MarketMuse is an AI-powered content marketing and keyword research platform designed to help brands and agencies optimize their content strategies.
Founded in 2013 by Aki Balogh and Jeff Coyle, MarketMuse leverages artificial intelligence and machine learning to provide data-driven content suggestions, topic research, and editable briefs.
The goal is to take the guesswork out of content planning and creation by using technology to surface impactful topics, identify content gaps, and align content to business goals.
Ideal customers include medium to large companies and agencies that employ dedicated content teams or freelance writers. MarketMuse aims to enhance their content research and strategy development workflows with actionable insights.
Since its launch, MarketMuse has earned recognition from the US Search Awards, Content Marketing Institute, Red Herring, and G2 Crowd for its innovative application of AI in content marketing.
But does the platform deliver enough value to justify the cost? Let's analyze the key features and capabilities in more detail.
Price - 2/5
MarketMuse's subscription plans are on the pricier side, with the cheapest Standard plan costing $6,000 per year. This puts it out of reach for many freelancers, solos, and smaller teams. For individual bloggers or small agencies producing a modest amount of content, the high price tag is hard to justify based on potential ROI. Larger agencies and enterprise teams producing high volumes of content will get more value from the investment. But for smaller-scale needs, the premium pricing makes MarketMuse less accessible.
Ease of Use - 3/5
With its vast range of features and AI-powered capabilities, MarketMuse has a steeper learning curve than some competitors. The interface can be overwhelming initially. However, the platform does offer guided tours, a knowledge base, and expert training to help new users get oriented. Once you familiarize yourself with the various applications and workflows, MarketMuse becomes much more intuitive. So while not the most user-friendly out of the box, the education resources offset the initial complexity.
Accuracy - 5/5
One area where MarketMuse truly excels is in the accuracy of its AI-generated keyword and content recommendations. The platform leverages vast data and advanced machine learning algorithms to precisely identify relevant topics and optimization opportunities. The Content Score also provides an incredibly insightful metric for benchmarking drafts against competitive standards. For reliably pinpointing content gaps and improvement areas, the platform delivers excellent accuracy.
Features - 5/5
MarketMuse is packed with an extensive suite of features across research, content production, optimization, promotion and more. The unique Applications provide incredibly helpful support, from ideation to outlining to optimization. For end-to-end content creation and amplification, MarketMuse offers one of the most robust toolsets available. The breadth and depth of capabilities make it a powerhouse solution.
MarketMuse offers two main categories of features: Inventory for tracking existing content, and Applications for content research and planning.
The Inventory features include:
Pages - Stores and analyzes current website content to identify optimization opportunities.
Topics - Highlights the most common topics covered on your site and potential gaps.
Plans - Content planning functionality.
Reports - Filters and sorts content data for insights.
The Applications unlock MarketMuse's AI-powered capabilities:
Research - Generates related terms and optimal usage recommendations for a focus keyword.
Compete - Compares your content against top-ranking competitors and reveals differentiation opportunities.
Optimize - Scores your draft content and suggests additional topics to cover.
Questions - Provides related questions to use as headers and content structure.
Connect - Recommends relevant internal, external, network, and competitor links and anchor text.
By leveraging machine learning and natural language processing, these tools provide data-driven support for content research, creation, optimization, and promotion.
The Applications are where MarketMuse really shines, enabling brands and agencies to tap into artificial intelligence to elevate content marketing efforts and results.
Now that we've covered the key features, let's see how MarketMuse can be applied to optimize content workflows. The capabilities offer significant potential to scale and enhance content production.
When first logging into MarketMuse, the dashboard can seem a bit overwhelming with the many options. But the features are intuitive once you dive in, and can greatly streamline content creation.
The main tabs like Projects and Applications are accessible on the left sidebar. Suggested topics, keywords, and questions are conveniently surfaced right on the dashboard.
The colored numbers under "Suggested Mentions" indicate how many times those keywords should appear in the content based on MarketMuse's AI analysis.
In the Optimize application, you'll see three content scores:
Content Score - Rates your draft content against the MarketMuse topic model and optimal keywords.
