You Need These 40 Must-Have Content Marketing Tools in 2020

content marketing tools

My 2019 content marketing tools post has been freshly updated for 2020! I added new tools, updated the links, and generally made sure this was still the best list of B2B content marketing tools possible.

Content marketing tools are everywhere, at every price range, for every niche.

How in the heck do you decide which ones are worth your time? πŸ€”

Short answer: You don't have to.

As a veteran of 9 (nine!!) years in this industry, I have tried and tested most of the popular systems and tools used for content marketing. As a result, my go-to list is culled to include only the BEST.

These are the content marketing tools I use myself in my day-to-day work. These are the ones I trust to give me all the help, data, and edge I need to make my marketing awesome.

And I'm sharing them with you. 🎁

In this extensive list of content marketing tools for 2020, there's everything from free tools to budget helpers to totally-worth-it investments. Add them to your marketing toolboxes and prepare to be epically better at what you do!

Note: This blog contains some affiliate links. However, I never link to anything I haven't tried myself or wouldn't personally recommend to a friend.

You Need These 40 Essential Content Marketing Tools in 2020: Table of Contents

content marketing tools

The 40 Best Content Marketing Tools You Need for Everything from Planning to Promotion in 2020

Content Strategy Tools

1. CoSchedule
2. BuzzSumo
3. SEMrush
4. Mangools KWFinder

Free Content Planning Tools

5. Airtable
6. Trello
7. Google Sheets

Best Content Creation Tools

8. WordPress
9. Teachable
10. Canva
11. Adobe Photoshop Elements
12. Scrivener
13. Hemingway App
14. Grammarly
15. Giphy Chrome Extension
16. Nimbus Screenshot & Screen Video Recorder

Content Tools for Research

17. Alexa
18. Google Scholar
19. Evernote
20. SEOquake
21. Reddit
22. Twitter
23. Quora
24. Answer the Public
25. OneTab

Content Optimization Tools

26. Yoast SEO
27. AMI Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer
28. SEMrush
29. Google Optimize
30. Mangools SEO Tools

Content Marketing Tools for Collaboration

31. Slack
32. Google Drive
33. Dropbox

Content Tools for Promotion and Distribution

34. ConvertKit
35. SlideShare
36. Wavve
37. Piktochart

The Best Content Marketing Tools for Tracking and Measuring

38. SEMrush
39. Google Analytics
40. Ahrefs

content hacker starter kit cta 3

The 40 Best Content Marketing Tools You Need for Everything from Planning to Promotion

These days, the market is flooded with content marketing platforms and tools. 2018 and 2019 alone saw the introduction of seemingly hundreds of fresh options elbowing each other for our attention.

That's why I'm here: To show you the way to the true gems among the heaps of useless, "meh," or just-plain-BAD tools.

Pay attention – all of the following are the best content marketing tools from 2018, 2019, and the current market.

Full disclosure: Some of these tools include affiliate links. I, however, do not personally recommend anything I don't try! So, I've tried all of these tools and find them excellent.

My 40 Favorite Content Marketing Tools You Need Right Now

These days, the market is flooded with content marketing platforms and tools. 2018 and 2019 alone saw the introduction of seemingly hundreds of fresh options elbowing each other for our attention.

That's why I'm here: To show you the way to the true gems among the heaps of useless, "meh," or just-plain-BAD tools.

Pay attention – all of the following are the best content marketing tools from 2019 and the current market. Some are tried-and-true and have been around for years, while others are new and shiny (but worth your time).

Full disclosure: Some of these tools include affiliate links. I, however, do not personally recommend anything I don't try! So, I've tried all of these tools and find them excellent.

Content Strategy Tools

1. CoSchedule

One of the most important content marketing tools in your arsenal is your editorial calendar. It helps you stay focused, on track, and plan months ahead with content.

Instead of managing your content marketing projects in various places, pull them all together with the CoSchedule suite of tools. CoSchedule does all of the following – and this is just skimming the surface:

  • Helps you keep track of projects from draft stage to completion
  • Gives you the ability to assign and manage team schedules and tasks
  • Allows scheduling and publishing social posts, promotions, and content in one place

Planning and managing your campaigns is at the base of any content strategy. This suite of tools helps you centralize everything and strategize effectively.

What does it cost? The base plan for CoSchedule is $80/month and includes the Marketing Calendar, Content Organizer, and Social Organizer for up to 3 users. They offer a 14-day free trial, too. Get started here.

