18 Tools for Better Content Creation: Improve Your Writing with Less Effort
I create an immense amount of content.
Currently, I post one massive blog post every weekday, plus I do guest posting. And I have other work too.
The main thing I pride myself on is creating high quality content.
In order to create a high volume of high quality content, you need to be as efficient as possible.
I’ve shared a few of my secrets with you in the past, but today I’m going to show you a collection of great tools that will help you create better content.
If you use the right tools, you can create better content and more content and do it with ease. That’s the power of using great tools.
Tools go a long way in solving the most common problems of content marketers:
Producing enough content and creating engaging content are the two challenges that affect over 50% of B2B marketers. Similar surveys for marketers in general have found that almost half of marketers struggle with producing enough of engaging content.
In addition, 70% of marketers want to create more content this year than they did last year, which makes this problem even more significant.
Here’s the thing: Tools won’t solve everything, but they’ll get you on the right path.
Some marketers have realized that tools could really help them. Fifty-six percent of marketers use some sort of content marketing tools in their content workflow.
The problem? Only 23% of marketers are satisfied with the variety and quality of tools available to them. Most are either unimpressed (neutral at 65%) or dissatisfied.
While there is definitely room for new and improved tools to come out, there are some great content creation tools out there already. You just need to know what they are.
Luckily, I’ve done some ground work for you. The 18 tools that I’m going to show you in this article are all excellent tools.
See if any of them can eliminate some of your current content bottlenecks, and give them a shot. I promise you can find at least a couple of tools worth your time.
Tools for a great headline
A headline is usually only 5-15 words long, or less than 1% of most articles. And yet, I spend a lot of time writing about how to create better headlines for your content:
- 10 Ways To Create High Converting Headlines
- The Formula for a Perfect Headline
- The Step-by-Step Guide to Writing Powerful Headlines
Writing great headlines is the single skill that separates okay writers from great writers, at least when it comes to content marketing.
We know that on average, eight out of 10 people will read your headline. But only two out of 10 will go on to read the article.
If you can’t capture a reader’s attention with your headline, you’ll lose them to the thousands of other competing pieces of content that have more enticing headlines.
In addition, tests done at Upworthy found that traffic varies by up to 500% based on the headline.
Pick the right headline, and you’ll get five times as much traffic as you would have with a bad headline. Imagine if that difference affected every single article you wrote.
If you had two identical sites—one with mediocre titles and one with great titles—over time, the site with great headlines would leave the other site in the dust.
Suffice to say: the headline is crucial. That’s why I created this section specifically for tools that will help you write better headlines.
1. ContentIdeator headline generator
This headline generator can be used not only to come up with headline ideas but also content ideas.
It’s simple to use. Enter a keyword into the search bar, and press Submit. Give it a second to retrieve results, and scroll down to see a ton of headline ideas.
There are many headline generators out there. But the reason why I like this one is because the titles it produces are actually relevant.
Look at the sample search above: all these titles are clearly SEO-related rather than randomly generated by general title-generators like most tools are.
One important thing to keep in mind – don’t copy these: To be fair, there’re a few solid headlines in most batches of results. However, if you’re using a fairly common keyword, chances are many other marketers are seeing the same titles.
You don’t want to end up using the same headline as someone else.
The more important reason why you shouldn’t copy any of these suggestions is because you can do better. Use these headlines as a starting point and inspiration, and then come up with an even better headline.
2. Emotional Marketing Headline Analyzer
How do you evaluate whether your headline is good or not?
There’re a few different ways to do so, and this tool is one of them.
It may not look fancy, but it gets the job done. Enter your potential headline into the text box, and pick a category from the dropdown menu below. Finally, press Submit:
Once you submit your headline, a new page will load with your EMV (Emotional Marketing Value) Score:
Your EMV score is expressed as a percentage. The maximum possible percentage is obviously 100.
My example headline from an old post scored 60% on the scale. At first, this might seem bad, but when you learn more about how this calculator works, it’s not bad.
From the author’s own explanation (included in the above picture), only top headlines score greater than 50%.
The reason why it’s hard to score high is because the tool works by analyzing your headline for the number of “EMV words” that it contains. EMV words are those typically related to emotion.
The ideal time to use this tool: What this score essentially tells you is how likely your headline is to produce an emotional response.
As you might know, most buying decisions are based on emotion.
It follows then that emotional headlines are most important for landing pages, sales pages, case studies, and reviews—any type of content that would ideally lead to a transaction.
Not all blog posts need to evoke emotion, but for the above situations, this tool is quite handy.
