written by
Margo Ovsiienko

9 Tools Content Teams Should Be Using in 2021

Content Marketing Content Collaboration 7 min read

According to Salesforce, a whopping 86% of employees and executives perceive a lack of collaboration as the main reason for business failure. On the contrary, businesses that support more effective communication manage to retain their employees better, achieving 50% lower employee turnover.

With the pandemic outbreak, those teams working from an office suddenly were forced to move to a 100% remote work setup. As a result, the popularity of online tools has surged drastically. Just take a look at a rapid increase in Microsoft Teams' active users at the beginning of 2020.

Source: Statista

Communication is one of the most challenging aspects of effective team collaboration, especially a remote one. How can your creative team avoid friction in communication and increase its productivity while working 100% remotely? Let’s explore some of the tools that will help you in this process.

1. Time-tracking tools

Popular time-tracking tools

  • Clockify
  • Toggl
  • Harvest
  • Timing App
  • RescueTime
  • Timely
  • Everhour

When working on content production and distribution, one needs to understand the impact content has on its bottom line and measure the profitability of various content forms – webinars, articles, and guide books. That is why teams need to show how the time they spend on content creation translates into sales and revenue.

Tracking time more accurately can help your team understand the content "winners" and spend less time on the activities that don't translate into profit. Also, accurate time-tracking will help your team understand its biggest distractions – long cooler breaks, addictive Facebook activity, or emails.

By tracking time spent across different applications and tasks, you can better understand how you are spending your workdays. If you work on an hourly basis, you know how it goes with time-tracking tools – you just forget to record something, and it affects your monthly report. Then you have to remind yourself and manually record time at the end of the month. Sounds familiar?

With Toggl, you can automatically record the time spent across applications on your computer – there is no need to register it manually. This way, nothing will slip through the cracks.

Source: Toggl

2. Marketing automation tools

Popular marketing automation tools

  • Active Campaign
  • Outfunnel
  • User.com
  • Pardot
  • Marketo
  • AWeber

According to Review 42, 75% of companies are currently using at least one marketing automation system. However, sometimes, teams make a mistake by choosing a complex all-in-one marketing automation tool that doesn't serve their needs the best. As a result, the team ends up using just 10% of the tool's capabilities. Such tools are usually quite expensive, and with a tight budget, you might need to keep a close eye on your spendings.

Remember – you don't need to hire Gordon Ramsay to peel the carrots. Start by understanding what features would be necessary for your content team to achieve their goals.

Perhaps, you need a tool that will help implement a scoring system or contact tagging, making it a priority feature when researching your options.

If you need to send newsletters and triggered emails for your eCommerce store, a tool such as SmartMail would be just enough. However, if you are running complex campaigns for a tech business, Active Campaign or Hubspot might be the best choice.

In some cases, it is worth considering a tool that would connect marketing and sales. In this case, you can choose Outfunnel or related marketing automation tools with CRM.

3. Content marketing tools

Popular content marketing tools

  • StoryChief
  • Semrush
  • Ahrefs
  • Buzzsumo
  • Evernote
  • Canva

Content marketing teams tend to have an excess of tools that can ultimately decrease their productivity rather than increase it. Instead of juggling among dozens of tools, consider choosing one content marketing tool which will help you achieve the following goals:

  • publish content to multiple social media platforms in one click
  • create engaging content optimized for SEO purposes
  • facilitate collaboration among team members
  • offer simple task approval flow
  • track performance with dashboards

For instance, with StoryChief, you can improve collaboration with your team by setting up requirements and deadlines, assigning tasks, approving or declining the drafts.

By ticking all these boxes, your content marketing tool will make it much easier for you to manage your content team's work and track results – all in one place.

4. User onboarding tools

Popular user onboarding tools

  • Userpilot
  • AuthO
  • VidGrid
  • Loom
  • User.com
  • Drip
  • Customer.io

After getting customers to use your product, the churn risk in subscription businesses stays high without proper onboarding. As content teams need to take care of the email sequences, ad copy, and integrate existing content into the onboarding experience, they need to have a reliable tool to bring all these puzzle pieces together.

An excellent onboarding tool no longer focuses on sending the same messages to all users and automating manual activities. The superpower of the best onboarding tools is offering the right message for the right user at the right time. What does that mean?

