20 Free Must-have Tools for your Zero-budget Content Marketing Campaign

According to the Digiday Content Marketing Summit in early 2016, one of the biggest challenges most content marketers have been facing is the shortage of budget. We understand that it is a real battle out there to compete for funding to support your content marketing campaign while senior leaders compare it to marketing vehicles with a clearer short term ROI. Don’t you worry! We are here to provide you with some free tools that can help relieve your anxiety on the budget. In this post, we’ve put together a variety of content idea generators (just in case you are stuck in a creativity rut!), visualisers, distributors and organisers to make sure that your content strategy can be carried out effectively!

1. Generating Content Ideas

Writing may come natural for most seasoned content marketers, but writing about interesting content to make it outstanding in the clutter nowadays is a really tough deal. How can you have different interesting angles on a similar topic?

Need attention grabbing titles? Check out Portent and Title Generator:

Here is an example of randomizing different factors to have a catchy title. If you don’t like it, just hit the refresh button and it will give you plenty more ideas!

I put in the keyword ‘Content marketing struggles’, and Title Generator provides me with a VERY long list of titles!

If you are ever stuck with getting a killer headlines for your piece, don’t forget to visit these websites, plug in some keywords and let the magic work!

Shooting a product or brand video? Try Plot Generator:

An example of generating random movie scripts on Plot Generator.

This tool will help you to come up with some unique ideas for your product or brand video plot. Video marketing spreads like wildfire, so be sure to join this trend to ensure that your brand is not left out of the game!

Or need some good ol’ fashioned expert advice? Try Quora:

Quora’s mission is to provide the best platform that can give the most informative answers, sometimes by experts, to any questions. You can identify trends from consistently asked questions to inform your content creation efforts.

See what is trending online on Reddit:

Not only can marketers discover what’s been hot globally on Reddit for content inspiration on a variety of topics from across the web, but they can also observe which headlines are more effective on Reddit. With around 234 million users (last updated in June 2016), this can surely bring insights to the subject of your next article, infographic, video or any other works of your preference.

Look out for trending #tags on Twitter:

Stay updated on Twitter, regularly look at the #hashtags to see what people have been talking about and find a way for your brand to squeeze in, just like what NASA’s social media team have been doing with their social presence!

Save cool ideas to reference later with Pocket:

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Have you ever been through a situation in which you want to reopen some really interesting tabs on the Internet but completely forget the keywords, links or brand’s name? Like me, you will be forever indebted to Pocket. Download the app now and save any awesome resources: ideas, videos, articles for later when you scroll endlessly to read news. It syndicates to a lot of apps and channels!

2. Creating Attractive Visuals

It looks like you can have some fun with visual contents without relying too much on graphic designers!

GIPHY:

It’s been a while since the GIF trend started crawling into social media users’ lives. With GIPHY, you can easily look up for some fun GIFs and continue to keep the audience engaged with your content.

Makeagif:

Watching some videos and suddenly saw that perfect moment that can be turned into an animated fun? Just paste the link into this tool.

Canva:

I still remember when a marketing professional told me this: ‘Anyone can use Canva, even someone with no photoshop or illustrator skills’. Have no big budget to hire a designer? Register for a free Canva account to design posters, banners or presentations with a lot of wonderful layouts now!

Recitethis:

Having some really inspirational quotes that are extremely relevant to your readers? Don’t hesitate to put it up here so that it can be visualised more attractively!

Piktochart, Venngage:

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A well-designed Infographic, which is a chart or diagram that represents statistics and data, can help turn a boring subject into a lively and captivating one. Its effectiveness is amazing, as statistics has shown that an article with an attractive infographic will increase total views up to 94%. Still, the popularity of this visual type has not died down yet.

Greyscalegorilla:

I came across this useful tool by chance and so far, am astonished by what it can offer! Here you can find easy-to-follow tutorials, abundant resources as well as trainings for the creatives with 3D designs!

Raydar:

www.goraydar.com

Need high-resolution stock photos? Raydar is a search aggregator that puts everything in one place. Search from all your favourite free stock photo websites here, including Pexels and Unsplash. Save your time to enjoy some beer with your fellows, instead of wandering around the Internet looking for a needle in the haystack!

3. Content Distribution Tools

Having interesting headlines and attention grabbing visual content is just half the battle. If you don’t distribute your content, all of your efforts will go to waste — you will not grow your audience. It goes the same with not tracking your content thoroughly: If you don’t keep track or have a clear schedule, you won’t know which content keeps your audience engaged and which ones did not work out so well.

Listed below are some apps and websites that can help you spend less time and effort in distributing your posts:

Buffer:

A peek into how to schedule post on Buffer. Source: buffer.com

Using this tool, you will be able to add articles, photos, and videos. Then it will automatically post all of your scheduled content on all of your social media accounts throughout the day. Another really helpful feature for social media executives is the access to know when the optimal time to post your content (at different zones) is!

Hootsuite:

This one is pretty similar to Buffer. With a free account, here are what Hootsuite offers you:

You can upgrade your account and get even more various services on social listening or social marketing.

Tweriod:

Do you know when is the most suitable time spot to strike your followers with your tweet? Neither did we, until we gave Tweriod a try. It works relative well with around 1000 of your followers.

Slideshare:

Even though it is usually overlooked, you can think of Slideshare as another form of communication. All you need to do is have fun with your creativity, create a deck and publish some attractive contents on your brand’s products or services, accordingly to your strategy.

For instance, this presentation below on 10 key trends on social media, published on September 7 2016 by Kepios from wearesocial.sg, has gained more than 120,000 views in only 1 month!

PRWeb:

It’s simple. You write an announcement about whatever is going on with your organization: a new product launch, current promotion, a local event or sponsorship. The rest is PRWeb’s responsibility. It will distribute your release to every major news site and search engine on the web, as well as in front of consumers and journalists; AND, you get to keep track of release’s performance, including number of views, geography of readers, etc.


Dear fellow content marketers, hopefully the above tools can ease up your life and fulfil your work demands. Have you experienced any of them yet? Let us know in your comments below whether you found any of those awesome, or you want to add up to our list!

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