Savvy marketers know how critical content marketing can be to their overall success.
So much so… that the phrase “content is king” has become a cringe-worthy cliché.
For good reason.
Now, marketing teams are scrambling to not only publish top-notch content their audience will love… but also to do it consistently, accurately, and on time.
That’s a lot.
Because you’re not just creating content.
You’re scheduling meetings, doing research, juggling contributors, receiving feedback (or hearing crickets because so-and-so hasn’t touched their inbox since the 90’s), pivoting strategy,
creating first (second…third…fourth…😒) drafts, deciphering email strings, and simply trying to keep track of every…single…detail.
And that’s all before design steps in and does their magic.
So if content is king… let’s consider organization queen.
Organization is the essential part of your content strategy that holds it all together. The unsung hero that saves your sanity day after day.
Organization can take many forms… spreadsheets, calendars, sticky notes, etc…
But if you want your content to scale, you deserve a content planning tool that allows you to do so without tearing your hair out.
What Is A Content Planning Tool?
For the purpose of this post, a content planning tool is defined as:
A marketing software that is comprised of the planning + creation of a team’s content marketing in a single place.
Download Your Content Planning Tools Comparison Grader
Not all teams are the same…
Meaning not all needs are the same…
More than likely your wishlist items are going to differ from company X’s.
So why would you trust another person’s opinion of what your unique needs are?
This is where the Comparison Grader steps in.
This grader takes the top features necessary for the planning and creation of content marketing (spoiler: continue reading for a breakdown of each of these)… and grades the top 7 tools against which features YOU decide are most important.
What does that mean for you? You will be able to have a complete overview of which tools most closely reflect your content marketing wishlist WITHOUT having to dig through website subpages and reviews to do so.
Instructions For Use:
- Download your Content Planning Tools Comparison Grader
- Use Column B to rank each feature from 1 (low priority) to 5 (high priority)
- Use the Totals to determine which content planning tools most closely meet your needs.
- Reference the “instructions” tab if you get stuck
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Content Planning Tools Comparison
Comprehensive Content Planning Workflow Features
Unfortunately, many type-A marketers operate under inefficient organization.
It’s not ineffective <-- that’s important.
You make it work… But there could be a better way.
It’s important that your content planning tool takes away all of the makeshift organization tactics you have simply gotten used to… Instead, you can use your time and energy to focus on the things that matter.
Inefficiencies you can eliminate with a content planning tool:
- Email threads
- Whiteboard wall calendars
- Sticky note reminders
- Office drop-by’s
- Meetings to “touch base”
- Too many rounds of edits
- Last minute “all hands on deck” fire drills
CoSchedule has a beautiful, bright, drag + drop calendar layout allowing you to see your entire workflow at a birds-eye view. With features like color-coding and filtered views, users can easily differentiate between project types. Where CoSchedule falls short of some of the other top tools is having no built-in asset storage within the app.
Self-defined as “part spreadsheet, part database,” Airtable is just that. It has a lot of the functionality marketers know and love of spreadsheets with additional features worked in. Because of this, there are some limitations when it comes to approvals or asset storage.
DivvyHQ checks off an impressive amount of content planning workflow features. What Divvy lacks is the overall visual appeal within the tool.
Unlike most of the tools, Monday is not based within a calendar layout. Instead, Monday operates within a “board” which is the place you keep track of tasks, projects, and progress. Additionally, Monday is missing a few of the key features related to tasks and approvals.
With the aim to “gather and organize content in one place,” Gather Content does just that. The tool has visual workflows, however not in a calendar format. As far as content planning goes, Gather Content brings all your content to one place, but lacks in workflow capability.
Content DJ offers a visual calendar with color-coding capability so you can get out of spreadsheets and see your content in a single view. Where it falls short is with a few of the task-based features essential for planning such as approvals, progress, and checklists.
Mintent allows you to keep track of all the details in one software. Their calendar view allows you to have visibility of your team’s bandwidth while building workflows. Mintent lacks a few of the additional planning features such as checklists, drag + drop functionality, or a progress bar.
Content Creation Feature Comparison
Have you ever been so enveloped in a project, only to realize later you have multiple browser windows open with gazillions of tabs? Tirelessly switching back and forth, accidentally minimizing the ones you need, losing train of thought...even if you’re in the zone, this isn’t the most productive way to work through your tasks.
Now that you’ve effectively planned your content, the ideal tool will allow you to create your killer content alongside everything else.
Whether you use WordPress, Google Drive, or Evernote… Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest… Campaign Monitor, MailChimp, or Constant Contact.... Each of these play an important role in how your team create and distribute content.
Although it might not be essential, it is incredibly beneficial that your favorite tools all play nicely together.
Here is a list of the commonly used integrations that are important to content marketers:
With a healthy list of integrations (+ growing), CoSchedule allows marketers to plan and create content within the single calendar view. Recently, CoSchedule added email marketing to the mix, integrating with the top email platforms: Constant Contact, MailChimp, ActiveCampaign, and Campaign Monitor (more coming soon).
Airtable integrates with many of your favorite content creation tools. In addition, the tool integrates with most, but not all, social media networks. Where Airtable falls short is lack of email marketing integration.
DivvyHQ allows for Google Drive and WordPress integrations, along with limited social media integrations.
Monday works with Google Drive, Excel, Zapier, and more, however lacks overall with social media integrations.
While it connects with WordPress, Gather Content lacks many of the other key content planning integrations. The tool does connect to a variety of CMS depending on your needs.
Content DJ connects with WordPress as well as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. However, there is currently no email integration capability within the tool.
Mintent has WordPress integrations, as well as options for integrating with marketing automation tools. The tool does integrate with LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook at this time.
Content Planning Tool Pricing Comparison
Pricing is an all too familiar roadblock for marketers.
Regardless if you or your boss hold the credit card, there’s still a budget your department needs to stick to.
But once you find a tool that checks off all of your wishlist items, it more than likely will be well worth the investment in you and your team.
The perfect content planning tool will:
- Save you time (therefore $$$)
- Save your team frustration (avoid burnout)
- Allow you to do MORE…. faster
BUT since the pricetag does indeed matter… this post wouldn’t be complete without an overview of pricing.
CoSchedule’s plans/pricing differ for individual, business, or agency plans. Individual plans begin at $40/month and business plans start from $60/month. Each plan type offers a 14-day free trial.
Airtable comes in as the cheapest tool on the list- they even have a limited free version available. From there, dependent on features plans are $10-$20/user/month.
From $25 to $195 per month, per user, Divvy’s plan’s are dependent upon the unique features your team would be interested in. If Divvy meets most of your content planning needs, they offer a free 14-trial to see if they are right for you.
Depending on team size, Monday’s pricing will widely vary. Prices vary from $25/month to over $2000 depending on users and features. In addition, Monday does also offer a free trial.
Gather Content’s pricing varies from $79-$259/month depending on the amount of projects your team needs to tackle each month. If you’re looking to see how it fits your needs, Gather Content offers a free 30 day trial to get started.
Plans are priced from $29-$69 per month, and per user… depending upon which features you would like included. They offer a free 14-day trial run.
Mintent has tiered pricing dependent on users starting at $500/month. They recommend setting up a free demo to see which plan would best meet your needs.
Choosing The Best Content Planning Tool For You
Hopefully, this post has helped outline the right tool for your team (or at the very least given you a good place to start). The best way to know for sure which content planning tool will meet your needs is to take advantage of the free trial period and play around. What features of a content planning tool matter most for you? Share in the comments below and get the conversation rolling.