13 Best Content Marketing Tools and Plugins for WordPress (Expert Pick)

Creating compelling content is crucial for driving traffic, leads, and sales. But with countless options, it‘s hard to know where to start.

As an experienced webmaster, I‘ve tested a ton of content tools over 15+ years. In this comprehensive 2400+ word guide, I‘ll share the 13 best content marketing plugins and services I recommend for WordPress.

These tools will help you:

  • Research what content to create
  • Optimize it for higher rankings
  • Distribute and promote it effectively
  • Analyze performance to improve

Let‘s dive in!

Why You Need Content Marketing Tools

Without the right tools, it‘s tough to succeed with content marketing.

Here are some of the key benefits these tools provide:

  • Identify the most profitable topics and keywords – You want to create content that captures search interest and fits your brand. Tools provide data to discover these opportunities.

  • Create optimized, high-quality content – Your content needs to be well-written, designed, and formatted to attract links and shares. The right tools make this achievable.

  • Promote and distribute content wider – Creating content isn‘t enough. You need help spreading it widely through social media, email, etc. to maximize reach.

  • Track performance and analyze data – How will you know what content works if you don‘t track key metrics? Analytics tools connect the dots.

  • Gain competitive insights – Spying on competitors reveals inside intelligence to inform your own strategy. Content tools make this possible.

Bottom line? Content tools provide leverage to make this crucial marketing channel work better. Let‘s look at my top recommendations:

1. Ahrefs – Discover Untapped Keyword Opportunities

Your content needs to target keywords and topics people are searching for in order to rank and drive traffic.

Ahrefs helps you tap into Google‘s goldmine of search data to identify the most profitable keywords and content opportunities.

I‘ve used Ahrefs for years to expand beyond just guessing keywords. Its massive database provides search volume, keyword difficulty scores, and suggested questions/topics for every seed keyword.

For example, for "content marketing tools" it reveals high-volume, low-difficulty keywords like:

  • content creation tools
  • best content writing tools
  • content promotion tools

along with hundreds more. This exponentially expands my content research.

You can also analyze the keywords your competitors rank for and discover gaps where you can outrank them by targeting untapped keywords.

The Content Explorer feature helps generate content ideas based on trending topics and previously successful content. This reveals what actually resonates with readers.

By integrating Ahrefs with your WordPress site, you can seamlessly take keyword research from idea to published content.

I find Ahrefs to be worth every penny, and they offer a 7-day $7 trial so you can test it out risk-free.

2. BuzzSumo – Analyze High-Performing Competitor Content

While keyword data is hugely valuable, you also want to know what specific content is working well for any topic. This is where BuzzSumo shines.

BuzzSumo analyzes billions of web pages to show you the highest-performing content around any subject.

For example, if you search for "wordpress security", it surfaces viral articles and top posts like:

Title/URL Facebook Shares
The Complete Guide to WordPress Security 2.2k
How to Easily Improve Your WordPress Security 1.8k

You can quickly model what resonates based on social shares, backlinks and keywords ranking. This makes creating winning content much easier!

BuzzSumo also offers content alerts so you can spy on competitors and stay on top of emerging trends.

I‘ve been using it for years to reverse engineer what works and rapidly grow traffic. It‘s paid but arguably worth the money for the unique intelligence it provides.

3. Canva – Design Stunning Visual Content

Content without visuals falls flat in today‘s web. But not all of us are designers. This is where Canva comes to the rescue!

Canva makes it stupidly easy for anyone to create pro-level visual content. We‘re talking:

✔️ YouTube Thumbnails
✔️ Infographics
✔️ Social Media Graphics
✔️ Logos
✔️ Presentations
✔️ Flyers

…and so much more.

Over 75,000 templates let you hit the ground running. Just customize images, icons, fonts, colors, and elements to match your brand.

Drag-and-drop simplicity + a massive library of 1 million stock photos, videos, and audio clips help you create eye-catching visual content fast – no design expertise needed.

I use Canva to quickly whip up custom images, graphs, and visuals that make my content stand out and convert readers better.

It‘s free to use with a premium paid option that unlocks some additional features. Their iOS/Android apps are great for creating on-the-go too.

4. Grammarly – Catch Errors and Write Confidently

Even the best content won‘t impress readers if it‘s littered with typos, grammar errors, and clunky writing.

