Generating content isn’t always a cakewalk. With tight deadlines and the pressure to create an amazing, unique and interesting post, drafting an article can turn out to be a real walk through the puddle.
Creating enough content and creating engaging content are some of the biggest challenges for content marketers. The only way we can achieve both these goals is by being as efficient as possible.
With most functions of business and marketing getting automated, content creation is still not winning the race of automation (and I hope it never does). Though automation of content writing isn’t possible, creating “better” content can still be achieved by using some tools.
This article lists some of the important tools that can be of great help when you research, write, edit and design your content.
Let’s get started.
Tools to help you get content ideas
Not every day we are as lucky to enjoy the wonderful flow of content ideas around us. There are days where we stare at the screen blankly, hopelessly waiting for some kind of inspiration.
Let’s take a look at some of the tools that can help you a great deal with this job:
If you need some inspiration for your content, this is your tool. It is a content discovery app which has a huge repository of interesting content curated by people over the web.
It’s easy to use – sign up using your facebook, twitter or email account. Once you have confirmed your subscription, type in your keyword in the sidebar and click on “Discover”. This will get you a list of the most recent news or articles on your topic which is circulating on the web. Take a quick look through it and choose a topic that can inspire your next post.
I love Q&A platforms like Quora for the simple reason that they give you immediate, actionable insights into the pain points or pressing issues of people. It helps you connect directly with the intent and gives a good sense of what problems people are facing or what they want to learn about.
To get started, sign-up and choose the category of your interest. Select a broad category (like marketing) and then Quora will give you options for choosing sub-categories (a more specific category like Seo, digital marketing and so on). You can now review thousands of questions and answers in your niche. This will give you a long list of content ideas to introspect upon and develop a post that can connect with the users’ insights.
You can use Google trends to check what content is trending online. It gives you insights into the search patterns for new and trending topics which can be filtered by specific time period and region. You can start by using your keyword or simply selecting the category that interests you.
Narrow down the list to choose the best topic to write on.
This tool not only helps you with content ideas, but can also give you some pretty good headlines.
It’s very easy to use. You simply type in your keyword in the search box and click on submit.
Within a few seconds, you’ll get loads of relevant content ideas to write on.
The best part is that unlike other tools, it does not give general suggestions. If you look at my results for the keyword “social media marketing” in the screenshot above, you’ll notice that most of these results are relevant and not just randomly generated ideas.
You can take this as a starting point and inspiration to come up with something even better.
Tools to help you Research
If you want people to read your blog beyond the headline, you need to create a data driven article. This requires research.
Always back up your article with interesting facts, figures, statistics, case studies so that it adds value to the users.
You can start with the basic Google search for getting credible statistics.
Google Search for statistics
Google is not only a wonderful traffic source but is also one of the best research tools. As we know, statistics is one of the most important parts of a data driven post.
To get relevant statistics for any niche or topic, perform a search in the following format:
Keyword + Statistics
Let’s say you need to know the stats on social media marketing. Your search query and results would appear somewhat like this:
As you can see, this kind of queries can give you a plethora of useful statistics about the topic you intend to write on.
The URL + Keyword Search Query.
This is more of a hack than a search tool. Basically, it is a Google search within a particular website.
Let me explain it with the help of an example.
Let’s say I want to search for articles related to content marketing on RankWatch blog, I’d run a search query for rankwatch.com with the search term as content marketing strategies. So my query would look like this: site:rankwatch.com content marketing strategies and the following results would appear:
You can use this tactic to read a few good posts on websites which you find useful.
Also, I would suggest you use a more specific search term like “social media marketing strategies” or “social media marketing checklist”
Google Document Research Tool
You may or may not be aware, but Google drive now provides you with the option to conduct a google search on your Google doc window as well.
All you need to do is go to “Tools” and then select “Research” or simply select Ctrl+Alt+Shift+I.
This feature allows you to have a quick search on any subject on Google or find a good link to insert in the article. For example, when I entered “creating engaging content” in the research panel, I got the following results:
Also, you have an option of filtering the results for images, quotes, dictionary meanings, tables and so on. Pretty amazing, isn’t it?
You can never underestimate the importance of keywords, especially when your goal is to become a well-respected blogger or content writer. Soovle is a customizable search engine that combines the suggestions (keywords or phrases) from the major providers including Google, Bing, Amazon, Answers.com, Yahoo, Wikipedia, Youtube.
It is one of my favourite tools which helps me a great deal in searching and creating content.
I entered the phrase “social media marketing” in the search box and got all the important suggested keywords from the major search engines.
If you are not satisfied with the current search engines on the page, you can also select additional search engines by clicking the icon in the top right corner (As highlighted in the screenshot). In order to perform the search for a term in a specific search engines (let’s say you want to search for social media marketing strategy on Yahoo), you simply have to double click on the term.Tools to help you save and organize your Research
If you do not have all your researched content organized at a single place, all your effort and time goes down the drain. Let’s have a look at some of the tools which can help you save your research:
This handy tool helps you save and tag important information while browsing. You can
save images, videos, news, articles or pretty much anything you find interesting enough to “read later”. Also, you can view this on any device.
