9 Affordable Content Marketing Tools to Boost Your Business in 2021

Picture of Ashwini Pai

By Ashwini Pai

It isn’t clichéd to say that content is king. 90% of digital marketers use content to approach their customers.

In fast-changing or uncertain times, content creation and content curation serve as powerful tools for brands to build and sustain relationships with customers.

Businesses who succeed at content marketing and stay profitable in challenging environments, do one thing very well. They put together a content marketing toolkit that amplifies their brand voice and increases their efficiency.

However, not every business can spend a lot on their content marketing tech stack. Which is why, I have put together this list of 8 awesome and affordable content marketing tools that give you the most value for your money.

Why SocialPilot?

  • Bulk schedule upto 500 posts
  • Schedule curated content automatically
  • Canva and GIF integration
  • In depth analytics and reporting
  • Social media content calendar
  • $30/m and 24x7 support

Narrato.io - Hire Freelance Writers

With content occupying the center-stage of content marketing and average content lengths going up, the demand for good writers is going up as well.

Narrato is a great platform to hire quality freelance writers at awesome prices. What’s more is that Narrato’s workflow is set up for maximum efficiency - so you get your content fast and with the full peace of mind that you’ll pay only for content you like.

Hire Freelance Content Writers with Narrato

Narrato uses smart algorithms to match your job to writers on the platform with suitable skills. This takes away the headache of having to qualify good freelance writers through long proposal cycles, which are a big time drain.

All your work is delivered after an automatic plagiarism check so there is one less thing to worry about. To top it, Narrato also offers a free tool to search copyright-free images to add to your content.

Narrato also has a great trial offer - which is a good way to explore how the platform works. Ordering on the platform is simple and quick. You can add credit and place orders or pay for content orders as you go. One thing that I particularly liked is the fact that you can place orders of multiple articles or pages in one go with a simple form (unlike other freelance content platforms which require individual article orders to be placed or follow a long-drawn proposals seeking based approach).

Overall, Narrato is a very handy platform to get quality content quickly. To add to it, its learning system finds you better writers each time you order more content.

Canva - Graphics Creator

I’m a fan of Canva because it makes light work of creating visual content. It’s not just just a content marketing tool, it’s a business tool using which you can make logos, invitation cards, photo collages and certificates very easily. That said, Canva makes this list for its astonishingly simple infographics maker.

Infographics, the fourth most used type of content marketing, break down information and make it more digestible. Building an infographic template from scratch is a time-consuming affair and unviable if you have no design experience. With Canva, your infographic can be ready in 30 minutes flat if you have the data for it ready:

  • Choose a template from multiple options. Say, a process infographic to present the steps of a process or a timeline infographic to depict your business story.
  • Select one of many professional-grade infographic designs and use it as your template.
  • Tweak the data, and if you want, edit the fonts and colors, and structure paragraphics into bulleted or numbered lists.
  • If your infographic uses charts, you can change the data at source by simply clicking on the chart and inputting your numbers. Alternatively, you can paste data from a spreadsheet.
canva-create-bar-chart

Canva is as user-friendly as an infographic maker can get. You can click on what you want to tweak and choose design elements from the menu above or to the left of the page.

You can publish your infographic directly from the tool or share with team members. Canva offers tutorials to help you get off to a great start.

On the free plan, you get 8,000+ free templates. Bumping up to the $9.95/user/month plan on a yearly billing gives you access to over 60,000 free templates.

Tip: Often, infographics visually represent data curated from many sources. To stand out and make your infographic more authoritative, put together some of your own statistics, say from your customer surveys.

iStock by Getty Images - Stock Images

It is difficult to imagine content marketing without images. Even email marketing campaigns that include images have a higher click-through rate than those without.

If you’re new to inbound marketing, you may be checking prices at stock photo galleries. Make sure you stop by Stock by Getty Images, which offers more than 30 million royalty-free photos, vectors, illustrations and videos, and six million unique images not available elsewhere.

Images and particularly illustrations on iStock win you over with their technical and creative quality. You can also have a look at their high production value stock videos for your website or social media.

