Good news! You don’t need to be a creative genius or a jack of all trades to create content in 2019.
There are so many great tools, many free, that I myself use every single day to create content online. Check out our top 10 tools that will help you optimise your content for the web and save you a great deal of time and energy.
If like me, your graphic design skills are limited to drawing shapes in Microsoft Paint you will absolutely love Canva. Canva allows you to pick from thousands of templates or create your own using custom dimensions to create eye-popping designs. You can import your own logos and stock photos or you can select from thousands of categorised free images.
I always recommend Canva to design-rookies like myself because not only can you make their templates your own by changing a few colours or adding your business logo, Canvaalso provides you with the recommended dimensions for images such as Facebook Post, Email Header, Poster and so many more. It’s so easy to use that you no longer have an excuse for not using beautiful graphic design!
Every day I pray to the divine individual who invented Grammarly! Basically, if you type anything online, even if it’s just typing out emails, you NEED Grammarly! Say goodbye to cringe-worthy grammar mistakes, Grammarly is Microsoft Spell Check on steroids. Posting a quick status update? Grammarly is spell-checking! Typing up an important email to a client? Grammarly is spell-checking! Writing a blog? Grammarly has got your back! There’s honestly nothing more frustrating than reading a blog or social post that is littered with spelling mistakes so save yourself the stress and download Grammarly.
To be a good content creator it’s important to also be a daily consumer of content. Evernoteis great for storing and cataloguing content you come across online for future reference. For example, sometimes I will be scrolling Facebook over the weekend and might come across some great content inspiration. I can either save the entire webpage or a small snippet to my Evernote ‘Content Ideas’ folder and when I’m stuck for something to write a blog about on Monday I’ll reference back to it.
Below you can see how I use my Evernote Chrome extension to save a webpage to my library of stored content.
Trello isn’t only a content management tool, it’s an EVERYTHING management tool! You can use Trello to organise ongoing content projects or even create clusters of sub-topics and categories. Trello’s simple drag and drop dashboard makes for the perfect organisation tool and without it, my workday would be a chaotic mess!
Below you can see how I use Trello to organise all of my blog titles. This gives me an overview of everything I’ve ever written and has allowed me to see gaps in my sub-categories. This is an example of a very basic board! Trello has many useful features including the ability to add team members to cards and assign due dates.
I use Trello boards for collaborations with our partners and to organise my entire work week. My personal board lists include: To Do Today, This Week, This Month, On-Hold/Waiting for Approval, Reminders and Done. I highly recommend Trello for anyone who has trouble organising priorities and communicating effectively with their team.
Scheduling and distributing your content is often the largest obstacle for many people getting started with content marketing. By using a scheduling tool you can take the stress out of remembering when you need to post to your social channels and automate the entire process. Over the years I have switched between Hootsuite and Statusbrew, both of which have great free versions. I would suggest trying them both out to see what works for you!
Giphy is an online database and search engine that allows users to search for and share animated GIF files. If you’re looking for a way to jazz up a social post, email or blog then why not include a funny GIF.
One of a content marketer’s greatest frustrations is trying to determine which content channels are actually driving website traffic. Using Google’s UTM link builder you can apply tracking codes to your URL’s to decipher where your leads are coming from. For example, I will create one blog URL which I will post to Facebook and change the source of this URL before posting to Twitter. By doing this I can see what blog traffic is coming from what channel and adjust my content distribution appropriately. Try it yourself using – Milk It’s Beginners Guide to UTM Tracking.
So you’ve added the tracking code to your URL and now it’s a mile long and filled with random letter and numbers. Bitly allows you to shorten your URL’s down to bite size snips that look nice and neat and also provides you with helpful analytics in regards to clicks, referring source and the geographical location of your audience. Bitly is great for when you need to include your URL in a tweet, print promotions or in yourt Instagram bio.
The best way to research and know what content you should be creating is to see what is working for your competitors. Buzzsumo allows you to search domains and keywords to see what the highest ranking blogs are. Although there are some limitations to the free version, Buzzsumo is still a great platform for getting the feel for what topic and titles are receiving high engagement rates.
You will either get a laugh out this or you will find it super helpful, it’s a win-win really! If you are super stuck for a fun idea to write a blog about just think of your keyword and plug it into the content idea generator. You can then continue to refresh the generator until you get a title that you want to write about. Portent’s Content Idea Generator also gives you some great creative writing tips.
I hope there are one or two things from this list that you can add to your toolbox. Find what helps you and ditch the rest! I can’t stress enough the importance of keeping your content marketing strategy as simple as it needs to be. If these tools help you, GREAT! But if you find they just add unnecessary steps or confusion than that’s also ok.
If you are ready to get serious about your content marketing then deep-dive into more of my blogs!
Knock yourself out!