If there’s one thing I love about yoga besides the catnap at the end, it’s that instructors will often remind you that the practice is not a competition. “Don’t let what others are doing affect your practice,” they’ll say. Or, “No one is grading you on your performance.” Lovely sentiments.
But not in the content marketing world.
Standing out in the elbow-to-elbow class of content marketing practitioners requires more of a competitive spirit than most of us are willing to admit. Perhaps the one saving grace of the content game is that armed with the right tools, you can see how you and your company measure up. By understanding where you stand, you can better optimize content, gauge your authority on specific topics (as well as the authority of your contributors if you have them), track your successes and improve overall content performance.
Your analytics are a great place to start to look, but if you want even more metrics to gauge authorship, social, content, and SEO authority, check out the following tools.
Content Analysis Tools
Atomic Reach is a scoring engine that analyzes content based on the quality and relevance in relation to your audience. The central product is the Atomic Engager CMS plugin that enables users to optimize content before it’s published. Available for popular platforms and as a lighter version on their website, the plugin generates an “Atomic Reach” score associated with your audience and grades the content on audience, blog structure, and linguistic elements.
Though it won't help you predict the future, this tool can help you see how well your content is optimized for your audience before you push the publish button. Though the full Atomic product start at $500 per month, the "lite" tool is free to use on their website. Here’s an example of how content displays on Atomic Reach:
Influencer Ranking Tools
ClearVoice is a tool that gauges author authority with a transparent index of the world's top content producers categorized by topic. Using Google+ and Twitter authorship markup, the “ClearVoice Score” weighs a writer’s influence by an algorithm that takes into account the domain authority of sites that the writer contributes to, how often the writer publishes, how many sites the author contributes to, and how much the writer’s content is shared on social networks.
As a marketer, ClearVoice gives you the power to rate your own performance as a content creator and find authoritative folks in your industry to work with -- the ClearVoice Score and Profile are free for public use.
BuzzSumo shows you the most shared links and key influencers for any topic or website. BuzzSumo is useful when creating your content strategy plan because it enables you to perform outreach and competitive research on topics affecting your industry, and see which content on your site is getting the most shares. These results can help you create an editorial calendar around popular subjects.
BuzzSumo has a free plan that allows you to perform up to 10 free searches a day and two free content alerts. The “Pro Plan” starts at $99 per month for three users.
Social Influence Tools
Though it's gotten a bad rep as of late, Klout can help you gauge your social influence. Klout is a website and mobile app that uses social media analytics to rank the online influence of its users via the "Klout Score," which is a value between 1 and 100 -- the closer you are to 100, the more influential you are. While it's not the be-all-end-all metric to get an idea of your success, it can give you a general understanding of how you're doing on social. Klout recently upped the ante by providing curated content to its users, which is extremely helpful in seeding your own social media feeds with other related content.
Klout is free for public use -- just make sure you sign in using your Twitter or Facebook account to connect your true social value!
Where the algorithm behind the Klout Score can be somewhat murky, Kred provides a more transparent interface of how a person’s “Kred Story” is built.
Kred provides two scores: influence and outreach. Your influence is scored on a 1,000-point scale measured by the frequency of how much you are retweeted, replied to, mentioned and followed on Twitter. You also get influence points from your Facebook profile (if connected) calculated from interactions on your wall and those of others with a Kred account.
Your outreach score is measured by the your retweets, replies to, and mentions of others on Twitter. Same goes for Facebook if you’re connected. Your outreach score is cumulative and continues to increase with the highest possible current score of 12. Your “Kredenitals” screen summarizes these scores along with most-used hashtags, top communities, interactions, and mentions.
Kred is free if you set up a individual account, while Kred for Brands has a cost associated with it.
SEO Performance Tools
(Note for HubSpot customers: These two tools can give you additional context to the data in your Keywords report.)
Moz Open Site Explorer
Moz is a great resource for discovering the SEO prowess of a web page and they offer an few tools to help you improve site performance. Open Site Explorer may be among the most useful for you when it comes to cold, hard data. This database of links data enables you to research which sites are currently linking to yours, uncover links that are linking to old or “broken” pages, research your competitors or peers to see who is linking to them and gain an overall understanding of your domain authority.
Authority and link metrics are available for free, however Moz Pro users can see social metrics for rates starting at $99 per month. If you are a part of a company with a smaller marketing budget, stick with the free version of Open Site Explorer.
WordStream provides tools that help make your search marketing campaigns more organized and ultimately, more profitable. Their suite of Free Keyword Tools give you the power to research the most relevant keywords within your industry including an online SEO keyword suggestion tool, a niche keyword finder, a keyword list grouper tool, and a negative keyword finder. These tools help you manage your paid and organic search initiatives with a better understanding of the best (and worst) keywords within your vertical.
The Free Keyword Tool is free for users: You get 10 free keyword searches up-front, then one free keyword search per day going forward.
While many of these tools overlap on the metrics they provide, they can each give you an awareness of the various components that affect your effectiveness as a digital marketing practitioner. Find the tools that work for you and commit to using them over an extended period of time so you can understand the nuances of each while tracking your success.
And if you need a refresher on the overall importance of online authority and how SEO and social media work together to improve your performance as a marketer, you can download the iAcquire and HubSpot’s ebook, Intersection of SEO and Social Media.
Originally published Aug 19, 2014 2:00:00 PM, updated July 28 2017