In the digital age, staying engaged and front-of-mind with consumers means consistently telling your brand story and providing value to your audience. Sounds easy, right? Ha! Smart marketers of today understand that successful content creation requires a lot of planning and is a never-ending job. It means laying out a strategy and consistently providing interesting, relevant, useful content through whatever online channels your audience is using – social media, e-newsletters, your website and blog.
Three Content Creation Tips + A Bunch of Tools to Help
1. Use Beautiful, Eye-Catching Images
We all know that the web has become all about visual content. Back in the day, your Facebook feed probably used to be filled with your friends’ text-only status updates. Today, it’s nearly all photos and videos (and ads, of course). Great visuals make it much more likely for your content to get engagement and shares. Here are some tools to help:
DeathtoStock – Free, beautiful stock photos sent to your inbox each month – and you can use them almost any way you want (except for selling them). Add to blog posts, use on your website, all with no royalties and no attribution required.
Canva – Super fun, easy-peasy design tool that can make anyone look like a design pro. Great for creating social media headers, custom branded graphics and more. Learn more about how to use Canva.
PicMonkey – Simple, cloud-based photo editing tool. Take so-so photos and make them eye-popping. Here’s our PicMonkey tutorial.
Awesome Screenshot – Seriously, my favorite browser extension EVER. Capture just the visible part of a webpage, or the full page. Crop to your preferred size and then you can add annotations like arrows, shapes and text. So handy for tutorial-style blog posts and a million other uses.
2. Mix in Curated Content with Your Original Stuff
A mix of original and curated content adds variety to what your brand is putting out there, creates opportunities for engagement and link-building (you share other people’s stuff, they are more likely to share yours) and, of course, saves you time from having to be a 24/7 content creating machine. Just be sure you find great stuff to share that is relevant and useful to your audience, here are a few tools to help:
Feedly – Add as many blogs and news sites as you want, and browse the articles all in one place. Bonus: share an article on social right from Feedly with one click.
Buffer Browser Extension – Browse the web and find something that would be great to share with your target audience? Just toss it in your Buffer Queue and it will automatically be shared on social at times you have set. (Here’s a full post we wrote on Buffer and why it’s such a great social media tool.)
Storify – Find content from around the web and embed it into your blog or website so you can add your own thoughts. You can curate content from social media, blogs, news sites and videos. It’s a great tool for searching for conversations happening on Twitter around a certain hashtag and turning them into visuals that you can use within your site or blog.
3. Be a More Productive Blogger/Writer
If blogging consistently is part of your overall content marketing strategy (hint: it should be), you need time to write. Fortunately there are some great tools to help you be more efficient with your blogging so it doesn’t suck away all of your time (just remember turn off those distracting pop-up email alerts)!
FocusWriter – This software is available to download for free and has some nice features like timers, goal-setting and customizable themes – but its core purpose is simply to provide you with a distraction-free screen so you can focus on writing. Here is a good roundup of other apps for distraction-free writing and blogging.
Word 2 Clean HTML – If you like using Word to draft your blog posts, this handy tool converts your post into HTML so you can easily add it into your WordPress editor or other CMS.
There are probably thousands of other content creation tips and tools we could list here, so let us know in the comments – what is your #1 tip or tool that helps you to be a more productive and effective content creator?