[dropcap2]W[/dropcap2]ordPress is the most popular CMS in the world. I have used WordPress for more than 7 years and in that time it has proved itself to be an extremely reliable platform. Every update that has been made to WordPress over the years has been genuinely useful, and the only hiccups I’ve experienced have been due to my own errors.
Therefore, I can wholeheartedly recommend it to anybody.
Over the past two years my blogging needs have changed, though. I now require more than simply a publishing platform. I have realised that I now rely heavily on editorial calendars and plugins to automate certain aspects of content creation and marketing. Thankfully, WordPress is perfect for this.
After searching online for some new plugins, I have noticed a lack of decent articles which recommend content marketing plugins for WordPress. I found this strange for two reasons: 1) There are plenty of WordPress plugins out there for content marketing and 2) I’d have thought bloggers would like to share their favourite plugins.
Don’t get me wrong, though – there are a few lists out there, but most of them have been thrown together based on this. As a WordPress user, I find this lazy.
Thankfully, I’m here to share my finds, and help fellow marketers out with some solid recommendations.
So, if you’re a content marketer using WordPress, or if you’re a self-hosted blogger using WordPress, here’s a variety of essential WordPress plugins for content marketing.
Hopefully you will discover a few treasures. This article has now been updated for 2015.
WordPress Plugins for Content Scheduling and Planning
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Good content marketing starts at the planning stage. What types of article are you going to craft? Who is going to write them? When should they be published? These content scheduling and planning plugins will help you map out your content production.
CoSchedule is a social media integrated editorial calendar for WordPress. This plugin adds editorial calendar functionality in the dashboard of the website it is installed on. It benefits from its own web app, which means that bloggers can access their calendar from anywhere. You add new titles and post details via the calendar and the software automatically drafts posts within the post queue.
This is a basic WordPress plugin that simply adds editorial calendar functionality into the dashboard – not unlike CoSchedule, actually. The difference between this plugin and Coschedule however is that Editorial Calendar is more of a reminder tool, giving you an overview of your blog and when each post will be published. It features drag and drop functionality, and moving posts around is simple.
Content Scheduler is an extremely useful plugin. It is particularly useful for marketers who need the ability to schedule content for automatic expiration, and schedule content to change at a certain time. WordPress already has a built-in schedule function, but this plugin adds extra functionality, such as the ability to define what happens upon expiration, and the ability to notify users of expiration.
This is a content marketing audit plugin that looks at your blogging, traffic, social Media, SEO, links and authority. I have tested this plugin on Content Hero and overall it’s fairly decent. It gives you actionable advice and a list of to dos to maximise a content strategy. It even sends a weekly audit via e-mail. If you’re new to content marketing this plugin will be a good tool to have in your arsenal.
I have included this content calendar after using it for two months on one of our client’s blogs. Edit Flow empowers you to collaborate with your editorial team inside WordPress, with a range of features that make collaboration easy. There’s threaded commenting, workflow notifications, user groups plus much more. It’s also easy to use and easy to set up.
WordPress Plugins for Content Optimisation
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WordPress is a blogging platform first and foremost. So, you’ll want to give your blog posts and pages the best chance of ranking well in search, right? Content optimisation plugins will help you to achieve just that.
This is a fantastic plugin that gifts webmasters the ability to embed properly constructed Schema.org microdata into blog posts and pages. There are two versions of this plugin – a free version and a premium version. I have only used the former; this allows you to embed person, product, event, organisation, movie, book, review, and recipe microdata into posts and pages quickly and easily.
SEOPressor is a tool that I recommend if you ever used InboundWriter, a tool that’s no longer available but was very good indeed. SEOPressor is a brilliant WordPress SEO plugin that’s designed to benefit authors who want to get the best exposure in the search engines. Test it out and see for yourself – it costs $5 per month though, so bear that in mind.
Squirrly SEO is my favourite content optimisation plugin for WordPress. It is packed full of features that are genuinely useful. This plugin gives you SEO advice as you’re crafting pages and posts, and it takes into account your content marketing strategy – Squirrly tracks traffic, SEO, social signals, links, plus more, and will e-mail you a report weekly on your pages or posts performance.
