Good quality content is the bread and butter of any online marketing strategy. By providing content, you create value – an essential component in modern marketing. This is due to one simple fact; customers are not swayed by a product alone. They know their worth and want to feel connected to the brand they purchase from. Creating content, whether it’s a blog post, promotional video or even just a well-constructed tweet becomes crucial to developing a successful business.
This can get expensive. The software isn’t cheap nor is employing the staff skilled enough to use it well. For big companies, this isn’t an issue who can expend large amounts of money into a campaign. However, smaller businesses can be restricted to more conservative budgets. But that doesn’t mean they need to be any less effective.
Here, I will show you 4 tools you can use to create high-quality content right away, for free!
Okay, this one’s a no-brainer. If you’re looking to start building your brand’s online content then WordPress is the go-to content management system (CMS). W3Techs reported that WordPress actually powers 27.9% of sites on the web and is rising. (Source)
Whilst there are alternatives, like Blogger and Tumblr – the former has seen little change since its acquisition by Google and the latter is geared more towards young audiences.
WordPress provides the most refined option.
First, it allows for complete control over your site that you can extend using one of literally, thousands of plugins to meet your own needs. If you want to open a store alongside your blog, you can. Want to show off your Instagram? There’s a plugin for that too.
Second, there are thousands of themes available that ooze professionalism. No matter what your site may be, there will be one to suit it. WordPress is the most versatile CMS for creating your own personalised website to build an online presence.
Once familiar with WordPress’s basic functionality, you can choose to upgrade your site to unlock a new range of premium features aimed at improving your site.
So, you decided to set up your site. Now, imagine you’ve spent all day crafting the perfect blog post for it. You’re tired and losing concentration so you skip the spellchecking (it’s tedious anyway) and just post it: without realising you’ve misspelt a few words, forgotten punctuation and even left names uncapitalised. What seemed great – nay, infallible – in your eyes, looks sloppy and unprofessional in those of the customer. As an authority in your field, your command of the English language must reflect that for the reader to take you seriously.
That’s where Grammarly comes in.
Grammarly is an automated proofreading software which is available as either a browser plugin or a desktop app and takes the pain out of manually spell checking content. From a misplaced comma to more complex grammatical errors, this app can spot it – it’s an essential in my content creating toolkit! What’s more is it gives you an explanation of each error, giving you the opportunity to learn from your mistakes so maybe one day in the distant future, you can be your own spellchecker.
3. Stock Photo Sites
Writing content – no matter how eloquently written – without including images is a sure fire way to make your readers switch off.
Information on the internet is a resource in abundance, so much so that in order to capture the interest of potential customers you need to give them a visual reason to take notice. Stock photo sites provide a quick and cost-effective method of accessing professional photos to suit your needs without worrying about hiring a photographer.
Have a think about these stats illustrating the power of images:
- hear a piece of information and three days later you’ll remember 10% of it, hear the same information paired with an image and you’ll remember 65% (Source)
- content with relevant images gets 94% more views than content that doesn’t. (Source)
I think they speak for themselves, don’t they?
Offering you only one site here would be restrictive as there are a number of sites available at your fingertips, which boast their own selections of fully licensed stock photographs for you to freely use. A few I use are:
And, finally, an honourable mention goes to:
This quirky little site operates a little differently. First, you sign up; second, batches of carefully selected, free stock photos – based around a specific theme – are emailed directly to you every month. Neat.
If your childhood was anything like mine – you might have spent hours watching Art Attack, attempting to create Renaissance art with paper mache and PVA glue.
Alas, I’m no Neil Buchanan.
However, Canva means I don’t need to be. According to the CEO, Melanie Perkins, Canva was an idea born out of frustration with complicated design software in an age of growing design awareness across all industries. In the 21st Century, design “is a skill everybody needs to have”. (Source)
It’s an easy-to-use online tool that enables you to quickly create professional looking content. By utilising a simple drag-and-drop interface Canva allows you to interchange between hundreds of templates; images, shapes and fonts to easily create anything from brochures to flyers to social media icons.
Creating content needn’t be expensive. More money doesn’t automatically equal better results. Sure, it can open more doors and make things easier but remember this – a company can have the biggest budget in the world but if the quality isn’t there, the results won’t be either. Take Pepsi’s latest advert as an example; reality TV star Kendall Jenner, contentious themes of social injustice and a soft drink as a definitive solution – the budget they were given must have been almost as big as the backlash they received!
So, what are you waiting for?
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