Content marketing works, and a good content marketing platform will help you make it work.
The ecosystem of content marketing software has evolved in the last few years though. Mostly, it’s expanded a ton, and now there are tools for every imagined purpose.
This can get a bit overwhelming, especially when you just want to get started with content marketing and don’t want to spend months reviewing which platform is right for your team.
So, how do you choose the best content marketing platform? Even with a list, you’ll still need to outline your goals and challenges to find the best platform for your particular case.
A good list will help you narrow that decision down, and remove the duds from your decision landscape. This list of the top 16 best content marketing platforms hopes to do just that.
What is a Content Marketing Platform?
First, a quick definition.
A content marketing platform is a software solution that enables marketers to manage and execute a content marketing strategy in its entirety. Basically, in straight-forward terms, a content marketing platform helps you do content marketing. It’s right there in the name.
Content marketing, however, keeps broadening in definition.
We’ll keep things simple by including entries on this list that help you manage an editorial process for content creation, publish or distribute content to your audience, and analyze the effectiveness of your campaigns in terms of lead generation and overall sales.
The Top 16 Best Content Marketing Platforms in 2020
Here are the top 16 best content marketing platforms:
- Acoustic (formerly Content Hub)
WordPress, while not exclusively a content marketing platform, is certainly the most popular option. It’s a free and open-source CMS (content management system) that allows you to build a website, compose a blog post, and publish quality content incredibly easily. In a way, it serves as a content hub for your business.
You can create a self-hosted WordPress site using WordPress.org or you can use WordPress.com to host the site for you. It’s better to take the .org option, as you can fully customize your website without the constraints of wordpress.com
Finally, if you use WordPress and Google Docs, you can use Wordable to upload your drafts to WordPress, fully formatted, in mere seconds. This is a huge time-saver that makes it easy to publish great content in record time.
HubSpot is a full suite of marketing, sales, and service tools that helps you run an inbound marketing program. Inbound marketing utilizes tactics that pull customers to your site such as blogging, video marketing, interactive content, and social media content.
HubSpot has tons of different tools and solutions for companies of many sizes. However, it started primarily as a website builder, blogging platform, and a marketing automation platform. The primary use for HubSpot was lead generation and nurturing.
These core functions form the basis of any good content marketing program, and the other HubSpot features (live chat, meeting scheduling, etc.) only serve to strengthen the core features. HubSpot is great for a B2B marketer looking to segment their target audience and create a different marketing campaign to effectively reach each one.
HubSpot isn’t free, but some of the point solutions have freemium entry points.
Marketo is a competitor of HubSpot’s in the marketing automation arena.
They tend to cater more towards the enterprise (even more so with their recent Adobe acquisition), and as such, they’re a bit more expensive. Their features are also limited to the marketing side of things, without the data centralization features like the CRM or a help desk software.
Still, as a blogging and marketing automation tool, Marketo is quite strong, and because of that, many top businesses use them to execute content marketing programs.
Exponea is an end-to-end Customer Data Platform, combining advanced customer data analytics with omnichannel campaign execution. It enables businesses to understand customer behavior and launch highly personalized campaigns for each customer through their preferred channels.
Marketers can use the platform for content marketing, as the functionality supports customer loyalty through content personalization and allows easy distribution to existing customers. CRM Managers who care about relevant content for each of their customers can use Exponea to better communicate with their customer base.
The platform helps maximize profits and optimize marketing spend by targeting the right customers with the right content at the right time.
Kapost is a full-suite content marketing software company that offers tools for content marketing program management, operations, and insights.
Their content marketing platform allows you to:
- Create a robust editorial calendar
- Manage content producers and stakeholders
- Map your campaigns to the customer journey
- Execute the campaigns that you’ve planned.
It’s a pretty feature-rich solution for serious content marketing pros.
Ceros is an experiential content creation platform that helps content marketers and designers to create immersive and interactive content experiences.
You can think of them as a studio that lets you make interactive and multi-layered infographics. It’s somewhat hard to explain without experiencing it, so go over and take a look at the inspiration section of their site. This platform will push your marketing efforts forward by enabling your marketing team to create engaging digital content that can be shared on Facebook, Twitter, and other social channels for lead generation.
Newscred is an enterprise content marketing platform that includes a ton of impressive tools to analyze your content and surface insights, come up with better content ideas, manage your content operations, and publish content hubs for your customers. It’s one of my personal favorite content marketing platforms.
The big differentiator here is that Newscred’s data and insights capabilities far surpass most competitors. They have the typical stuff for content marketing management – editorial calendar functionality, workflows, digital content management, etc. – but what really stands out is the predictive insights in their content, conversion, and ROI reports.