This is why I love Grammarly. It‘s an AI-powered writing assistant that helps you write mistake-free content with confidence.

The browser extension catches 250+ grammar, spelling, punctuation, and syntax issues in real-time as you write in WordPress.

By showing you these mistakes immediately, you can fix them on the spot for clean, polished writing.

Grammarly also offers an AI writing assistant that provides tone adjustments and vocabulary enhancement suggestions. This helps your writing communicate ideas more clearly and engagingly.

On a personal note, I wish Grammarly existed when I started content marketing 15 years ago! It helps me produce professional-grade content much more efficiently.

The free version covers basic spelling/grammar. Premium adds the advanced writing suggestions and other in-depth corrections – worthwhile for serious content creation.

5. Yoast SEO – Optimize Content for Higher Rankings

Just creating content isn‘t enough – you need it to rank. This is where on-page SEO comes in.

Yoast SEO is the #1 WordPress SEO plugin I recommend, with over 5 million active installs. And for good reason…

It adds key SEO optimizations to make Google love your content, including:

  • Titles & meta descriptions
  • XML sitemaps
  • Schema markup for rich snippets
  • Open graph tags for social sharing
  • SEO-friendly URLs
  • …and lots more.

But where Yoast really shines is its content analysis feature.

As you write posts, it provides a real-time SEO score and actionable feedback about how to improve it. I love this because it lets me optimize content while writing vs. going back after.

It looks for SEO-relevant keyphrases in your copy, checks that subheadings are used properly, and much more. This helps maximize search traffic.

For in-depth WordPress SEO guidance, see my complete Yoast SEO tutorial.

6. MonsterInsights – Uncover Detailed Analytics Insights

Understanding how people find and interact with your content is crucial for optimization. This is where analytics shine.

MonsterInsights is my top analytics recommendation due to its deep integration with WordPress.

It connects Google Analytics directly to your site for powerful insights without the manual reporting.

MonsterInsights adds a reports dashboard right in your WP admin area. This reveals stats like:

  • Top landing/exit pages
  • Traffic sources
  • Top content
  • Engagement metrics
  • Ecommerce data
  • Form conversion rates
  • Popular device types

You can even add custom event tracking code to analyze user behavior.

These insights help you double down on high-performing content while improving underperforming areas. Optimization gets way easier.

MonsterInsights is free to install with a Pro upgrade for advanced ecommerce, email, and Ads tracking.

7. SEMrush – Uncover Competitors‘ Top Content

Your competitors‘ content strategy reveals smart ideas you can model and gaps to target.

SEMrush makes competitor research easy. It‘s an all-in-one toolkit I‘ve used for years to analyze competitors in detail.

With SEMrush you can uncover:

  • Keywords they rank for
  • Highest-trafficked pages
  • Top-performing content by social media metrics
  • Backlink sources
  • Paid ads strategy

These datapoints give you rare insight into what‘s working that you can apply to your own content.

It also helps you identify weak spots – like topics they aren‘t targeting – where you can swoop in and outrank them.

SEMrush integrates with Google Search Console data for in-depth optimization opportunities. The free trial lets you test it out.

8. SharedCount – Add Social Sharing Buttons

Getting visitors to share your content on social media is key for amplification.

SharedCount makes this easy with customizable social sharing buttons.

It supports all major networks:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Email
  • LinkedIn
  • Reddit
  • WhatsApp

And with the pro plan, you can enable share counters to showcase social proof.

SharedCount uses cookieless tracking for speedy load times. And you can pick from modern icon styles that fit seamlessly into your content.

Installing this lightweight plugin is an easy way to boost social sharing traffic.

9. Revive Old Posts – Repurpose Evergreen Content

The secret every smart content marketer knows? Repurpose your evergreen content!

This lets you maximize the mileage from existing assets vs. starting from scratch each time.

Revive Old Posts makes it easy to breathe new life into your back catalog of content.

It automatically shares old posts to social media profiles on autopilot. You pick the frequency and social accounts.

This helps new followers discover gems they may have missed. And it takes mere minutes to set up.

On WPBeginner, we use Revive Old Posts daily to recirculate evergreen content, saving tons of time while boosting traffic. It works incredibly well.

I highly recommend using this free plugin if you want more return from existing content.

