By Michal Leszczynski

These days, there’s no lack of content marketing tools. While they are tremendously useful in supporting and executing successful content marketing campaigns, with so many options it can get confusing. Especially for small business owners without formal training in marketing. So how many tools do you really need and which ones? This article was written to answer those questions.

For busy small business owners, below are the best performing, lowest cost and easiest to use content marketing tools that will actually save you time. We’ve grouped them into three categories: content creation support, content optimization, and content analysis.

Content Creation Support

It’s funny how we’re formally taught language in school and then when it comes to writing for the web, the rules change. The old adage is true – you have to master the rules to know how to break them.

While you might have the most creative ideas and an eloquent way to articulate them, you still need to be able to attract and engage an audience online. It’s all about readability. Two tools that are great for this are Hemingway Editor and Grammarly. Both can improve your content’s readability and, in turn, its performance.

Hemingway Editor makes your writing bold and clear, primarily by highlighting lengthy and complex sentences. It also spots common errors that aren’t always easy to find when you’re too close to the content to have proper perspective. It’s like having an editor on call.

Grammarly, as the name implies, is the ultimate grammar tool that checks your content against more than 250 grammar rules. As you’d expect, it performs grammar checks and spell checks and one of its most notable features is its plagiarism detection platform.

With tools like these, you can be sure your content is written in accordance to the latest readability standards.

Content Optimization

Now that you’ve written killer content that you know meets readability standards, you want to optimize it to drive more organic traffic. One of the handiest tools for this is Ahrefs. It’s great for SEO pros and content marketers.

Along with helping you optimize your content and create new content, Ahrefs is extremely useful for tracking the performance of your content marketing efforts in terms of backlinks and keyword movements.

It also makes is super easy to identify keyword opportunities and organize them into lists. This saves a lot of time when it comes to writing a new article or updating an existing one.

Ahrefs is a must have in the content marketer’s toolbox.

Content Analysis

You can’t say you’re doing content marketing unless you’re tracking its performance. Whether this is content traffic, newsletter signups, video plays, or clicks on a particular button on your page, these are the performance metrics that require attention.

It should come as no surprise that Google offers the most compelling tools designed exactly for this. Pretty much every content marketer uses Google Analytics. Google Analytics is a premium web analytics service that tracks and reports on website traffic.

If you rely heavily on content marketing to reach your customers, you might also want to explore Google Tag Manager and Google Search Console.

Google Tag Manager is a free tool that enables you to set up and manage marketing tags. Once you add a tag into your content, you can track where the content goes and how it performs on the web, including mobile devices.

Google Search Console is another free service. It helps you monitor, maintain and troubleshoot any issues related to your sites presence in Google search results.

Content marketing is one of the most powerful ways for small business owners to engage your audience, especially through the inbox. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by content marketing options, remember it’s about creation, optimization and analysis. And you really only need a handful of tools to do it.

Michal Leszczynski is the Content Marketing Manager for GetResponse.

Marketing stock photo by Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock