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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:

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  • 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:

  • Google Analytics, to see what content type assists in conversions (and its conversion rate).
  • Google Search Console for examining click-through rate and backlink patterns.
  • Ahrefs for tracking organic share of voice.

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

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“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.

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

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  • 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.

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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.

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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.

More Resources:


Featured Image: breakermaximus/Shutterstock

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Surfer SEO Unveils New Semrush Integration

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Surfer SEO Unveils New Semrush Integration

Surfer SEO has a new growth management tool that includes backlink data provided by industry leader, Semrush.

Here’s what the integration means for users.

Surfer SEO

Surfer SEO is a machine learning tool used by SEOs to conduct keyword research, create content strategies, and generate AI outlines.

Companies such as Square, ClickUp, and Shopify use the tool, in addition to over 15,000 other brands and agencies.

Semrush

Semrush is an enterprise SEO tool marketers use to audit websites, conduct competitor analysis and develop content strategies.

IBM, TESLA, and Amazon are just a few companies using it, in addition to more than 10 million marketing professionals.

Starting today, Surfer SEO will use Semrush’s backlink data to expand Grow Flow task recommendations.

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Grow Flow

Grow Flow is like your friendly SEO AI assistant.

Described on the Surfer website as an “AI growth management platform,” the tool provides a few SEO tasks each week to help you stay on track — and not get lost in the overwhelming amount of information that comes with learning SEO.

For example, it may recommend adding keywords (GSC) that a website is ranking for but not explicitly speaking to in an article.

Screenshot from Grow Flow, June 2022

Or, the tool may recommend where to add internal links.

internal links_growflow_surfer seoScreenshot from Grow Flow, June 2022

It can also recommend new content topics that users can open in a content editor at the push of a button.

new content topics_content editor_growflowScreenshot from Grow Flow, June 2022

The integration with Semrush comes into play in the Grow Flow recommendations.

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Once you connect Surfer to the freemium Semrush account, you unlock new tasks.

connect semrush to surfer_growflowScreenshot from Grow Flow, June 2022

Voila – a list of referring domains every week pulled from your competitors!

Backlink research automated_Growflow_Surfer SEOScreenshot from Grow Flow, June 2022

Manually researching a competitor’s backlinks is a considerable drain on internal resources. Thanks to this integration, you’ll discover new opportunities automatically.

An Industry First

Until now, Semrush has not integrated with an SEO company.

Historically, Semrush has only integrated with Google Products like Search Console and Analytics, and social media networks like Facebook and Twitter.

It’s also worked with task management tools like Trello and Monday.com – but never a direct SEO competitor.

Semrush’s “SEO writing assistant” feature is a direct competitor to Surfer’s “SEO Content Editor”: one of its most popular features.

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So, why partner and offer this fantastic AI assistant to search marketers – for free?

I asked Tomasz Niezgoda, Surfer SEO’s Marketing Executive and Partner, how this partnership came to be.

“Pretty straightforward,” he said. “Semrush reached out to us with a proposition to integrate Surfer inside their marketplace [and] after some time, we decided to give it a shot and started working on this integration.”

From the beginning, Semrush felt like this would be a successful integration because it was applying its backlink data in a customer-oriented way.

“For Semrush, it’s a very meaningful integration. It allows Surfer SEO users to gain valuable link building insights and knowledge, which is crucial for ranking their content,” said Eugene Levin, President, Semrush.

What This Means

Two major SEO competitors are working together to create a free tool for small business owners and entry-level marketers to develop weekly best practices.

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Matt Diggity, CEO and Founder at Diggity Marketing, calls the tool “Simple. Efficient. Automated.”

“You get the list every week and gain immediate insights [into] which referrals your competition is getting. Then, you can start working on your own link-building strategy straight away.”

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The two giants hint that combining Semrush’s backlink data with the machine learning power of Surfer is only the beginning.

“We like each other,” said Niezgoda. “Maybe it’s just the first integration that’s coming.”


Featured Image: Screenshot from Grow Flow, June 2022

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