Your Website Needs These 5 FREE Content Marketing Tools

Your Website Needs These 5 FREE Content Marketing Tools

Content marketing tools are a must-have in every web marketer’s repertoire. They can simplify the content creation process and support your content strategy. And some of the most significant are also free — making them vital as well as helpful.

This list is not comprehensive by any means. I consulted ultimate guides to confirm that the tools I’ve found most useful in my everyday business are also recognized by content marketing experts.

These are five that I use myself and find valuable in everyday business. I only recommend products I have positive personal experiences with and would suggest to a friend.

Why Content Marketing Tools?

One 2016 content marketing industry survey found that 75% of content marketers were increasing their investment in marketing technology. This has resulted in a widening field of tools to meet the growing demand.

Resources are available to help you create, distribute, and measure the effectiveness of your content. While those highlighted here have been around a while, recent upgrades have added feature sets to keep them competitive in the ever-growing marketplace.

These apps, plugins, and platforms were designed to make your job as a content creator easier. Some products help you design beautiful marketing materials. Others automatically connect you with your audience. Use one to keep your editorial calendar and workflows organized. These must-have tools are perfect for polishing your content or building your authority.

All are easily available and absolutely free to use. While added features may be offered at a premium level for a fee, you’ll probably find that the free versions are perfectly suited to your current needs.

And it’s a relief to know that these tools can grow with you as your business matures. Having these resources at your disposal will enhance your content creation efforts and support your content marketing goals. Let’s take a look at what each one can offer you.

Project Management

Trello is an online project management tool that allows you to organize any task using visual boards, cards, and lists, which are unlimited in the free version. It’s flexible and can be used for any number of projects. The drag-and-drop interface makes it easy to create and manage notes, tasks, and ideas. Add labels, deadlines, checklists, and attachments to cards, making them a one-stop location for information storage.

Collaborate with as many others as required by the project, and everyone sees the same information instantly because it works in real time. Anyone you invite can also open a free account to gain access. If you have a team and need even more powerful features, Business Class is $9.99 per month per user.

Graphic Design

Canva is an easy-to-use graphic-design website that uses a drag-and-drop interface to create layouts and documents for print and online applications. Design anything you need with the countless templates, photos, illustrations, fonts, and icons provided. Other free resources include design courses, font pairing suggestions, a photo editor and a color palette generator.

The free version is perfect for general use, but Canva for Work offers extra functionality at $9.95 per month after a free 30-day trial. Collaboration, animations, transparent backgrounds and more make the upgrade worth the price if you need these features.

Email Marketing

MailChimp has grown from its simple email application roots into a full-fledged marketing platform. You can now create landing pages, postcards, signup forms, Google remarketing ads and Facebook ads, in addition to their email resources. Automations help you schedule email messages and marketing campaigns, and MailChimp also works with over 300 other tools and apps to simplify your workflows.

Although you can still start for free, you’ll be required to move up or move on after you reach 2,000 subscribers. At that point, evaluate whether to continue for a fee or investigate other providers. If it’s still working for you, you may decide to continue.

Try these FREE content marketing tools.

Try these FREE content marketing tools.

Writing Enhancement

Grammarly is any content creator’s best friend. In addition to checking your spelling and grammar, this free writing app will also detect plagiarism by checking against its huge database. The free browser extension works with almost every website to improve all your posts, documents, and messages.

If you work with a team, the Premium Plan offers advanced features for $29.95 per month, which can be billed quarterly or annually. But if you’re a solo entrepreneur like me, you should find the free plan robust enough to meet all your needs.

Research and Information

Quora may seem out of place on a list of content marketing tools, but take a closer look at this free question-and-answer site. You’ll find a wealth of information as well as potential to generate traffic to your own business. Search for questions related to your niche to get up-to-date information and different perspectives. Use problems your ideal customers need solving as the basis for new content.

Actually answering questions, on the other hand, can help identify you as an authority to others in your field, and let your target market know about your services and products.


This is one lead magnet that’s definitely worth giving up your email address for. Opt-in Monster’s list of 700 Power Words will spice up your copy with persuasive language your readers will be unable to resist. And while their future posts are sure to offer even more value, you’re free to unsubscribe at any time.

Wrapping Up

Although these tools do different functions, they all deserve a place in your bag of tricks. Starting with a free trial makes the decision simpler since you can upgrade your account as your business grows. And if for some reason you’re not satisfied, the free trial was still worth what you paid to test the product!

If you’re not using one or more of these already, give them a try to enhance your website’s performance with ease. You’ll be glad you did!

Read more about Essential Word Press Plugins and download the infographic here.

Quality Content Writing: Why, When and How to Outsource

Quality Content Writing: Why, When and How to Outsource

Quality content writing is the secret to your blog’s success. It’s the mystery ingredient that makes or breaks your marketing strategy. Websites without it don’t attract their ideal clients or convert leads into customers. The result? They generate far less revenue. When a blog doesn’t seem to gain traction or a website struggles to attract visitors, the quality of the written content is often to blame.

But constantly creating exceptional content takes a lot of work and effort. And that’s on top of what’s already required to run a profitable business!

