20 Free Marketing Tools for Content Writers

20 Free Marketing Tools for Content Writers

The web has changed the way we do everything. From shopping for clothes to researching doctors, we turn to the internet for answers. To fill information gaps online, content writers are pumping out 2 million articles a day, according to an estimate by Marketing Profs.

That’s a lot of content. And it’s difficult to stand out in such a crowded environment. You can’t let lazy headlines slip through. You can’t slack when it comes to pictures. You won’t succeed without a plan.
 
Here are some resources that I use to stay on my A-game. They’ve helped me in my experience as a content writer and as a travel blogger. This list compiles my favorite tools that writers can use when they need a little inspiration, organization, or strategy advice.

1. Coschedule’s Headline Analyzer

Coschedule’s Headline Analyzer will help you determine whether your title is competitive enough by identifying some strengths and weaknesses. It gives you a score from 1 to 100 based on the specific words you use, the sentiment the headline conveys, the length and character count, etc. 

You don’t need to go crazy with this tool in an attempt to score 100. This blog title got a 65, and I stuck with it because I didn’t want to use a lot of exaggerated ‘power’ words. But, it does get you to step back consider whether the word choice is on-point or needs improvement.

2. The Hemingway Editor Tool

Hemingway isn’t my favorite author, but I LOVE this editing tool. It’s based on his signature writing style. And it will have you trimming the fat in your writing until you’re only left with content that’s clear and bold.
 Copy and paste your text in the app and you’ll see highlighted portions that show where the copy is hard to read. It also indicates the use of passive voice and unnecessary phrasing. Say goodbye to stiff corporate copy.

3. 180+ Power Words for Stronger Headlines

I love the thesaurus, but it’s not always the best tool for headlines. Why? Because headlines need to pack a punch to grab readers’ attention. That’s why this list from Coschedule is so useful. It has over 180 emotional ‘power words’ to help you brainstorm a more sensational headline.

 4. Canva for DIY designs

Make your blogs stand out with better visuals. I like Canva because it’s free and easy to use. Plus, it has a lot of templates and designs that look professional. Log into the website to build professional visuals that you can share on social media or publish as featured images with your blog articles.  Then download the image when you’re finished. It’s super easy!

5. A Style Guide for Marketing Content

Do you use the oxford comma? Capitalize every word in a headline? Use slang? To build brand awareness, your content must be consistent. This from Kapost has templates to help you define your – or your company’s – editorial style. A resource like this is especially helpful in the editing process. Cross-reference to document to make sure everything looks right before you publish.

6. The 10-Minute Blog Outline

I’m guilty of writing without outlines. The self-editing process may feel natural and free flowing – you refine as you create – but it’s costly. I spend hours at the computer just trying to finish a straightforward blog. That’s why I think this 10-minute blog outline is a great asset. It makes it easy to get your ideas down on paper and write with purpose.

7. Buzzsumo’s Headline Analyzer

This was a tool my old boss introduced me to, and I loved it. You can use this headline analyzer to search for a topic or keyword and see the most popular posts. For example: Travel in Spain. The tool pulls the most popular content for that keyword (The 10 Most Beautiful Coastal Towns in Spain, 23 Reasons Studying Abroad in Spain Ruins You for Life) so you can see what angles have been the most successful in the past. With these examples, you can rework your own approach to make sure your posts are as competitive as they can be.

8. 74 Blog Title Templates that Work

Stuck on a boring title? Can’t think of something more original? I recommend that you browse through these templates to get your creative juices flowing. Most of them are geared toward “listicles,” but they’re useful no matter what kind of article you’re writing. They get you thinking about the purpose of the piece and why someone would want to read it. 

9. How To Create Content that’s 10X Better

To reach your goal of being No. 1 in search for whatever keyword you’re targeting, you need to be 10X better than the competition. This tutorial by Moz’s Rand Fishkin explains what you need to do to create content that doesn’t just blend in with everything else that’s already out there, but instead something that actually stands out. 

10. Bloglovin’

Your job as a content writer or blogger is only halfway done when you publish your piece. After setting it live, you need to put on your marketing hat and promote. Bloglovin’ is a great place to do that. You can claim your blog, tag it with the topics you cover, and then build a follower base. You can even try to monetize your blog by becoming a registered influencer on the platform. 

11. 50 Places to Repurpose your Content

A repurposing strategy helps you get more mileage out of the content you’ve already created. Turn writing in social media posts. Transform images into shareable visuals. Do a spinoff of your most popular post. Coschedule’s resource gives you 50 places where you can start recycling your existing content to get more value from the work you’ve already done.

12. Hootsuite

Skip the social media struggle. Influencers rely on HootSuite to manage their social media strategies. You can register your accounts for free and track your newsfeeds, schedule posts, and receive notifications when someone interacts with your content. 

13. TweetDeck

If you’re more of a Twitter user, then you might want to check out TweetDeck as well. This is a great tool if you’re doing any kind of influencer outreach or trying to tap into niche conversations online. You can follow hashtags and jump in on discussions, or bookmark an influencer and keep tabs on what they’re posting. That way, you can share their posts and leave thoughtful replies that will help you get on their radar.

14. Free Excel Spreadsheet Templates

These free downloadable templates from Hubspot will help you track your content marketing results in Excel Spreadsheets. I don’t use all of them, but some are really handy for keeping data organized. That way, you can actually analyze data about your content and make changes based on the patterns and results you see. 

15. Free Blog Planner

There are a lot of editorial calendar templates out there, but I am a fan of this one. It’s simple and has fields for the information I want to track. Plus, it’s printable and I’m a paper person. Just print four at the start of the month and use them to hold yourself accountable.

If you’re looking for something a little different, here’s a post that pulls together a couple of different options.

16. The Blueprint to B2B Content Metrics

This resource from Kapost is a good metrics starting-point for writers on marketing teams. But it’s also useful if you’re a part-time blogger or a full-time freelance writer. It tackles metrics and measurement – two of the biggest challenges with inbound marketing strategies. Use it to learn about the content metrics you should be tracking, what they mean, and how to improve. 

17. 47 Ideas to Brainstorm Blog Posts

If you’re feeling stuck, check out this list from Mention. It’s got 47 ways to come up with blog posts so you never run out of writing ideas. This can also be helpful as you’re building out your content calendar and want to include a variety of posts.

18. This guide to visual metaphors

Ok. I have to admit that I chose this one because I wrote it. I don’t mean to self-promote, but it’s something I worked on with a designer. Writers have a difficult time making visual metaphors when it comes to choosing images for their work. They’d rather go with an obvious image than choosing something abstract. My team’s graphic designer helped me compile this list of alternatives, with provided a lot of inspiration (and confidence) when it came time to select images.

19. Grammarly’s Editing Software

Since I started freelancing on a regular basis, I’ve been using Grammarly’s free app to get some extra editing help. It’s a program that works as a super-powered spell check across most writing programs to identify common grammar mistakes, extra spacing, double words, etc. It’s like having a second set of eyes when you don’t have anyone around to edit your writing.

20. 32 Enviable Inbound Marketing Examples

Every now and then, you need some inspiration to stay motivated. That’s exactly when I would recommend checking out this list from Hubspot. It has 32 examples of enviable inbound marketing from some of the top brands out there, and it will remind you of how good content marketing can be. 

I hope these resources are as helpful to you as they have been for me!