The best content marketing software and how to choose wisely

The best content marketing software and how to choose wisely

10 minute read

The best content marketing software and how to choose wisely

10 minute read

The best content marketing software and how to choose wisely

Nia Gyant

GatherContent Contributor, Writer

Table of contents

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What do you think of when you hear the word “marketing?” More than likely, some form of content marketing comes to mind. After all, according to HubSpot’s research, more than 80% of marketers use it actively.

Content marketing is now commonplace. So it’s no wonder there are more and more content marketing platforms popping up every year. They help with content curation and creation, content distribution, analytics, and more. But not all of these tools are made equal.

That’s why we’ve put together a list of the best content marketing tools (free and paid) to help you maximize your time. And, more importantly, get the best return on investment from your content marketing efforts!

The best paid content marketing software

Having many shiny content marketing tools won’t automatically make your marketing efforts successful. But, as you’ll see, investing in the best of the best tools—like those below—can have many benefits.

1. GatherContent

Our content operations platform, GatherContent, is a central hub for content management. To name some of its functionalities, you can use it to:

  • Create content briefs, as well as custom templates for marketing and help content
  • Assign tasks to the right team members and collaborate with them in real time
  • Create a content calendar and track the status of each piece of content
  • Set and hold your team—external contributors like freelancers included—to quality standards

In other words, GatherContent streamlines the bulk of the content marketing process. This frees marketing teams up to invest in creating and distributing great content.

GatherContent's Content Marketing Software
GatherContent streamlines the content marketing process.

Top features:

  • Template Library: Create custom templates to maintain consistency across all content types you create (no matter how many writers are on your team)
  • Content Guidelines: Embed resources such as your style guide into the content editor so they're accessible for writers and reviewers
  • Content Workflow: Define the stages content must go through and maintain 24/7 visibility into the status of each piece

Pros:

  • GatherContent is easy to use, especially since its editor is similar to Google Docs
  • You could simplify your tech stack or integrate GatherContent with other software you use
  • Multiple contributors can edit content simultaneously to speed up the production process

Cons:

  • Certain features could be more intuitive (e.g., providing exact due dates rather than showing deadlines as “in X days”)
  • Some users have mentioned that they’d prefer access to 24/7 customer support for convenience

Pricing: For starters, you can try GatherContent free for 14 days. After that, plans start at $99 per month.

Good to know: GatherContent also has many free resources to improve your digital marketing strategy. The content cost calculator template is one of them. Grab it now for free!

2. Campaign Monitor

During a 2022 survey, 27% of respondents said a brand’s regular newsletter would influence them to make a purchase. True, that isn’t a huge percentage at first glance. But that influence can easily generate outsized returns depending on average order value, customer retention rate, lifetime value, and so on. This is where Campaign Monitor comes in. It’s a full-featured, user-friendly tool for driving such results via email marketing.

Campaign Monitor

Top features:

  • Email builder: Choose from a library of templates and customize them via drag and drop, or code your own custom HTML emails
  • List segmentation: Send the most relevant emails to each subscriber to increase engagement and conversions
  • SMS: Combine the power of email marketing campaigns with another effective way to reach your audience—by text

Pros:

  • Users like how easy it is to use Campaign Monitor and modify email templates, even for mobile
  • Performance measurement and optimization are encouraged via features like real-time analytics, A/B testing, and send-time optimization
  • Campaign Monitor integrates with more than 250 tools like WordPress and Google Analytics

Cons:

  • Users have reported that Campaign Monitor and its customer support team can be slow at times
  • Although it has many features, users would like more advanced, flexible functionality

Pricing: Campaign Monitor’s three plans start at $9, $29, and $149 per month. Final pricing is dependent on how many subscribers you have. If you only send occasional emails, though, you can pay per campaign to avoid ongoing expenses.

3. Conductor

Conductor pegs itself as “the #1 organic marketing platform built for enterprise SEO, content, and web teams.” Its goal is to help these teams increase demand, generate traffic via search, and boosts leads, conversions, and revenue. To do this, Conductor helps with strategy, content production, site optimization, and more.

