By Ian Cleary published January 25, 2015

7 Content Marketing Tools to Improve Your Productivity


Editor’s note: A new version of this post is now available.

Content marketing can be time-consuming. With a good plan you can become more effective, and using the right tools should be an important part of that. These seven tools will help make a big difference in your content marketing productivity.



1. SEMrush – Identify how your competitor is ranking on Google

SEMrush is a great tool to help you assess the traffic a competitor gets on Google and the keywords for which they are ranking.

Enter your competitor’s web address and SEMrush shows a list of the keywords for which it ranks on Google. With a free registered account, SEMrush reveals the top 10 keywords driving traffic to your competitor’s site.


If you know which keywords direct traffic to your competitor, maybe use some of them to get some of this traffic?

2. BuzzSumo – Find out what type of content gets shared the most

You also want to create content that gets shared across social media channels. The best way to do this is to find out what type of content normally gets a lot of shares and write content around similar topics.

With BuzzSumo, you can enter your own website address – or your competitor’s – to find the most-shared content across different social media channels. You also can search for keywords to find the content related to those keywords that are shared the most.

It also is helpful to use BuzzSumo to examine content shares on specific channels to help you produce content that is likely to be popular on your targeted channels.

3. Canva – Prepare your promotional imagery

Imagery is an important element of content promotion but going to graphic designers for every piece of imagery gets expensive and time-consuming. Canva is graphic design without the need for graphic design skills. It makes it easy to produce impressive, professional-looking images using a simple, streamlined interface.


When you create great evergreen content, it’s important to share it on a regular basis. However, you don’t want to continue to promote it with the same image all the time. So, create a batch of similar images that can be used in various promotional activities.

4. Quill Engage – Monitor your results

When you’ve done all this hard work, it’s time to monitor your results. But Google Analytics can be quite daunting and not everyone wants to try to figure out the data.

Quill Engage sends a weekly email which interprets your results in an easy-to-understand way.


5. Edit Flow – Build your editorial calendar

An editorial calendar is absolutely essential for content marketing. By planning your content you become more productive and, as a consequence, you deliver better content. A completely free and really useful calendar tool is the WordPress plug-in, Edit Flow. Some of its most useful features include:

  • Calendar view: Visualize all scheduled and draft posts so you can easily drag and drop items to adjust the dates.
  • Team functionality: Send messages to team members. For example, an article’s author can include a note to the editor at the end of the post before assigning the article to be edited.
  • Custom status: You can set up custom progress statuses to match your workflow. Here are the ones we use:

o   Pitch – The content is an idea, but we have not committed to writing it.

o   In progress – Someone is actively working on it.

o   Draft without images – Images need to be added.

o   Pending review – Ready for the editor to review.

o   Final review – Ready for posting, the author will give it one final look.

6. Do Share – Post content to Google Plus

Do Share is a Chrome plug-in for posting content to a Google+ personal profile. Currently, you aren’t able to schedule content posts to your personal profile through Google. Do Share gets around this by holding scheduled content until the time it is due and posting it for you. Note: You must have your browser open at the time of posting.


When browsing through Google+ content, you also can pick content and send to Do Share for posting at a later date.

7. Zapier – Get automated

Zapier is an automation tool that links over 300 applications to perform automated tasks. You create “zaps” – a triggering task that initiates different applications.

There are some really useful automated tasks to help with your content marketing. For example, we created a zap so that when we post to a Facebook page the zap automatically sends it to Buffer where the queue is set up to send the content to other channels.


Here are a few more examples of automatic zaps you could create:

  • Save your favorited tweets to Evernote.
  • Share Instagram photos to your Facebook page.
  • Share new posts on WordPress to Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn via Buffer.
  • Send LinkedIn status updates to Twitter.

If you have a good content marketing plan, the tools will help to support this plan, improve your impact, and maximize your success. Review the tools you use to find out if they are delivering the results you require. Maybe you’ll consider adding one or two of the tools detailed here. What other tools do you recommend?

Want to discover more tools to help your content marketing? Check out the 2014 CMW sessions available through our Video on Demand portal and make plans today to attend 2015 CMW.

Cover image by Matt Hobbs, Public Domain Archive, via

Please note:  All tools included in our blog posts are suggested by authors, not the CMI editorial team.  No one post can provide all relevant tools in the space. Feel free to include additional tools in the comments (from your company or ones that you have used).

Author: Ian Cleary

Ian Cleary is founder of the content marketing agency RazorSocial where he provides consultancy and training. He is also Co-founder of OutreachPlus which is email outreach software for sending highly personalized emails and follow ups to generate more traffic, PR and sales for your business. Follow him on Twitter @IanCleary.

Other posts by Ian Cleary

  • Jaakko Tapaninen

    It looks like Edit Flow plugin has not been updated for a year and is not compatible with the current version of WordPress. Can anyone recommend a similar tool that’s good and up to date?

