9 free and low-cost tools for content marketers

Despair not, marketing friends, for here are terrific, affordable online tech helpers to enhance your social media outreach and real-time info-gathering efforts.

Despite its importance in today’s marketing strategy, content marketing can be costly, especially for a small to mid-size business operating on a limited budget.

Fortunately, there are great online tools that won’t bust your bottom line. Here are some favorites:

BuzzSumo Pro. The newly launched Pro version helps marketers stay informed and produce more effective content marketing through content alerts and detailed insights into what elements are working for any topic or business. It offers real-time notifications whenever new content is published or linked to a tracked domain. You can try it free for two weeks; premium options start at $99 per month. (Free Trial/Premium)

Feedly. To track the latest news and reviews in a particular online arena or industry niche, look no further than Feedly. The RSS reader adds to your feed all new content published on your favorite sites, enabling you to monitor activity and stay current with industry innovators. The basic option is free with up to 100 sources. The Premium Pro version provides unlimited sources and keyword alerts, and it has a search/filter capability. If you’re interested in analytics (and why wouldn’t you be?), check out Feedly’s Team version. (Free/Premium)

Canva. Effective content marketing relies on great visual images, and Canva is your go-to platform for imagery. It’s simple to use (with drag/drop functionality) and is chock full of features that facilitate the creation of engaging, well-designed content. Canva is loaded with libraries of templates, images, icons and fonts to help you add pizzazz to your marketing materials—whether an infographic, meme, social media header or eBook. The basic version is free, with pay-as-you-go options available. For your advanced needs, Canva for Work provides premium options. (Free/pay-as-you-go/Premium)

Easel.ly. Infographics are good for early-phase content needs, and Easel.ly helps you create simple infographics with free templates. Once you’re hooked, you can add more features and options with the Pro Account. (Free/Premium)

ContentMarketer. This reasonably priced, premium product helps identify and contact influencers by Tweets and/or email.

  • “Notifier” scans posts and schedules tweets to everyone mentioned.
  • “Connector” provides templates and scheduling for outreach emails to aid networking and increase reach.
  • “Marketer” combines both features and offers CSV upload for bulk contact; it offers capability to “hunt down” contact details for targeted outreach campaigns.

It’s a pretty cool tool, especially if you’re interested in lead generation, and there’s an option for just about every budget, with prices from $9 to $49 per month. (Premium)

Buffer. This platform enables you to schedule social media posts across multiple time zones, so you’re maximizing your platforms’ impact. Buffer offers a free version with a limited number of accounts and posts, or a premium account that affords you more social media profiles and scheduled posts, and it includes analytics. Buffer pricing starts at $10 per month for premium, and it goes up to $399 for teams and agencies. For those with greater needs and a bigger budget, Buffer offers Buffer for Business, an Enterprise option ($899). (Free/Premium)

Followerwonk. From the terrific Moz family, Followerwonk is amazingly useful if you’re seeking insights into your own Twitter audience or that of your competitors. Use it to search Twitter bios to connect online, analyze followers and optimize activities to get the best out of Twitter. Followerwonk is free for one profile with limited features, $29 per month for up to three profiles and $79 monthly for up to 20—the latter two each with a range of features. (Free/Premium)

Pay-per-Click Facebook/Twitter ads. PPC isn’t free but it can help you get the most out of a limited budget. My partner Eric Vidal wrote about WordStream founder Larry Kim’s use of PPC on Twitter and Facebook to help snag 100,000 unique visitors for one blog post, all for around $50. Want to know more? Check out Eric’s post, Using PPC to Market and Amplify Your Blog Content.

Google Analytics. Google Analytics can do much more than people realize. You can see (and track) website visitor traffic specific to your content, as well as what content is resonating with your audience, how they found that content, what devices and operating systems they’re using, and how that content performs month over month. (Free/Premium)

Hopefully these are tools you’ve either not yet heard of or are not yet experimenting with—and you’ll give them a try. What did I miss? What are your favorite tools and why?

A version of this article first appeared on V3Broadsuite.

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