Without knowing the best tools to use for your different blogging processes, you risk both expense and time on the wrong ones. With blogging research tools, you can find investing in tools both paid and free to be a research process of its own. However, it’s important to seek out the right ones that will work best for you or your business.
I’d be negligent if I didn’t mention this key point:
Have you heard of the saying: “Different strokes for different folks?” It basically means, in this case, that what tools work for some people might not work for others, and the same applies the other way around.
This article is part 1 of a 6-part series discussing blogging tools, including their features, limitations, and cost.
This is the schedule:
January 18th: The 5 Best Tools for the Blog Research Process (this article)
February 1st: The 5 Best Tools for Blog Content Creation
February 15th: The 5 Best Tools for Blog Content Optimization
February 29th: The 5 Best Tools for Blog Content Distribution
March 14th: The 5 Best Tools for Blog Content Social Sharing
March 28th: The 5 Best Tools for Blog Content Measurement
In between each article, I will provide what I call “Intermission Posts” to discuss other topics, such as social media marketing, email marketing, personal branding, and more.
Now, let’s get started.
Before you get to writing your blog content, you need to do some research on a few things, such as:
- Trending topics
- Competition’s activity
- Content relevance
- Current tips and techniques
With your typical blogging research tools, look for the ones that provide as many features as you need for your purposes. You don’t want to invest in multiple tools when you can find the 1 or 2 that provide it all.
This can apply to the tools of any category.
I’ve done some research and experimentation of my own to find the 5 tools that can potentially help the most for both businesses and individuals.
These are what I recommend:
- Google Trends
- Email subscriptions
- Impact’s BlogAbout
* = that feature is best for blog research purposes.
This is one of those multi-feature tools I was talking about earlier. Buzzsumo is a place for researching and monitoring content and influencers online. Its purpose is to help you create optimal content for your blog and social media via keywords, insights, and more.
- Find optimal content via keywords and competitive research*
- See what type(s) of content your audience prefers*
- Search social media for content ideas*
- Create alerts based on custom parameters
- Influencer outreach
- Content curation services
See more about Buzzsumo features in this RazorSocial review article:
The Ultimate Guide to Using Buzzsumo for Content Research
- Compared to other tools, such as Buffer where content discovery is automatic, Buzzsumo requires a bit more effort on your part.
- Solution: you can save searches for easier navigation over time.
$99/mo or $79/mo with yearly plan for the Pro version
$299/mo or $239/mo with yearly plan for the Agency version
$999/mo for the Enterprise version
Visit the Buzzsumo website for more information, and check out this page for more direct information about their content research services:
Content Research and Planning with Buzzsumo
Feedly is an RSS aggregation service that collects blog articles, YouTube videos, and other online content for users to access in one place. Bloggers use it to look for new content ideas or find popular content types.
- Easily organize your favorite feeds with “collections”
- Customize how you view your feeds
- Quickly share content to your social media accounts
- Find new ideas for your own blog content*
- Use the service everywhere with mobile apps
- Some of the blogs and sites collected do not allow you to read the article in full. You’ll have to leave the website or app and go to the source’s website instead. This is especially inconvenient when using the mobile app.
Free for the most part (recommended)
$65/yr for the Pro version, which offers 3rd-party integrations, Dropbox backup, and more
$145/yr per user for the Team version, which offers everything in the Pro version plus curation tools and more.
Read more about Feedly on Zapier’s website:
Feedly Reviews, Pricing, and Features
It might seem more inconvenient than not, but signing up to receive blog articles and newsletters by email can be quite helpful when you do it correctly.
If you’re worried about your inbox, never fear. I recommend setting up a filter and have all subscription emails go straight into their own folder without notifications to bug you.
To sign up for emails, go to the blog homepage, a landing page, or a post, and add your email address and any other contact information wherever they ask for it. Many times, the business or individual will give you a free gift in return for your information, such as an eBook or other resource.
- Get content ideas straight to your email*
- Stay informed of popular content*
- See what content is trending*
- Keep tabs on your competition
- Some blogs email too often
- Some blogs send emails about content you didn’t sign up to receive (Example: if you sign up for their blog content and get sales promotions)
- It may take time to find the right blogs to follow, including both subscribing and unsubscribing when necessary
- Setting up the separate folder and filter might take a bit of learning, depending on your email provider
Are you interested in finding content that is currently trending either in your industry or as a whole? Do you want to create content that’s relevant and timely? Of course you do.
Google Trends is the tool for you no matter how you approach blogging. Google Search is the most popular and powerful search engine, so its trends service can be of high value.
- Hot searches: the most popular Google searches in real-time
- Top charts: top searches per month, divided by category
- Add your own search terms*
- Data interpretation can be flawed if you incorrectly analyze it – Google doesn’t interpret it for you
- Everyone has access to the same data, so competitive advantage is basically nonexistent
- You can get overwhelmed by the mass amounts of data if you’re too generalized in your search terms
Learn more about how to use Google Trends in this CoSchedule article:
How Google Trends Can Create Super-Targeted Content Marketing
(Please note that this article is from before Google published its most recent, massive update to Trends. To see more about this update, visit the Official Google Blog.)
Out of all the blogging research tools I’ve mentioned, this one has to be my favorite. This tool gives you the resources to create the best content ideas via prompts and brainstorming.
If you want to let your own creativity guide your blogging for more unique content development, Impact’s BlogAbout is the tool for you.
- Headline ideas via fill-in-the-blank*
- Writing prompts with content suggestions*
- Doodle page for more creative brainstorming
- As of the last time I checked, the tool makes it hard to export your saved ideas. They add them in the body of an email with no option to export via PDF or Excel.
- I’ve suggested they change this, so maybe they will soon.
- The headline prompts repeat themselves a bit too often, or I just use the tool too much.
Learn more about this tool and 2 other alternatives in my past article:
Overcoming Writer’s Block: Content Generator Tools
I’ve looked far and wide for the blogging research tools that best serve this purpose, and the 5 mentioned are the best for their offerings.
Sure, there are other tools out there to help solve your unique needs, so in the end, I recommend you look into your own research tools as well.
As I said before:
What works for one blogger may not work for another, so it’s important to find the tool(s) that works best for your needs.
Stay tuned for my next blogging tools article, coming February 1st:
The 5 Best Tools for Blog Content Creation
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