    • Ian Cleary

      Hey Jaakko, I use EditFlow with the latest version of WordPress and it’s a very reliable and useful tool. An alternative to consider is CoSchedule. That’s a paid tool but it’s only $10 per month. Ian

      • Jaakko Tapaninen

        Thanks Ian! I’ll give EditFlow a try. Jaakko

        • Ian Cleary


  • Rachel Franco

    Wow, some really useful and practical tools shared here…thanks! Bookmarking this with definite plans to check several of them out…

    • Ian Cleary

      Thanks Rachel!

  • Shai Geoola

    Great tools listed Ian, thanks very much for sharing!

    • Ian Cleary

      Thank you Shai!

  • Kaloyan Banev

    I do use many of these, tools, especially for my SEO works. Probably I can add, Google Insight and Google Trends.

    • Ian Cleary

      Great thanks Kaloyan, both useful tools. Ian

  • Ivan Seka

    Great insight into the tools! Have been using some, but particularly like ‘Edit Flow.’ Thanks

    • Ian Cleary

      Thanks Ivan!

  • Steven Hodgkiss

    Thanks for the tips … I have used some of these in the past. I am always looking for more resources that will help my Clients to improve the results from Inbound Marketing methods. Does anyone have any more tools that they have come across recently?

    • Ian Cleary

      Thanks Steven.

  • Loz James

    Hi Ian

    Great post – I use BuzzSumo all the time for content research.

    I’ve also been looking at Zapier for some time but haven’t taken the leap yet.

    Would I literally be able to link together all the places I get the best response when promoting a new post (if supported), and just press a button to share it once?

    For example, could I tweet something out and this creates a domino-style effect where that tweet then also posted to another 20 + platforms – and would this be a spammy approach if I did try it?



    • Ian Cleary

      Hey Loz, Yes you can link Twitter with multiple channels. I wouldn’t automate sending to a large number of platforms but, for example, if you have a new blog post you may want to automate distribution of that post to all the platforms you actively engage on. Zapier is well worth trying and IFTTT is a good alternative. Ian

      • Loz James

        Great – thanks Ian 🙂

  • Ambrosio

    Great post! Very usefull tools, especially Canva and BuzzSumo. Thanks!

    • Ian Cleary

      Thank you!

  • Karla

    Great resources! EditFlow seems very useful – do you have to use wordpress to download? If so any similar tools you would recommend.

    • Ian Cleary

      Hey Karla, yes it’s a WordPress plugin. You could set up a custom calendar in Gmail! Ian

  • Alison Groves

    Appreciate the Zapier love, Ian! Very kind of you.

    • Ian Cleary

      Hey Alison, Zapier is a cool tool!

  • Guillaume Decugis

    Great list, Ian: thanks! We love Zapier here at and we’ve used it to integrate our lead generation pages on Unbounce with Pipedrive which is our CRM tool. We’ll probably write a post on what we’ve learned doing that but it’s been extremely useful as it enabled us to precisely measure the origin of a deal and trace it back to a specific piece of content. So now our content team is able to not only understand the content that converts but our business team clearly understands the value of content.

    • Ian Cleary

      Super Guillaume, great examples, thanks for sharing!

  • Muhammed Tüfekyapan

    Great post. Thank you. As a content creator, one of the thing I always need social media optimization tool. When you write a post, how it looks on social media is critical for the getting attention. I use for my blogs and it does well. Changing headline and visuals for social networks (especially Facebook) effect rapidly.

    • Ian Cleary

      This tool is on my list to test Muhammed! Thank you.

  • Gates S.

    Thank You so much Ian. Already bookmarked! The concepts of BuzzSumo and Canva are really amazing.

    • Ian Cleary

      Thank you!

  • beyond11

    My personal favourite tool is semrush to analyze competitor’s backlinks and organic traffic for targeted keywords

  • sherman smith

    Hey Ian,

    This was a great share. I have just started using SEMRUSH and Buzz sumo and they have been a lot of helping with me planning my next blog post. I’m quite interested in Quill Engage which another friend told me about and Zapier. I will save this post and look into these later.

    Thanks for the share! Have a good one!

    • Ian Cleary

      Thanks Sherman!

  • Vicki

    Great article with wonderful helps. I can’t wait to check them all out. This was a very valuable post!

    • Ian Cleary

      Thank you so much Vicki.

  • Tim Fehraydinov

    Hello Ian,

    Thanks for sharing a great list! I had an experience with Semrush and BuzzSumo, and these are great tools, but Zappier is something new to me. I’ll definitely give it a try.

    • Ian Cleary

      Thanks Tim, yes you’ll really like Zapier!

  • Apurva

    Hi Ian! Very helpful article. I love BuzzSumo. You can also try out DrumUp ( to look for interesting content.

    • Ian Cleary

      Thank you!

  • Jack Lee

    My personal three favourites(speed productivity):
    1. Send to Kindle – If you’ve got Kindle, this is a must. Send to your Kindle in Light Speed! Official Link:
    2. New Tab Draft – Changed my way to use New Tab. New tab can be a paper to write on! Only few people know this one but it helps me a lot.

    3. Clearly – Product of Evernote. Sync articles to your Evernote right in time.

    • Ian Cleary


  • K Lenc

    What about ?