Obviously, the importance of content planning in this 21st century can never be overemphasized. A well-written content without adequate planning is bound to fail.
But on the contrary, a well constructed content is duty bound to attracting — even more — customers thereby growing the business brand.
Benjamin Franklin once said “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail,” like most quotes, this popular assertion has been passed down for ages and it has passed the test of time.
But do you know why it gets repeated and even endured the test of time? It is simply for one reason. Because it is the truth.
You can never write or execute content that converts without a well-structured as well as an organized content plan that is fueled by a consistent process and sustainable workflow.
Notwithstanding, it’s better to stay that the content marketing realm is wide and complex now than ever before. It is deeply ingrained.
Without much ado, let’s take a look at what content planning is all about, the available content planning tools, and how to connect and use them for melodious results.
What is Content Planning?
Content planning could be defined as the act of outlining, structuring, and writing out content ideas to enhance a sustainable workflow and harmonious content result.
Equally, content planning also comprises all the data-gathering functions and marketing assets that are needed to achieve the set goals in your content techniques.
Best Content Planning Tools
At this juncture, be enlightened that content marketing that is scalable, effective, and repeatable is much more than making lists of what to write or post on your blog.
To curate content that delights across several platforms, you might want to take your time to check out the following content planning tools.
For Research, the following content planning tools should be your top-most priority:
Semrush is a Content marketing or planning purpose that is designed with the sole intention to help bloggers and content curators manage their tasks.
The website is built in such a way that it can help anyone create content ideas that will greatly influence their target audience.
Not limited to that, Semrush as a content planning platform is specifically meant for research. Although the toolkit can be used to create and improve existing content.
It can equally be used to find content gaps from competitors, research for trending keywords, headlines, popular content ideas, topics, etc.
That is to say, Semrush planning toolkit efforts can conveniently save you your time and money as they can be used for writing and auditing at the same time.
All in all, to enjoy the service of Semrush as an article planning platform, you have to either subscribe and go Pro or settle for freemium with a limited toolkit and research daily.
You will agree with me that having efficient content ideas is vital in other to ensure that every piece of content you curate has a purpose.
Hence, Ahref is another article planning tool for research that can be used to create marketing contents that sell and blog posts that convert.
The platform is designed purposely to prevent its visitors from spending dollars on random posts or content that have little or no impact on their business.
But with Ahref research toolkit, you can create blog posts or videos about trending topics that your audience search for on Google or YouTube.
And you use the platform to help to build brand loyalty or retain customers using their product-focused tutorials.
However, for you to know or understand how Ahfref works, you need to pay a trial fee of $7 only.
Keywords Everywhere as a content planning tool is basically meant for keywords research and it saves time in the course of doing so.
You wouldn’t have to waste your time and energy on copying information from one blog while looking for the search volume or difficulty from another.
This among many other difficulties faced by content curators is what this content planning tool is on the verge of curbing.
The tool is so helpful that you can use it to research for low competitive but trending keywords with high search volume in a single click.
It will also provide you with long-tail phrases of your seed keyword, CPC, the accurate search volume, competition data, etc. all in a real-time zone.
As such, you can download the keywords list and metrics in CSV, Excel, or PDF formats for future or recurrence use.
LongTailPro or Longtail premium content management tool is a desktop-designed keyword research tool that perfectly runs on Adobe Air, Windows, and Mac.
As its name suggested, Longtailpro is a premium keyword research tool that can be used to accumulate key data and relevant information on a chosen topic.
One great thing that I liked about this article planning tool is that you don’t necessarily have to be a professional or SEO guru to use it to your satisfaction.
The platform user interface is very simple and at the same time straightforward — that a first-timer will quickly get used to it.
Other than as a keyword research tool, this SEO planning tool also has tons of other features packed in it just to make the work of the content creators easier.
With this tool, you can create multiple projects by having different campaigns or research for different sites thereby making things well organized for you.
With Longtailpro, you can also import keywords and export the research result into an Excel spreadsheet or PDF for recurrence use.
Having said that, you must note that the best way to find the best keywords that convert for your website is to go Pro.
So, therefore, with $47 per month, Longtailpro with providing you with every single detail about your competition and even give you keywords with high CPC that are good for revenue.
Better still, you can firstly test-drive the keyword research tool for ten days with only $1 to see the real stuff the tool is made of.
5) Google Keyword Planner
Like any other research tool or platform, Google Keyword Planner also plays a vital role in producing content ideas that convert.
If in the course of writing blog content you encounter writer block or you don’t trust the ideas that kept flowing into your mind, Google Keyword is there for you.
All you have to do is to enter your ‘seed’ keyword into the provided box and wait for Google to suggest tons of keywords — and their search volume — for you.
Content Planning Platforms For Content Briefs
In the same vein, Frase.io is another wonderful platform you need to get yourself acquainted with while planning and strategizing your content.
As a matter of fact, Frase works best as a content-answer platform. That is, its greatest strength is answering questions that your readers might have in mind.
So while you must have generated and researched keywords ideas and trending topics in your content planning sojourn, Frase will generate a content brief for you. Interesting, isn’t it?
Well, Frase might not be the best in the field, but it will get the work done for you.
With Frase, you’ll also be exposed to subtopics, several surfaces headings as well as questions that are capable of building a content brief.
Lastly, Frase as a content planning platform for content brief is befitting for anyone with a tight budget at the moment but has the time to generate subtopics list themselves.
To go Premium with the tool, the subscription fee for the basic plan is $45 per month while the team plan is $115 per month.
