Ask anyone who's ever written a blog and they'll tell you: it's a TON of work. Coming up with ideas for what to write about is taxing enough, especially if you've been blogging for a while. But even if you're full of creative ideas, producing those ideas into gorgeous, engaging blog posts can feel like the bigger battle.
Today, we wanted to share five tools to help you create and edit blog posts. From editing your words to editing your photos, we've got you covered! Be sure to share your fave content creation resources with us, in the comments!
You might've heard of Grammarly, as they've recently gotten a bunch of press and I recently saw a commercial for the service, too. In a nutshell, Grammarly is a program that helps you copyedit your content. Install a simple bookmarklet into your Chrome browser, and Grammarly will find spelling, punctuation and common usage errors, automatically! I first came across Grammarly several years ago, when you had to plug your text into an editor on their site and review the errors there. The bookmarklet makes editing a breeze, and it's a vital tool if grammar's not your strong suit. View a video about the app, and download it here.
Does Photoshop freak you out? Then check out Canva. It's an awesome design resource that allows you to build gorgeous graphics for your blog, and perform light photo editing too! Canva even offers pre-made templates for Facebook cover art and media kits. The free plan offers some essential features, but if you want to use specific fonts, you can try the upgraded version for $13 per month.
So you've got Canva…now you need photographs to introduce visuals on your blog! If you're writing a post and don't have any photos for it, consider using Unsplash. We use it regularly here at <em>press, and on our individual company blogs, too. Plain and simple: Unsplash is a free stock photo site. You can search their ever-growing archives of photos, download, and use however you want (even for commercial purposes). Ideally, it's nice to give the photographer credit (which is a practice you should do as a blogger anyway), but with Unsplash, it's not required that you do.
We especially like Unsplash's Collections feature. After creating an account, you can start building your own collections of photos. So, suppose you want to build a collection of coffee flat lay photos for a “Coffee Talk” column on your blog. With a collection, you can simply add new Unsplash stock photos as you encounter them. I use this regularly for my own work, with collections for <em>press, my blog, and even specific client projects!
When using Unsplash, we recommend getting creative with your search terms. You can search a color (“pink”) or even a feeling (“peaceful”). We also find that we end up downloading photographs from the same photographers, so as you come across artists whose work you like, be sure to check out their profiles and save any other photos you love to your Collections.
You've written your post and designed graphics for it with images from Unsplash…now it's time to amplify it and make sure people know you've blogged! For this purpose, we can't recommend CoSchedule more. It's a social media management application that integrates directly with your WordPress dashboard, and into your post editor. With CoSchedule, before you even hit publish on a blog post, you can set post promotion dates, times and messages on all your social media platforms. With CoSchedule's calendar view, you can also schedule other social posts (like that random cat meme you've been sitting on), and get a visual view of what your social media presence is in any given week.
CoSchedule is an extremely powerful tool that even large companies use to manage major social media campaigns…but even if you're a growing blogger, it can offer a ton of value. CoSchedule's cost has increased in recent years as their features have grown tremendously (it's now $40 per month, eek). But, if you find yourself publishing multiple times per week and are serious about increasing your social media reach and site traffic, it's a worthwhile investment. Both Lisa and I use it for our businesses, and for <em>press, and trust me when I say, social media life is a lot more difficult without it.
Your Own Voice
Ok, your post is perfectly written, your social media plan is in place, and it's time to schedule your content…right? Take it from me — this last editing tool might just be the best. Before I schedule or publish any blog post, I like to view it in Preview mode, and read it aloud. It doesn't have to be in a booming voice, as if I was reading to a crowd. Even a whisper works great (though, best to use this technique when you're alone, lest you look crazy on the subway).
Reading your content out loud is my favorite editing tool because you inevitably catch all those tiny mistakes that somehow elude you when you're simply reading your content internally. A misspelled word here, a sentence that sounds funny there; all of it gets illuminated when you're reading out loud. In theory, Grammarly should've caught any major mistakes, but I find that hearing your own thoughts in a human voice can help ensure you're expressing yourself in the right way…and that you've said everything you need to!
Ok, so those are some of our favorite tools to create and edit content for our blogs. What about you? Any tools or resources you swear by?