2. BuzzSumo

For researching content topics with audience appeal, you can't beat BuzzSumo. A new feature, the Topic Explorer, offers another great way to find the topics your audience is sure to love. Of course, one of my favorite features, the Content Analyzer, is a mainstay for doing competitive content analysis.

What does it cost? BuzzSumo is free to use with limited access when you sign up for an account. Plans start at $79/month.

3. SEMrush

For keyword research and planning, traffic analytics, domain analytics, and more at their finest, you can't beat SEMrush. Not only is this tool accurate – but it's also robust and thorough. Charts, reports, maps, tracking, and templates are all inside and crammed with data you can leverage for better content strategy results.

What does it cost? SEMrush is free to try with limited data results when you sign up for an account. Plans start at $99.95/month. Get started here.

4. Mangools KWFinder

Another go-to keyword research tool for me is KWFinder by Mangools. This content strategy tool has one of the most user-friendly search dashboards out there, making it easy and intuitive to understand everything you need to know about a keyword.

It's also super simple to create keyword lists and export keyword data to the file format of your choice – a big plus when you need to track and save possible keywords for your content marketing campaigns.

What does it cost? Basic plans start at $29.90/month. Mangools also offers a 10-day free trial for their entire suite of tools. Get started here.

Free Content Planning Tools

5. Airtable

Airtable is a free content planning tool you can customize to your heart's content. Use it to maintain a content calendar, keep track of content ideas and keywords, track what phase of creation your posts are in, and manage team member assignments/workflows/billable hours.

I use it all the time, for all of my sites. Here's an example of the editorial calendar for Content Hacker in Airtable:

There aren't many limitations for what you can do with this tool – even the free version has an array of templates for managing and tracking your content.

What does it cost? Unless you need more features or more storage space, Airtable is free to use. Paid options run upwards from $10/month (unless you're strapped for cash, I highly recommend investing in a paid plan). Get started here.

6. Trello

Another content planning tool, Trello is a fun application where you can create boards with cards you shuffle, sort, label, and tweak – kind of like virtual index cards, except WAY fancier.

The possibilities for using Trello's format are endless, but this is a great tool for organizing workflows, keeping track of content projects, or managing your editorial calendar. For example, the screenshot above is a sample digital posting schedule.

What does it cost? Trello is free to use!

7. Google Sheets

If you're into customization or you're good at spreadsheets, Google Sheets is a free content planning tool worth considering.

Then again, even if you've never touched a spreadsheet in your life, there are plenty of free templates for project trackers, content calendars, budget trackers, and more for use in Google Sheets. For example, the project tracking template in the screenshot above is from Smartsheet. All you have to do is fill it out.

What does it cost? Nothing!

Best Content Creation Tools

8. WordPress

Every content marketing outfit needs a trusty content publishing platform. WordPress is one of the best.

Think about this: 34% of the web uses WordPress, from The Village Voice to Vogue India to Finland's tourism page.

Draft your posts, customize your blog's look and feel, create post categories and tags, and enjoy plugins and add-ons for SEO, lead capturing, analytics, and social sharing. It's the ultimate content marketing platform.

What does it cost? It's free, with two options:

  • If you use WordPress.com, your blog is hosted on WordPress's server.
  • If, on the other hand, you want to integrate your WordPress blog into your website, you can download the WordPress.org software to use with your own hosting account.

9. Teachable

Teachable is the only tool I use to create and sell my courses. It's a powerful platform on which to build courses as well as host them.

For example, included in the price of the platform for your course content are features like heatmapping, quizzes, certifications, built-in sales pages, pricing options, coupons, and more.

Truly, Teachable lets you create beautiful courses with interactive elements and makes it super simple to sell them. Highly, highly recommend.

What does it cost? A Basic plan starts at $29/month, which includes unlimited courses with unlimited students. Go here to learn more.

10. Canva

Your content is nothing without images to break up the text and make it pop. Luckily, with Canva, you have access to thousands of free templates, stock photos, and professional-looking designs you can easily customize to suit your brand.

Canva is especially good for creating blog header images, shareable images for social media posts, and presentation slides – no design knowledge required.

What does it cost? Canva is free!

11. Adobe Photoshop Elements

If Photoshop scares you a little, but you want finer control over the graphics and images you create for your content/website, give Photoshop Elements a try.