Conductor

Top features:

  • Search insights: Discover keyword opportunities from search and social, and understand the audience using those terms
  • Live Editor: Capture search opportunities sooner by making and testing real-time website SEO changes
  • Digital presence tracking: Get an overview of your brand’s visibility across various web properties

Pros:

  • Knowing the impact of site health and technical SEO on content performance, Conductor offers optimization features
  • You can track unlimited keyword rankings across thousands of combinations of locations, search engines, and devices
  • Thanks to automatic change detection, custom annotation, and customizable reports, you can correlate actions to performance improvements

Cons:

  • It takes time to learn all of Conductor’s features and capabilities
  • More integrations, deeper analytics, and additional project management features would make Conductor a more well-rounded marketing solution

Pricing: For pricing info, you’ll need to book a free demo with the Conductor team.

4. Parse.ly

While helpful, analytics tools are notoriously tricky to work with. They are confusing to set up if you don’t know what you’re doing and potentially time-consuming even if you do. Plus, the data they collect isn’t always easy to interpret.

Parse.ly solves these problems. It provides intuitive analytics dashboards that content writers, marketers, and executives can understand. See at a glance how your website, marketing campaigns, and individual pieces of content are performing.

Parse.ly

Top features:

  • Audience Segments: Understand how behavior differs across your audience, including site visitors, subscribers, and customers
  • Content API: Plug the API into your website to deliver the right content at the right time based on your audience and goals
  • Data Pipeline: Real-time data streaming and storage allow you to analyze both fresh and historical data

Pros:

  • This software is easier to learn than many alternatives, which is great if you’re not an analytics pro
  • Parse.ly allows you to track more than 30 audience-focused metrics across as many as three sites
  • Parse.ly offers easy-setup first, linear, last, and last post touched attribution to prove ROI

Cons:

  • Users would like ways to dig deeper into data sources and more ways to visualize data
  • The mobile apps don’t have all the features of the web app and, according to users, the mobile user experience, in general, could be better

Pricing: You can view Parse.ly’s three plans on its website. However, you’ll have to book a demo for pricing details.

The best free content marketing software

There are many paid content marketing tools out there, but many free ones exist too. Here are a handful of options that are either completely free or that have a free plan.

1. Semrush

Does your content marketing strategy include SEO content? Paid ads? Social media? Semrush provides a comprehensive suite of tools to help you succeed with all the above and more. It can help you with market research and competitor analysis, keyword research, content optimization, and even content distribution.

Semrush

Top features:

  • Keyword, domain, and backlink analytics: Get reliable data—historical data included—from one of the largest keyword databases in the world
  • Share of Voice: Understand what percentage of traffic your domain earns compared to the total traffic volume for your tracked keywords
  • Semrush Trends: Learn the tactics and marketing strategies competitors use to inform your content planning

Pros:

  • Semrush is flexible enough to work for small, mid-sized, large, and enterprise businesses and agencies
  • This tool integrates with Google Data Studio and also connects to other tools via the API
  • If cost is a concern, you can add on some relevant features individually

Cons:

  • The sheer number of features can be overwhelming if you’re not used to such a robust tool
  • Semrush is among the more expensive tools in the industry because it's so robust

Pricing: Semrush has a free plan with very limited functionality. Its paid plans start at $119.95 per month.

2. BuzzSumo

Next is another multifaceted tool. It has features for everything from content discovery and research to performance monitoring. It’s BuzzSumo, an incredibly popular tool for various use cases. These include competitor analysis, content strategy development, video marketing, influencer marketing, and digital public relations (PR).

BuzzSumo

Top features:

  • Content Ideas Generator: See evergreen and trending ideas, SEO insights, FAQs, and even distribution tips
  • Web content analysis: Browse data, identify top content formats, discover competitors’ top content, and compare content performance trends
  • Monitoring: Get alerted when you earn backlinks, industry influencers publish new content, or a relevant brand, topic, or keyword is mentioned

Pros:

  • BuzzSumo reduces the manual work of researching and choosing topics and content formats that will do well
  • You can use this software to identify influencers who could give your content a performance boost
  • BuzzSumo has a Chrome extension for on-the-go research, as well as an API for extending the tool’s functionality

Cons:

  • The user interface can sometimes be overwhelming or confusing for new users
  • Several users feel that BuzzSumo is pricey for the features it offers, so you must be able to justify the expense

Pricing: BuzzSumo has a free plan with limited access. It also has three paid plans ranging from $99 per month to $299 per month.

