress when you’re dealing with a multitude of different subscribers.

5. Design Mobile-Friendly Emails

As I mentioned earlier, most people use their phones to check their emails, so making them mobile-friendly is crucial.

The email should be optimized for mobile phones if it promotes sales or discounts. For example, any sales information or product pictures should be easily viewed on their mobile device.

And users should be able to click on the promotion, link, or image and give them the option to view the brand’s site in their preferred browser on their phone.

The key elements to consider when designing mobile-friendly emails include:

  • Placing important links at the top of the page rather than down below.
  • Keeping graphics small.
  • Using text only where appropriate.
  • Optimizing images.
  • And testing different sizes of fonts and margins.

6. Personalize Your Emails

Even though the average person receives numerous unsolicited emails daily, sending personalized messages to potential leads is proven to boost response rates.

Personalizing your emails makes them feel less like spam. Plus, it gives your subscribers a sense of connection to you.

The key to successful email marketing is knowing exactly who you want to send emails and which messages resonate best with each group of recipients.

Once you know what works and what doesn’t, you can tailor your messages specifically to your audience and keep them coming back for more.

First, choose a subject line that clearly states what you will say in your email. This will help readers decide whether or not to click through your email.

Next, include a call to action, such as asking subscribers to check out a new product or sign up for a free trial.

Finally, customize each individual message by adding links to pages on your site where interested parties can read more information.

Get creative and do your research for the industry. For example, does adding emojis help to personalize the email, or is that a no-no for that specific industry?

7. A/B Test Email Content

The A/B testing of email content is a great way to improve your open rate. It’s also an excellent way to get more people on board with a product or service.

But it can be challenging to figure out what works best for you and your audience.

A/B testing helps marketers decide what works best for their business. For example, when designing email campaigns, it’s often necessary to split-test different versions of emails to determine which one performs better.

You can also test different subject lines. Subject lines are one of the most important parts of any email. They’ll help determine whether someone opens your message or not. It’s what hooks the subscriber to learn more.

The best way to test different variations of emails is to use A/B email testing software. This allows you to compare two versions side by side while showing only one version to half of your users at any given moment so that they don’t realize they’re receiving two different messages.

Most email automation platforms can also conduct A/B testing for your emails. And A/B testing isn’t just beneficial for email. For example, it’s important to test copy and content on a brand’s website, so A/B testing will come in handy in more ways than one.

8. Find The Best Timing

The best time to send emails to customers depends on several factors – such as when they last visited your website, what action they took while on your site, whether they completed any transactions, and more.

One way to determine which times work best for email campaigns is by using Google Analytics. You can use the Goal conversion section to view bounce rate, exit pages, and other data related to goal completion.

You should also consider other factors and incorporate them when you send emails based on people’s schedules. For example, you can see lower open rates on holidays, late into the evening, as well as Monday morning and Friday evenings.

9. Scrub Your List Of Non-Opens

It’s essential to manage your subscriber list. When you click “send” on your newsletter, your list contains all subscribers who did not open the email. If you see that certain people are ignoring all your emails, you might want to delete them from your list.

To delete them from your list, you need to go to the unsubscribe page, then select remove and confirm. This process may be repeated until all your non-opens are removed.

You don’t want to overload people who have already purchased or are no longer interested in the brand, so you don’t create a negative relationship with them.

Incorporating one of the email management tools to help you eliminate the consistent non-opens can help you manage your subscribers and decrease time spent on this repetitive task.

10. Include A Real Reply Email Address

This is one of the best ways to keep customers coming back for more. Users may want to send any follow-up emails directly to their spam folder if you don’t include an actual reply address.

But when you put your email address in the footer, they know exactly where to go. If a person has questions, they can email the brand’s team.

Again, this also helps build trust with the brand. They know they are communicating with real people who selected these emails for them versus being spammed with nonrelevant or generic content for the masses.

11. Experiment With Lead Generation Ads

The goal of lead generation ads is to reach people who may be interested in buying from the brand.

They usually appear at the top of the page, where they are visible for longer periods of time than other types of ads.

This means people tend to click on them more often than ads below the fold. So, as long as you don’t use these ads too frequently, you should be able to generate leads.

12. Utilize Email Analytics To Improve Campaigns

One way to utilize email analytics to improve campaigns is to check the bounce rate, opens, clicks, and unsubscribes for your emails. Then use that information to enhance your current efforts.

This includes sending emails at different times throughout the week, testing subject lines, changing up the call to action, and testing creative variations.

If you’re still struggling, try experimenting with lead magnets, such as free ebooks, white papers, and webinars.

These allow you to capture leads from those interested in learning about new topics. In addition, measuring results lets you know which emails work and which ones don’t.

You should also compare these variables (such as open rates) to industry metrics. For example, what’s the percentage of bounce rates for the industry you’re working with?

If you aren’t measuring results, you won’t have much data to base future decisions for your next email marketing campaign.

Final Takeaways

Email marketing is still one of the most effective ways to promote your online store, build relationships with customers, and generate sales.

The final step in this process is to put all these pieces together into an effective strategy. This means coming up with creative and effective ways to construct emails and email series.

It also means being able to measure the results of each tactic so that you can continue to improve your efforts going forward.

Leveraging email metrics and incorporating A/B testing can help build relationships with subscribers by presenting them with the information they want to read.

With a little bit of effort and creativity, you can use email marketing to increase a brand’s sales and help create long-term customers.

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Featured Image: 13_Phunkod/Shutterstock

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