The tool is very simple to use. You just need to download its extension and the work is done! Just click on its extension icon and the page will be saved.
You can use this tool to collect, organize and highlight notes and pictures. Annotate web pages as and when you browse. Also, you can share your research with your friends, colleagues or associates with this tool.
The tool can synchronize with all your devices. You just need to sign-up and once you’ve downloaded the extension, you can click its icon in the browser to “read later” or add the web page to your Kindle!
Readability opens an already customized list of news feed articles when opened for the first time. Also, it highlights the important articles in red, making them clearly noticeable. It supports only saving text but its main appeal is its simplicity.
Tools to help you Analyze Headlines
Crafting amazing headlines is a skill that separates writers from great writers. 8 out of 10 people look only at your headline, the other 2 will look at the article. Therefore, if you fail to catch the attention of your readers with your headline, you will definitely lose them to your competitors.
The bottom line is: Titlesx are very important!
Having said that, let’s look at the tools which can help you create great headlines!
Once you have drafted your headline, this tool will determine its emotional impact on your audience. In other words, it judges the emotional response of people when they read your headline.
I always make sure that I run my potential headline through this tool before finalizing it.
Just type your headline in the search box, select your business category from the dropdown and hit the Submit button.
The result will show you the EMV score of your headline.
I entered a headline “How to use Evergreen content to boost your SEO content”. Let’s see the results.
My headline got a good score of 70%.
As highlighted in the screenshot above, an EMV score of more than 50% is perfect.
It’s a bit difficult to score above 50 at first, but once you start using it, you’ll be able to analyze and come up with better headlines.
This tool is a complete package when it comes to analyzing. From giving you a headline score to highlighting the balance of word types, the tool reveals the anatomy of your potential headline.
Enter your headline, hit “analyze now” and wait a few seconds for it to load the result page.
Starting from a headline score, it will give you a breakdown of the words in your headline into categories (Common, Uncommon, Emotional and Powerful), specify the character count, word count and your headline type and will give you a Google preview of the headline.
Let’s look at the results for my headline “how to get your first 1000 followers on Instagram”
As you can see, the headline got a decent score of 77% and word balance also looks good.
Tools to help you write and edit better
As they always say, you don’t have to work hard, you just have to work smart!
The only way to connect better with your readers is to communicate your idea in the easiest and the most comprehensible form.
Having said that, let’s take a look at some of the tools which can help you do this.
I use this awesome tool every single day. Evernote is like a personal notebook that automatically syncs with your laptop, mobile or web apps as long as you have an internet connection. Also, it automatically saves your content as you write, making it safe to store your ideas.
From writing loads of articles (it features a simple text editor as well), making notes, setting a reminder, saving content for later, this tool has tons to offer to content creators.
The feature I like the most is that I can save any great piece of content I come across to read later along with assigning tags and notes to it (so that I can easily find them in the notebook). Much better than bookmarking, isn’t it?
Hemingway Editor is a free web app that will help you improve the way you write.
Once you copy-paste your content into it, it will analyze your writing and identify the loopholes, specifying which part of your content is hard to read.
Once you fix these issues and make the content more concise, the readability score will increase.
As the name suggest, this tool is like your personal grammar teacher. To get access to Grammarly, you need to create an account. Once this is done, you can either upload your document or simply copy-paste your text.
As you can see in the screenshot above, all your spelling and grammar mistakes are highlighted in the box right next to your content. You can simultaneously fix the errors by clicking on the corrections (highlighted in green colour) in the sidebar.
The free plan will only display the basic errors, but if you need to see the advanced errors, you will have to upgrade to a paid account.
Broadly speaking, you generally write your content in a Google document, Microsoft Word or Evernote. The real problem comes when you copy-paste this text on your WordPress. Things get a little messy. Weird formatting issues including lots of extra spaces start to pop up.
It can be quite annoying to fix this manually.
Word2CleanHTML converts your Google Doc, MS Word or Evernote content into clean HTML, saving your time and patience.
Let’s see how this works.
You just have to copy-paste your content in the window and give the tool some seconds to see the results.
Tools to help you create Visuals
People love images. Visuals increase the engagement level. They break the continuity of the content and give users some time to relax.
If you are not a professional designer, you would surely need some tools to ease this task for you.
Give the following a try:
We have a detailed article on the “Power of Visual content in your Content Marketing Strategy”, which will give you more details about these tools.
Creating content is not a problem, but creating sufficient high-quality content is kind of a task!
The tools I’ve listed in the article can be used to ease your pain points in the content creation process. Try any of these and see which ones work best for you.
Do you love any other tool which I might have missed? Share it with us in the comments below.