3. RELAYTO

Interactive content is all the rage right now. In Hubspot’s 2022 State of Inbound Marketing Trends Report, it beat out four other types of content to become the top content marketing trend to watch. But where do you start with creating interactive content? With RELAYTO, which allows you to turn PowerPoints, PDFs, HTML, and video into interactive digital experiences.

RELAYTO

Top features:

  • Content experiences: Turn PDFs and other file types into microsites, flipbooks, infographics and images, audio, etc.
  • No code digital content creation: Upload a file and let artificial intelligence (AI) create and format the interactive experience
  • Interaction insights: Get granular, real-time data on how people engage with your digital experiences

Pros:

  • RELAYTO is a no-code flexible design tool that requires no developer involvement
  • You’ll enjoy enterprise-grade security no matter where you embed or share your digital experiences
  • You can integrate RELAYTO with 500+ tools, such as Canva, Figma, Instagram, and YouTube

Cons:

  • There’s no monthly pricing available, and there’s a qualification process to be able to access the free plan
  • Some brand customization features like business domains are only available on the higher tier plans

Pricing: RELAYTO has a free plan for individuals. Its three paid business plans range from $80 to $2000 per month, billed annually. There’s also an enterprise plan with custom pricing and premium content services available.

4. Google Analytics

Evaluating content performance regularly is an important but often neglected aspect of content marketing. You can't afford to ignore this step. Or even rely on gut instinct to determine what’s working and what’s not. You need a tool like Google Analytics.

It provides specifics on your site visitors and their behaviors that you might not otherwise know or recall. Those specifics can positively impact your decisions and strategy going forward. This includes helping you spot content update opportunities, identifying topics that perform well and are worth writing more about, and so on.

Google Analytics

Top features:

  • Insights: Be alerted to interesting analytics data, such as which sources drove the most traffic
  • Realtime: Besides historical data, GA gives an overview of user data and behavior for people on-site right now
  • Conversions: Set and track conversion goals such as resource downloads and form submissions

Pros:

  • Google Analytics offers a robust set of features and data types for free
  • GA provides clarity on site and content performance, enabling you to make informed decisions going forward
  • This software works for organizations with few content marketing metrics to track and businesses with complex analytics needs

Cons:

  • There’s a learning curve as far as properly setting up GA and interpreting analytics data
  • Getting timely resolutions when questions come up can sometimes be a challenge

Pricing: Google Analytics has a free version that works for most small and mid-sized businesses. Analytics 360 reportedly costs $150,000 annually.

Which marketing software is best?

The eight tools above are among the best at what they do. But there are, of course, many more useful content marketing software solutions out there. How do you know which ones are worth your consideration? You need to consider the following:

  • The unique needs of your content marketing team
  • Your budget and organizational goals
  • What kind of solutions and features will help you best serve your audience

So, here are some pro tips on choosing software from professionals who’ve done it more than a few times.

Get recommendations from people you trust

Tomasz Niezgoda, a co-founder of the well-known SEO SaaS company Surfer, gives this advice:

"The most important thing is to trust the opinion of people you know. Get recommendations from experts, colleagues, or mentors so you can narrow down your options to a handful of tools. Once you’ve done that, start using them and see which one produces the best results for your business."
Tomasz Niezgoda
Head of Marketing & Co-Founder, Surfer

Of course, reading user reviews can also be helpful for understanding where a specific software excels or falls short. But there’s nothing like getting suggestions from people you know and trust. For one thing, you can ask about their experiences with the features or use cases most relevant to you.

