Experienced content marketers are no stranger to tools like Hootsuite, Buffer, Google Analytics, Evernote, MailChimp, Crazy Egg, Ahrefs, or Moz Analytics. These are just some of the most commonly mentioned tools that should be included in the arsenal of any content marketer worth his salt. Even new or aspiring content marketers, when they do a search for tools they should use to help with their campaigns, will usually be directed to these apps. In a way, they’re standard tools of the trade.
However, there are useful tools that provide almost the same, and sometimes even better functionalities. In this list, we enumerate five content marketing tools that prove being underrated does not mean being any less functional.
1. SEO Powersuite
To quote a hackneyed phrase, “Content is king.” Despite the best content, though, in a world where roughly 2 million blog posts get published per day, content marketers need stellar SEO to make sure their target audience notice their posts. For this purpose, search engine giant Google, comes with its own suite of tools.
There is nothing wrong with Google Search Console (SC), Keyword Planner (KW) and Google Analytics (GA). In fact, Combined, these tools provide a multitude of features that will get you as close to optimal as you will ever be at planning and monitoring your online marketing campaign for free.
Despite the free tag, this same extensive functionality that Google SC, KW, and GA provide also magnifies the learning curve to master these tools.
Not every content marketer or business owner can dedicate that much time to learn all there is about SC, KW, and GA. There are other powerful alternatives that can make accomplishing the same things faster and easier, such as Moz and HubSpot, but such tools comes with a price tag. Among these, SEO Powersuite can serve as a more user-friendly, budget-friendly alternative.
How does SEO Powersuite work?
SEO Powersuite is composed of four tools packaged together, with functionalities that Google SC, GA, and KW typically provide.
- Rank Tracker – keyword research, rank and and traffic monitoring
- WebSite Auditor – technical site audit and content optimization
- SEO SpyGlass – backlink profiling and analysis
- LinkAssistant – link info and verification
SEO Powersuite differs from Google’s tool set in that despite its dated look, it makes up for it by being easier to understand and use.
SEO Powersuite also has a simple training page where you can find quick, one to three-minute tutorial videos and even a step-by-step workflow guide for an SEO campaign.
SEO Powersuite is available in Free, Professional, and Enterprise versions. SEO PowerSuite Pro is $299 and SEO PowerSuite Enterprise is $699. Both paid versions include 6 months of search algo updates, which you need to keep your SEO Powersuite running in top shape. After the expiration period, search algo updates start at $7.78 per month.
You will also need to pay for an anti-CAPTCHA service to run SEO Powersuite without having to manually enter all the CAPTCHAs yourself. 1,000 CAPTCHAs run for a trial price of $6.95 and the price can go for as high as $269 for 75,000 CAPTCHAs, which is high enough for use by SEO agencies.
Despite the added costs, it is still definitely cheaper than MOZ or HubSpot overall when billed annually.
SEO Powersuite is unfortunately not cloud-based. You can only use the tools when installed in your main PC or whatever gadget you happen to use for your SEO. Also, design looks dated. There is definitely a little bit of a ‘90s Windows feel to the interface. Of course, the design aesthetics have nothing to do with the actual functionality of the tools, but a makeover would give user experience a nice boost.
The simplicity and ease-of-use are attractive selling points for content marketers looking to start their first campaign, or even experienced content marketers who want to save time from having to do various audits manually. Business owners who want to improve their business’s online presence without spending too much time or money learning all the Google Webmaster tools themselves or hiring an expert can also benefit.
If you want to fast track your SEO on a limited budget and you don’t mind navigating an ancient-looking interface, then SEO Powersuite is a great way to start.
Content marketers occasionally need to present data, and presentation is key when it comes to statistics. An average readers’ eyes simply glaze over when presented with numerous statistical figures side by side with text, and this immediate “flee” reaction is not good for a content marketer’s page bounce rate.
Easel.ly addresses this dilemma by marketing itself as the source for creating “eye-catching, informative, and fun graphics on the web.”
Compared to another simplified graphic design app Canva, Easel.ly focuses almost solely on the infographics space, and has an extensive library of free infographics templates.
All of these templates are customizable and, to use a well-loved phrase, “easy to use.”
The makers of this tool seem to be targeting the education and public service sector primarily, but that does not mean content marketers should look elsewhere.