This software is cheaper than Photoshop and has most of the same capabilities, but with fewer options in a simpler format. If you have some image editing skills, this could be a good solution for producing visual content.

What does it cost? It costs $99.99 to download the software.

12. Scrivener

Got a long content project in the works? Use Scrivener to compile your notes and research, outline, and write. This software was made for creating ebooks, self-published books, whitepapers, and even ultimate-guide-style blog posts and articles.

What does it cost? Scrivener costs $45 for a standard license. Once you purchase a license, you can download the program on multiple computers. There's also a free 30-day trial.

13. Hemingway App

Hemingway App is the best in-browser app for clarifying your writing, hands-down. It excels at helping you spot and weed out instances of passive voice, clunky sentences, and overblown descriptions. In other words, this thing is a fluff annihilator.

What does it cost? The in-browser app is free. You can also download the desktop app with a few extra features for $19.99.

14. Grammarly for Chrome, Windows, and MS Office

Spell-check everywhere you communicate online with Grammarly for Chrome. This extension will check your outgoing email messages, Facebook posts, DMs, tweets – anything – for incorrect grammar, spelling, and punctuation.

The Chrome extension will check your outgoing email messages, Facebook posts, DMs, tweets – anything you write from your browser – for incorrect grammar, spelling, and punctuation.

The desktop app will edit anything you write on a Mac or Windows application, and the MS Office addin – you guessed it – checks all of your docs.

Sometimes it can point out errors that aren't actually errors (whoever designed Grammarly seems to hate Oxford commas, for instance), but if you can deal with that, this tool will catch the little typos and mistakes that often slip by undetected.

What does it cost? It's free!

15. Giphy for Chrome

Adding GIFs to your content is super-easy with the Giphy Chrome extension. It adds a little button to your browser toolbar you can click while you're on any page – WordPress, social media, etc. – that will pop up Giphy's GIF search engine. Then you can search + insert the perfect GIF into your text without leaving your current tab or browser window.

What does it cost? It's free!

16. Nimbus Capture

Nimbus Capture is a browser extension tool that helps you capture and edit screenshots and screencasts. This is one of the most robust screenshot tools with more options for the types of captures you can take (and edits you can do) than any other I've seen.

Big plus: There are versions available for nearly any type of browser.

What does it cost? Nada.

Content Tools for Research

17. Alexa

Alexa is a worthy tool to add to your research and content strategy toolbelt.

Nope, I'm not talking about Amazon's voice assistant. I'm talking about the other Alexa, the content research tool (confusingly, this Alexa is also an Amazon Company πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ).

Type any website into the search bar and you'll get a broad overview of that site's keyword opportunities, Alexa rank (how it ranks compared to all other sites on the web), and comparison metrics.

What does it cost? It's free. Don't forget to check out the Alexa browser extension to quickly check any site's popularity, related links, search analytics, and more.

18. Google Scholar

If you need hard-hitting facts and stats in your content, you need to use Google Scholar. It's like a Google search for research papers, reports, studies, and more. You won't get any fluff or random results here – this search tool only pulls up research from reputed academic and professional journals.

What does it cost? Some journals require a subscription to access their content, but others have papers available to read for free in PDF format. (Look for the "[PDF]" link on the right side of the results list to access the actual report and not just the preview or abstract.)

19. Evernote & Evernote Web Clipper

Any content creator knows pulling together a comprehensive piece requires lots of moving parts. Evernote helps you corral your notes, sources, examples, and research so it's all in one, easy-to-find place.

Combine your Evernote notebooks with the Web Clipper and you'll be able to capture links, stats, images, and even entire webpages to tag and save for later. This tool is a lifesaver for the research phase of content.

What does it cost? Evernote and Evernote Web Clipper are free. Brands with more robust organizational/storage needs might want to spring for Evernote Premium for $7.99/month.

20. SEOquake

For quickly checking any website's authority, you can't beat SEOquake. This tool even embeds into your Google searches so you can see the Alexa rank, overall Google index rank,  and more at a glance. This will help you choose only trusted sites for research and links in your content.

What does it cost? The SEOquake browser extension is free.

21. Reddit

Reddit is a resource perfect for researching your audience. Do a little digging, and you'll find the questions they're asking as well as the keywords and language they're using to talk about their pain points and interests.

What does it cost? Reddit is free to browse, which is all you need for research purposes.

22. Twitter

Twitter isn't just a social network – it's also a great place to do audience research. Use the search feature to look for different topics and keywords. You'll be treated to tons of conversations and posts from people using those hashtags or talking about those subjects.