Calculate the short and long-term investment

Free tool or not, every software has some form of cost, whether it be time or money. Kris Lippi, Founder of ISoldMyHouse, which focuses heavily on content, provides this warning:

"Don't stop your calculations after doing the math on the initial investment you will make and the accompanying up-front charges. Assess your recurring, lifetime budget before deciding to make sure of long-term viability."
Kris Lippi
Real Estate Broker and CEO, ISoldMyHouse

Kris goes on to explain: “Lifetime refers to the length of time you intend to use the content marketing tool you select. You must budget for training and implementation, which depend entirely on how technologically adept your content team is. You will need to invest more in implementation and training the less tech-savvy your team is.”

But that’s not all. According to Kris:

"You should also consider any hardware requirements, any extra features you need to address changing content requirements as your business grows, and any other licenses and costs. Incorporating all of these costs into your decision-making process will ensure that you end up with the most sustainable content marketing software with the greatest ROI."
Kris Lippi
Real Estate Broker and CEO, ISoldMyHouse

Evaluate the progressiveness of the software

Finally, look up the frequency of platform updates. Kris offers excellent advice here, too, saying:

"The marketing world moves quickly, and many new technologies and trends emerge at the drop of a hat. Be sure the software you purchase can keep up with these changes."
Kris Lippi
Real Estate Broker and CEO, ISoldMyHouse

Kris continues: "The vendor has to have considered the long term when developing their program. The program should be able to evolve at the same rate as the trends, technologies, and approaches that surround it.”

To this end, see if you can get your hands on a product roadmap. See what plans they have and if they seem to engage with suggestions from the community. Notice if they've often implemented improvements and added requested features in the past. And look for complaints from users about missing functionality or an overall lack of product improvement.

Doing the above will reduce the chances that you end up with software that doesn’t do at least one of the following:

  • Improve your efficiency
  • Have a positive impact on content quality
  • Boost your content marketing ROI

As mentioned earlier, GatherContent can help you do all of the above. It can help you manage the whole production process, from brief creation to content creation to publishing.

Besides ensuring that all content moves seamlessly through your workflow, you can also ensure compliance along the way. And higher quality content published consistently is a big part of the formula for content marketing success.

Try it for yourself: Want to see how GatherContent can make you a more efficient and effective content marketer? Sign up and get 14 days free!

What do you think of when you hear the word “marketing?” More than likely, some form of content marketing comes to mind. After all, according to HubSpot’s research, more than 80% of marketers use it actively.

Content marketing is now commonplace. So it’s no wonder there are more and more content marketing platforms popping up every year. They help with content curation and creation, content distribution, analytics, and more. But not all of these tools are made equal.

That’s why we’ve put together a list of the best content marketing tools (free and paid) to help you maximize your time. And, more importantly, get the best return on investment from your content marketing efforts!

The best paid content marketing software

Having many shiny content marketing tools won’t automatically make your marketing efforts successful. But, as you’ll see, investing in the best of the best tools—like those below—can have many benefits.

1. GatherContent

Our content operations platform, GatherContent, is a central hub for content management. To name some of its functionalities, you can use it to:

  • Create content briefs, as well as custom templates for marketing and help content
  • Assign tasks to the right team members and collaborate with them in real time
  • Create a content calendar and track the status of each piece of content
  • Set and hold your team—external contributors like freelancers included—to quality standards

In other words, GatherContent streamlines the bulk of the content marketing process. This frees marketing teams up to invest in creating and distributing great content.

GatherContent's Content Marketing Software
GatherContent streamlines the content marketing process.

Top features:

  • Template Library: Create custom templates to maintain consistency across all content types you create (no matter how many writers are on your team)
  • Content Guidelines: Embed resources such as your style guide into the content editor so they're accessible for writers and reviewers
  • Content Workflow: Define the stages content must go through and maintain 24/7 visibility into the status of each piece

Pros:

  • GatherContent is easy to use, especially since its editor is similar to Google Docs
  • You could simplify your tech stack or integrate GatherContent with other software you use
  • Multiple contributors can edit content simultaneously to speed up the production process

Cons:

  • Certain features could be more intuitive (e.g., providing exact due dates rather than showing deadlines as “in X days”)
  • Some users have mentioned that they’d prefer access to 24/7 customer support for convenience

Pricing: For starters, you can try GatherContent free for 14 days. After that, plans start at $99 per month.