Signing up is free, and Easel.ly sends emails with links to video tutorials, its help section, and its Complete Guide to Infographics ebook afterwards.
An upgrade costing only $3 per month gives you access to thousands of free images, fonts, and templates. You can also upload your own graphic files, and get designer help from Easel.ly. The free account gives you access to 60 free images and 10 fonts.
The price, of course. $3 monthly for thousands of free images and customizable templates that can speed up your Infographics game .
Mostly limited to creating infographics. If you need to create other types of graphics, you’re better off heading elsewhere.
For only $3 a month, the breadth of free images, fonts and templates that Easel.ly provides, letting you create Infographics much easier and faster, is a steal.
Stencil could easily be mistaken as another alternative for Canva but again, as with Easel.ly, Stencil sets itself apart by its focus on improving a main feature.
With social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat increasing its image-sharing community members, the market for visual content is continually on the rise.
What Stencil offers content marketers is a chance to make as many beautiful, shareable visual content as they can, really easy and really fast. If you have a statistic, an influencer quote, or your own original advice to share, you can use Stencil to make this process easier.
Installing the Google Chrome extension allows you to highlight whatever text you would like to share, and Stencil let you choose images for your background. You can also do the reverse by clicking on any photo on the web using Stencil, and inserting your chosen text.
When you’re done, Stencil gives you the option to share instantly from within the same interface.
Fast and simple, like this one I made and can share to my Twitter followers in a matter of minutes.
The free account lets you create up to 10 free images per month. The pro account lets you create an unlimited amount for only $9 a month — a price not too steep for the speed and quality of its service.
If you want to create as many “Tweet-able,” “Instagrammable,” and “Pinterest-ready” images for your campaign without spending a fortune, Stencil is your mate.
Stencil is pretty limited to this one feature, so if you are looking for more functionality, you’re going to have to look for other tools.l
If you don’t mind investing on a set of multiple tools that are the best at their marketed functionalities, then you can add Stencil to your toolkit.
SlideShare is a slide hosting site and another grossly underrated content marketing power tool. By publishing highly searchable presentations hosted on a high authority site, you can establish your expertise or draw attention to a product, service, or resource on your website. SlideShare even comes with its own analytics dashboard.
SlideShare also lets you embed your documents and presentations into your posts.
All free as of August 20, 2014 to date.
SlideShare is free, high authority that it has “70 million monthly active users on its site and now sees 400,000 presentations added each month.”
Nobody still knows whether or not (if at all), nor how or when LinkedIn is planning to monetize SlideShare after axing its Pro fees. It may cause some problems down the road if LinkedIn rolls out some new pricing scheme for SlideShare and you have already published a lot of content on the platform
Invest while it’s still free, but always keep your own copies and keep tabs on a backup slide hosting platform, such as Speakerdeck or Emaze.
Another sure way to establish your expertise is by helping other people find answers to their questions. Quora serves as a platform for this sort of question-and-answer, give-and-take transaction where you get to engage with real people who publish about a real need. Every questions has followers, upvotes, and comments, which will give you an estimate of the total amount of people who are interested in that topic.
For example, the question “What images will change the way a person sees the world after viewing them?” received 6 million views, 700-plus replies, and 5,000-plus followers. The question “What can I learn/know right now in 10 minutes that will be useful for the rest of my life?” received 12 million views.
Imagine if you can produce great content that will receive even a quarter of those views. You can rewrite some of your best content from your website and reproduce it on Quora, or you can link to your website, like what entrepreneur James Clear did.
Quora is like a melting pot or market for all the people with a problem and actively seeking for answers, which makes it a good source of inbound leads.
I also have a Quora account where I have a follower count of 1.4k.
Plenty of industry influencers such as Jimmy Wales, Mark Zuckerberg, and Neil Patel use Quora. There is also plenty of direct interaction with people who have real questions you can potentially answer.
Some spammers are beginning to clutter up the site.
Signing up and usage of Quora is absolutely free, so you better take advantage of it before it becomes saturated by other marketers and spammers, and the community either begins to move out or degrade in quality.
That’s it for our list of 5 underrated content marketing tools. If you have questions about this list or would like to share your own ideas, please leave a comment below.