For small businesses, marketing automation can save a significant amount of time and money.
One of the biggest opportunities to reduce manual tasks is by using content marketing automation tools.
But which tools should you use?
You’ll learn about 10 of the best content marketing automation tools right here in this article, but first, it’s important to understand what content marketing automation really means.
What is Content Marketing Automation?
When you automate something, you remove manual processes with a goal to save time, reduce costs, and increase the return on your investments (ROI).
In other words, with automation, you’re not just adding another tool that you can use to complete a step in a process. Instead, you’re using a tool to actually do the step for you.
With that definition in mind, content marketing automation tools remove a manual step in one of the following processes:
- Content ideation
- Content creation
- Content curation
- Content distribution
- Content promotion
Following are 10 of the best content marketing automation tools for small businesses, so you can remove manual steps in your own content ideation, creation, curation, distribution, and promotion workflows.
HubSpot is marketed as an all-in-one inbound marketing solution, which includes content marketing.
It offers tools to develop content topic ideas, create content, publish it at the right times, personalize messaging, and more.
The platform includes a content management system, blogging tool, landing page tool, search engine optimization features, social media integrations, and a variety of other features to help you automate content marketing processes.
CoSchedule promotes its platform as an easy way to organize all of your marketing in one place.
Five different products are offered: the marketing calendar, content organizer, work organizer, social organizer, and asset organizer.
The marketing calendar allows you to manage your entire content calendar in one place, while the content organizer lets you ideate, plan, create, and publish your content.
It also integrates with your blog, email, and social media platforms.
The work organizer lets you automate workflows, and the social organizer makes it easy to automate social media campaigns, publishing, and other tasks.
Finally, the asset organizer allows you to store all of your digital media, so everyone on your team can access images, videos, and audio files when they need them.
IFTTT (If This Then That) is a workflow automation tool that can automate many steps in your content marketing processes. In simplest terms, IFTTT lets you connect your digital services and automatically complete specific tasks using conditional if-then logic.
For example, you can use IFTTT to automatically share content from your favorite blog every time a new post is published, or you could use IFTTT to automatically share your new YouTube video to all of your social media accounts every time you publish a new video on your channel.
With IFTTT, you set up recipes (called applets) following this trigger-action formula: If this trigger happens (the conditional trigger) then this action happens (the resulting action).
Using the YouTube example from above, the conditional statement would be: If a new YouTube video is published on my YouTube channel, then immediately share it on my Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram profiles.
Zapier is an integration tool that you can use to eliminate all kinds of manual processes from your content marketing workflows.
With Zapier, you create “zaps” to connect different applications and perform specific tasks automatically.
For example, you could create a zap to automatically add people who buy tickets for an event you ticketed through your Eventbrite account as contacts in your ActiveCampaign account for email marketing.
Zapier integrates with more than 1,500 apps, so there are thousands of automations that you can create in order to save time.
BuzzStream automates many of the tasks related to online outreach, link building through guest blogging, and influencer marketing by helping you find websites and people to target and communicate with them via email.
You can use BuzzStream to automate research, email messaging, reminder notifications, and follow-ups for your digital PR and content promotion efforts. As a result, you should be able to streamline processes, increase efficiency, and improve your results.
OptinMonster is a conversion optimization tool that automates many of the processes related to lead generation. You can use it to create opt-in forms and display them based on your website visitors’ behaviors to capture prospects’ contact information for follow-up or convert them into sales through your e-commerce store.
Opt-in forms can be displayed based on pages visited, timing, scrolling, clicking, and more. When a visitor to your site exhibits the trigger behavior you choose, you can show your opt-in form as a pop-up, slide-in scroll box, sidebar form, full-screen welcome mat, inline form, or floating bar.
You can even include spin-a-wheel coupons, countdown timers, and content gates in your forms.
ActiveCampaign is an email marketing and customer relationship management (CRM) platform that enables you to automate a variety of tasks to distribute your content.
For example, you can automatically send email messages with relevant content to people who visit specific pages on your website, click on specific links in previous email messages, or simply open (or don’t open) previous messages you’ve sent.
Content marketing is a critical part of moving consumers through your marketing funnel, and with ActiveCampaign, you can set up complete automations with the perfect content sent at exactly the right times based on behaviors.
Ideally, the right content will move consumers to the next stage of the funnel and increase conversions and revenue for your business.
Buffer is a social media management tool that allows you to automatically publish content across multiple social media platforms. Currently, you can publish content to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn using Buffer.
It’s very easy to set up a publishing schedule using Buffer, and then continuously add new content to the schedule to keep your social media profiles and pages filled with fresh content curated from your preferred sources.
Rather than logging into each of your social media accounts each day, you can fill up your Buffer schedule and let all of the posts publish automatically.
Tailwind is a social media management tool specifically for visual social media platforms – Instagram and Pinterest.
It allows you to not only automate publishing and sharing, but it also helps you by automating a variety of tasks related to curation, creation, distribution, and promotion of your content.
For example, Tailwind offers a content discovery tool that makes it easy to find content relevant to the keywords you choose.
It also automatically gives you hashtag suggestions for Instagram, allows you to upload images in bulk, publish posts to multiple Pinterest boards at the same time, and repin and regram content.
Tailwind also automatically optimizes your publishing schedule based on when your followers are most engaged.
How do you find topics to write about and content to share? Blogs and websites are where most people look for inspiration for their own content and for content to share on their social media profiles.
However, visiting each blog every day or opening each website’s email newsletter every time you get it is inefficient. You can solve that problem by automatically aggregating the content from all of your favorite sources using Feedly.
Feedly is a powerful feed reader. When you find a blog you like, you just add the RSS feed to Feedly, and all new posts will automatically appear in your Feedly account along with all of your other saved feeds.
You can even tag feeds with labels to categorize them. Using Feedly is much faster than visiting all of those blogs and websites individually!
Key Takeaways About Content Marketing Automation Tools
Content marketing automation works when you use tools that remove manual processes from your workflows.
Therefore, choose content marketing automation tools that help you get tasks done without human intervention, so you can invest that time into other revenue-generating activities.
Use the list of tools above to start your research and find the best tools for your business. Remember, a tool is only right for your business if it reduces manual work rather than adding to it.