Monday July 1, 2019
Looking to boost your online marketing? Content creation is the way to go. But, let me tell you: No matter how cool you think you are by yourself, your content is nothing without the right tools!
Writing content is hard. That’s a fact. It can be difficult to come up with fresh ideas. Writing takes an enormous amount of time and creating graphics and images can feel impossible if that’s not your forte.
Luckily, there are tools that make it easier.
Graphic design and photos
Coming up with social media graphics doesn’t have to suck the life out of you, and editing photos for your blog doesn’t have to be difficult! Try these tools:
- Canva: Canva is a simple tool that makes graphic design easy and (gasp!) even fun. It’s good for everything from creating social media graphics to full-sized posters to flyers and handouts. A basic account is FREE and includes access to hundreds of stock photos, fonts, graphics, and more.
- PicMonkey: PicMonkey is an awesome online tool that makes photo editing simple. The program offers a robust set of features and allows for a lot of creativity (add text, change backgrounds, add filters, and more). The basic plan is $7.99 if billed monthly and $5.99 if billed annually.
- Snappa: Snappa is yet another online graphic design tool, great for social media and marketing purposes. This one also comes with a free graphics library, and it allows team members to collaborate with each other on projects. Even cooler? It connects with your social media accounts, so you can share directly from the platform. A starter account is free but is capped at five downloads a month. If you plan on creating and downloading more than five graphics, you’ll need a pro account for $10/month.
But what about scheduling? That can be a HUGE time suck as well. And if you’re managing more than one account, forget about it! You absolutely must automate the process.
- Hootsuite: I’m all about the free over here, and Hootsuite is another great product that costs zero dollars. With a basic account, you can link up to three social media profiles and schedule up to 30 posts at a time. That should be more than enough to last you at least a couple of weeks without having to schedule again, no matter how busy you are!
- Buffer: Buffer is fairly similar to Hootsuite in the social media networks it integrates with and the posts you can create. Their free plan is also limited to three social accounts, but it’s capped at only ten scheduled posts at a time – meaning you’ll have to add content more often. If you bump up to the basic plan for $10/month, though, you get damn near unlimited posts (and you can link up to 8 accounts).
Content isn’t all about photos and graphics, of course. You also have to write stuff! So, what do you do when you’re out and about and inspiration hits? Or even when you’re just sitting on the couch and need to get some work done? These are my favorite tools for note saving:
- Pocket: Pocket (formerly Read It Later) is an app and that allows you to save a list of articles and web pages to read later (super handy for when you’re doing research), and it even removes all the junk from them for easier scanning. At just $5/month or $44.99/year, it’s hella worth it.
- Evernote: Evernote is an app designed for note taking, lists, and archiving. Notes can be text, photographs, web excerpts, voice memos, and more (plus, you can attach files). The basic account is limited to two devices, but do you really need more than that?! (Really, though, if you do, the Evernote Plus account is a super affordable $34.99/year.)
- WebClipper: WebClipper is a Chrome extension published by Evernote. It allows you to capture full-page articles, text, images, email, and really anything else you want to save. You can annotate key info and share everything with your team for the sweet, sweet price of zero dollars.
Where to find photos
Don’t be the person adding crappy stock photos, or stuff you copied directly from Google, into your blog posts. There are too many high-quality FREE sites to let that happen. Unsplash, Pexels, Canva, and Pixabay all have a ton of free stock photos that you won’t be embarrassed to share, plus the option to pay for more premium material. Sometimes you have to do a little digging, and they often have the same or similar photos on all four sites, but there are some real gems to be found!
Have some cash to burn? Try Adobe, Stock Photo Secrets, or Shutterstock for images that’ll really knock ‘em dead.
Just a quick note: Don’t ever, ever, EVER copy and paste an image from someone else’s website and use it without their permission. You’re likely either stealing their own original content or taking something that they paid to use – both of which can result in some pretty hefty fines. Make sure whatever you take and use for free is marked as creative commons, meaning anyone can use it however they like.
Final thoughtsTools make it easy to streamline your processes, but that doesn’t mean you have to start publishing 18 times a day. Don’t pump out some garbage just because it’s easy – make sure your message is always authentically you!