7) Surfer SEO
Next on the list of content strategy tools is Surfer SEO. This platform is built with an AI content optimization tool. Much of its emphasis is on on-page optimization.
If you should enter the keyword you are determined to rank for into Surfer SEO, it will take time to analyze the search engine result pages (SERPs) for you.
And provide you with over 100 data points with recommended keywords, average word count, backlinks, image alt tags, etc.
Once the SERPs analysis results are out, Surfer SEO will now provide you with guidelines on how to optimize your content.
Other than that, you can also use Surfer SEO content editor to retrieve real-time insights from Google on how well your content is optimized for SEO.
Plus to discover SEO opportunities and get to know more quick wins on your website.
To use this platform to your satisfaction, you’ll have to go Pro. The basic plan costs $59 per month, Premium plan is $99 per month. And lastly, the business plan is $199 per month.
To many, Jarvis AI is their life-changing content writing tool. It can be used to generate full-fledged contents that are unique and free from plagiarism.
Let’s say, for instance, you’ve used Semrush to research topics and keywords that bring leads, Frase for subtopics, and but now you can’t write again.
Whether it’s writer block or what, Jarvis AI can be invoked to take the job over from where you stopped. You will be astonished as to the results you’ll get from it.
That is to say, the Jarvis AI content writing tool is trained by professional copywriters. So always expect better and quality output from the AI.
Jarvis has excellent customer support and it also renders free trial. However, to enjoy all of its features to the fullest, there’s a need for you to subscribe.
The subscription plan starts from $29 per month. With this fee, you’ll be able to use the AI’s substantial features with 20,000 words per month.
Content Planning Tools For Editorial and Publishing
Similarly, ContentCal is another great content marketing tool that you need to get used to while strategizing and planning what article to build on.
Like any other content planning platform, ContentCal is a user-friendly content planning toolkit designed purposely for editing and publishing.
Hence, using this tool to your advantage means you can set your content to automatic posting. You can also schedule campaigns, keep images, correspondence, etc. all in one place.
In addition, ContentCal is more or less a mapping software, its subscribers can easily visualize their content thereby making things easier for them.
To be specific, its subscribers will have a better understanding of where they stand in terms of their project (content curating and planning ) completion.
In line with the above, ContentCal has a free trial service and it also has premium services. To go premium, the subscription fee varies from $17 to $47 per month.
Do you have tons of content marketers with different areas of specialization on your team? If yes, Airtable as part of your contents strategy tools is highly recommended.
Interestingly, Airtable as a content planning tool is magnificently designed to help bloggers and business organizations of any kind actualize their content desires.
The tool has a dual function; one part is a spreadsheet and the other one is the database. It can be used to organize anything you can think of.
Although this beautifully designed tool has several features that are specifically meant for content planning, it can keep still be used to serve many other purposes.
Finally, although there’s a free plan on Airtable. The Premium plan pricing differs. You can, however, get a basic plan of $10 to $20 per user for a month though.
Essentially, Monday has a project management platform can also serve as a content planning tool with a sustainable workflow.
The tool can be customized to your team’s desires. It has a kanban, calendar as well as other crucial templates that are capable of managing your content.
If you are operating as an organization with team members, you can use Monday to schedule posts, assign works to the team, and even track most of the progress of the tasks.
It integrates with communication tools and other projects such as Slack, Trello, Excel, Dropbox, and Google Apps, too.
Most importantly, Monday can equally be used to plan future content and invite people outside your organization for collaboration.
Just like other content planning platforms, Monday also has a free trial which has limited features. And the phone for the Pro plans differs but you can get a basic plan of $8 to $16 per month.
Content Planning Tools For Writing
12) Google Docs
Google Docs breath life into your documents by furnishing them with poignant editing, styling tools, smart paragraphing as well as appealing text format.
So what do you say about using the Google docs app to give life into your content after thorough research and planning? It sounds cool, isn’t it?
So with Google Docs, you stand the chance to add images, drawings, links, and even choose from dozens of fonts all for free.
One important feature that Google Docs has over most of its counterparts is the fact that all changes are saved automatically as you type.
And your revision history can be used to view all the old versions of the document, the day and date it was sorted, who edited or made the changes, etc.
13) Hemmingway Editor
The Hemingway Editor content planning software is not an app but rather, an online platform. Its consistent process and sustainable workflow made it one of the best in the industry.
Specifically, the Hemingway Editor is a platform that dictates the uniqueness and readability of your content. It provides suggestions and things to do to improve them.
Hemingway scores content into grade levels using the complexity of grammar and sentences as it measuring tape. So the higher your grade level is the lower your score.
That is to say, the easier and simpler your content is to understand and comprehend by your audience, the better your writing will rank.
Be that as it may, Hemingway editor also shows its users what and where they should improve on in their writing by highlighting the sentences.
Where the complex sentences are highlighted in orange colour, it means they are “hard to read” as such, you are advised to change them.
Sentences of any level highlighted in colour red mean they are very difficult to read hence, they should be rewritten for clarity or broken up.
There are suggestions on Hemingway editor for omitted words too when big grammars are used when passive voice isn’t needed, and so on.
At this juncture, it is okay to say Hemingway editor as a content planning tool is a must for all content writers that are passionate about creating content that converts.
However, you might want to be informed that the tool is totally free to use, too.
It is obvious from the foregoing that solid content planning is a key step toward building effective and efficient content marketing campaigns that convert.
However, you must note that you also need the perfect content planning tools or platforms to execute those campaigns. The above-mentioned tools will help you streamline your content for the best results.