If I had a penny for every time a list of “awesome content marketing tools you can’t live without” mentioned Grammarly, I’d be living in the Bahamas.

So today, I’m going to skip all those household names, and focus on content marketing tools that actually help you create better content.

(Without costing an arm and a leg.)

From tools for content creation such as Storychief and MixKit, to content analytics tools such as Hotjar, it’s time to find a great asset for your content toolkit.

Let’s dive in!

The Best Content Creation Tools in 2020

1. Portent’s Content Idea Generator

Let’s start on a high note. Portent’s little tool gives you the titles you’ve always wanted to come up with. And if your brand has a snarky tone of voice that your audience can’t get enough of, you’ll love it.

All you have to do is enter the seed keyword - for example, “email marketing,” and you’ll see suggestions such as:

  • How to Stay Popular in the Email Marketing World
  • How Email Marketing Once Saved the World
  • 18 Facts About Email Marketing That'll Make Your Hair Stand on End
  • How Email Marketing Could Help You Win the Game of Thrones

You’ll even get mini lessons on why a title works:

You can use Portent’s title generator for: content ideation, title brainstorming, or to flex your creative muscles and get a chuckle on a dreary content marketing Monday.

2. MixKit

Look, it's a dreary content marketing Monday!

The illustration above? It’s from MixKit.

MixKit is actually one of the best free stock galleries out there. It’s definitely the most creative gallery, and you can get free stock for:

  • Art and illustrations
  • Photos
  • Videos
  • Music

But Lana, what about Unsplash? We all love Unsplash!

Friends, so do I. But MixKit is one of the rare stock galleries that actually has a ‘vertical video’ section (that doesn’t suck).

So if you find yourself on TikTok or Instagram Reels at 3am, haunted by the promises of going viral with vertical videos, you’ll want to marry MixKit.

You can use MixKit for free vertical videos, as well as cool photos and illustrations other startups don’t have (they’re still on Unsplash, you’ve leveled up to MixKit).

3. ContentFly

We all need content to survive, right? B2B buyers love it (and it seals the deal), B2C consumers pull up Google every time they want to learn or buy something. Content marketing simply offers incredible long-term ROI.

But here’s the thing: you need great content to get there.

If you don’t want to spend weeks creating and polishing up an article, check out ContentFly.

ContentFly is a subscription-based content writing service. Expert writers who specialize in your industry create everything from articles, to landing pages and email copy.

ContentFly’s basic plan starts at $250/month for 4,000 words of content.

Give it a whirl, and you’ll see customers flock to your site, craving to buy (and read) more.

Claim your free trial

ThingLink is an awesome tool for creating interactive content. Think: VR experiences, interactive maps and videos, infographics, presentations, and more.

This is pretty innovative, so I was surprised to see that that they have a free plan, and pricing for marketing and editorial purposes starts at $25/month.

You can use ThingLink to give your standard materials a new twist.

It definitely looks cool and stands out on our regular feeds, so it’s a great fit for innovative companies, although it’s suitable for corporate training and educational purposes, too.

I wouldn’t recommend staking your entire content marketing card on ThingLink, but it’s great for repurposing regular materials and giving them a new shine.

5. Biteable

Biteable is a neat web-based video maker. You can easily create your own explainer, animated, and other videos, as well as animated social media posts (hello, IG Stories!).

They have specific templates for everything from your garden variety videos, to ads for different social media (Snapchat included).

You’ll also get over 800,000 stock footage clips and animations.

Biteable is perfect for creating engaging videos from scratch. You can get started for free (with watermarks), and paid plans start from $19/mo which is a decent price if you often create videos, or want to reach new audiences who prefer YouTube to the Wall Street Journal.

6. Lumen5

Lumen5 is an online video maker, too, but here’s the catch:

It allows you to turn your articles into videos.

For me, that’s definitely the #1 appeal. You want to maximize your reach, but you also don’t want to write a script from scratch, right?

With Lumen5, you’ll get a neat video from your article so you can kill two birds with one stone. It’s all automated. You just have to copy & paste your article, and Lumen5 will generate a video. From there, you can customize the content, footage, music, and more.

Lumen5 is great for scaling your content marketing at half the cost, and repurposing your evergreen content.

7. Outgrow

Ever since BuzzFeed started giving out quizzes like they were candy and we were preschoolers, we’ve been hooked on interactive content.

Outgrow is a tool that helps you create the interactive content you’ve always wanted for your marketing strategy. From quizzes and polls, to chatbots and recommendations, it’s pretty much the go-to tool for content that will engage your audience on autopilot.

They even have a handy idea generator, if you’re stuck wondering what to create.

Outgrow is great for standalone content, but you can also add polls and quizzes to your regular content to engage your leads even more.

