Posted: 24 Aug 2017 Contributor: Matthew J Fritschle
10 Useful Tools to Help You in Creative Content Creation
Content may have been important 50 years ago, but in the digital world we live in today, it’s paramount. With millions upon millions of voices online drowning you out, you simply can’t afford to make mistakes and produce subpar content. Adding to this is the challenge of not only creating content for desktops, but also content that’s optimized for mobile search.
Before you lose faith and give up, know that there are countless content automation and writing tools ready to help you out. While some are paid, most are free. That’s right, let it sink in: content writing tools free. But as good as free is, sometimes you want more. And that is exactly why the following list contains some of the most useful free and paid content creation tools you’ll come across online.
Get ready to add BuzzSumo to your content generation tools and content creation social media tools, because this nifty tool helps you find the most shared content on any topic. Used by big brands like IBM, BuzzFeed, HubSpot, and more, you can use BuzzSumo to analyze top performing content on Facebook, monitor your competitors and track their most shared content based on URLs, find influencers from any topic or industry, and set up alerts for brand news, products, competitors, topics, etc. You can also set up custom trending feeds to track popular topics, export data to CSV, Excel or PDF, and perform advanced content analytics.
Feedly is a news aggregator application for web, iOS and Android, that compiles your favorite publications, blogs and YouTube channels, in an easy to manage news feed. You can organize your feed however you want — whatever works best for you — monitor keyword alerts that you can use to keep track of your competitors, save content for later, take notes and highlight, and use negative keyword filters to remove stories you don’t want to see.
3: Google Trends
Originally designed for journalists, Google Trends has proven to be an invaluable tool for marketers because it shows you how often a search-term has been entered relative to the total search-volume in particular regions of the world. In other words, it allows you find spikes in interest for products, events, services, etc., over time and by region and subregion. You can use Google Trends to find insights, know what’s trending in particular categories like Arts & Entertainment, Body & Fitness, Games, etc., and track competitor interest. You can also subscribe to trending searches and get email notifications, and use their additional Google Correlate service to find search patterns that correspond with real-world trends.
4: SE Ranking
SE Ranking should be one of your go-to content marketing plan tools. Why? Because you can do a lot more than your average keyword ranking tracking. In terms of keywords, you can track their real-time position in major search engines, and conduct competitor audits and monitor their site, keywords and ads (SEO & PPC). Apart from this, you can also conduct valuable backlink analysis with 15 SEO parameters:
- Backlink status
- Google Index status
- MOZ domain authority
- Country of the server where the backlink is hosted
- Date of the last backlink check
- Number of other links on the linking page
- Date the backlink was added
- Total backlinks count and referring domains count
- Link’s source
- Total cost of the backlink
- Alexa rank
- Destination URL
- Link’s anchor text
- IP address of the server
- Social popularity
Help a Reporter Out, stylized as HARO, is an excellent source for sources, and the most popular sourcing source in the English-speaking world (that’s a lot of ‘source’ in one sentence). And as many marketers know that finding adequate sources is one of the most daunting parts of content creation, this tool is a life saver. Essentially, HARO connects you with relevant expert sources who you can ask questions. It’s used by TIME, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and many more, and has 800,000+ sources and 55,000+ journalists and bloggers at its disposal.
6: Answer the Public
In order to create good content, you need to know what your audience will respond to best. You need to know what people are searching for, and that’s why you need Answer the Public. The process is pretty easy too, simply enter a keyword or topic you’re curious about, choose a country and search. The program essentially gathers the questions people are asking online based on the most popular search engines’ auto-suggestions, and presents it in a visual diagram that’s split into searches by questions (who, what, when, why, how, are, where and which), prepositions (for, with, without, versus, to, near and like) or alphabetically.
Quora is a question and answer (Q&A) website used by all, from marketers to angry teens stuck in a particular difficult part of the latest must-have video game. In it, you can post questions, answer, edit and organize them, follow topics and people, receive notifications for certain questions, and a lot more. Apart from the general appeal of getting your questions answered, you can also add Quora to your content marketing plan. For example, you can either answer questions from fellow marketers and insert strategically placed backlinks or brand references, or post your own questions and do the same — just make sure not to make it promotional, people don’t like promotional.
CoSchedule, or more specifically CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer, does exactly what its name promises: it analyzes your headline and presents you with its quality strength. Apart from rating your headline, it also gives you suggestions to improve it. For example, you’re presented with a Word Balance section that tells you:
- How many common words you have —> 20-30% is recommended
- How many uncommon words you have —> 10-20% is recommended
- How many emotional words you have —> 10-15% is recommended
- How many power words you have —> at least 1 is recommended
- Tells you the type of headline it is (list, how to, etc.), and if it’s too generic, suggests how to improve it
- Analyzes your headline’s structure, grammar and readability
- Reveals what sentiment your headline provokes
- Gives you a Google Search and email subject line preview
- A lot more
9: Hemingway App
- Lengthy or complex sentences in yellow —> these sentences are ‘hard to read’
- Dense and complicated sentences in red —> these sentences are ‘very hard to read’
- Phrases with simple alternatives in purple
- Adverbs and phrases that weaken your content in blue
- Passive words or phrases in green
You’re also presented with a readability level, word, sentence and character count, estimated reading time, and more. As for using it, you can either paste content for analysis, or write, edit and format with real-time suggestions and analysis.
Rounding the list is Grammarly, a very useful spelling and grammar checking tool that goes above and beyond what your regular spelling and grammar checkers can do. Apart from the check that analyzes over 400 types of spelling & grammar and punctuation errors, Grammarly also enhances you vocabulary usage, suggests citations, and helps you optimize text and make it more readable. As an added bonus, you also have an online community where you can ask questions on English writing, a handbook on English grammar and style, and a plagiarism detector at your disposal.
Tool Roundup and TL;DR
Did you add these tools to your content marketing plan? Good. If not, you probably weren’t paying attention or were too busy to read the whole thing. No worries, here’s the tl;dr version:
- Google Trends
- SE Ranking
- Answer the Public
- Hemingway App