You’ve probably heard of this plugin, but I thought I’d include it anyway just in case you haven’t. WordPress SEO by Yoast is a fully featured optimisation plugin for your whole website. I use this plugin on a few of my websites. The feature I use the most is ‘Page Analysis’, which effectively grades your pages and posts as you’re crafting them, with tips to improve their optimisation for the search engines.
Other content optimisation tools that come highly recommended by users (but I haven’t tested myself) include Scribe.
WordPress Plugins for Content Promotion
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The distribution of your content is just as important as the creation of it – an incredible blog post is not valuable if it isn’t going to be shared and found. Here’s some of my favourite plugins for social automation and outreach.
NextScripts: Social Networks Auto-Poster (or SNAP, for short) will automatically publish your new blog posts to Blogger, Delicious, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, plus many more social networks. I use this social media automation plugin on a few of my personal blog’s, and it’s a reliable and easy way to get a quick share count.
Microblog Poster does the exact same job as SNAP, only better. The reason I don’t use this plugin as much as SNAP is because I’ve gotten so used to the SNAP interface. I recommend Microblog Poster to bloggers who want to automate some of their social media marketing. Remember, though – the key to good social outreach is connecting with people. Automation CANNOT do this for you.
This is perhaps my most used outreach plugin. Traditionally, sending e-mail and managing newsletters has been an expensive task, but with this plugin it just isn’t. SendPress is a fully featured e-mail and newsletter management plugin that gifts WordPress users with the ability to manage e-mail marketing from within their dashboard.
My Blog Guest is a service which I use infrequently (not for Content Hero). The service works as such – you sign up as either a guest blogger or blog owner, and you either submit your article for possible inclusion on blogs or you accept articles after reviewing their quality. This automates much of the guest posting process. The My Blog Guest plugin adds this functionality to your WordPress dashboard.
WordPress Plugins for your Users
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Content is not about you – it’s about your visitors. Your job doesn’t end at crafting quality content and distributing it; once your visitor is on your website, you need to give them an experience worth sharing. Here’s plugins to achieve that.
Think your content is awesome? Then let your users decide. kk Star Ratings is an excellent post and page reviews system. You can decide where the review system will show, including posts, pages, homepage, archives, and you can also exclude categories. Importantly, this plugin is Google Rich Snippet compatible, so you could get fancy stars in the search results.This system can be abused (for good or bad), so make sure you manage this tool effectively. You can see this plugin in action at the bottom of this article (click the stars to rate this article – I hope it isn’t too shabby?).
Spam is the plague of the internet, and if you currently have comments open on your posts without a captcha field, then you’re running the risk of being targeted – this won’t harm your website, but it’ll drive you nuts having to go through your comments to sift out the gold from the sh**. This plugin will add a simple captcha field to your comment box and eliminate 99% of spam.
This plugin stands out like a sore thumb alongside my other choices, but it’s important to consider just how much site speed effects user experience. If your content loads slowly, or doesn’t load at all, your visitor will not stick around – they will go elsewhere. W3 Total Cache is an excellent WP plugin which comes recommended by big brands, not just me. This will speed up your website with some voodoo and magic.
The standard WordPress commenting system is not very social – users are asked to leave a name and e-mail address. Disqus is a social commenting platform that’s free to download and works extremely well. It takes over the regular comment system and allows users to log in with their Disqus, Facebook, or Twitter profile. It syncs existing WordPress comments and all comments are hosted on the Disqus servers.
What WordPress Plugins Do You Use?
Thank you for taking the time to read my article – I hope that you can find value from it. Do you use any different WordPress plugins to what I’ve listed above? If so, I’d be delighted to know what they are. Leave a comment below or tweet us @content_hero.
Author’s note: Since I published this article around a year ago, a number of people have contributed additional high-value content marketing plugins in the comments section. If you have your own best content marketing WordPress plugin, please share it with us. Enjoy!