Instead of offering the same emails and app walkthrough to all users, you can adjust content to what a user wants to do at the moment.

Take a look at the example of Trello that onboard users on a welcome board.

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Trello helps users discover various features in the form of a board checklist. During the onboarding process, users can experience how a tool works in real life.

Also, users can quickly speed up the learning process by skipping the elements they already know. This way, a walkthrough can be easily adjusted to the user's current knowledge about the tool.

5. Video marketing tools

Popular video marketing tools

  • Vyond
  • Animoto
  • Biteable
  • Renderforest
  • MotionDen
  • Vidyard
  • Filmora Pro

51% of marketers claim video generates the highest ROI among other content forms. You can incorporate video in your content marketing plan and use it in different stages of your digital marketing funnel.

On the one hand, you can use video marketing tools to educate your audience and build awareness about your brand as Moz does it. On the other hand, you can also show it at the conversion stage where your leads need a final push to buy a product – on testimonials or case studies.

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Source: YouTube

With the abundance of video marketing tools, you can cut the time on producing high-quality videos without involving a video crew.

6. Chatbot tools

Popular chatbot tools

  • Tidio
  • Drift
  • Botsify
  • Chatfuel
  • Flow XO
  • ChatterOn
  • Pandorabots

There are various advantages of live chat for customer support teams. However, marketing teams can also benefit from using an automated version of live chats – chatbots.

For example, you can show your visitors some of your guidebooks or recent webinars to educate them on the challenges that your product solves. By displaying chatbots that encourage you to download your free materials, you can generate more leads on your blog.

Check out how Tidio is utilizing the power of chatbots to generate more leads.

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7. Task management tools

Popular task management tools

  • Clickup
  • Todoist
  • Asana
  • Trello
  • Hitask
  • Taskworld
  • Wimi

If you prefer to have a separate task management tool for your content team, you should consider the following functions which will help you collaborate with your colleagues more effectively:

  • Assigning tasks to team members
  • Using predefined templates
  • Setting deadlines
  • Getting reminders about upcoming deadlines
  • Writing comments to tasks and tag coworkers
  • Setting priority tasks
  • Changing views (list, box, board views)
  • Checking a goal completion status

With a variety of productivity tools available on the market, you can quickly boost team performance by a few points after introducing some good practices of task management.

8. Learning management systems

Popular learning management systems

  • Thinkific
  • Kajabi
  • AcademyOcean
  • LearnWorlds
  • Teachable
  • TalentCards
  • Edsby

If you are considering offering online courses to educate your visitors on your product's capabilities, use learning management systems (LMS). There are a few you can already know, such as Teachable and Kajabi. You can also consider LearnWorlds and AcademyOcean as alternatives.

Choose a platform that helps set up and download course materials quickly and easily integrates with your other tools, such as marketing automation systems.

Here are some more criteria you should take into account when choosing your next LMS:

  • Page builder capabilities
  • Mobile-friendly interface
  • Necessary integrations
  • Quizzes, surveys, and certificates
  • Reports on usage
  • Pricing plans (if you offer paid courses)
  • Page and styling customization options

9. Appointment scheduling tools

Popular appointment scheduling tools

  • Calendly
  • Doodle
  • Genbook
  • SimplyBook
  • Appoint.ly
  • Setmore
  • Meetingbird

Appointment scheduling tools can come in handy on the last stage in your digital marketing funnel, where your marketing qualified leads convert into sales qualified ones.

Usually, one would have to manually check the leads and send a request to book an appointment or call. However, as marketing teams aim to automate time-consuming tasks and facilitate the sales department's work, you should consider integrating an appointment scheduling tool to get more hot leads to become your clients.

By using such tools, you can shorten the sales process and improve customer experience. Of course, choose the right tool for your business. A tech startup would schedule appointments through Calendly or Doodle, while a traditional company would choose Genbook.

Check out how Genbook is making it simple to get a calendar organized for traditional businesses.

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When you don't need to use all the tools at once, you can consider testing some of the mentioned tools that are new to you as they can considerably improve the quality of team collaboration and optimize processes. Which one is going to be your pick to test in 2021?

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