News, Culture & Society

5 Best Free Content Creation Tools for Social Media in 2021

By Phil PallenIn this day and age, you’ve got to post online to get ahead. The downside? Creating social media content takes time.

As a brand strategist who helps people and companies position, build and promote their brands, I utilize content creation as a way to find, attract, and convert clients. My content output includes two weekly videos published to my YouTube channel, daily content over on my Instagram, a weekly podcast, blog posts, and freebies on my website, and more.

I’m an advocate of using technology to make life easier, so in today’s roundup, I’m sharing my favorite content creation tools for social media. These online creation tools will help you create great content, and best of all, they’re free.

By the way, if you prefer to watch a video rundown of these tools, here it is on YouTube.

#1: Answer The Public

You might have a hunch about the topics people seek, but you might be surprised by the results from a tool like Answer The Public. This free tool gathers online data from search engines and autofill to display keywords and phrases that help you reach more people.

The goal of utilizing keywords in your content is to help people find you, whether it’s through a blog post, podcast, or even pin on Pinterest. Unlike some confusing SEO tools out there, Answer the Public is downright easy. Simply enter a keyword that’s relevant to your industry and within seconds, you’ll receive phrases and queries to shape your content—all based on the specific phrases people use in search engines. If you’re not one for data, don’t worry: Answer The Public displays keywords visually, which makes it easier to digest in comparison to a boring spreadsheet.

#2: Otter

Otter is a free transcription tool. Transcribing your thoughts is my favorite way to quickly acquire ideas to transform into social media content. There’s no such thing as writer’s block with Otter, and I love being able to transcribe my thoughts or conversations directly from my phone.

To paraphrase Getting Things Done author David Allen, your mind is for generating ideas, not for storing them. We can all think of instances where we came up with a brilliant idea that ultimately slipped away because it wasn’t written down. Well, my friend, forget no more. Whip out your phone and “talk it out” with your pal Otter, which is how I write my tweets. I find it even better for longer forms of content too, like blog posts or email blasts. Try it out.

#3: Dropmark

Dropmark is my favorite tool for organizing all your links, files, and notes into visual collections.  While the software is similar to other services like Evernote, Dropmark has some definitive edges: You can tag all media types for quick reference, and you can add websites into folders as websites (not as screenshots), which allows for scrolling without leaving the app. Perfect for solo or team use, Dropmark allows for easy collaboration on specific or account-wide folders if you need it.

If you have multiple areas of expertise, Dropmark helps you segment your specialties. For example, I’m hired to provide client advice on 12 different content pillars. Within Dropmark, I have a dedicated folder for each pillar, where I save articles, ideas, books, and more to help fuel my ongoing education in each subject. Beyond my content pillars, I also save content to folders for testimonials, tools, worksheet ideas, questions I’m asked, speaking topics, and more. This way not only I can access my ideas, but so can my team.

At the time of writing this, Dropmark is free for their basic plan, or $5/mo if you want their team collaboration. I think the tool pays for itself and more. You’ll love it.

#4: SparkToro

SparkToro is a new find for me, but I’m using it to gain a deeper insight into my audience’s behavior. Rather than conducting market research or surveys, this tool (with expansive search and filtering functionality) helps you understand what your audience reads, watches, listens, and follows. Improving your market research is an obvious application, but SparkToro can also help you improve ad targeting, content strategy, social media, and outreach. I’ll be using it to create an outreach list for podcast guest pitching, for example. The first 10 searches are free, and premium plans are available for more features.

#5: 100 Evergreen Content Ideas Ebook

Writing content and creating content doesn’t have to be hard, and this is one of my favorite free content writing tools. In fact, I use it myself! If you’re like most people, there’s a roadblock when it comes to generating content ideas, which is why I made this handy free content resource.

With content, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. You just need to answer the right questions. Whenever you’re stumped about what to post online, just open this ebook, choose a random page, and the content idea will pop right out at you. If you’ve got a blog post that’s long overdue, crack this open, choose a question, and start writing for your medium. If you’re lost for an Instagram caption, just look here for inspiration and get posting. I’ve included 100 content ideas broken down into 10 categories, including inspiration, nostalgia, experience, accomplishments, and more.

Grab your copy of 100 Evergreen Content Ideas here. This guide is going to be your saving grace when you’re stumped.

And there you have it! Five of my favorite tools will save you time and help your audience find you through content. Enjoy!