Good to know: GatherContent also has many free resources to improve your digital marketing strategy. The content cost calculator template is one of them. Grab it now for free!

2. Campaign Monitor

During a 2022 survey, 27% of respondents said a brand’s regular newsletter would influence them to make a purchase. True, that isn’t a huge percentage at first glance. But that influence can easily generate outsized returns depending on average order value, customer retention rate, lifetime value, and so on. This is where Campaign Monitor comes in. It’s a full-featured, user-friendly tool for driving such results via email marketing.

Campaign Monitor

Top features:

  • Email builder: Choose from a library of templates and customize them via drag and drop, or code your own custom HTML emails
  • List segmentation: Send the most relevant emails to each subscriber to increase engagement and conversions
  • SMS: Combine the power of email marketing campaigns with another effective way to reach your audience—by text

Pros:

  • Users like how easy it is to use Campaign Monitor and modify email templates, even for mobile
  • Performance measurement and optimization are encouraged via features like real-time analytics, A/B testing, and send-time optimization
  • Campaign Monitor integrates with more than 250 tools like WordPress and Google Analytics

Cons:

  • Users have reported that Campaign Monitor and its customer support team can be slow at times
  • Although it has many features, users would like more advanced, flexible functionality

Pricing: Campaign Monitor’s three plans start at $9, $29, and $149 per month. Final pricing is dependent on how many subscribers you have. If you only send occasional emails, though, you can pay per campaign to avoid ongoing expenses.

3. Conductor

Conductor pegs itself as “the #1 organic marketing platform built for enterprise SEO, content, and web teams.” Its goal is to help these teams increase demand, generate traffic via search, and boosts leads, conversions, and revenue. To do this, Conductor helps with strategy, content production, site optimization, and more.

Conductor

Top features:

  • Search insights: Discover keyword opportunities from search and social, and understand the audience using those terms
  • Live Editor: Capture search opportunities sooner by making and testing real-time website SEO changes
  • Digital presence tracking: Get an overview of your brand’s visibility across various web properties

Pros:

  • Knowing the impact of site health and technical SEO on content performance, Conductor offers optimization features
  • You can track unlimited keyword rankings across thousands of combinations of locations, search engines, and devices
  • Thanks to automatic change detection, custom annotation, and customizable reports, you can correlate actions to performance improvements

Cons:

  • It takes time to learn all of Conductor’s features and capabilities
  • More integrations, deeper analytics, and additional project management features would make Conductor a more well-rounded marketing solution

Pricing: For pricing info, you’ll need to book a free demo with the Conductor team.

4. Parse.ly

While helpful, analytics tools are notoriously tricky to work with. They are confusing to set up if you don’t know what you’re doing and potentially time-consuming even if you do. Plus, the data they collect isn’t always easy to interpret.

Parse.ly solves these problems. It provides intuitive analytics dashboards that content writers, marketers, and executives can understand. See at a glance how your website, marketing campaigns, and individual pieces of content are performing.

Parse.ly

Top features:

  • Audience Segments: Understand how behavior differs across your audience, including site visitors, subscribers, and customers
  • Content API: Plug the API into your website to deliver the right content at the right time based on your audience and goals
  • Data Pipeline: Real-time data streaming and storage allow you to analyze both fresh and historical data

Pros:

  • This software is easier to learn than many alternatives, which is great if you’re not an analytics pro
  • Parse.ly allows you to track more than 30 audience-focused metrics across as many as three sites
  • Parse.ly offers easy-setup first, linear, last, and last post touched attribution to prove ROI

Cons:

  • Users would like ways to dig deeper into data sources and more ways to visualize data
  • The mobile apps don’t have all the features of the web app and, according to users, the mobile user experience, in general, could be better

Pricing: You can view Parse.ly’s three plans on its website. However, you’ll have to book a demo for pricing details.

The best free content marketing software

There are many paid content marketing tools out there, but many free ones exist too. Here are a handful of options that are either completely free or that have a free plan.