You pay for images with credits, and each image file costs a certain number of credits, starting at $12 for one credit. The subscription plan works out cheaper - you can download ten images a month for $40/mo or $29 on a yearly plan.

Collection format

The collection format is more sophisticated and should be used for promoting multiple products from the same niche.

Feedly - Content Discovery

If your way of discovering awesome content is to browse the internet or bookmark your favorite blogs, you’re missing out.

There’s a far more efficient and rewarding way of staying on top of new and interesting content in your industry - feed aggregator Feedly.

Feedly curates content aligned to your topic keywords that you can organize into feeds.A neat feature is the ability to preview a source to determine if it publishes articles closely or broadly related to your industry.

Feedly-discover-content

You can save your favorite articles to Boards or share to your Twitter and Google news feeds, LinkedIn, Evernote or an SMM tool (currently supports Hootsuite and Buffer).

As your one-stop RSS feeder, Feedly may have over a hundred sites feeding content by the hour. You will appreciate the steady stream of content to read and even better, you have Feedly’s AI research assistant Leo to further curate your boards.

Tell Leo the priority topics and trends you’re tracking and get recommendations. It beats the efforts of sifting through a sea of information yourself. Leo doesn’t always get article recommendations right but mentions why it was chosen, allowing you to correct the mistake.

If you asked the bot to prioritize ‘medical robots’ and it recommended an article on medical packaging, mute ‘packaging’ to refine recommendations and make the bot work smarter for you.

Feedly’s Pro package starts at $6/month billed annually for 1000 sources and without AI assistance. For your own Leo, upgrade to Pro+ at $8.25 to access 2500 sources.

Qualaroo - Website Feedback Software

Well-written website content optimized to search engines and people is crucial to the success of any online business. It is extremely helpful if the users of your business website can tell you what it’s missing and where it shines.

While you can send out surveys via email, the response rate of email surveys is small, preventing you from getting the full picture of how visitors perceive your website.

Qualaroo takes a different approach to customer and website user surveys by engaging them in the moment. The tool offers different templates for page-level customer feedback and lead generation. In the context of content marketing, you can gauge the usefulness of your content by choosing predefined questions for your survey, like ‘Did you find what you were looking for?’ and ‘What encouraged you to visit our site?’

There are ten question types, including checkboxes, dropdown and text-based. You can target the questions to specific audiences. As the tool offers several targeting options, you can be sure that the right people view your forms and aren’t turned off by surveys irrelevant to them.

The survey responses not only shed light on the aspects of your website that can be better, but also reveal what topics customers and users would want to read on your website. Consistently improving your website’s content will no doubt help you drive up conversions while also deepening your understanding of customer intent.

As far as user-friendliness is concerned, Qualaroo gets a 10/10. A knowledge center helps you get started with the tool.

qualaroo-website-feedback-software

Used by the likes of eBay, Shopify, and Udemy, Qualaroo is a good addition to your content marketing toolkit. On the basic plan ($40/mo), you can survey about 100 users, and leverage survey customization and audience targeting features.

Ahrefs - SEO Research

Ahrefs is a comprehensive SEO research and analysis tool, which would be a great addition to your marketing toolset. While the major focus of the tool was originally checking backlinks, it is also largely used for tasks like conducting keyword research as well as monitoring your competitors.

Along with these basic tasks, the Ahrefs tool can be used to identify technical SEO issues, monitor the internet for unlinked mentions, monitor backlinks check URL rankings, prepare audit report and find guest posting opportunities.

ahrefs-SEO-Software

The tool uses SEO metrics to provide quantitative data for every website analysed. If you are new to this tool, it is a good idea to first spend time trying out the various functions – the core functions as well as the side features.

A while back Ahrefs used to offer a free version, but now however you need to pay to use the tool. You can start a 7-day trial for $7.

SocialPilot - Social Media Marketing

SocialPilot stands out as a must-have social media management platform for its compelling set of features and affordability for small businesses.

