In a 2015 study, content marketers named “Producing Engaging Content” (54% of respondents), “Producing Content Consistently” (50% of respondents), and “Producing a Variety of Content” (42% of respondents) as three of their four greatest challenges. With such a large percentage of marketers struggling with content creation, it raises the question: What’s the problem?
Creating good content takes time. Each piece requires time for writing, editing, formatting, and graphics. Most companies expect a steady stream of content and it’s often difficult for marketers to keep up. When pressed for time, marketers often must choose between quantity and quality. Not to mention, with so much time sunk into creating content, it’s easy to neglect other duties.
Short of hiring a bigger staff, what can content marketers do to create the required amount of engaging content in a timely manner? Tools are a great place to start. They can help to save time and boost content quality.
As it turns out, there is a slew of free content creation tools, with applications ranging from code to visuals. We look at this post, written in 2016, with the eyes of someone from 2019. We look at 13 content creation tools and see how they’ve aged over the past four years.
Placeit allows you to overlay an image or video of your choice onto a device screen. Placeit offers a variety of device backdrops, or “stages”, from laptops to mobile phones.
It has a sizable inventory of device still shots, in addition to customizable device and background combinations. The tool saves you the trouble by applying the image or video at the appropriate angle, creating high-quality usage shots for a website or mobile device.
Canva is a drag and drop design tool. It allows you to create anything from Facebook Cover Photos to infographics. It features several pre-designed layouts and customizable text designs. You can work from their base of over 1,000,000 images or upload your own. Canva can be used to make quick and appealing visuals of just about any type, though it does better with larger sized images.
Infogr.am is somewhat similar to Canva, but more focused on charts and infographics. Users start with either a graph or infographic template. Graphs are created from user-provided spreadsheet data and can be customized in various formats and color schemes. The infographic consists of a combination of charts, maps, text, picture, and video. Infographic data, themes, and colors are also customizable. Infogr.am is useful for various types of data visualization, including pictographs, progress gauges, and funnels.
Gliffy is a drag and drop diagram creator. It includes templates for flow charts, organizational, sitemaps, and network diagrams, among others. Users can choose from a library of shapes and arrows or upload their own files. When finished, Gliffy offers local storage and the ability to export into several image formats. Gliffy is a great tool for process visualization. Start with the 14-day free trial then go from there.
Grammarly is an all-in-one proofreading tool that combines web and desktop functionality. It catches spelling and grammar errors on the fly, labeling them with handy red underlines. These notifications can be drilled into for corrections and recommendations. It works a lot like Microsoft Word’s automatic proofreading, but it’s available within a variety of commonly used programs.
Grammarly integrates with Word, Outlook, WordPress, Gmail, Slack, and Evernote, to name a few. The free version of Grammarly features a customizable dictionary and weekly report with personalized writing stats, while the paid version adds more in-depth proofreading checks and contextual recommendations.
Most writers prefer to produce their content in a word processor, like Microsoft Word. Unfortunately, copying and pasting from a Word document to HTML can create invalid or unnecessary add-ons to the code.
Word2CleanHTML does exactly what you would think; it transforms text pasted from a Word document into optimized HTML code.
Dafont and Google fonts are both free font databases. Users are able to search and download various fonts by name and type. Both offer customized preview text as well. Between the two, there are literally tens of thousands of fonts to choose from.
Click to Tweet is a simple tool that creates Tweetable links. You simply type what you want to appear in the Tweet and the program creates a link and HTML snippet. The program also includes basic analytics and the option to tweet by clicking an image. The final product might look something like this:
13 Free Content Creation Tools You Can’t (or Shouldn’t) Live Without (Click to Tweet)
Iconfinder has over 350,000 icons and 3,000 icon sets, though not all are free. You can search for icons by keyword, filtering by style, price, format (vector or not), and license type. Icons can be downloaded in SVG, PNG, ICO, and ICNS formats. They come in handy for infographics, diagrams, favicons, and buttons.
PowToon is an online video creator with 25+ customizable video templates. Users can also create their own videos, choosing from a wide array of characters, animations, props, and effects. Additional images, sound effects, and voiceovers can be uploaded by the user. PowToon features an intuitive drag and drop interface, making video creation relatively quick and simple.