10. Headline Analyzer – A/B Test Headlines

Your headline makes the first impression that determines if readers will click.

Crafting the perfect headline is part art, part science. That‘s where tools like Headline Analyzer come in.

It helps you A/B test multiple headlines to see which resonates most with your target audience.

Just enter your base headline, and Headline Analyzer generates additional versions optimized for engagement and social sharing.

You can also compare headlines side-by-side based on emotional appeal and click potential.

Here are some sample outputs for the headline "How to Learn JavaScript":

  • How to Learn JavaScript (Neutral)
  • Learn JavaScript Fast – Here‘s How (Curiosity)
  • Never Struggle with JavaScript Again! (Sensation)

Tools like this provide data-backed guidance for headlines that attract clicks and social engagement.

The free plan offers enough features to test basic headlines. Paid plans include more variations and predictive scoring.

11. OptinMonster – Convert More Leads

Driving traffic through content is great…but if visitors don‘t convert, what‘s the point?

This is why lead generation tools like OptinMonster are so important.

OptinMonster makes it easy to convert more website visitors into leads and subscribers with "conversion technology" like:

  • Lightbox popups
  • Fullscreen welcome mats
  • Scroll boxes
  • Spin-a-wheel popups
  • Slide-ins
  • Custom form widgets

These high-converting opt-ins help you reduce bounce rates, promote offers, and grow your email list.

You can connect OptinMonster popups to all major email services like Mailchimp, ConvertKit, AWeber, etc. to capture more leads from your content and traffic.

We use OptinMonster on WPBeginner to convert abandoning visitors into email subscribers, and have grown our list to 400k+ users with their tech.

I suggest trying out their 14-day free trial to boost conversions from your WordPress content today.

12. MemberPress – Sell Premium Content

If you want to sell memberships or online courses, MemberPress makes it achievable.

It‘s the #1 WordPress membership plugin, powering over 30,000 sites.

With MemberPress, you can easily create and sell access to premium content while protecting it from non-paying visitors.

Features include:

✔️ Custom membership plans
✔️ User access levels
✔️ Drip content schedules
✔️course progress tracking
✔ Secure subscription management

This empowers you to monetize certain exclusive content or entire websites via memberships.

For example, you could offer:

  • A newsletter subscription
  • An online course on JavaScript
  • Masterclasses on web design
  • Early access to podcasts

And lots more. If you need WordPress membership site guidance, this MemberPress tutorial covers setup.

Overall MemberPress makes it easy to create and sell premium content that drives revenue.

13. ThirstyAffiliates – Easily Add Affiliate Links

Adding affiliate links to your content can generate profitable passive income from sales you refer.

ThirstyAffiliates streamlines this by making affiliate link management a breeze.

It allows you to easily:

  • Cloak links to track sales
  • Create link databases for all programs
  • Add affiliate links from major networks like Amazon Associates, ShareASale, Clickbank, etc.
  • Automatically insert keyword-relevant links
  • Visualize performance with reports

These features help you maximize affiliate revenue from your WordPress site with very little setup needed.

ThirstyAffiliates also offers a free version to get started with basic link cloaking and analytics.

Key Takeaways

Here are the most important lessons to take away:

  • Tap into search insights with tools like Ahrefs and SEMrush to identify what content to create

  • Analyze competitors and high-performing content using BuzzSumo for proven ideas

  • Design engaging visual content even without design skills using Canva

  • Write cleanly and clearly with an AI-powered assistant like Grammarly

  • Optimize on-page SEO using Yoast SEO for higher rankings

  • Understand performance with web analytics tools like MonsterInsights

  • Promote content wider with social media plugins like SharedCount

  • Repurpose evergreen content using Revive Old Posts for free traffic

  • Convert more visitors into leads using opt-in tools like OptinMonster

  • Sell premium content with membership solutions like MemberPress

  • Monetize with affiliate links using tools like ThirstyAffiliates

The right marketing tools provide leverage to streamline and scale content creation, promotion, analysis, and monetization.

Integrating these plugins and services into your WordPress workflow empowers you to build an efficient content marketing machine.

Start growing your traffic and revenue today!

I‘d love to hear which content tools you find most helpful. Let me know in the comments!

Written by Jason Striegel

C/C++, Java, Python, Linux developer for 18 years, A-Tech enthusiast love to share some useful tech hacks.