Do you wish content marketing was just a little easier? Well … it can be!

This list of handy tools is organised into four categories to help you with each stage of content marketing.

Stage one: content discovery

#1: Tweeted Times – at first glance it looks like another online newspaper twitter app like Scoop.it or Paper.li. What sets it apart is how it magically displays the most popular shared content from people you follow on Twitter. A cool bonus is that it does this for Twitter lists too!

For example, on our SEO list on Twitter,  we are currently following 102 people, and in the image below you can see 7 people shared ‘17 Tactics for More Twitter Followers’.  As they are all people we respect in our industry, I know it’s likely to be a good read.

tweeted-times

#2: Feedlywith Google Reader now gone, Feedly is an excellent way of keeping up-to-date with the latest blogs you follow.

I love its simplistic look and feel, and it shows an engagement number for each blog post which reveals how many times it’s been shared in Feedly, Facebook and Google+.

#3: Alltop – if you are new to an industry and don’t know which top blogs to follow, Alltop has a big A to Z of topics.

Stage two: content planning

#4: Trello is great for all kinds of content planning and collaboration. Almost everyone I know that uses it, has fallen in love with it. And here’s how you can use it as an editorial calendar.

trello-calendar-monthly

#5: Scriveneris well known by serious writers and authors but I feel it should get more coverage in content marketing circles. It’s a desktop application, priced at $40 and is great when you are planning big pieces of content like an ebooks, whitepapers or a series of blog posts.  There’s a generous free trial (30 days which don’t have to be consecutive), so you can give it a whirl before buying.  

#6: Gather Content – as a pricier option, starting at $49 / month, it will appeal to larger companies due to its flexible and professional way of easily organising web content, and it includes an editorial calendar. We found it particularly useful when planning a new website.

Stage three: content creation

#7: Diigothis free online bookmarking tool that lets you save pages, adding your own comments and annotations. Super useful when researching information for new content you plan to create.

diigo

#8: Infogr.am – if you like infographics and pretty charts but don’t have the design skills or budget, Infogr.am has predefined templates you can use. For example, here’s an interesting tree map chart you could create, and they’ve recently added Excel integration too.

#9: Google Docs – I am drafting this in Google Docs and I feel it needs a mention. An obvious one but free and great for collaboration.

Stage four: content promotion and outreach

#10: Buffer – in one interface it lets you sign into multiple social network accounts (Twitter, Facebook, Google+), schedule posts to them for the future and even see which ones were most popular. If you want to take this further, you can use your own custom domain shortener for personal branding, thanks to Bit.ly integration (we recently set this up for zeno.im).

buffer

#11: Boomerangthis is a cool Gmail app which lets you schedule emails for the future and it’s free. What I like best is you can set Boomerang to remind you in X days if you don’t hear back from an email – truly genius!  

#12: Yesware if you need to see how your outreach emails are performing (like what the open rates are) or you need easy access to email templates, Yesware could be your answer and it starts with a free package.

Cool bonus in honour of this week’s Friday the 13th 🙂 

rapportive

#13: Rapportive – part of successful content marketing is in social bonding. And often that starts through emails. Rapportive is a free Gmail app which shows you a richer profile of people you email (see image to the right) – and you are always one click away from connecting and adding them on social sites like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. What makes it even better is that it rather niftily replaces the Google ads you get in the right sidebar.

I love that there are so many new tools cropping up all the time, and often for free! What content marketing tools have you found?