Content marketing campaigns come in different shapes and sizes. While there are a few clients that will give you access to an unlimited checking account and ask for commensurate results, the majority of them will expect you to work on a shoestring budget while providing somewhere around the same quality of service.
Luckily, in this day and age, there are a number of free tools available that can help an intrepid content marketer accomplish this seemingly impossible task of running a great zero budget content marketing campaign. Learning to leverage these tools fully can provide the cutting edge that you need to distinguish yourself in a crowded marketplace.
Here’s a look at 10 free tools that could transform your approach to content marketing.
Seomoz, recently rebranded as Moz, has grown over the years from a small SEO consultancy, to a company that produces a comprehensive suite of marketing tools called Moz Analytics.
Although most of their premium offerings come with a fairly hefty price-tag, the Mozbar is a free browser toolbar that no content marketer should do with out. It is loaded with features and is the ideal starting point for content producers attempting to target a campaign effectively.
It allows you to perform a variety of key SEO tasks on the go, such as analyzing key metrics like link data and popular keywords. Moz’s Domain Authority and Page Authority ratings also serve as a much better way to figure out a page’s back link profile than commonly used measures such as Google’s PageRank.
Effectively juggling multiple social media channels can become complicated for even the most adroit content marketers. Hootsuite is a tool designed to tame the social media jungle by presenting you with a single integrated dashboard from which you can manage a brand’s profiles on multiple channels such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and more.
It lets you schedule posts to various platforms and analyze your audience’s response using a rich set of metrics, that can help you better understand what’s working and what’s not.
The free plan allows for five accounts, which should enable you to cover the major social media platforms for a zero budget campaign.
3. Social Crawlytics
A completely free web-based tool developed by Yousaf Sekand, Social Crawlytics helps you track how well your content is doing. It is incredibly easy to use and provides statistics and social interaction information for the entire site, independent pages and blog posts.
The Sunburst graph that it generates is a really unique data representation that provides an elegant, visual way to understand the architecture of your website from a search engine’s point of view.
Social Crawlytics also lets you keep tabs on your competitors by identifying and analyzing the most shared content and authors. This will help you target your content better by deepening you understanding of the audience.
4. Followerwonk + Buffer
Yet another content marketing tool developed by Moz, Followerwonk is a free Twitter analytics package that compare, track, analyze and sort your followers. But what really sets it apart is the tight integration with another indispensable social media tool, Buffer.
Buffer allows you to schedule social media posts and send them out at pre-determined times, which makes it incredibly useful to content marketers handling large volumes of content across different platforms.
The combination of these two services enables you to perform smart scheduling. You can now send out your tweets exactly when the majority of your followers are online or even based on the activity of another user’s followers, thereby maximizing your content’s half-life and audience.
Followgen is a targeted engagement tool for Twitter that can expand your follower pool. It works by automatically interacting with users who are posting about specified keywords on your behalf.
While the service might be ethically questionable to some, there is no question that it delivers results in terms of increasing your follower count.
It can help even the playing field when competing against deep-pocketed competitors who have greater manpower and resources to throw at social media.
6. Google Keyword Planner
Despite the recent proliferation of plethora of tools to help you plan your content strategy, Google’s Keyword analytics service remains an essential part of the toolkit for any content marketer. Recently redesigned, the new interface combines old Keyword Tool and Traffic Estimator into a single, easy to use service.
The Keyword Planner gives you a good idea of the kind of search volumes that certain keywords are driving. While this data shouldn’t dictate every aspect of your content strategy, it can be a useful starting point.
You will have to sign up for a free Google AdWords account in order to use the tool.
7. WordPress SEO by Yoast
Considering the recent meteoric rise in popularity of WordPress as a content platform, it’s a no-brainer to include Yoast’s free plugin on this list.
Advanced XML sitemaps, Breadcrumbs, Social Integration and several under the hood SEO tweaks make its feature list fairly exhaustive. The Linkdex Page Analysis feature provides an effective checklist for search engine compliance that most bloggers could do with.
While WordPress is a good platform for SEO by default, Yoast’s plugin enhances its capabilities considerably.
Content marketers who tend to neglect SlideShare, do so at their own peril. As a business-centric site that receives over 120 million page views a month, it should be at the top of every content strategy.
By creating engaging and engaging presentations on SlideShare, you can target a massive volume of mostly professional and business users. Thus the signal to noise ratio on the kind of traffic you’re driving to your desired target will be much higher.
9. LSI Keywords
Search engines across the board, led of course by Google, are currently transitioning to a smarter approach to search based on semantic indexing and analysis.
Semantic relations are the future of the web. Given the new status quo, services like lsikeywords.com quickly become essential by simplifying the process of performing a Latent Semantic Analysis and extracting relevant keywords that can be used to construct content that search engines are likely to find useful.
10. Buzzstream Tools
Apart from their popular outreach & relationship management platform, Buzzstream also develops a range of useful tools for content marketing.
The Link Building Query Generator in particular is a powerful tool that can be used to generate reams of potential search terms based on a few user-inputted keywords. This data can then be used to create content that will draw a greater volume of users.
These are the best tools available to a content marketer on a budget as far as we’re concerned. If you know of any other worthy contenders that have not found a place on this list, please add them in the comments below.