For years, content strategists have been hiding in the wings, quietly coordinating the show, while the social media rock stars take centre stage.

Not anymore. A media frenzy surrounding the information overload debate, combined with the growing impact of social search, mean that the need for sophisticated content planning is no longer a nice-to-have.

With that in mind, we have pulled together a list of five useful content tools to help you plan, optimise and curate your way through 2012.

1. InBound Writer

A tool designed to help you discover the keywords and phrases your audience is searching for in real-time. By inputting a few terms that tie in to your content’s theme, the tool analyses conversations across the web as well as social media platforms to deliver the best phrases to optimise your content with.

Verdict: It won’t replace a solid SEO strategy, but it should certainly give your content a useful optimisation boost.

 

2. InfiniGraph

This tool promises to optimise social profiles by giving brands “Hypercuration™”, the power to identify content that is currently trending on your own as well as competitor brands’ social estates, based on the social behaviours and actions of influencers.

Verdict: It’s based on real-time social analytics, so could be a great aid for swiftly A/B testing content.

 

3. Scoop.it

Curation is the current buzzword and Scoop.it provides curators with a platform for creating topics and ‘scooping’ relevant content to add to the topic at the click of a button.

Verdict: Really straightforward to use and easy to adjust your keyword searches until you find the content you are looking for.

 

4. DivyHQ

Markets itself as a spreadsheet-free editorial calendar application. The tool can be assigned to multiple team members for multiple campaigns and the calendars can be created from scratch within DivyHQ itself, or simply imported directly from Excel.

Verdict: It’s currently only in beta format and largely looks to offer the same functionality as tools such as Outlook – though it may yet prove a valuable tool.

 

5. 37Signals’ BasecampHQ

A project collaboration tool, which enables all project files to be stored in one place, centralise discussions, keep track of events and view all upcoming activities and milestones.

Verdict: It has a smart user-interface and the upcoming activities and milestones functionality is handy for keeping deadlines.

 

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