There are a zillion tools that can be used to optimize your content strategy and content marketing efforts. So, let's get right to business and look at some of the best free, hand-picked and highly recommended content marketing tools that will make your process of content planning, creation and distribution that much easier:

Screenshots And Annotation Tools

Whether you are going through the planning process or you're writing a blog (much like this one), you may at some point need to take screen shots or grab content from other sites.

Some handy tools for this are:

1. Awesome Screenshot:

Awesome Screenshot Content Marketing Tool

This tool does its name justice. We often use this screenshot annotation tool within WooRank to visually illustrate ideas and suggestions between co-workers. With the handy toolbar add-on for Chrome and FireFox, all you have to do is click on the icon, choose between three capture options to get the temporary link, then share with your team.

You can also save screenshots without annotations in .jpeg format to publish in your blog content.

In-House Images and Infographic Tools

2. Canva:

Canva Images And Infographics Content Marketing Tool

Canva Images And Infographics Content Marketing Tool

Create custom graphics for your marketing material in a few seconds. This is a great tool to channel your creativity into creating novel and unique images to publish within your content. You can also create quick custom Facebook cover photos.

Free templates are limited but you can use your own images free of charge with free backgrounds. Paid images cost as little as $1.00.

Take a look at a sample free template from Canva below, which is easy to edit with drag and drop options:

Canva Blographic Sample Free Template

3. ThingLink:

ThingLink Images And Infographics Content Marketing Tool

If only you could make your images talk. Oh wait, there's an app for that… the Thinglink app.

It's amazing the way techies think while creating these apps. Who would have thought that you could link to images, videos, music, websites and write text dialogue on graphics uploaded straight from your camera? No sophisticated photo software or web developer required. Adding clickable links onto still photography is also pretty fabulous, and the basic package is free! Try this app for your content and put a modern spin on your marketing materials.

4. PiktoChart/ InfoGram/ Easelly:

Infographics Tool For  Content Marketing

Learn about these incredible free infographic creation tools for your content in our blog on the Top 3 Free Infographics Tools For Small Businesses.

Content Research Tools

5. Google Analytics/Google Search Console:

Almost every business aims to build content to rank them higher in SERPs on Google. If you are one of them you will need to use these two major free tools provided by Google for your content marketing research.

Keyword Research Tools:

There are many tools for keyword research and since this is a post about free tools, here's a list of 16 Free Keyword Research Tools.

6. BuzzSumo:

Buzzsumo Content Research Tool For Content Marketing

Buzzsumo Content Research Tool For Content Marketing

While content research almost always requires researching trending keywords, sometimes it also helps to research trending topics, or topics that are freshly published.

A Google search may give you intriguing results when you modify your search based on time, and BuzzSumo gives you a similar experience but with a social touch. It is a sort of merge between the search engine experience and social analytics.

Content in your niche topics can be searched according to time – 24 hours old, a week old, a month old or 6 months old. The tool shows you content in the order of highest Google+ shares, Facebook likes, LinkedIn shares and Twitter shares. You can also segment your search based on the type of content that you want to research for, such as article, infographics, videos, guest posts, giveaways and interviews.

Content Planning/Organizational Tools

7. Microsoft Excel Editorial Calendar:

An editorial calendar helps you plan things ahead of time and keeps your content marketing efforts scheduled and organized. At WooRank we have one that is shared among our colleagues via Google Drive.

Note: Google Drive is a great content marketing tool in and of itself, where you can share many other content marketing related items, such as reports, notes, Microsoft word docs, music, videos, images and so on.

Learn more about creating and maintaining an editorial calendar in this post titled How to Put Together an Editorial Calendar for Content Marketing.

8. Trello:

Trello Content Organizing Tool For Content Marketing

WooRank is a big fan of Trello; it's like having a virtual sticky note board with organized columns. You can structure your flow of content planning, creation and execution by titling the columns, identifying cards (notes) by color and using stickers. Trello boards can be shared with your colleagues to keep them in the know about the progress of every single content marketing project in the company.

9. Storify:

Content Curation Tool For Content Marketing

Storify is an organizing tool perfect for content curators.

Though similar to a blogging platform, Storify also has an integrated content creation/research tool. On the right you have the facility to look for relevant videos, images, tweets and other kinds of social media content on a topic. You can then choose what information you want to collect and drag it to the left. The left column consists of a draft post that you can either publish on Storify, embed on one's own blogging platform or use for in-house sharing of drafted ideas.

10. Evernote:

Evernote Content Planner Content Marketing Tool

Sometimes you have eureka moments for your content strategy but you may not be ready to create the content immediately. Unless you have a photographic memory, I recommended you download this useful note-making app on your desktop, tablet or phone. It allows you to store images, text, links and even whole web pages.

Content Writing and Editing Tools

11. Word 2 Clean HTML:

Word2cleanhtml Content Editing Tool For Content Marketing Content Editing Tool For Content Marketing

Most of us bloggers or web content writers prefer drafting content in something akin to a Microsoft Word doc. But no matter how well we edit the draft for font sizes, line spacing, headings and so on, formatting never copies to a CMS editor the way it's supposed to! A solution to this problem is this very simple tool that converts your word draft to HTML and makes it easy to transfer to the CMS your blog or website is built on.

12. Image Editing Tool For Content Marketing

An image editing tool anyone? Re-sizing your images for your web pages or blog is no longer a hassle with this easy online tool that I swear even a toddler could operate.

13. Polish My Writing:

Polish My Writing Content Editing Tool For Content Markeitng

If you want a quick spell check, grammar check and style suggestion from an online tool, this one's for you. Manual proof reading is a must, but this online content proof reading tool comes in handy for preventing those sneaky human errors.

Content Sharing Tools

14. Click To Tweet:

Click To Tweet Content Sharing Tool For Content Marketing

If you think you have produced a killer piece of content and want to make it easy for your readers to share it on Twitter, this is the app for you. Like the name suggests, it allows your users to 'click to tweet' your content, right in the content. You just have to enter your content in the tool to get an embed code to include next to the sentence you want your fans to tweet. You can use the anchor text Click to Tweet or Tweet It! or anything else that suits your style.

The best part about this app is that you can track the tweets originating from your content.

You may also be interested in this list of useful content sharing tools in the blog titled Tools and Tips for Integrating Social Media into Your Website.

What content marketing tool can you not live without?