8. Canva

Canva gets a special mention because yes, it’s not new. But it’s also still so, so good.

Lately, I’ve been trying all kinds of graphic design software for both serious content, and social media content. From Desygner to Adobe Spark, I’ve dipped my fingers in all the pies.

All the pies

But Canva still has the best selection of templates, images, and other graphic design elements, and they’ve recently introduced animated features.

It’s also 100% free - no watermarks. And as far as free graphic design software goes, its stock image and template gallery is amazing. You can always upgrade for more!

9. Storychief

Am I including Storychief in this list just because I love the sloth?

... Maybe.

No, I’m kidding. Storychief is a really great tool to scale and organize your content marketing. It’s great for team collaboration as you’ll get a calendar, and you can stay connected no matter the channel.

You’ll even get a few features for employee advocacy and social advocacy.

Where'd the sloth go? :(

However, my favorite is their SEO copywriting tool.

It makes sure you’re using all the keywords you need so your content can rank properly. It’s handy for teams that write articles on their own. But if you need a pro writer, check out ContentFly writing services.

10. EMV Headline Analyzer

Results for the headline of the article you're reading right now

Advanced Marketing Institute’s Headline Analyzer doesn’t just check for typos. It assesses the emotional value of your headlines.

In marketing, we recognize 3 main types of emotional values:

  • Intellectual - these headlines appeal to reason (they’re good for B2B)
  • Empathetic - headlines that cause positive emotional reactions (great for B2C)
  • Spiritual - headlines that affect people on a deep emotional level (great for B2C)

EMV Headline Analyzer also gives you a headline score so you can make sure that your headline grabs attention in the SERPs.

In the example above, I've analyzed this article's headline and got a whopping 70% score. The average for professional copywriters is in the 30-40% range, so if you're not a professional copywriter, just make sure you're close to 30% and you'll be golden!

Make sure you also analyze the sentiment behind your headline. You don't want to appeal to intellect if your intention is to give your readers the feels.

EMV is completely free, and I recommend running every headline through it before you hit ‘Publish.’

11. AnswerThePublic

If you’re not sure which topic to write about, hit up AnswerThePublic.

AnswerThePublic is a tool that scans all search engine queries to give you a list of popular terms that you could create content for.

So, what makes Answer The Public different from other keyword tools?

First up, it’s not a keyword tool. It’s a tool that takes an organic approach and helps you create actually useful content, responding to your customers’ questions.

You can filter by questions, prepositions, comparisons, and other linguistic shenanigans, all to adapt to 2020 SEO that has customers’ questions at its core.

This is a pretty handy way to optimize your content, especially if you structure your headings as questions.

This way, you could even get a shot at appearing in Featured Snippets!

12. HotJar

HotJar is a heatmap tool that shows you how your visitors interact with your site:

  • Where do they linger?
  • What do they click on?
  • At what point do they leave?

But I’m not the IT guy, why should I care?

Because you care about making the most out of your content.

You don’t want to spend resources on ineffective content.

And you also want to optimize everything so that it drives folks to purchase your products, right?

That’s what HotJar can do for you. It’ll show you the parts of content your customers love, hate, and want (or don’t want) to see more of.

You can also set up mini-polls that give you instant feedback from users, which is a nice touch. And if you want to see how your visitors are interacting with your website in real time, HotJar has handy screen recordings for that.

Everything is compliant with data privacy laws, of course.

HotJar is a great content marketing tool for optimizing your content and scaling your content marketing.

13. BuzzSumo

This is the part where I slightly bend the rule I set in the beginning: no tools that you’d see on every other list out there. But listen up, BuzzSumo is so, so worth it, just like Canva.

First up, BuzzSumo shows you the content that’s trending and content that’s evergreen in your niche.

You’ll know what your audience really likes reading. And then you can further analyze those results to get even more information.

It’s basically competitor research at scale!

Secondly, I really love their influencer finder.

After entering your niche or keywords, you’ll find the most important influencers that can help you amplify your content. Of course, you should always do the background checks yourself, but this is great for shortlisting candidates for content promotion.

Other BuzzSumo features include:

  • Backlink checker (who in the world is linking to your competitors, and how can you convince them to link to you instead?)
  • Content research (understand the data from millions of articles, and leverage it to create the best thing since sliced bread)
  • Monitoring (track keywords, mentions, updates, and more)

BuzzSumo is perfect for generating and validating ideas, as well as finding the right promotion channels.

How Content Marketing Tools Could Help You Win the Game of Thrones

Thanks for the heading, Portent!

In the Game of Thrones, there’s only one winner. And in content marketing, there can be many. But I’m here to make sure you are the leader of your niche.

So the next time you’re creating your content, give your leads something spectacular with a little help from these tools.

Now go grab a cup of coffee - you earned it!

(Or order your first ContentFly article)