Our Blog

22 Mar 2012

The Best Content Creation Tools

The Best Content Creation Tools

When most people think of creating content they default to a written blog post. But, more and more that should not be the case with infographics, images and video now playing a more important role in the kind of content that users expect.

So, with the different content formats, what content creation tools are out there to help you create link worthy content?

Concept First

Prior to creating content, you first must look at keywords and the kinds of headlines that will get your content read. I like to use a number of tools to help generate content ideas and headlines. Start with the Google Keyword tool. This tool will give you some good ideas in terms of what keywords people are using to find your site and the overall search numbers these terms generate. You want to create content around keywords that are getting a significant amount of traffic. In addition, the keyword tool will indicate the competitive nature of those phrases. You want to find terms with high traffic and a lower competitive index. This will allow you the opportunity to get found with your new content.

Try to use not only your most important terms but also use long tail terms in your content. The long tail terms allow you to get found in a greater variety of searches.

Brainstorm Ideas

Once you’ve determined a list of keywords, take some time and brainstorm ideas for the actual content and for headlines. We use a process where we find ancillary terms and suggestions from sites like:

  • Soovle – Type in your keyword and you will see suggestions from the main search engines. This will help you append your original list and add some long tail variations to the head terms most of us start with.
  • Übersuggest – This site takes your base keyword and extracts Google suggestions for it. Once you’ve developed your list, you can download via a text file.
  • Yahoo! Answers – This will help you determine what questions users are asking about your brand, products and/or services.

Developing Your Content

Once you’ve done your keyword research and developed your content ideas, it’s time to categorize your ideas by format. Some content lends itself to the written word and other content would be better served as an infographic or video. Take this extra step in determining the format for the content so you can determine the resources needed for deployment.

Also consider that once you create your content, you can repurpose it in a variety of formats. For example you might write a detailed blog post and then break that post up into a number of slides for a Power Point presentation that you could post on SlideShare and then record the presentation using software like Camtasia and then repost it on YouTube.

Finally, some tools to help you with content creation.

Evernote

Evernote is one of my favorite tools. I have it on my desktop, my IPad and phone. It is device agnostic, it works across all platforms. It allows me to drop notes about ideas for my next blog post. I often save links to posts and resource materials that I know I will go back to for my next post.

You can add photos, audio and video to your Evernote account as well. Don’t discount the versatility of this tool. I often use it to post audio notes to myself on things I’m thinking about.

The beauty of Evernote is you can update from any device and when you log in, the view is always the most current. Your notes are always synched across all your devices.  You can also share your notes with others using Evernote.

Google Alerts

Don’t forget this very easy tool. Set up alerts based on the keywords you are focusing on. You can select the frequency of updates. I generally set up daily updates and have Google send me an email with the links. It’s great to see what is trending as you are developing your content. Things change fast and you want to be writing about the cutting edge, not old news.

Photos

Photos can add impact to your content. Many content creators skip this step and focus only on the written content. Make sure you’re not one of them. Photos add impact to your content but also give you an opportunity to add “alt” text and captions for additional keywords. Here are three places you can quickly find photos and best of all they have free images you can use:

  • morgueFile – Thousands of free images for use in your creative work, be it commercial or not.
  • stock.xchng – This site has many free photos and also paid use photos.
  • Creative Commons – This is not a search engine but offers convenient access to search services provided by other independent organizations for creative commons images.

Audio

Need just the right intro or outro for your video or podcast? Then try out Opsound. Opsound offers audio files that are licensed in the spirit of open source software which allows for copying, remixing, use, and reuse while retaining an attribution to the original artist.

Video

Most of us have a digital camera, phone or other device that shoots video. And, most of that video is HD quality. What we lack is a quick and easy way to professionally deploy that video as content on our website. Although there are many software packages you can buy, I found a resource that is easy to use and quite inexpensive: Stupeflix. Stupeflix allows you to mix photos, video, music to create videos in seconds. Test out the use of video with this online software before you go out and spend a lot of money on a video editing suite of software.

Screen Capture Video Tool

Camtasia allows you to record screen videos. You can use this software to capture your computer screens to create tutorials and software walkthroughs. Output your presentation in a variety of formats. It’s easy to learn and you can sign up for a free trial.

Meme Generator

Meme’s are pretty popular right now and you can quickly find a photo and add text to it to create a meme. There are a number of easy to use meme generators. In fact, Google+ has one built in to your profile page. Just upload an image and click ‘add text’. You’ll be able to add text to the top, middle and bottom of your photo.

Need a goofy photo for your meme, then look to Meme Generator. You’ll find a meme generator and lots of photos to use.

Remember to have some fun with content creation.

We can’t be serious ALL the time, use these tools to have some fun.

What tools do you use for creating content?

8 Comments

  • Marcelina Hardy Mar 22, 2012

    You have an awesome list of resources here. I am bookmarking it. I wanted to add one more free image source – freedigitalphotos.com. The images are really great and all you have to do is include the HTML code they provide you with somewhere on the page where you use the image. I love that site for images.

    Thanks so much for all the tools!

  • Stephanie Robbins Mar 23, 2012

    Thank you for this great list of resources. I am going to check out Evernote right now!

  • Simon Mar 24, 2012

    But, more and more that should not be the case with infographics, images and video now playing a more important role in the kind of content that users expect.” yeahg, and not only that, but I’ve heard google places 50x more value on videos than words (something like that).
    About writing the content: always make sure to focus A LOT on the headline. And, I’m not talking about a SEO-perspective, here; because I know nada about that. I mean, make sure the headline is one that attracts the reader. You need to get some curiosity there, from the reader, and make sure they understand reading the content will be of benefit to them (because,. why else would they read?).
    About repurposing: you can do this in even more ways; for example, like you’ve done, transcribing a video. After that, you can just talk out the transcription. There are many more ways, as well; awesome you mention it:).

  • Greg Mar 24, 2012

    Thanks Mike! Love adding new tools to the arsenal. I’ve never heard of Übersuggest, Camtasia, Says-It.com or morgueFile and I’m looking forward to using all of them.

  • Nick Stamoulis Mar 29, 2012

    It’s important to produce a variety of content, not just blog posts and press releases. People like to consume information in different ways. By providing content in different formats you will improve the visibility of your brand. These are great tools that can help save time during the content creation process.

  • Mike Huber Mar 29, 2012

    Greg,

    Glad you found some value in the post. There are so many tools out there and it’s still exciting to come across some new ones.

  • Mike Huber Mar 29, 2012

    Simon,

    All good points you are making. Headlines are very important as they need to grab the reader’s attention and more so, they need to grab the attention of other webmasters who will put links to your post on their site.

    Video is very important and will help you build traffic as well.

  • Mike Huber Mar 29, 2012

    Stephanie,

    You will LOVE Evernote!