3. CoSchedule Headline Analyzer
This tool is very useful for critiquing headlines from a variety of different viewpoints. It’s mostly useful for blog posts but could be used for other content as well.
As you’d expect, you enter a headline into the textbox, and click “analyze now”:
What I like about this tool is how in-depth it is.
Your result will appear on the same page just below your entry. It will start with an overall score:
In a random example headline that I took from a past article, I scored 77.
Again, the maximum score is 100, but it’s also incredibly difficult to get near it.
The actual score that you get doesn’t matter, but the score relative to different headlines does.
What I mean by this is that if you enter in a bunch of old blog posts that score 50 on the tool, don’t aim to get 90 on your next headline, but try to get 55 or 60. Over time, as you get better at writing headlines, your score will keep creeping up.
Eventually, you won’t need the tool to tell you if you have a good headline or not.
Further down, you will see a breakdown of the words within your headline into main categories:
Common words are self-explanatory; they include words such as “that”, “a”, “me”, etc.
It’s good to have some common words in your headline. They’re words that nearly everyone understands.
Uncommon are the opposite: they aren’t used often in everyday writing. It’s okay to have some because they often stand out and attract attention, but don’t go overboard with them because they can make your headline confusing.
The last two types of words are the most important.
Power words (or phrases) are words that cause readers to take action. According to CoSchedule, most great headlines have at least one of these in them:
Finally, there are emotional words. These are the words that are associated with—you guessed it—emotional responses.
In my opinion, there’s some overlap between power words and emotional words, but as long as you have at least a few of one type or the other, you can craft a solid headline:
Become a better writer
If you’re like me, you were never keen on English classes in school.
But while those classes might not have been much fun, they likely taught you something about writing well.
I’m the first to admit that you don’t need to be a great writer to create great web content. My writing is far from perfect, but it clearly does what I need it to.
That being said, you should always try to be a better writer. The better you are at communicating your ideas, the more you will connect with your audience, and the better results you will get.
4. Hemingway Editor
This is a beautiful little tool that highlights common problems in weak writing.
Not only does it identify issues, but it also classifies them into different categories so you know how to fix them. Here’s an example passage that shows all the different errors. Pay special attention to the readability score in the next few pictures.
I pasted a small passage from my Beginner’s Guide to Online Marketing into the tool.
It gets automatically graded and highlighted:
Quite a few areas for improvement! (even though none are critical).
Look at the readability there: it’s at grade 8 level. This is fairly high for web writing. In general, you want to write as simply as possible to reach the biggest audience.
I quickly fixed those highlighted problems so that I had no more errors. Look what happened to the readability level:
Now it’s at grade 7 level—still on the high side, but better.
In general, when you fix your mistakes and make your content more concise, your readability goes up.
If you want, you can paste your whole post into this tool. Or you can paste a part of it each time (I recommend the introduction). This way, you will get a little bit better at writing each post and eventually won’t make the same mistakes.
This is another tool you can use to learn how to write better. To start, you will need to create an account (free).
Once you create an account, you can either click New to paste your text there, or you can upload a full document:
The main thing that Grammarly does is, shockingly, find grammar mistakes. If English isn’t your native language, this could be a very useful tool.
As you can see in the demo document below, the tool outlines grammar and spelling mistakes:
You can click on the correction in the sidebar (in green) to apply the fix.
The one drawback with this tool is that the free plan is fairly limited. It will catch the basic mistakes, which is good, but you don’t get to see the advanced mistakes unless you upgrade to a paid account.
Great content requires research
I strongly encourage all marketers and bloggers to write posts that are data-driven.
Supporting your content with statistics and case studies will make it much more useful for your readers.
Here are a few tools that you can use to create more credible content:
6. Google with a twist
Not only is Google an incredible traffic source, but it’s also one of the best research tools out there.
There are hundreds of ways in which you can use Google for research, but I’d like to go over two in particular.
Tactic #1 – Basic search for statistics: When you write a data-driven post, there’s one thing you always need: statistics.
Luckily, Google makes it easy to find large collections of relevant statistics. Search for:
keyword + statistics
Let’s say I’m writing about content marketing. This is what my query and the results would look like:
As long as you picked a fairly well-known keyword, you’ll likely have multiple results of useful statistics about the topic you’re writing about.
Tactic #2 – Feature an expert: Experts are an invaluable resource. You can quote them in your article to add credibility to it, and then you can reach out to them and ask them to share the post.
In addition, experts know their subject matter better than anyone else. So, when you’re trying to fill in gaps in your knowledge, their content can clear things up.
For example, if you were writing a post about content marketing, you might want to read a few posts on the topic on Quick Sprout.