What does it cost? It's free, of course, but you'll need a Twitter account.

23. Quora

Another audience research goldmine is Quora. This site tracks topics, user questions, and answers and combines them all into a robust forum format. You can follow the topics that concern your audience, or you can search for a keyword or topic to find what people are asking about it.

What does it cost? Zero dollars. 😁

24. Answer the Public

Want to find the exact questions users are asking Google about your chosen topic? Use Answer the Public. Just type in your topic and the tool will generate some cool visualizations that are ultra-useful for finding good keywords.

What does it cost? It's free.

25. OneTab

We all know this scenario: You're researching stats for your new content piece, but each link leads you down a new rabbit hole of additional sources. Soon, you've got 50+ tabs open in your browser and your computer is running slower than a turtle walks.

OneTab is a solution to this conundrum. It lets you save all of your open tabs with one click without cluttering up your bookmarks. You can even group them by topic or browsing session. When you're finished with a tab, just delete it from the list.

What does it cost? OneTab is free for Google Chrome and Firefox.

Content Optimization Tools

26. Yoast SEO

Optimizing your blog posts for SEO is a vital content marketing tactic. Traffic coming in from search is huge for generating leads and sales.

If you're not tech or code-savvy, Yoast SEO is your answer. This WordPress plugin lets you optimize your blog post drafts right inside the WordPress editor. It even helps you create correctly-formatted meta titles and descriptions, rates your blog's readability, and checks for good SEO with recommended improvements.

Screenshot: Express Writers

What does it cost? Yoast Premium costs a one-time fee of $89. A free version is also available for download with limited features.

27. AMI Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer

The Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer from the American Marketing Institute is a godsend for creating your best headlines. Just enter your headline in the textbox, choose the industry you're writing for, and submit. The tool will score your headline from 0 – 100% based on the amount and strength of the emotional words you've included.

Play with your headline until you ramp up the score to 40% or higher. Generally, I've found headlines in that threshold get more clicks.

What does it cost? It's free!

28. SEMrush

SEMrush isn't just a great keyword research tool – it's also wonderful for tracking your organic search rankings and optimization efforts.

With the Doman Analytics features, you can track traffic, backlinks, and rankings, and compare your site to your competitors'.

What does it cost? Sign up for a free account and you'll get access to all of SEMrush's features – with limitations. If you want access to deeper data, SEMrush pro is an option for $99/month.

29. Google Optimize

When you're ready to dig deeper into content optimization, it's time to think about A/B testing. Generally, this is when you test two versions of a page (or two versions of two elements on a page, like a headline or CTA) to see which one users prefer.

A good beginner tool for this process is Google Optimize. Use it to create simple A/B tests and find out if tweaking your content slightly will earn better results.

What does it cost? The free version of Google Optimize is perfect for beginners.  If you're more advanced, Optimize 360 is the paid version that's part of Google Marketing Platform.

30. Mangools SEO Tools

Besides KWFinder, Mangools has a suite of tools for all your SEO needs that are just as intuitive and easy to use. They include:

  • SERPChecker – Analyze any SERP, including click-through rates (CTRs) for each position, SERP features, and 45 other metrics.
  • SiteProfiler – SiteProfiler lets you check out your competitors and their Domain Authority, Page Authority, Alexa rank, and more.
  • SERPWatcher – This tool tracks your keyword positions for those hot keywords you want to rank for.
  • LinkMiner – Shows you backlink data for any site.

All of these SEO tools come packaged together when you sign up for a plan. All are worth your time, especially if you're new to keyword research and SEO.

What does it cost? There are a bunch of pricing options for Mangools' all-in-one suite, starting at $29.90/month for a basic plan. Get started here, or use my special link for 20% off a plan!

Content Marketing Tools for Collaboration

31. Slack

For collaborating with your team on content projects, you can't beat Slack. This tool has everything: file sharing, screen sharing, chat and voice/video calls, and channels for every sub-team, project, client, or topic you have in the pipeline.

Slack also connects to other applications for seamless workflows – think Google Drive, Zendesk, or Salesforce.

What does it cost? Slack has a free version perfect for small teams. If your needs are bigger, go with the Standard version for $8 per active user (that's if you choose monthly billing – yearly is cheaper).

32. Google Drive/Docs

I couldn't live without my Google Drive! With the combination of Google Drive and Google Docs, collaboration is a cinch. Use your Drive account to upload files and folders, and set permissions based on who can edit/read/download.

