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This list contains my favourite content marketing tools. Being a small business owner with limited resources (time, money, skills – you get it) means that your workflow has to be efficient. This list of tools does that – helps you being efficient in creating content for your channels. I divided the list into the following categories for your convenience:
Free Content Marketing Tools That You Need in 2020
Content Marketing Administration
My absolute favourite project management tool. Asana’s free version can be used for setting up entire project dashboards, assigning tasks to other people, hosting conversations with team members, uploading files, etc. I also like using Asana for Instagram posts because syncing desktop and app versions of Asana is really simple- I will upload all content (pics and text) to Asana and download it to my phone via the Asana app. And presto!
Link shortener software with link analytics for logged-in users. The best think about bit.ly is that you can customise your links (as long as the customised bit.ly is not already taken!).
Dictation uses Google Speech Recognition to transcribe your spoken words into text. Really handy for writing emails!
Google Calendar is the centre of my life. A statement that makes me sound a little bit weird but hey ho. I love Google Calendar so much that I treat it as my life and work project management tool. I cannot imagine not having it! From week batching to scheduling project goals and milestones – Google Calendar works extremely well in helping me stay on top my content marketing work tasks.
If you have a Gmail account, you also have access to Google Drive. The free Google cloud storage available to all Gmail users – 15 GB – is enough to get you started. I use Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides, Google Sites and Google Forms all the time to collaborate with clients, share content plans, provide article drafts for feedback and host downloadable freebies. Google Drive’s sharing options are pretty handy when you have large libraries of files but only want to grant access to particular files.
Google Jamboard is a free online whiteboard tool – you can collaborate virtually, which can make any virtual brainstorming more interactive.
I used to have e-to do lists, project management apps, paper notebooks… but in the end, I will always return to simple and safe Google Keep. I use it for everything – to do lists, brand colour codes that I need to access often; html code snippets. You name it! What’s cool about Google Keep is that lists can have collaborators – you can share individual lists with specific people.
I rely on Grammarly to pick up on any sneaky typo or weird English language construction that my brain conjures. Grammarly also provides style and word suggestions for longer pieces.
Great online tool for PDF merging, splitting, compressing, converting, rotating and so on. 100% free!
There are many ways to keep your passwords secure. A password app has been an idea my boyfriend insisted on I try (he works in IT). Eventually, I had to give in and I can’t say I ever regretted a secure password app that reminds me to update expired passwords. KeePass is a free and open source, light-weight and easy-to-use password manager.
Handwritten digital signature maker for those, who luckily avoided going through the spiel of perfecting their signatures on a piece of white paper, scanning them and turning up the brightness in the image file to reuse the signature in documents. (I am old, ok?). With this tool you can either draw the signature with your mouse cursor or generate a text file. Why is this in content marketing tools? Because sooner or later you will need your signature to sign off a foreword in your e-book or to place it on a landing page.
Content research is so much easier with one dedicated tool. I save and tag articles in Pocket during my morning content marketing research sessions to reuse them later when writing. Get the Chrome extension to make the most out of Pocket.
Free Powerpoint and Google Slides templates.
If I need to quickly send files (photos or social media posts), I use WeTransfer’s free version. You can send up to 2 GB for free, and you only need to have your recipient’s e-mail address – the files will be hosted on WeTransfer’s server for a little while before being erased. You will also get notifications when your files get downloaded, or if they have not been downloaded yet. Usefuuul!
365 was a project of a graphic designer from Seattle who drew one icon per day in 2016. Her quirky, cute and reflective iconography was a diary of her life events condensed into small pixel creations you can now download and use in your projects
If you are going to pick one design tool from this list today, make it Canva. You don’t know it but a lot of Instagram posts and stories graphics are made using Canva templates. You can also now try the video creation tool (it’s still in beta testing).
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One of the biggest font directories online. Make sure to check individual fonts or search for 100% free fonts using the site’s search filter as not all of the available fonts are free for commercial use. Majority of Google Fonts can be used in commercial projects for free!
Free icons – any style, any topic – in exchange for author attribution.
This is my favourite tool for animated social media posts -GifMaker is a little bit crude when it comes to design but it’s usable and completely free. Upload images to create gifs or stop motion videos.
Open Doodles is a set of free illustrations that embraces the idea of Open Design. You can copy, edit, remix, share, or redraw these images for any purpose without restriction under copyright or database law. You can also generate doodles with your branded colours! For free! The universe has provided!
A simple background removal tool – upload your image (high-res images will be resized due to free version limits) and the tool will return the same image with the background cut out. To download a larger version of your image, you will have to sign up.
- Aneta Pawlik’s Unsplash Page – I post a lot of photos from Vienna
- Burst –Free images for commercial and personal use
- Creative Commons search engine – it pulls in all CC-licensed images, searching across all major platforms hosting CC works such as Flickr, Google, YouTube, or Wikimedia Commons
- Every Pixel – Aggregator of public domain images (check individual images to make sure they are CC0 licensed)
- Google Image Search – click on ‘Tools’ option under the main bar on Google Images page and click on ‘Usage rights’ – you can select the best fit for your needs
- Kaboompics – Free for commercial and non-commercial use, also searchable by colour
- Pexels – CC0 licensed images
- Pixabay – CC0 licensed images
- RawPixel – Images and graphics free for commercial and non-commercial use but you will have to sign up for a free account
Google Sites are the easiest landing page options for those, who want to get creative with modular pages without splurging on custom domains or not being able to host landing pages on their websites. Bonus: Google makes all of their products easily sync up with Google Analytics.
I bought Mailbird in 2017 and it has been my go-to tool not only for managing all of my email accounts but also to connect Asana, Google Calendar, WhatsApp, Google Keep in one place. Mailbird has different subscription options but I recommend the one-off payment Personal package.
Mailchimp is one of the most popular email clients with a free plan that covers up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails per month.
This is the email client that I am using! It’s more advanced than Mailchimp in regards to landing pages and automation. The free plan covers up to 1,000 subscribers and unlimited emails.
Social media tools
There are many social media scheduling tools but the owl (Hootsuite’s mascot) has been my long-time favourite. With the free version of this automated scheduling software, you get up to three free social media profiles that you can link up; up to 30 scheduled messages per month and 1 user. I like Hootsuite over Buffer because it has got a much nicer dashboard and it has the option of featuring your social media feed streams or hashtag streams in one browser window.
IFTTT is a free tool that creates simple automating scripts that connect services such as WordPress and Twitter to create automated actions. For example, creating Google Calendar entry when a WordPress post is published or automated tweet of a new blog article.
If Instagram is your big social media game, Later is the best tool. Through Later you can plan your feed, schedule Instagram posts, upload assets and tag images (useful if you are running themed campaigns). The free version allows for up to 30 pre-scheduled posts – mind you that you still need a Later app to get the notification and post on your Instagram. The free version is enough to get you interested in becoming a hands-on Later advocate. What’s quite interesting about Later is that the company is SO into Instagram. They have amazing courses and Instagram trend series that I recommend you give a watch.
With Loom, you can record your screen, voice, and face to create an instantly shareable video. Really handy for making tutorials for clients or team members!
Sometimes you have to convert media files into different formats – this tool is really useful, especially when transferring Mac files to programs installed on Windows.
High-quality stock videos that require attribution.
A collection of free assets to make your videos look snazzier!
Shutterstock Blog is home to many, MANY really cool free design compilations and video assets. You can download sound effects, transitions and video presets.
A library of free music and sound effects for video creators.