You can find these posts by searching for:
site:URL + keyword
You can then read these articles, learn a bit, and maybe find a few quotes or resources that will help make your article better.
With this particular tactic, it’s good to get specific. Don’t just type “content marketing.” Search for something more specific such as “content marketing tools” or “content marketing principles.”
7. Google Docs research tool
If you’re a fan of Google Docs, you may or may not know about the built-in research panel.
When you go to “Tools > Research” or press “Ctrl + Alt + Shift + I”, a research panel pops up on the right side of the content:
This allows you to search any part of Google for a resource and then either quickly view it or insert a link into your article.
For example, if I just wrote “how to write better headlines” and wanted to find a good link for the phrase, I could highlight that text, bring up the research panel, take a peek at an article, and then insert a link to that article:
Once you get good with this, you will save quite a bit of time.
Evernote is an awesome tool in general, but it can also be used to create better content.
If you’re not familiar with Evernote, it’s basically a personal notebook that you can access on any of your devices. You can save content for later, make notes, make reminders, and a lot more.
While there’s a ton to Evernote, there’re a few features in particular that are great for content writing.
First, you can compose posts in Evernote. It features a simple text editor, and you can expand your writing page to full screen.
One of the main uses for Evernote is to save a great piece of content for later. Writers can use this to save posts and pages that have great research, statistics, or ideas for posts so that they can refer to them later.
This is better than simply bookmarking a page because you can add personal notes (e.g., “this would be a great idea for a post”) or tag anything that you save (e.g., “statistics”, “research”, etc.). You can then search your notebook for that information when you are ready to use it.
Visual content without a designer
If you’ve ever read any of my posts before, you know I love images.
Images help add value to your content as well as break up content, making it easier to read. For many reasons, visual content improves just about all user metrics (bounce rate, time on page, etc.).
Unless you’re a professional designer, you’ll need some tools to help you. I have some great ones here for you.
Canva is an amazing tool for “design-challenged” bloggers. It allows you to create custom images that look great and take a fraction of the time to create compared to an alternative design software.
Although I can’t go into many details here, I’ll show you the basics.
You can create a custom canvas (of any size) and add shapes, text, pictures, icons, etc. to it with a click of a button.
It’s also extremely easy to edit any elements you add (change color or size):
The built-in search engine lets you find any particular pictures or shapes you’re looking for. You can add them to your canvas with one click:
Once you get familiar with the tool, you can create attractive pictures like this one below in less than 5 minutes (for free):
If you want to learn more about Canva, check out my guide to making custom images for your blog posts without a designer.
10. Piktochart or infogr.am for infographics
I’ve written a lot about how effective infographics are for attracting shares and links.
I typically spend about $1,000 per infographic. I understand that not everyone can afford this.
If you can’t, you have two options: hire a cheaper designer or create infographics yourself.
You won’t get the same results as I do, but it can still be worth it.
Picktochart and infogr.am are two of the most popular infographic creators, but there are many others.
They allow you to use pretty good templates and then type in custom text and sometimes upload custom images.
You’re obviously not going to get the same quality as you would with a professional designer, but you can’t beat these tools when it comes to creating a decent looking infographic quickly.
11. Skitch or the Evernote web clipper
I already showed you the main Evernote program, but there’s more.
Both Skitch and the Evernote web clipper allow you to create beautiful annotated pictures with minimal effort.
You probably see pictures created with these programs all the time in blogs and don’t even know it—pictures like this one:
All the text and arrows in pink were created in under 30 seconds using the web clipper.
Skitch is a program you can download on Apple products, while anyone can use the web clipper in Chrome. Both tools work almost exactly the same, but Skitch is a little more robust.
With the web clipper, you can select a full screenshot, an email, or a full page of content or select a specific part of a webpage.
After you do, the part you selected will open in a new tab, where you can annotate it using the toolbar on the right:
Using interactive content is a great way to improve your reader engagement rate. It’s new; it’s fun; and it can be used to achieve better results with your blog.
Thinglink is a tool that allows you to create a specific type of interactive content: clickable images.
I’m not just talking about putting a link on a picture. I’m talking about putting multiple links, images, and more.
Take a look at this picture that VerticalResponse made with Thinglink:
You can hover over different parts of the picture and get a different message, depending on where you hover.
While you wouldn’t want to overdo Thinglink, it’s a fun type of content that can help you add some entertainment to certain blog posts.
If you’ve been on the Internet much, you know what an Internet meme is. Typically, it’s a recognizable picture with large text on it that represents a certain part of Internet culture.
If you want to learn more about memes, check out this basic guide.