If you want to collaborate on a document simultaneously with your team, you can all get on the same Google Doc and edit it together in real time. The doc will be saved automatically to your Drive account.

What does it cost? With a free account, you get 15GB of storage on Google Drive and full access to Docs.

33. Dropbox

These days, whether you work remotely or in an office, sharing files is necessary. Dropbox is a good tool to keep around because it has two major functions – storing your files and helping you share them – which makes it simple to use.

What does it cost? For individuals, Dropbox is free and includes 2GB of storage. For teams, you might want to invest in Dropbox Business starting at $12.50 per month.

Content Tools for Promotion and Distribution

34. ConvertKit

Email marketing is a powerful strategy. The right tool to aid you with email? ConvertKit.

ConvertKit is my email software of choice. It's so easy to use! It helps you grow your list, send targeted email newsletters and promotions, and even has a feature to build amazing lead capture forms to add to landing pages.

What does it cost? Convertkit bills you based on how many email subscribers you have. If you're an email newbie, you'll pay $29/month for up to 1,000 subscribers. Get started here.

35. SlideShare

Need to share a slide presentation? Use SlideShare's platform for distribution. You can upload your slides and store them, then share the link or embed the entire slide deck into your content. Here's an example of a slide deck created from an Express Writers blog:

Need a tool to create professional, branded slides? Try Canva (#10 on this list) or Piktochart (#37, below)!

36. Wavve

This tool is super-fun, especially if you create any audio-only content (podcasts, audiobooks, etc.).

In a nutshell, Wavve creates a "sound wave" animation you can overlay on any type of background optimized for social media. For example, to promote your new podcast episode, you can add an audio clip to an image of your podcast logo with a sound wave animation.

It sounds WAY more complicated than it actually is. Here's an example:

What does it cost? Wavve is free to try (or if you only need to create >1 minute of video per month). For 10-300 minutes of video/month, plans range from $10 – $32 monthly.

37. Piktochart

No budget for a graphic designer, but still want to create shareable, visual content? Try Piktochart. This tool has a super-easy interface for creating branded infographics, charts, graphs, slides, and presentations – no design experience necessary.

I would also file this one under "best content creation tools."

What does it cost? The free version of Piktochart allows you to create a limited number of visuals, but you'll have access to all the available features. If you need unlimited creation access, a Pro account starts at $24.17/month.

The Best Content Marketing Tools for Tracking and Measuring

38. SEMrush's Content Marketing Tools

As I already mentioned, SEMrush is an all-in-one tool that comes complete with features for keyword research, traffic and domain analytics, and yes, tracking and measuring content. In particular, the Brand Monitoring and Post Tracking features help you keep track of your content's mentions, shares, rankings, and estimated traffic reach.

What does it cost? SEMrush's content tracking and measurement tools come with their paid plans. If you use the free version of SEMrush, you'll have limited access to these features. Get a free trial of SEMrush.

39. Google Analytics

Screenshot: Content Marketing Institute

Track and measure your website/content performance with Google's all-in-one tool. You'll get a tracking code to paste into your website pages, and Google will do the rest. Above, you can see a sample report of some of the metrics you'll be able to track with this tool, including user sessions, page views, bounce rate, countries, and more.

What does it cost? It's free!

40. Ahrefs

Another great all-in-one tool for researching keywords, tracking traffic and backlinks, and keeping on top of your competition, content results, and more is Ahrefs. Just look at all the stuff you get access to with a Lite plan (the smallest, cheapest plan):

Awesome, right? If you're serious about content results, you need a solid tool like this one.

What does it cost? Ahrefs' Lite plan starts at $99/month. You can also get a 7-day trial of all facets of Ahrefs for $7.

With the Best Content Marketing Tools, Stand Out from the Crowded Content Scene

Standing out in content marketing is only getting harder. And, if you can't stand out, you'll blend in and fade away. β›…

It's a sad fate when the whole point of marketing is to build a solid presence, get noticed positively, and build relationships.

Thankfully, with these incredibly useful content marketing tools behind you, those big goals just got much, much easier.

Instead of a faceless shadow, your brand will be a content marketing unicorn. πŸ¦„

Mic to you.

Which content marketing tool stands out to you as something you'd like to try A.S.A.P.? πŸƒβ€β™€οΈπŸ’¨

Let me know in the comments!

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