Percolate is another high-powered content marketing platform capable of doing pretty much everything. You can look at it as the control center for a mature content marketing strategy. It’s an operations management solution on steroids, with capabilities like:
- Campaign planning
- Editorial calendars
- Individual campaign workflows
- Collaboration and task management
- Advanced analytics
- Governance and access control
It’s not a solution that would do you much benefit if you have barely started your content marketing efforts, but if you’ve been at it for a while and your efforts are starting to get more complicated (e.g., you’ve got more writers to work with and you’re trying to scale production), it can definitely be pretty useful.
Divvy, like the previous two entries on this list, is a full suite enterprise content marketing platform. It’s widely used and very popular with huge content marketing all-stars like Redbull, the Chicago Cubs, and Unilever.
What’s it do? Pretty much everything:
- Content planning
- Editorial calendars
- Marketing Automation
This platform is an excellent content marketing tool if you’ve got a multi-faceted content team and a need for mature content strategy planning and architecture. In other words, if you’re just pumping out one blog post a week, it’s not a ton of use.
But if you’re operating a multi-channel, high volume, content marketing program, this content marketing software is one of the best marketing strategy tools available.
Zerys is a content strategy planner, content production platform, and professional writer marketplace all rolled into one content marketing platform. The biggest differentiator is that they have a huge marketplace of professional writers and editors who can help you produce better content. It’s like having both a content marketer and content creator at your fingertips!
Zerys plugs into both HubSpot and WordPress.
It’s not free, but it’s not too expensive (starts around $15 per document).
Uberflip is a content marketing platform for building out content hubs. You can collect, manage, and curate content experiences and showcase them in a way to create engagement as well as high-value marketing leads.
Uberflip isn’t as much of a full suite content marketing platform or one you’d want to operate on its own, but it can give superpowers to whatever editorial and publication platform you’re using. It’s great for making content more engaging and for bringing in more leads through CTAs and automation.
OneSpot is also more of a complementary content marketing platform, but a cool one. It helps you to serve personalized content experiences for greater engagement and ROI.
They do this personalized content delivery based on user interest profiles, which enable your brand to deliver individualized content to 100% of your visitors and email subscribers.
A large part of this work is automated, which is in contrast to most personalization platforms, where you not only have to find and define the segments, but set up targeting rules and manage your experiences while trying to determine the ROI of any given experience.
In any case, OneSpot is a great advanced content marketing tool to help you get more out of your existing program.
Sometimes content marketing software can be intimidating. Contently is not. Contently can help a content marketer plan and execute their content marketing strategy in little to no time.
Contently’s content framework comes to life through interactive workshops that focus on the four phases of content production: awareness, consideration, purchase, and retention/loyalty. This is a simple way to navigate the murky waters of content marketing.
Contently is more than just a content marketing platform, though. Advisors are on-hand to help marketers craft content, and unique artificial intelligence tools optimize the content for SEO and ensure your business’ tone of voice shines through.
14. Acoustic (formerly Content Hub)
Acoustic positions itself as a content marketing software that “both creatives and techies will love.” It allows users to organize your content assets, make edits in real-time, and publish assets directly to their website.
Acoustic’s campaign feature helps grow customer loyalty by deploying personalized digital content assets at various parts of the customer lifecycle. The automated programs dashboard is straight-forward and easy-to-use, but still gets deep into mobile and local marketing as well.
I appreciate the visual editing feature built into the platform. That isn’t common for most content marketing software, but it does make sense that Acoustic emphasizes how designers approach content marketing too.
ClearVoice is unique because it pairs a fleet of freelance writers at your disposal with a content marketing solution. Content marketers can use their Agency platform or managed content creation services to write and optimize all the content for the company.
The content marketing software functions as an all-in-one solution for writing, editing, optimizing and publishing content. With it, you can post assignments, edit directly in the platform, build brand personas, and map out future campaigns.
I like the planning aspect of ClearVoice, because it is a collaborative solution. There are usually many people—content creators, designers, SEOs, developers—involved in a full content program, so this brings everyone together in one platform to get the campaign done.
PathFactory is a content tool that not only plans out your content program, but also helps you source insights about the audience that is actively consuming the content. The platform guides content marketing decisions based on “real-time content consumption data.”
PathFactory moves away from optimizing content based on clicks and form fills and instead focuses on the time spent reading the content. It also analyzes not just how many leads the content converted, but how qualified those leads are.
I like the thoroughness of the analytics dashboard. It easily surfaces which content is being consumed by your audience. Additionally, you can connect your CRM and see how much revenue is tied back to a specific article. This is useful for not only navigating your future content strategy but also for assessing the ROI of your entire content marketing program.
There are many content marketing platforms out there today, but the 16 included on this list are the best ones available in 2020.
They are all pretty complete solutions on their own, but some can be complementary.
For instance, you could run all of your blogging and content publishing efforts on something like HubSpot (maybe even using them for your CRM and data analytics), and then use something like Divvy to architect your content strategy and plan out your whole operation from the command center. Then you could use OneSpot or Uberflip to increase your ability to generate leads and engage readers.
Or you could keep things simple and just use WordPress (and of course, Wordable, so you can save time uploading Google Docs to WordPress).