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7 Kinds of Tools to Help Develop Better Marketing Content

Marketing content

Did you know that 90 percent of B2B marketers use content marketing in some way? But many still struggle to do it productively, which is why it’s important to develop a content marketing strategy. If you haven’t done this step, pause here and go read my article about your initial planning and content marketing strategy. Once you’ve developed your plan, it’s time to get to work producing marketing content.

Your plan will specify who you are creating content for (e.g., the COO), and what problem you are addressing (e.g., automating simple business processes).

The next decision is what format to use: will this be written or visual content (or both)? If written, short form or long form? To maximize the impact and return on your content creation efforts, you may decide to produce a comprehensive piece then repurpose some or all of that marketing content in different formats. For example:

  • White paper / ebook: If the topic is “big” enough (and sufficiently compelling), it may warrant developing a long-form content piece that can be used as website call-to-action (CTA) asset download for lead generation.
  • Blog post(s): You may want to write one or more blog posts that highlight certain information from the original white paper or ebook, and link to the landing page for that asset.
  • Infographics: Sections of the long-form piece may lend themselves to being converted into infographics. Statistics and process flows work well to this format.
  • Presentations: Use PowerPoint or an online tool like Prezi, Visme, or Haiku Deck to convert part of the information into slides. Use your deck for live presentations at industry conferences or trade shows, as well uploading to SlideShare.
  • Videos: Animate your presentation, edit in some live “talking head” footage, add narration and music, and you’ve got an attention-grabbing how-to video.

Get creative with your repurposing ideas as well as your content creation. As noted in More Than Words: 22 Ways to Get Visual with Content Marketing, there are more than a dozen options beyond infographics, presentations, and videos for sharing information in visual formats.

Of course, not every piece of marketing content you develop will be repurposed in multiple formats. Sometimes a blog post is a just a blog post, and a social media update image is just that. What’s essential though is that, as the volume of content being produced online keeps ratcheting up, your text and visual content needs to be strategic, targeted, and of high quality in order to stand out.

Here are seven types of tools that can help you create remarkable marketing content—text, images, and video content that will have an impact and drive business results.

Online Writing Tools and Apps

No matter how good your ideas are or how thorough your research, it won’t find much of an audience or have much impact if the writing is poor.

The best way to transform prose from awkward to sparkling is to have a college English professor peering over your shoulder. But since that isn’t a generally a practical option, it’s fortunate there are online tools that can help.

Among the most common tools in this category are apps that scour your text for common issues like run-on sentences, grammatical errors, mismatched verb tenses, and use of passive voice—then offer specific recommendations for improvement. These include Hemmingway App, Grammarly, and Slick Write.

Tools like Readability Score and Readability Test Tool help evaluate and reduce the complexity of your writing, so your ideas shine through clearly. The Coschedule Headline Analyzer and Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer can assist with crafting more effective titles.

For long-form content writing, Scrivener can help keep your thoughts and sources organized and the project on track. Finally, there are a number of special-purpose writing tools such as Cliché Finder, Rhymer, and Word Counter, that do pretty much what their names imply.

Free Stock Photos and Videos

To really capitalize on effort you’ve put into fine-tuning your writing, it’s vital to pair it with relevant, cogent imagery. Recent research shows articles with images get 94 percent more views than text alone, and including a photo or video in a press release increases exposure by 45 percent.

Original photography and graphics are best, but where the budget for that isn’t available or justified, stock images can fill the need. Sites like Pixabay, Pexels, and PikWizard offer free and low-cost images with clear licensing terms (to keep you out of copyright trouble). Videvo and Coverr do the same for stock video footage.

Visual Marketing Content Creation Tools

With just a bit of effort, creativity, and the right tools, you can create original images to match your written marketing content or serve other purposes.

Design social media or presentation graphics using tools like Canva, Snappa, or Pablo. Convert data to images with chart-building tools like Google Charts or iCharts. Develop custom maps with the help of ScribbleMaps or Maptive. Other specialized tools let you easily create memes, GIFs, and quote pictures.

Add interactivity to static graphics with ThingLink, to help easily and visually explain complex topics as in this interactive guide to on-page SEO. Pair ThinkLink with a tool like Venngage to produce interactive infographics like this one highlighting social media marketing statistics.

Infographic Creation Tools and Services

Though they’ve become ubiquitous, infographics remain a popular way to share content like research findings and process flows in a concise, mobile-friendly, graphical format.

Developing professional infographics used to require enlisting the services of a professional graphic artist. Today, tools like Infogram, Piktochart, and Visme enable almost anyone to create attractive infographics through the use of templates plus stock images and icons.

Photo Editing Tools

Getting that original or stock photo to look just the way you want it often requires some retouching. From simple changes like correcting colors or adding highlights to complex layering and effects to create a true work of art, photo editing tools can help.

Work that was once done in a darkroom or using expensive desktop software can now be accomplished with just a modicum of skill and online tools like FotoFlexer, PicMonkey, Sumo Paint, or Fotor. Resize images quickly and easily with TinyPNG or Social Image Resizer.

For specific types of commercial image editing, Pixelz combines technology with professional services for publication-grade editing of product photos for agencies, brands, and ecommerce sites, while MockupPhotos is self-explanatory.

Screen Capture Tools

One of the most effective ways to explain how a software application works or how to perform a specific task online is through screen capture. Use Awesome Screenshot to grab and annotate single screen images, or tools like Snagit, LICEcap, or Droplr to record videos of screen activity and add notes.

Audio and Video Editing Tools

As noted in a previous post here about online video statistics, “Online video is exploding.” Online video traffic is predicted to triple from 2015 to 2020. More than three-quarters of U.S. Internet users watch online video. And while 60 percent of marketers used videos in their social media marketing back in 2016, today 96 percent of marketers say they make at least some investment in video marketing for better marketing content.

While producing professional-quality video results still requires some effort in learning and practice, today’s generation of online tools has put video within reach for most marketers.

Use tools like SloPro, AVS4YOU, or ilos to edit live video. Create animated videos using Animoto, Vyond, or PowToon. Develop “explainer” whiteboard videos with VideoScribe or Renderforest.

Just need to mix or edit sound files? Edit multi-track audio using Audacity or Mixlr.

Generic, mediocre marketing content isn’t worth the effort to produce. Poor-quality writing can actually damage your brand image. Today’s buyers have high expectations for the originality, utility, and clarity of content marketers produce.

Use these writing and visual image creation tools to help create compelling, professional-grade marketing content that will grab the attention of your audience and drive business results.

The original version of this article was first published on V3Broadsuite.

Tom Pick

Tom Pick is a digital marketing consultant, working with Kinetic Data, a provider of enterprise service request management, workflow automation, and collaboration software. He writes about content and social media marketing topics on the Webbiquity blog.