I’ve seen memes creeping into more and more blog posts lately. I believe this is for a few main reasons:
- they’re easy to make – if you use the tools I’m about to show you, you can make a new meme in a minute.
- they’re visual – more visual content is usually a good thing. Memes are an easy way to break up text.
- they’re personal – when you see a meme done right, it comes off as casual and conversational. Both of these are good things for blog posts. Memes are often funny and amusing.
So, how do you make a meme?
Quickmeme is probably the most well known meme-making tool, but there are many more. You can also try:
With quickmeme, click “caption a meme” on the top menu:
Then pick an appropriate meme background. You will need to know how each meme is usually used. Refer to this subreddit for examples.
Once you pick a background, fill in the text fields.
The tool will put the text over the image background and let you save it.
14. Haiku Deck
Slideshows can be great additions to your blog content, but you’ll obviously need a tool to create them. You can’t just embed a PowerPoint file into your post.
Haiku Deck is a solid tool that helps you create a beautiful slideshow.
For each slide, you can pick a background image from the Haiku Deck library and then add your text.
It’s very user-friendly, fairly similar to Canva.
Here’s what the slide editor looks like:
Once you’ve created your slideshow, you can download it as a PDF or a PowerPoint file or embed it on your website by pasting some simple HTML code.
Write more efficiently
The final set of tools in this article will help you write more efficiently.
Tools can help you write faster but also enjoy the process more—important if you want to produce good content consistently.
Microsoft Word and Google Docs are the two most common pieces of software used to write posts.
The annoying thing is that when you paste your post into WordPress, things don’t always go according to plan.
Usually there are extra spaces that you need to spend a minute or two sorting out. That doesn’t seem like a big deal, but it adds up to a few hours over the course of a year.
This tool converts your MS Word or Google Docs text into clean HTML.
To show you what the tool does I pasted a small section of my old post (not created in WordPress) into the tool and clicked “convert”:
Here’s what it would have looked like if I just pasted the original file right into WordPress:
It’s ugly to say the least.
Now look at the code generated by the tool:
Now, I can select and copy the HTML code or just click the link in the bottom right corner.
When pasting your posts into WordPress with this method, you’ll typically get much better results.
Distractions can cause your writing speed to drop by 50% or more. While the occasional noise won’t impact you much, if you live or work in a noisy area with traffic or kids around most of the time, this tool can help.
As the name implies, this tool plays a constant sound of rain.
For me and many others, rain is a pretty soothing background noise. It obscures distracting sounds and lets you focus on your work.
Background nature sounds have been proven to improve both mood and productivity.
This is a great tool when you just need some peace and quiet.
17. Tomato timer
This tool was built to help you use the Pomodoro technique. It’s a technique that is supposed to help you work more efficiently on a consistent basis.
Here’s the gist of how the technique works:
- You set a timer for 25 minutes
- You work until the timer stops
- You take a 5-minute break
- All of that is one Pomodoro
Then, you repeat that process four times. After the fourth 30-minute period, you take a longer break.
The Tomato Timer tool is very simple. At the top, you can choose from three options, depending on where you are at: your work period (Pomodoro), short break, or long break.
Based on what you choose, the timer will change. You can start and stop it as you like.
If you’re a fan of this technique, this tool is quite handy.
If you’re intrigued by the Pomodoro technique and would like to learn more, refer to this ultimate guide.
Many professional writers use Scrivener. It was created because basic text programs weren’t meeting the writers’ needs.
Although originally designed for Mac, this tool is also available for Windows.
Scrivener is mainly used by writers other than bloggers: novelists, screenplay writers, technical writers, lawyers, and more. However, I think it’s a legitimate option for bloggers as well, especially for those that take writing seriously and spend a lot of time creating long, in-depth content.
The tool is divided into multiple sections. You can easily open different files (which may be part of the same project).
You can also make edits and notes in a “rough draft” window, while previewing the final result on the right:
A word of warning: Scrivener is a powerful writing tool, which means that it has quite a steep learning curve.
Expect to spend some time learning about all the features of the tool, which will save you time in the long run and help you write better content.
You can certainly create great content without Scrivener, but it is an alternative to Word or Google Docs if you find that they aren’t enough for you.
Creating the best content possible for your readers should always be your top priority.
But to produce a sufficient amount of high quality content on a regular basis, you need help.
I’ve given you 18 tools in this article that can be used to strengthen any weak points of your content creation process. You don’t need to try them all at once, but give one or two tools that you find the most intriguing a try.
These are some of the best tools I’ve tried or come across. But there are others.
If I’ve missed any content creation tools that you love, please let me know what they are by leaving a comment below.
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