You can schedule and publish social media posts on popular social networks - Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, TikTok, Vk, Tumblr, Google My Business, and Pinterest. As the SMM tool integrates with popular URL shorteners, you can shorten and add URLs to posts without switching between browser tabs.

If you’re a social media marketer managing numerous clients, you can use SocialPilot’s bulk scheduling feature to schedule a bunch of posts in advance across time zones. Upload a CSV file containing your posts, URLs, dates and times when the posts must be published, and unique account ID of the social media accounts the posts need to go on, and you are set.

Teasing a new product or reminding people of an upcoming event on social media is a tried and tested way to create buzz and encourage a flurry of sales or event registrations. SocialPilot allows you to repeat an important post across all social channels up to ten times a day for many days in a row.

The content curation feature is an antidote during times of content crunch. You can add the topic of interest and automatically get a list of relevant articles. You can also add a website or blog feed, and set the number of new posts you want to send out.

Socialpilot-social-media-management-tool

Making your way around the tool is easy - at no point did I feel unsure or confused. Once I added my account, it automatically set a posting schedule for my content.

The entry-level plan starts at a very reasonable $30/month, dropping to $25/mo on a yearly billing. It lets you set up the tool for 25 accounts and one team member, and includes all the useful content scheduling and publishing features you need.

SendGrid - Email Marketing

As your business picks up momentum, automating your email saves time on repetitive email writing and sending to leads and customers. With email marketing solution SendGrid, you can set up recurring newsletters to customers or a drip campaign to guide prospects down the sales funnel.

SendGrid is very generous - as a free user, you can send 40,000 emails for 30 days and thereafter, 100 emails a day for as long as you use the platform. Any more and you can hop on the reasonably priced $14.95/month plan that lets you send up to 50,000 emails each month.

Creating an email is super easy - use modules to add the building blocks of your images, and drag and drop or upload images.

sendgrid-email-marketing-tool

Similarly, create a sign-up form and select the contact list to add the new signups to. This way, you can stay in the loop about who has opted-in to your email newsletter or advertising.

Setting up automation is also a breeze - choose pre-built automation or define your custom automation.

SendGrid-edit-automation

Sendgrid offers built-in spam testing and link validation, so only regulatory-compliant mail goes out.

There’s also a ton of useful analytics to help you monitor email campaign performance:

  • See the numbers of emails sent, opened, bounced, link clicks and unsubscribes.
  • Get statistics by email client, device, browser and geography.
  • Opt for Expert Insights to your plan for monthly reports on your campaign along with recommendations on improving results.

Placeit - Graphic and Video Creator

This content marketing tool is very helpful for marketing teams, business owners, or startups because basically it does everything for you!

Placeit is a powerful design tool that will helps you accomplish any design task according to your needs. If you are a startup, you can create your logo, your business card, and your social media campaign designs. As for a business owner or marketing team, save time by just choosing a design template and filling in your information. Update a catalog in minutes since they have an unlimited library of mockups, from mugs, apparel to responsive devices. Customizing any template requires four simple steps in this platform:

  • Choose your template or mockup or video
  • Fill in your information
  • Customize colors, fonts, and images
  • Download

That simple! But what I most love about Placeit is how you can create everything when it comes to branding. We know videos are the most engaging content lately. With Placeit you can also make videos in seconds choose your favorite video template and customize it, the same way we mentioned before. You can add up to 10 slides, access their original soundtracks, and preview your video as you create it

Try their free templates and see it for yourself. You will not regret it.

Ready to try?

Whether you’re getting started with or looking to level up your content marketing, the right tools can get you done more in less time without burning out.

  • Save time to focus on higher-value marketing tasks/new content marketing methods
  • Share a lot of eye-catching visual content
  • Automate repetitive email marketing and content discovery tasks
  • Continuously engage and re-engage your audience

Leave a reply below, if you have been using some other tools for better content marketing. that our audience should know about.

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Picture of Ashwini Pai

Ashwini Pai

Ashwini Pai is a copywriter at Godotmedia. She has nearly a decade of experience creating web content for businesses.

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