There may be times, despite your best efforts, when you feel burned out or can’t find inspiration. Or you need a break to focus on other aspects of your growing business.

Maybe you’ve noticed blog traffic declining, or you want to gain new visitors. Suppose you’d like to add new products or services but haven’t come up with the right angle for presenting them to your potential market in the best light.

Or maybe you simply don’t want to devote all your time to writing content for your website!

Whatever the reason, keeping up with the demand for a steady flow of superior material to entice your ideal clients is sometimes more than you can handle alone.

You know that to support a thriving website, you must first generate targeted traffic. Then you have to consistently demonstrate your expertise and share your knowledge. Gaining visitor trust is only the starting point for developing solid relationships. Maintaining satisfied customers requires that you also offer solutions before, during and after the sale.

But if your content is driving your audience away instead of helping them solve their pressing concerns, it’s time to explore additional resources.

Consider Hiring a Content Creator

Subcontract some or even all your content writing to free yourself from the responsibility of constantly producing new material. Think of all the blog posts, articles, product descriptions, landing pages, and other digital assets required to sustain your online business. You certainly might need professional help sometimes!

Outsourcing content creation can earn you a loyal following of readers ready to do business with you — if it’s done properly. Here’s some insight into hiring exceptional content writers so you’ll know what to look for and where to find it.

Quality Content Writing Defined

Google rewards sites that deliver quality content by moving them higher in their search results. The key to unlocking that level is “quality content.” But what exactly is “quality content” and how can you recognize it?

Google’s mission is to always guide their users to the best material available. According to their guidelines, “A high-quality page should have a beneficial purpose and serve that purpose well.” So they ask that you “Create a useful, information-rich site, and write pages that clearly and accurately describe your content.”

In other words, all you need to do is provide helpful solutions that connect with your target audience. Help them take positive action to address their problems. Educate and entertain those you want to attract. Deliver valuable data to your users. Search engines will then deliver valuable visitors to your website!

Become a reliable resource for advice and solutions. It’s an online marketing best practice that not only gains the attention of your ideal clients but Google as well.

Where to Find Reliable Content Writers

There are plenty of places to find quality content creators willing to assist. Ask your business group or contacts who have successful blogs for recommendations. You’ll be surprised to learn that people you think are doing it all by themselves actually take advantage of the services of skilled ghostwriters!

Ask for suggestions on Quora or Facebook. These venues host solid writing communities full of talented creators ready to take on freelance assignments that illustrate their skills.

Here are a few more ideas:

ProBlogger is a community that nurtures writers by teaching bloggers how to create great content and monetize their skills. Register for a free account to post a job description on their ProBlogger Job Board.

Search keywords related to freelance writing on social channels and job sites. View profiles of Web Content Writers at LinkedIn. Find Ghostwriters at Upwork.

You may submit your job to over 100 job boards for free with Zip Recruiter, or sign up to post on Indeed at no cost. Both are highly rated although not strictly focused on content writers.

What Should You Expect to Pay?

Sorry to break the bad news, but superior content creators neither grow on trees nor work for pennies. Be prepared to pay, but not exorbitantly.

Your research will locate writers who charge as little as a few cents per word to those who are asking $100 per page and up. Keeping in mind that the average number of pages for 1500 words is three when single-spaced and six when double-spaced, you could pay anywhere from less than $60 to $600 or more for one blog post.

That price disparity makes it even more important to do your due diligence before outsourcing content creation. It’s crucial that you connect with freelancers who will be able to provide the level of authority you need to support your audience.

Newcomers to the field often charge less while honing their skills and developing their marketing presence. Sometimes rates are lower if the writer is working in a second or third language.

But paying more doesn’t automatically guarantee better quality. Just because a freelancer charges higher rates doesn’t mean they will be able to present your message to your liking.

It’s vital that you thoroughly research all potential contributors. Locate testimonials about the writers you’re vetting. Review their experience and portfolios. Narrow down your candidates to no more than three at a time. Start small, assigning an article or two to each finalist.

Once you begin subcontracting, keep up with the engagement and metrics generated by your ghostwriters to make sure they’re growing and stimulating your audience.

You’ll find that paying someone else to create content can save you money in the long run. Yes, it’s going to cost you, but it’s well worth the investment if it frees you up to concentrate on other revenue-generating sources.

Helpful Hiring Hints

  • Decide on the skills required to get the goals of your project/s. Then interview and screen your prospects as you would any employee.
  • Look for a ghostwriter who is interested enough to ask detailed questions about your project/s and goal/s.
  • By the same token, give complete instructions to any contractor you hire. Make sure you both have a clear understanding of the project, when it must be completed, and the price you’ll pay.
  • Don’t confine yourself to one resource. Have relationships with at least two content creators at any time so you’re never caught short if someone is unavailable.
  • On the other hand, don’t work with so many different subcontractors that none is able to get a handle on your specific requirements.
  • Have a contract! This point is not negotiable. NEVER work with any freelancer (or client, for that matter) without having a signed contract in place.
  • Consider a confidentiality agreement to discourage revealing assignments for you or your blog if you prefer not to publicize that detail.

