Catching the best content writing tools for your workflow is like winning at the lottery.
Setting up a good content strategy is demanding work, and as in all things, it is better to use the right tools.
Besides, the amount of marketing tools is immensely vast.
The list includes SEO tools, graphics, and video tools, brainstorming accessories, and project management platforms.
In this article, I will talk about my personal workflow, the tools I use to create, select sources, collaborate with my team, and create new content.
Marketing Tools Panorama
When we create our editorial calendar and our content strategy, all of us, marketing experts, use a bunch of marketing tools.
The marketing technology panorama, also known as “Martech” (Marketing plus Technology), is amazingly vast.
As reported by Chiefmartech, the number of marketing tools has grown from less than 900 in 2014 to more than 8,000 in 2020.
For example, have a look at the Content Marketing category. There are 244 different tools.
So, in my experience, it is dramatically important to find its own workflow. Then, use the tool to get faster.
Marketing Tools are the way to go faster. The marketer’s professional ability can’t be replaced (good to know, right?).
Here are the tools that I usually put on the field during my content creation workflow:
- Audience Analysis Tools
- Sources Inspiration Tools
- Team Management Tools
- Writing and Editing Tools
Let’s go further and follow me inside my content writing activity. I’ll be happy to receive feedback about how it works for you!
My best productivity marketing tools for Audience Analysis
Firstly, I start by analyzing my audience to ensure to my flow that I’m pointing the ship in the right direction.
Definitely, identifying the right target audience is one of the 10 most discussed challenges for a marketer.
Where do I find my data?
Digging my website visitors, my blog readers, my social network followers.
Hotjar: a tool to understand your users
Every marketer dreams about being close to its clients.
Well, dreams come true with Hotjar, a tool to record and monitor visitors’ behavior while they are navigating your pages.
Maybe you’ve done a thousand thoughts, a thousand brainstorming on the color of a call to action button and then, with Hotjar, you discover that in fact that button nobody sees it, nobody clicks it. They don’t even pass over it!
Well, then it’s more important to concentrate where users dwell in turn and go to improve all those aspects that the user stays on instead.
How do I use Hotjar as a productivity tool for my social media workflow?
I create heatmaps for my website pages, and I monitor my visitors’ behavior.
In the content creation workflow, it is also useful to see how your readers react to your CTA.
There are different plans available, even for free. We use the paying option.
Google Analytics: analytic metrics from your different resources
I think that Google Analytics doesn’t need any kind of presentation.
Google Analytics is used to track website activity such as session duration, pages per session, bounce rate, etc. of individuals using the site, along with the information on the source of the traffic. Wikipedia
Oh! It’s free.
Ghostwriter AI Analytics Insights: a tool to catch up with your target audience
Once I know, more or less, how my current website and blog audience looks like, then I move to the social network’s data.
Analyzing Social Network’s data is painful. You have to switch along with all the different dashboards and insights. Every single social network platform has its own metrics and measurements.
According to that, you need a long-lasting (neverending?) reports and data collection. All data can be useful, but their power comes out when you have your KPIs. Measurements are great to reach objectives!
To reach my results, I want to be sure that I’m creating valuable content for my audience.
How do you identify what your customers need and how you can help? Now more than ever, audience intelligence is the key. The Ghostwriter AI Analytics Insights is the tool to achieve that.
Analytics Insights is an audience intelligence tool that lets you understand your target audience, their needs, and which topics resonate with them. It tells me about some demographics, interests, and behavior of my audience. I have a quick overview of how to target marketing campaigns, advertising, content creation, content curation, and much more.
Knowing what topics are of interest to my potential customers gives me the right hints to go ahead and create the right kind of content.
Stronger with my first ideas, I move forward.
The Best Tools for Great Content Inspiration
The content creation plan includes many small elements, it is not a five-minute job.
You need to find new sources, a place where your target audience shows its doubt, needs, and requests.
Also, being part of the same community, put yourself in your audience’s shoes. You can see what others are sharing and comments as valuable. You can take out a lot from an excellent observation exercise.
Where do I go to take inspiration for my content creation workflow?
Zest.is, a Community of Marketers for Marketers
My primary source in the marketing niche is Zest.is.
The Zester community is made up of marketing professionals, influencers, growth hackers, people like you and me who work tirelessly for brand success. Cool, isn’t it?
