Content. The great mystery of the internet.
Artists are content creators. So are business writers, technical writers, social media managers, marketers, and more!
The key to good content is always making sure it’s relevant to your audience and easy to digest. Are you a construction company trying to appeal to people living in Edmonton? Write a blog post about your favourite Alberta landmarks or architecture.
There are an endless number of apps designed to help you write, but most of them come at a financial cost to you. And a writer’s salary typically isn’t anything extravagant! We bet you clicked on this article hoping to skim past this introduction and look at all of the headers, so…
Without further ado, here are five essential FREE tools for content writers.
This first one’s a bit of a cheat, but…
Google Docs is one of the best, free word processors out there. Docs has broad support across multiple devices and all you need to access it is a Google account.
What good is your content if you don’t write it?
As a plus, Google Docs files don’t count towards your Google Drive storage! You can draft as many blog posts as you want without worrying about Google upselling you on storage (yet).
Without a doubt, Hemingway is a fantastic tool for writers.
Want to know the reading level that your copy is at? Or do you want to make the broadest appealing, easiest-to-read blog post in the world? Hemingway shows you what steps you can take to make that happen.
Our favourite feature of Hemingway is its ability to help shorten our sentences. It also helps maintain an active voice throughout our posts (no more pesky passive voice). It’s not as in-depth or grammar-focused as, say, Grammarly, but it will help refine the last ten percent of your words. The first ninety percent are all on you!
It’s free to use in your browser, but they also have paid Mac and PC applications as well.
What if we told you there was a database of content ideas out there?
Now what if we told you it was free (as of writing this)?
QuestionDB is a wonderful search engine optimization (SEO) tool! It’s also very helpful for drumming up ideas related to a specific topic, keyword, or phrase.
Let’s say you wanted to write a blog post about “payroll”. You enter in that phrase, and then QuestionDB spits out the following:
You get a nearly endless pool of results! Of course, even in the example above, there will be questions to weed out. However, even the related topics that QuestionDB suggest are pretty bang on. Get brainstorming!
Need a stock photo for an article you’re writing?
Or maybe just some visual inspiration?
Pexels is chock full of good stock photos and videos. Their usage and reproduction rights for personal and commercial use are extremely generous, too.
Most often the header image is the last thing a content writer will look up. Have you considered grabbing the image first? It might inspire your first words or clear up your writer’s block halfway through. You might even decide to write the life story of the stock photo model in your content!
Moz has a lot of great resources for coders and content writers alike.
MozPro’s keyword research tool is invaluable for drumming up the right words for you. Get useful search engine synonyms for your content, old and new. You can also identify the high performing keywords of web content you’d like to mimic the success of. This is a fantastic way to do SEO right.
You can also see how your current content is performing for your site as well! You get 10 queries a month for free, which should cover you if you’re only writing a handful of articles or blog posts each month.
What good would content ideas be if you didn’t write them down?
We’ve found the best way to figure out what to write about is writing down ideas as they come. Hit a roadblock on a client project? Jot down some notes about a new process for later. Do your clients have questions that you weren’t able to answer right away? Or maybe they require some research before you can provide the best answer? Turn it into a blog post for later!
If you end up writing internal documentation, great! But there’s a lot of business value to sharing your knowledge in blog posts and other marketing copy. Take note of what you think might be helpful to your clients for future writing reference.
For the record, we like using the Notes app on iOS / Mac or Google Keep.