Quality content writing is your blog’s secret ingredient.

It’s not necessary to hire a full-time ghostwriter for your entire content marketing strategy unless you want to. If you are capable of handling any part of the responsibility, simply delegate tasks when needed.

Say you write a terrific blog post but want to enhance its impact with an infographic. You have a great idea for a series but don’t know the best way to organize and present the information you’ve researched. Or you need to work on a different campaign but must continue posting on schedule.

Once you connect with a skilled content creator or two, you’ll have no problem assigning the production of that infographic. Have your ghostwriter prepare a summary outline of the data you collected for your series. Delegate the writing of several articles and have them ready for publishing during your break.

Outsourcing some or all of your content creation can mean the difference between success and failure for your website. Plus, it feels great having a couple of competent, quality content writers to share the responsibility of writing for your business!

And the benefits you receive will be invaluable.

Summing Up

Keeping your website successful includes monitoring the results of your content writer’s efforts as you would if you were producing it yourself. Publishing quality content on a regular basis is what attracts your ideal clients and establishes you as a good resource for your target market.

Recruiting freelance writers to help your marketing efforts is a powerful way to enhance your business. Communicate effectively and detail the specifics of your projects. This helps your contractors produce quality content writing and optimize your website.

4 Simple Tips: How To Do Online Target Market Research

4 Simple Tips: How To Do Online Target Market Research

Target market research is the first step toward a better understanding of your clients. The next step is creating the buyer personas, or client avatars, to represent your ideal clients.

You know you will then use these avatars to appeal to your ideal clients, gain their trust by providing solutions to their problems, and encourage them to buy your products/services.

But no one tells you how to do that in any clear way.

And without an effective strategy your research could be faulty, leading you to make a mess of your entire content marketing plan.

Instead, try these four easy, reliable methods for researching your target audience to take your marketing efforts to the next level.

Why Target Market Research Matters

Conducting target market research is required before you can create accurate client avatars to appeal to. Without this foundation, you are marketing in the dark.

First, realize that you can not — and will not! — appeal to everyone who comes across your website! It’s like the difference between preferring one brand of detergent over another while recognizing that they’re all pretty much the same in the end.

You must understand who your products/services appeal to most, and why. Then, give that audience a reason to select you from among their other available choices. You won’t stand out from the crowd if you don’t even know who’s looking for you.

You won’t stand out from the crowd if you don’t even know who’s looking for you.

You won’t stand out from the crowd if you don’t even know who’s looking for you.

To produce content your ideal clients will love, you have to know your target market intimately. Luckily, the World Wide Web makes conducting this research incredibly easy.

Your target market is on the internet right now telling the world who they are, what they like, and what problems they need solved. Use these ideas for researching them online.

Social Media

Explore social media to research your audience. Look at the individual profiles of people who follow your brand.

The most obvious site for doing this is Facebook, since it has such robust profiles. These profiles can tell you:

  • Who they are
  • What they like
  • Their jobs, locations, ages, and family
  • Their general opinions

A goldmine of information is available on social media. Also, view people’s posts to see what they’re interested in and what questions they ask. This can give you greater insight into their needs.

Google Search Console

Sign up for this free service from Google to review a wide variety of metrics about your website and the behavior of your visitors.

Google Search Console tells you what keyword searches bring people to your site, how much time they’re spending on each page, what links they click on, and trends over time.

This information lets you know how people are interacting with your website. For example, if people spend a great deal of time on a particular page, you know that this is the type of content they’re looking for.

Conduct Online Surveys

The oldest and most effective method for collecting data about a target market is to conduct surveys and interviews. This used to be a costly undertaking for companies back when they had to physically get focus groups together or convince people to talk to them over the phone.

But now it’s easy to do online. You can conduct surveys any way you have contact with your audience. Try using social media or email.

Approach people on online forums to see if they’d answer some questions. Using Google Forms or one of many WordPress survey plugins, you also have the choice to create questionnaires directly on your website.

If you keep your surveys short, asking no more than three to five questions, you’re more likely to get responses. For longer surveys, offer an incentive such as a free piece of content to reward people who take part.

Track Your Content’s Performance

The best way to learn about your audience is to start presenting them with free content and see how they interact with it. You’ll quickly see which pieces are most popular and which drive the most engagement.

For each piece that’s successful, try to determine what it was about the content that people liked and try to repeat that. When your audience ignores a piece, try to figure out why and don’t do it again!

Creating a Persona

Use all the data you’ve gathered to create a persona describing your ideal client. This is a single person to whom you’ll aim all your marketing efforts.

You may actually have more than one client avatar, but it helps to stay focused on a single type of buyer for the best results.

Putting it All Together

Now that you have a better idea of where and how to research your target market online, it’s up to you to put in the work. Gather the information and develop a plan – then use it to attract and retain your ideal clients!

Armed with your completed research and understanding of your target market, you have the foundation to build a comprehensive content marketing strategy.

Download your Content Marketing Strategy Workbook to develop the online marketing that will take your business to the next level.

Add to the conversation! Comment below to let us know about the tips and tricks you use to research your target market and develop buyer personas!