1. Semrush

Does your content marketing strategy include SEO content? Paid ads? Social media? Semrush provides a comprehensive suite of tools to help you succeed with all the above and more. It can help you with market research and competitor analysis, keyword research, content optimization, and even content distribution.

Semrush

Top features:

  • Keyword, domain, and backlink analytics: Get reliable data—historical data included—from one of the largest keyword databases in the world
  • Share of Voice: Understand what percentage of traffic your domain earns compared to the total traffic volume for your tracked keywords
  • Semrush Trends: Learn the tactics and marketing strategies competitors use to inform your content planning

Pros:

  • Semrush is flexible enough to work for small, mid-sized, large, and enterprise businesses and agencies
  • This tool integrates with Google Data Studio and also connects to other tools via the API
  • If cost is a concern, you can add on some relevant features individually

Cons:

  • The sheer number of features can be overwhelming if you’re not used to such a robust tool
  • Semrush is among the more expensive tools in the industry because it's so robust

Pricing: Semrush has a free plan with very limited functionality. Its paid plans start at $119.95 per month.

2. BuzzSumo

Next is another multifaceted tool. It has features for everything from content discovery and research to performance monitoring. It’s BuzzSumo, an incredibly popular tool for various use cases. These include competitor analysis, content strategy development, video marketing, influencer marketing, and digital public relations (PR).

BuzzSumo

Top features:

  • Content Ideas Generator: See evergreen and trending ideas, SEO insights, FAQs, and even distribution tips
  • Web content analysis: Browse data, identify top content formats, discover competitors’ top content, and compare content performance trends
  • Monitoring: Get alerted when you earn backlinks, industry influencers publish new content, or a relevant brand, topic, or keyword is mentioned

Pros:

  • BuzzSumo reduces the manual work of researching and choosing topics and content formats that will do well
  • You can use this software to identify influencers who could give your content a performance boost
  • BuzzSumo has a Chrome extension for on-the-go research, as well as an API for extending the tool’s functionality

Cons:

  • The user interface can sometimes be overwhelming or confusing for new users
  • Several users feel that BuzzSumo is pricey for the features it offers, so you must be able to justify the expense

Pricing: BuzzSumo has a free plan with limited access. It also has three paid plans ranging from $99 per month to $299 per month.

3. RELAYTO

Interactive content is all the rage right now. In Hubspot’s 2022 State of Inbound Marketing Trends Report, it beat out four other types of content to become the top content marketing trend to watch. But where do you start with creating interactive content? With RELAYTO, which allows you to turn PowerPoints, PDFs, HTML, and video into interactive digital experiences.

RELAYTO

Top features:

  • Content experiences: Turn PDFs and other file types into microsites, flipbooks, infographics and images, audio, etc.
  • No code digital content creation: Upload a file and let artificial intelligence (AI) create and format the interactive experience
  • Interaction insights: Get granular, real-time data on how people engage with your digital experiences

Pros:

  • RELAYTO is a no-code flexible design tool that requires no developer involvement
  • You’ll enjoy enterprise-grade security no matter where you embed or share your digital experiences
  • You can integrate RELAYTO with 500+ tools, such as Canva, Figma, Instagram, and YouTube

Cons:

  • There’s no monthly pricing available, and there’s a qualification process to be able to access the free plan
  • Some brand customization features like business domains are only available on the higher tier plans

Pricing: RELAYTO has a free plan for individuals. Its three paid business plans range from $80 to $2000 per month, billed annually. There’s also an enterprise plan with custom pricing and premium content services available.

4. Google Analytics

Evaluating content performance regularly is an important but often neglected aspect of content marketing. You can't afford to ignore this step. Or even rely on gut instinct to determine what’s working and what’s not. You need a tool like Google Analytics.

It provides specifics on your site visitors and their behaviors that you might not otherwise know or recall. Those specifics can positively impact your decisions and strategy going forward. This includes helping you spot content update opportunities, identifying topics that perform well and are worth writing more about, and so on.

