These 42 Tools Will Take Your Content To The Next Level…No Matter Your Strategy, Industry or Skill Level
Whether you’re an artist, entrepreneur, marketer, freelancer or something else, I’m sure we all can agree on one thing: creating solid, online content consistently can be hard as hell!
Despite this, content has only a handful of components. By mastering these components, one by one, you will better position yourself to be a top content creator in your field.
These components are preparation, execution, and promotion.
Preparation and promotion consists of what you’d expect: Strategically preparing your piece of content to provide value to others, promote it to rise above the noise, and get the engagement you deserve.
The execution — however complex we would like to think it is — almost always consists of a combination of writing, photography/graphic design, and video.
Below, I have taken all these components, and boiled down hundreds of contenders to bring you the top 3 of each category.
These tools include pieces of content, apps, Chrome extensions, websites, and more. Let me know what you think in the comment section! I’m always striving to discover more resources to improve my craft.
Preparation & Promotion
MindMeister: Mindmapping and brainstorming could be the best thing that happens to you this week. When it comes to your work, outlining it (especially in a visual way) will help you stay on course from start to finish. Mindmeister is the most comprehensive mindmapping tool I have come across, and the Basic version is free!
BuzzSumo: Is perfect for finding out what and who is performing best in your industry or in a certain topic within your industry. I highly recommend using it to keep a pulse on what’s trending and why. This way, you can learn from the pro’s and apply some of their best practices to your own craft.
HubSpot Free Content Calendar: To some, creating a content calendar might seem like overkill, but I encourage you to try it out. A calendar means non-negotiable deadlines. And having non-negotiable deadlines on content, even if they are self-induced, is crucial to being consistent.
Pro Tip: Keep a close pulse on what the big publications in your industry are talking about. For me, the head honchos are Social Media Examiner, Buffer, and TechCrunch. If you don’t know what the big publications in your industry are, then find out asap!
Begin reading them for 5–10 minutes per day, and formulate your opinion on the topic. If you have something to add to the conversation, especially if it is contradictory to the norm, then take advantage of it.
Whether social media is a primary aspect of your content or just a resource to promote your work, prescheduling social posts is a tremendous way to save time, energy, and sanity.
Here are the best scheduling tools to test:
Crowdfire: While this tool is only for Instagram and Twitter, it is highly intuitive and mobile-friendly so I recommend trying it.
Simply Measured’s free analysis tools: Please please please take the 5 minutes to use these. You will learn more about your audience than you would have ever thought possible! Currently, Simply Measured has compatibility for Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Google Analytics, and Google+ (but who the fuck uses Google+ anyway?). Pinterest is coming soon too!
Google Analytics: While most online businesses are using Google Analytics, only a select few are using it to it’s full capacity (or even half capacity) — I was definitely guilty of this as well. Start by reading this guide on Demographic & Interests reports to take your Google game to the next level.
Promoting Your Work
For this section, while there are effective tools for promoting your work to reach a wider audience, nothing beats strategy and hard work. That is why I am going to list out pieces of content for this complex section as opposed to listing apps, websites, etc.
Neil Patel blog post: For this particular topic, I haven’t come across anyone who even comes close to Neil Patel. Despite being early in my career, Neil’s clever strategies have helped me land a spot as a regular contributor on The Mission and other websites, reel in a fair amount of clients for my business, and ensure my content reaches a sizable audience.
Kissmetrics article: This company was also created by Neil Patel. In this particular post, he lays out some of his most effective tactics for promoting your work.
Social Media Examiner article: Don’t let the title fool you, this post is not just applicable to bloggers. It can be helpful to anyone with a website they want to be seen by more people (aka every single person online).
Pro Tip: Don’t overthink things or spend too much time researching when it comes to promoting your content. Instead, thoroughly read these 3 articles and try the strategies out for yourself! Hard work and constant grinding (networking, marketing, etc.) beats the hell out of lazy talent. Always.
Keep in mind, these publications are for creating social media content and growing your brand on social media. No matter who are you — a carpenter, a digital marketing consultant, or a satanic priest — you can benefit and take your brand to new heights by effectively cashing in on social media.
TechCrunch: While TechCrunch covers a hell of a lot more than social media, they rarely ever miss a beat on important updates. From a top level, no one beats them.
Writing is a bit like sex and volleyball, the only way to get better is by actually doing it.
While there aren’t many ways — besides action — that will take you from zero to one, there are ways to sharpen your skills. Here are three of them:
Fiverr.com’s Proofreading section: When it comes to writing, nothing beats humans. At least for now. If you have a piece of writing and $5-$20 to spend, then try out Fiverr’s offers.
Readability Test Tool: If you’re trying to appeal to a wide audience, writing simple is best. Use this website to get a solid idea if you’re writing passes the “readability test” or not.
Despite what you might see on Westworld, artificial intelligence is still a little too young to be extremely effective when it come to writing. That being said, there are tools making significant strides in this area.
One them is WriteLab. WriteLab’s machine learning will instantly provide you with actionable insights on ways to improve your writing in not only grammar, but concision, clarity, and logic.
Pro Tip: The best way I have found is to do two things: Read and write. As basic and bullshitty as that sounds, nothing beats it. Try reading one piece from an author/content creator you like, then write for 30 straight minutes without stopping.
Don’t get hung up on the small things. Remember, you don’t have to be amazing at writing to see amazing results through your writing.
*Note: These are communities centered around copywriters, as opposed to other forms of writing. If you are looking for other writing communities, Meetup.com & searching on Facebook are terrific ways to start.
Inbound.org: Wonderful content and networking resource. Imagine a Reddit for inbound/content marketers, and you have Inbound.org.
Photography & Design
Pexels: Free stock photography website.
Pablo: This awesome tool was created by Buffer. Not only is Pablo free, but it also gives users access to 600,000+ high-res images and allows them to embed text overlay seamlessly. The Chrome extension enables you to directly pull images from sites as you browse the web, and format them specifically for certain social media channels. All hail Pablo!
Medium article on logos: This article by Marc Hemeon is genius. I won’t spoil it, but please take 5 minutes to read it — it will be more than worth your time! When it comes to design, the lessons given here can also apply to more than logos.
Dribbble: While Dribbble focuses on displaying design work and landing you paid gigs, they also have a thriving online and in-person community. If you are a designer, check that shit out!
Video blocks for B-roll: Affordable high-end B-roll for filmmakers, and others creating video content.
Buffer article: If you are a small business owner, startup founder, or just looking to start out making videos but don’t have a lot of equipment then please read this article.
As basic as it sounds, the third resource in this category would be good ole Facebook. If you cannot find a community by using the Local Filmmakers Meetup search above, then try scouring filmmaker Facebook Groups near you. Unless you live in Buford, Wyoming, you’re bound to find one!
Social Media Examiner podcast with Roberto Blake. Check out his YouTube channel as well for more helpful content.
Thanks for reading! I hope you find value in at least 1 of the 42 resources listed above.
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