spring / 2017

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Feature
Juliet Stott
05/04/17
4 experts reveal the tools they can’t live without
Juliet Stott
May 4, 2017

The number of content marketing tech vendors in the market has grown rapidly during the last few years, fueled by consumer demand for relevant content 24/7. There are now more than 200 content marketing tools available for marketers to utilize that can help with anything from content creation, content curation, distribution, measurement, and optimization and many more functions. The chart below, compiled by content marketing platform and curation service Curata earlier this year, shows that there a myriad of options out there.

Content Maketing Tools
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So, we contacted four of our members to find out which tool/s they use, and couldn’t be without. Here’s what they said:


Ian Zimmerman

Ian Zimmerman

Director, Content Strategy & SEO, MXM

Recently, MXM developed a new tool called the Xcelerated Audit Platform (XAP). The tool is dynamic, web responsive, and has revolutionized how we as content strategists perform audits. In the past, a two or three-person team would have to manually create and edit Excel docs, which had endless rows and columns that catalogued sources of content, assessed its performance, and evaluated it against the content strategy. With XAP, we have cut down the average three weeks of work and time spent into five days. Now, just one strategist is able to perform the necessary tasks needed to properly evaluate content. The tool is extremely valuable for new business pitches, which have notoriously tight deadlines, and allows us to bring real insights and visuals to the table. XAP also gives clients the ability to monitor audit progress, visualize their findings, and manage ongoing content optimization in one place. And as we know, when the client wins, we all win.


Ricky Ribeiro

Ricky Ribeiro

Group Creative Director, Manifest

As a leader who oversees a team of content creators, I’ve come to rely heavily on Divvy, an editorial calendar and content management tool, to keep track of what is being published and when, across multiple sites and clients. Our agency, Manifest, invested in Divvy about two years ago and it’s become an integral resource for our content team and project managers.

In the past, our editorial calendars were created, updated and distributed in things like Microsoft Word Docs, Excel spreadsheets and more recently, Google Docs. We’ve gotten by with those tools for years, but we often ran into significant challenges where the wrong version of the editorial calendar was shared out or where the person who had the latest version of the editorial calendar was out of the office or unavailable for whatever reason.

Divvy allows us to have a cloud-based, centralized editorial calendar that is visible to the entire content team, project team and the client, in some cases. Now, when people ask, “When is that story going live?” the answer can be sourced within minutes by pulling up the editorial calendar in Divvy, with the reassurance that it contains the most up-to-date information.

We continue to push more of our workflow into Divvy. For example, we recently started planning and coordinating paid media promotional campaigns internally with our editors and performance marketing team on one of our largest content programs. Far too often, our performance marketing team was challenged with figuring out what content to promote and where those assets live, but with Divvy, our editors can recommend pieces for specific campaigns to the performance marketing team, which reduces the amount of hunting and gathering on the paid media side of our work.


Deborah Carver

Deborah Carver

Director of Digital Strategy, MSP-C

An entire tool stack is crucial to content marketing success, but if I have to pick one, I’m going to go with Google Analytics. Before I was certified in Google Analytics, I understood the basics of digital content performance, but I didn’t know in-depth what made different pieces of content tick – was it placement on the website? Search friendliness? Success in social? A wild viral fluke? Google Analytics is free, reliable, universal and easy-to-use once you understand the setup and get beyond the learning curve. The API integrates with most other tools, so I can present data to stakeholders clearly and add my own insights. The training has improved over the years, and I’d recommend every content creator take the time to get the certification at least once. Being fluent in GA (or another similar tool) changes your perspective on digital content entirely. I use other content analytics tools as well, most recently I’ve fallen in love with Buzzsumo. It’s invaluable in identifying trends in top-performing content on social channels and on the web, and the influencer list-building tool is one of the best I’ve seen. I’ve done a lot of tool demos recently, and Buzzsumo’s wide functionality and ease of use makes it an easy adoption for multiple teams.


Kate Fisher

Kate Fisher

Social Strategist / Content Director, Hanley Wood Marketing, Inc

One of the great benefits social media provides is the opportunity to really get to know your audience. And Facebook Audience Insights allows you to take that to the next level. It aggregates third-party data — from sources including Datalogix, Epsilon and Acxiom — with native Facebook data, to shed light on things beyond just demographics. You can learn more about your audiences’ interests, hobbies, and their overall lifestyle – all of which are incredibly valuable inputs for building a solid content strategy. Combine that with FB Audience Insights’ ability to identify other people - like those in your current audiences, and you can be sure you’re delivering the right content to the right people. A concrete example of this in use is, when you place the Facebook pixel on your website, you can then build a Custom Audience based on your website traffic. You can use that for re-targeting your site visitors on Facebook or, if you’re interested in growth, you can create a Lookalike Audience of similar people for your content targeting. Oh, and the tool is free!