Average - The average rating of competitor content.
Target - The score your content should aim for.
The Content Score ranges from 0-100. Each keyword is worth one point, and around 50 topics are evaluated. Higher scores indicate content better optimized for the focus keywords.
As you add more relevant keywords suggested by MarketMuse, the Content Score will increase. The goal is to edge out the competition by using the AI insights to create more comprehensive and strategic content.
Tracking these metrics allows you to benchmark your content quality against competitors and industry standards. The data empowers you to continually refine content for maximum effectiveness.
Here is an overview of my process for leveraging MarketMuse to produce optimized content:
Research - I enter my target keyword into the Research Application to get a list of around 50 related terms and topics to cover.
Compiling - I copy the suggested keywords into a spreadsheet for content planning.
Competitor Analysis - The Compete tab reveals topics competitors aren't covering that I can target to stand out.
Outlining - The Questions feature provides relevant questions to build an outline and structure.
Drafting - With my research compiled, I write a content draft incorporating the suggested terms.
Optimization - The Optimize App scores my draft and suggests additions to improve it.
Iterating - Using the feedback, I refine the content to drive up the score and beat competitors.
Additional capabilities like internal linking and editable briefs can further streamline workflows for certain users.
By leveraging MarketMuse's AI-powered applications at each stage, I can create comprehensive, strategic content fine-tuned for success. The data-driven insights help maximize effectiveness.
Now that we've covered a real-world use case, let's examine some of the key pros and cons of MarketMuse compared to alternatives. Its unique approach to content optimization does provide notable value in the right context.
Here are bullet point summaries of the key pros and cons from the provided MarketMuse review:
Saves time on research and content optimization
Helps content rank better than competitors
Simplifies content audits
Streamlines content brief creation
Provides keyword and topic suggestions
Analyzes competitor content gaps -Scores and optimizes draft content
Creates editable briefs
Expensive pricing plans
Can be confusing for first-time users
Long load times on some features
Lacks some detailed keyword data
Limited free trial
Occasional irrelevant keyword suggestions
Not optimized for creative writing
Knowledge base could be more robust
Here is my attempt at revising the content:
MarketMuse offers powerful AI-driven content optimization, but at a premium cost. They provide three main plans to suit different needs and budgets:
The Standard plan offers the best balance for growing companies needing more robust features at $6,000 yearly. Premium unlocks additional capabilities and support at $12,000 per year for larger teams.
Despite the high price, MarketMuse provides tremendous value through AI-optimization. But carefully evaluate your content volume and needs before subscribing. The free trial can help inform the right plan choice.
SEMrush - SEMrush offers robust keyword research and tracking, along with content auditing and analysis tools. Pricing starts at $99/month for basic plans. The platform is less tailored for content creation but provides excellent keyword insights.
Ahrefs - Ahrefs provides keyword and backlink research to optimize content. It also tracks rankings across search engines. Plans start at $99/month, so more budget-friendly than MarketMuse.
BuzzSumo - BuzzSumo specializes in viral content research and discovering trending topics. It offers some keyword analysis as well. Pricing starts at $99/month for the Pro plan.
Conductor - Conductor is a dedicated SEO platform with content auditing and optimization. It focuses more on technical SEO but can assist with topical research. Plans start at $100/month.
Frase - Frase AI generates content ideas and insights tailored to your business. It's designed for creators and marketers vs. agencies. Pricing starts at $37/month.
Surfer SEO - Surfer SEO provides recommendations to improve existing content. It offers fewer content creation features than MarketMuse but costs only $39/month.
The best alternative depends on your specific needs. But platforms like SEMrush, Ahrefs, and Surfer SEO offer robust optimization features at lower price points than MarketMuse for individuals and small teams.
MarketMuse offers incredibly powerful AI-optimization capabilities for enterprise-level content creation and promotion. For brands and agencies producing a high volume of content, it's an invaluable tool.
However, the high pricing and steep learning curve make it overkill for many small businesses and individuals. The cost requires producing enough content to justify the investment.