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9 Research Tools that Will Help You Crush Your Content Marketing Goals

Successful content marketing means processing and organizing a huge quantity of information.

To be a great content marketer, you need to have broad knowledge in your area of expertise so you can put ideas together in new, exciting ways.

That means capturing trends, keeping an eye on successful content, meeting the current needs of your audience, and anticipating where they’ll go next.

And that can be a tall order!

With the right research tools, you’ll be able to cut through the clutter and stay focused on the most meaningful facts, figures, and ideas you can use to cook up outstanding content.

Research tools blend seamlessly with your content research process to make it faster and easier, ensuring you’ll never feel out of the loop even if you haven’t written about a subject in a while.

Most of today’s best research tools don’t just crawl the web and scrape up data for you: They’re true AI-driven decision engines, giving you contextual insights and actionable suggestions to make your content marketing that much better.

A truly excellent research tool might:

  • Improve the segmentation, targeting, and customization of your marketing campaign.
  • Raise your conversion rates by helping you take action on data – yours and its own.
  • Automate some aspect of content research to make things faster and more efficient.
  • Provide competitive intelligence to inspire you based on what’s working for others.

As you’d expect, no one tool does everything. But, most research tools are lightweight and user friendly, so it doesn’t take much to snap them into your mar-tech stack. On top of that, quite a few are free or offer tiered subscriptions that balance low price and high value.

So, that leaves us with the question: What are the best content research tools?

We recommend these heavy hitters for your next content marketing campaign:

1. Buzzsumo

buzzsumo content research

Buzzsumo is one of the most popular research tools around, backed by one of the leading names in SEO.

It aspires to automate the whole content research process by pulling in the top content pieces around any keyword and ranking them by organic or social reach. You can focus on specific formats, date ranges, and lengths to see areas where your content can make a splash.

2. Ahrefs

Ahrefs is one of the most powerful content research tools around. When it comes to keywords, it is known for its deep database and accurate keyword difficulty ratings.

Content marketers will love the Content Explorer: An “all in one” dashboard that lets you quickly navigate the most popular content in any niche and instantly see the associated SEO statistics.

3. SpyFu

spyfu content research

SpyFu is the original name in online competitor research and still one of the best.

It will give you the scoop on any site you punch in, including its high traffic organic keywords, top competitors, areas of opportunity, and even its PPC activity.

Yes, you can see active Google Ads campaigns and even benefit from a breakdown of the domain’s organic versus paid traffic amounts.

4. Google Alerts

If you’re curating content, Google Alerts is indispensable.

Content curation thrives on timely content, and Google Alerts will deliver the latest headlines on any keyword or subject matter to your inbox.

Although it’s a simple tool, it benefits from Google’s spectacular reach. There’s nothing else quite like it, so don’t overlook it just because it’s been around the block.

5. Google Keyword Planner

google keyword planner content research

No list of research tools would be complete without Google Keyword Planner. Though it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of certain fancy modern alternatives, it’s still an effective and full-featured tool ... that just happens to be free.

And, of course, it’s integrated into your Google Ads controls so you can start organizing your campaign as soon as you find promising keywords.

6. SentiOne

SentiOne is a social media listening tool for sentiment analysis. Used by tons of quality brands for reputation management, it catalogs both real-time and historical data.

For content marketing, you can use it to learn what folks in your niche are saying about hot topics or competitors. Its custom dashboards make it ideal for long-term research and reacting to changes rapidly.

7. Content Idea Generator

content idea generator

Sometimes, all you need is a lightweight tool to help you do some brainstorming.

Content Idea Generator by Portent will get you there by tossing out potential titles for just about any keyword you care to name.

Its breezy approach to idea-making might not suit every single subject, but it furnishes a quick breakdown of each suggestion so you can craft even better blog titles yourself.

8. Keyword Tool Dominator

If you want to crush the competition on a wide range of platforms, Keyword Tool Dominator might be the winning choice for you.

Not only does it include a suite of keyword research options for Google, but also Google Shopping, YouTube, Bing, Amazon, eBay, and even Etsy.

It’ll even pitch long tail keyword ideas for you. This can potentially replace a dozen other apps!

9. Quora, Reddit, and the Rest


Forum sites like Quora and Reddit deserve a mention when it comes to content research.

Sure, they’re not traditional research tools, but they can give you a candid perspective on what people are thinking.

Experts post deep answers to Quora questions and Reddit’s high-traffic forum are a cross-section of beginner and intermediate perspectives in many fields. Check them out!

When it comes to a comprehensive and consistent content marketing campaign, you just don’t have the time to do your research the old-fashioned way (that is, with the same search engines you’re trying to sway with your amazing content!)

These research tools will give you an ace up your sleeve when you need to maximize the impact of your keywords, content, and outreach.

Your next campaign will pack an even bigger wallop – and in many cases you won’t even need to spend a cent. What could be better than that?

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Rob Steffens

Rob Steffens

I am the Director of Marketing here at Bluleadz. I'm a huge baseball fan (Go Yankees!). I love spending time with friends and getting some exercise on the Racquetball court.