With over 90% of businesses using their blogs to generate inbound leads, you won’t find many people that will argue against the power of blogging and content marketing.
And as Millennials continue to gravitate away from traditional forms of advertising, the importance of content marketing will only continue to grow.
But, as effective as it is, blogging can be incredibly challenging. According to a survey from Forrester, 87% of bloggers struggle to produce content that engages potential buyers.
And, in addition to being a time-consuming process, it can be awfully stressful to continually come up with content ideas while creating great content.
Fortunately, there are quite a few incredibly useful tools for blogging that can make the process a whole lot easier.
And while there are hundreds of blogging tools to choose from, we’ve condensed this list to the six that we believe combine to create the ultimate suite of tools for bloggers.
For clarity, we’ve broken this down into four sections that cover the main phases of blog creation, which include:
● Keyword Research
● Content Research
Let’s dive in.
Best Tools for Discovering Ideas and Performing Keyword Research
Finding and validating content ideas, along with performing keyword research, are some of the most difficult but important tasks content creators perform.
These tools make each of these tasks much easier.
When it comes to discovering ideas for content and blog posts, it’s hard to beat BuzzSumo.
Armed with a list of keywords, you can perform a real-time analysis on the best performing content for those keywords.
For example, if I’m thinking about writing a post about “LSI keywords”, I could quickly run it through their content analysis tool to find recent articles with the highest social engagement:
Social media stats like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Reddit engagement statistics are provided for each article
In addition, it allows you to generate a list, and short profile, of the people that have shared each piece of content (which can be incredibly helpful for content promotion, social media marketing and backlink building for search engine optimization).
Armed with all of this great information, I’ll be in a much better position to decide which topics and potential headlines surrounding “LSI keywords” are worth pursuing.
The only real problem with BuzzSumo is that the free version is limited and it’s fairly pricey (starts at $79/month) to upgrade.
It can, however, save you a whole lot of time when it comes to generating and confirming the potential of your content ideas.
While there are dozens of keyword research tools to choose from, you’ll be hard pressed to find one that is as easy-to-use and cost-friendly as our own tool Keysearch.
Most content creators will tell you that keyword research is one of the most time-consuming parts of creating content.
With Keysearch, you’ll quickly find that it takes several hours off your monthly research.
The results for “LSI keywords” immediately give us keyword suggestions from Google Keyword Planner (or multiple other sources) as well as PA, DA, and link info so we can immediately determine exactly how difficult ranking will be.
In addition, the release of the “Content Assistant” feature allows you to quickly find LSI keywords, perform research, and find questions that can serve as subheadings. It will without a doubt become one of the best writing tools in your arsenal.
And while the freemium option (which you can sign-up for here) is great on its own for limited access, the premium packages have competitor analysis and tracking features that will blow you away with their simplicity.
Best Tools for Research and Outlining
When you’re creating long-form content, effective research and outlining are critical.
These easy-to-use tools are game changers for helping with both tasks.
As a blogger, you know how frustrating it can be to do research and deal with 21 unorganized tabs on your browser.
And, even when you find the right tab for the section you’re working on, you can’t remember what part of the content you were looking to source.
Airstory solves this problem by allowing you to capture text and images on a website, tag them, and save them for use in future articles.
The best part? The tool embeds source information with the text and/or images so there’s no need to go back to the site.
As an example of how it works, let’s say I’m reading an article on Moz about conducting research for content and I found a snippet of text that I wanted to use in my article.
Once the Chrome Extension is installed, all I have to do is highlight the text in the article, right click, and enable the Airstory tool. From there, I’m led to this screen.
You can even place tags with the snippet for quick access when writing.
Now that I have it saved in Airstory, I can simply click the extension, choose the snippet that I want to use, and drag it directly into my content within WordPress or whatever CMS you are using for your blog.
What it looks like when I drag the content into Google Docs
It’s that easy!
As a free tool, this is a true game-changer for blog research.
Outlining is one of the few aspects of content creation that varies quite a bit from blogger to blogger.
Some writers prefer to create heavily detailed outlines to ensure writer’s block is minimized while others prefer to keep it simple and stick to little more than creating sub-headings before writing.
Most writers do, however, agree that outlining is a necessary aspect of creating an engaging blog post.
And while writing platforms like Google Docs and Microsoft Word have outlining tools available within them, outlining within your writing document can get messy in a hurry.
The lone tool that I’ve found that can cater to both detailed and simplistic outliners is Workflowy.
It’s incredibly simple to use and is a godsend if you’re someone (like me) who struggles to stay focused on one sub-heading of your content at a time.
The start of my outline for this article on Workflowy
My favorite part of this outlining tool is the fact that, by clicking on the sub-heading, you can go to a page that exclusively features your bullets for that sub-heading.
From there, you can insert snippets from your research with Airstory as bullet points.
When done this way, you can essentially have your entire blog written for you through research and outlining.
Workflowy is free to use as long as you don’t want/need to save multiple outlines at the same time.
But, since this can also double as a to-do list tool, upgrading to the unlimited plan (where you’ll get unlimited outlines/lists) is a steal at $4.99/month.
Best Tools for Writing
When it comes time to actually write your blog, most writers stick to popular word processing options like Google Docs and Microsoft Word or the text editor within WordPress.
And while are great tools, the litany of formatting and text options can be distracting.
Fortunately, there is a tool that you can use to stay focused exclusively on writing.
When you first open Calmly Writer, you’ll probably wonder how it could be labeled a “tool” at all.
But if you’re a writer that struggles to stay focused and actually put your fingers to the keyboard, it can be a lifesaver.
There’s nothing to download or sign up for, as all you need to do is go to their website and start writing.
Once you’re finished, you can save your document as a .txt, .htm, or .docx file as well as having the option of saving it to your Google Drive.
By creating a detailed outline through Workflowy and using a dual-screen (with Workflowy and Calmly Writer), you’ll have everything you need to write as efficiently as possible.
Best Tools for Editing
Editing for blogs can be a tricky process.
Because while your teachers/professors may have taught you how to use perfect grammar and write in an academic setting, that form of writing is BRUTAL to read on the web.
And it’s why so many content marketers encourage bloggers to write like they talk.
For that reason, I recommend keeping it simple when it comes to editing and go with one simple tool.
As far as editing tools go, Hemingway is my favorite because it makes editing a pain-free process.
All you do is copy and paste your content into the editor, and you’ll get a detailed analysis of what can be improved.
Results for this article
While you don’t need to make every change that’s recommended, it can give you a different perspective of areas of your content that you may have overlooked.
Creating the Ultimate Suite of Blogging Tools
When you’re creating a blog, using dozens of tools can absolutely kill productivity.
That’s why, with this list, we’ve laid out the six top blogging tools that we believe are most useful for creating an engaging blog post.
If you’re struggling with focus, time management, or creating a blog that people will actually read, utilizing these tools will be a game-changer.