Google Analytics

Top features:

  • Insights: Be alerted to interesting analytics data, such as which sources drove the most traffic
  • Realtime: Besides historical data, GA gives an overview of user data and behavior for people on-site right now
  • Conversions: Set and track conversion goals such as resource downloads and form submissions

Pros:

  • Google Analytics offers a robust set of features and data types for free
  • GA provides clarity on site and content performance, enabling you to make informed decisions going forward
  • This software works for organizations with few content marketing metrics to track and businesses with complex analytics needs

Cons:

  • There’s a learning curve as far as properly setting up GA and interpreting analytics data
  • Getting timely resolutions when questions come up can sometimes be a challenge

Pricing: Google Analytics has a free version that works for most small and mid-sized businesses. Analytics 360 reportedly costs $150,000 annually.

Which marketing software is best?

The eight tools above are among the best at what they do. But there are, of course, many more useful content marketing software solutions out there. How do you know which ones are worth your consideration? You need to consider the following:

  • The unique needs of your content marketing team
  • Your budget and organizational goals
  • What kind of solutions and features will help you best serve your audience

So, here are some pro tips on choosing software from professionals who’ve done it more than a few times.

Get recommendations from people you trust

Tomasz Niezgoda, a co-founder of the well-known SEO SaaS company Surfer, gives this advice:

"The most important thing is to trust the opinion of people you know. Get recommendations from experts, colleagues, or mentors so you can narrow down your options to a handful of tools. Once you’ve done that, start using them and see which one produces the best results for your business."
Tomasz Niezgoda
Head of Marketing & Co-Founder, Surfer

Of course, reading user reviews can also be helpful for understanding where a specific software excels or falls short. But there’s nothing like getting suggestions from people you know and trust. For one thing, you can ask about their experiences with the features or use cases most relevant to you.

Calculate the short and long-term investment

Free tool or not, every software has some form of cost, whether it be time or money. Kris Lippi, Founder of ISoldMyHouse, which focuses heavily on content, provides this warning:

"Don't stop your calculations after doing the math on the initial investment you will make and the accompanying up-front charges. Assess your recurring, lifetime budget before deciding to make sure of long-term viability."
Kris Lippi
Real Estate Broker and CEO, ISoldMyHouse

Kris goes on to explain: “Lifetime refers to the length of time you intend to use the content marketing tool you select. You must budget for training and implementation, which depend entirely on how technologically adept your content team is. You will need to invest more in implementation and training the less tech-savvy your team is.”

But that’s not all. According to Kris:

"You should also consider any hardware requirements, any extra features you need to address changing content requirements as your business grows, and any other licenses and costs. Incorporating all of these costs into your decision-making process will ensure that you end up with the most sustainable content marketing software with the greatest ROI."
Kris Lippi
Real Estate Broker and CEO, ISoldMyHouse

Evaluate the progressiveness of the software

Finally, look up the frequency of platform updates. Kris offers excellent advice here, too, saying:

"The marketing world moves quickly, and many new technologies and trends emerge at the drop of a hat. Be sure the software you purchase can keep up with these changes."
Kris Lippi
Real Estate Broker and CEO, ISoldMyHouse

Kris continues: "The vendor has to have considered the long term when developing their program. The program should be able to evolve at the same rate as the trends, technologies, and approaches that surround it.”

To this end, see if you can get your hands on a product roadmap. See what plans they have and if they seem to engage with suggestions from the community. Notice if they've often implemented improvements and added requested features in the past. And look for complaints from users about missing functionality or an overall lack of product improvement.

Doing the above will reduce the chances that you end up with software that doesn’t do at least one of the following:

  • Improve your efficiency
  • Have a positive impact on content quality
  • Boost your content marketing ROI

As mentioned earlier, GatherContent can help you do all of the above. It can help you manage the whole production process, from brief creation to content creation to publishing.

Besides ensuring that all content moves seamlessly through your workflow, you can also ensure compliance along the way. And higher quality content published consistently is a big part of the formula for content marketing success.

Try it for yourself: Want to see how GatherContent can make you a more efficient and effective content marketer? Sign up and get 14 days free!

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