Zest.is an app, totally free of charge, where members of the community themselves recommend articles that they have found valuable.
Marketers for marketers.
Moreover, in Zest.is, quality is always very high, guaranteed by the selection and approval of the Zest team.
The suggestions and topic categorization are based on artificial intelligence systems, which, given my industry, is a plus for me.
Not all proposed links are approved. Quality must be guaranteed.
Quora Marketing Community
Another information-rich community is Quora.
Care must be taken here. Quora is a very dispersive platform full of the most varied information.
I follow specific channels and interact when I can with the community.
I avoid being part of too many channels because it becomes very dispersive and ineffective.
Here, on the channels I choose according to my target audience, I see which contents are more exciting, and I find cues for the themes.
Ghostwriter AI Content Curator: Where your Target Meets the Right News
Ghostwriter AI Content Curator allows me to see correctly for my target audience, which news is better and more enjoyable.
While in Quora and Zest.is I see megatrends, in Content Curator, I see my audience’s interests and topics in trends.
Also, I’m able to speed my promotional activity on Social Networks by generating new posts in a click.
Bonus: How to Keep your Link Sources Tidy
Keeping the sources tidy is extremely important to smooth everyday work. We use a shared sheet.
All the sources that we think are useful are saved in our Ghostwriter Content Repository Sheet.
Everyone from the marketing team can access the file and save useful links with a few notes.
The columns organize the content by topic, title, and marketing funnel step.
When something is no more useful, it is moved into another sheet.
Once I have selected the sources, it is time for creating.
The Best Tools for My Team Management
Nobody is alone, and I need to cooperate with my teammates to create better strategic content.
Slack for teams that grow together
Slack is by far the most popular team collaboration & messaging tool out there.
There is a reason for that.
One of the powerful weapons of Slack is the vast number of integrations available.
Just to name a few that I use: the full GSuite, some of the most leading meetings and webinar software, other collaborative and project management software, customer assistance tools (we use Zendesk, for example), and so on and so far.
We have created different channels for our activities and assigned different levels of access.
The channels are used to catalog information that is always searchable.
Slack is also perfect for staying in touch with your communities. There are several specific spaces dedicated to the world of marketing, where you can subscribe and follow conversations.
I am a member of Growmance, Marketing, and Analytics, Analytics for Marketers.
JIRA for AGILE Marketing Team
Jira is a project management tool. Easy to use, flexible and vibrant, even in its free version.
As for the content part, it is useful for brainstorming. I organize the columns in Kanban view: backlog, to do, in progress, in review, and published.
Someone from the team takes charge of one of the articles and brings it forward.
A clear view of where others are is essential to avoid having to raise your hand each time and ask others what they are working on to avoid doing double work.
Also, we use Jira to assign development tasks and business activities. We are using the free plan, and it is so far complete for us.
The Best Keywords Tools for My Content Creation
Tools concerning the search keywords, the analysis of competitors at SEO level, and so on, there are really a lot of them. These are the ones I use.
Ubersuggest to Analyze Keywords as well as Competitor Ranking
Ubersuggest is an astonishing free keywords analysis tool from Neil Patel.
I use it with this workflow:
- Identification of potential keywords on the topic
- Analysis of keywords coverage together with who is in the top positions of the SERP.
- Choice of the three main keywords balancing the monthly searches, the pages visited by the tops, and how many backlinks you need to position yourself. If I already find only Hubspot, Hootsuite, and other big names with over 100 backlinks among the tops of the list, then I slightly change the keywords.
Semrush to Study Competitor’s Advertising Strategy
I use Semrush to cross-check the search keys.
It is also advantageous to analyze how competitors have done advertising on the keywords we are monitoring.
Content Writing Production Workflow Tools
Once I have sources for inspiration, and keywords, it is time for writing.
I start to write on a Google Doc, so that, once again, the article stays accessible to the whole team.
Finding your own mistake can be tricky. Your brain simply is unable to see errors.
The accessibility of the file ensures that somebody else in the team will proofread it for me before going online.
Once I have the whole text is time to refine.
Grammarly the Grammar Hero
I’m a non-native English speaker, and that makes me particularly cautious of grammar and spelling when writing anything in English.
