As the practice of content marketing matures, so too do the tools that make us more efficient, help us scale faster, and enhance our ability to measure. Unfortunately, making sense of all the available options can make your head spin.

All those choices make me giddy—like my boys when they enter our favorite candy store in Madison, NH. As soon as the door opens, we're accosted with bright colors, glorious smells, and an overwhelming desire to try everything.

However, unlike eating too much candy, choosing the wrong content marketing tool can give you more than a stomachache. A bad choice can completely undermine your efforts to meet (or possibly exceed) your marketing goals.

So it's time to turn that tempting buffet of content marketing claims into a sampling we can digest.

Before we go any further, though, I want to emphasize that marketing automation systems are not content marketing systems.

Marketing automation is your primary tool for lead management and reporting, list segmentation, landing page development, and email distribution. However, most marketing automation systems do a bad job of managing the content creation process and measuring engagement with specific content assets.

Content marketing tools complement your marketing automation system; they augment it to address those gaps.

Seven Categories of Content Marketing Tools

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Samantha Stone is the founder of The Marketing Advisory Network and author of Unleash Possible: A Marketing Playbook That Drives Sales. She has launched go-to-market initiatives and led award-winning marketing strategies for technology companies.