Unfortunately, nothing can replace a native writer, but Grammarly, for me, is the most useful software in that direction. It makes me more confident.
Like many others, I first tried the free version. It is already pretty good, but if you want to get serious, then you need a premium plan.
The premium gives you a plagiarism check, writing style check, a more substantial punctuation correction, and many more.
Hemingway App to make your writing clear
Hemingway App is a kind of double-check for clarity and readability of your text.
It is amazing how many long sentences I’m used to writing!
Hemingway App helps me to see where I have to break down to increase the readability flow.
I use the online free version that, for me, is totally enough.
Coschedule Headline Analyzer for successful Headlines
An essential part of the content creation workflow is the title selection.
Headlines are one of the most important things for a blog post. They are the “Hey Welcome!” the first impression, the magnet that lets your article be given a try.
Headlines must be catchy.
The “First come, first served” rule doesn’t work for headlines.
In fact, many searches show that you need to create more than one headline before spotting the right one.
How to test them?
I use the Coschedule Headline Analyzer, a free tool that measures the balance of the headline components.
Character numbers, total length, proportions among emotional, common and uncommon words, and many other things.
For this article, only I’ve tested more than ten different versions.
Freepik a valid Graphics Repository Service
Graphics are the beauty and catchy part of the article.
Nevertheless, you don’t need to start from scratch. I strongly recommend starting from templates, they save you a lot of time.
FreePick is a database of images and graphics useful to create the visual. The difference between paid and free plans is in the rights of the use of the photos. I have a paid subscription, and I assure you it is worth it.
Also, during the Cyber Monday period, you can buy the annual license at a very advantageous price.
Giphy for fun
I want my article to have a positive tone of voice, and I’m not afraid of linking out to a funny GIF.
Canva the Tool for Perfect Graphics
I use nearly exclusively Canva for everything that is the graphic part.
There are many alternatives born over time, but it is really a super, versatile, flexible tool.
The free plan is very complete.
Yet, we know how outstanding the graphics are for the success of a post. Considering that every publishing channel wants its own custom size for the graphics, investing in the paid version of Canva can really save a lot of time.
Canva, in its paid version, allows us to make immediate resize of the various graphics, so just select the different sizes of the template and just a click.
Immediately we have the same graphics declined in all the appropriate sizes.
Another attractive feature is the possibility to delete the background and make it transparent with a click.
TL;DR: What you need to know
The article is pretty long and goes into depth on many subjects. Here are the most important things to know, in a nutshell.
Hotjar (free, paid plans available) – it is a behavior analytic tool that shows you how visitors move and navigate inside your website.
Google Analytics (free) – tool to track website activity such as session duration, pages per session, bounce rate, etc.
Ghostwriter AI Analytics Insights (free, paid plans available) – audience intelligence tool that lets you understand your target audience, their needs, and which topics resonate with them.
Zest.is (free) – Marketers’ source for pro content discovery. High quality and great inspirations here
Quora (free) – Question and answer website where to find your community. I follow some in the marketing field.
Ghostwriter AI Content Curator (free, paid plans available) – know which contents like to your target audience and get inspiration.
Slack (free, paid plans available) – perfect tool for team collaboration.
Jira (free, paid plans available) – a project management tool for agile workflow. Easy to use, flexible and productive, even in its free version.
Writing and Editing
Ubersuggest (free, paid plans available) – keywords, ranking, competitor analysis tool.
Semrush (free, paid plans available) – SEO, PPC, content, social media, and competitive research.
Google Docs (free, paid plans available) – Best tool for writing for me, adding side notes with comments while producing, suggesting mode when someone is reviewing.
Grammarly (free, paid plans available) – to check your spelling and grammar.
Hemingway ((free, paid plans available) – Helps you simplify complex sentences and increase your readability score.
Coschedule Headline Analyzer (free) – test and score your headlines idea to maximize traffic, shares, and search results.
Freepik (free, paid plans available) – millions of image, vectors, template and graphics resources
Giphy (free) – one of the most significant search engines for GIF animations.
Canva (free, paid plans available) – Great for creating graphics for blog posts and social media, with hundreds of templates you can work from.
Creating content is an extensive activity. You never end to learn something new and exciting. Discovering a new tool that helps you in your routine is like eating cherries (my favorite fruits), you always want more.