Updated June 2022
Content marketing spending for B2B companies continues to grow, with 66 percent of B2B marketers reporting they plan to increase content spending in the next year. This increase in competition makes it more important than ever to produce high-quality content your target audience cares about.
In niche industries, just publishing a new blog post a month used to be enough to keep your site ranking. But as content gets more competitive, it’s crucial to ensure your content is optimized, easy to read, and provides valuable insights.
Not sure how to create the type of content your audience will read and share? Below are our favorite free content creation tools and resources to up your content game.
Free Content Research Tools
Research can be the most challenging part of the content creation process. Let’s look at the best free content research tools to help you find better topics and answer your audience’s questions.
1. Answer the Public
You may have heard of Answer The Public, but you might not be making the most of the tool’s valuable insights. Enter in a keyword or phrase related to your industry or what you want to write about, and Answer the Public suggests topics and long-tail keywords based on Bing and Google’s autosuggest feature. This is a great tool if you know the topic you want to write about, but aren’t sure what angle to take.
This tool provides a visual graph and alphabetical grid of topics that you can export into a CSV file. These results give you real data and insight into what people are looking for on search engines.
If you want to compare or add to your findings from Answer the Public, use KeywordTool.io, which lets you search across other platforms, like Amazon and Instagram, as well as Bing and Google.
BuzzSumo is mainly a paid tool, but they offer shortened versions of their paid result for free. Type in a topic or keyword and see the most popular articles calculated through social media shares on that specific topic. You can filter results by when it was published (e.g. in last week, month, year, etcetera) or content type, language, and other specifications.
Buzzsumo is ideal for B2B content development because it shows you the topics and formats of content that actually get traction online. For example, you can see if similar content has already been published so you can figure out how to create more valuable resources.
Free Content Creation Tools
Actually carving out time and sitting down to write is often the hardest step in the content production process. These tools will help improve your content and help you produce more content in less time.
The stronger and more grammatically correct your writing is, the more users will trust what you have to say. Have your team install Grammarly into their Chrome browsers or on their PCs to check their work on Google Docs or in Microsoft Word. As you type, Grammarly flags misspellings or grammar errors and tells you when a sentence is hard to read or could be worded differently.
There is a premium paid version, but the free version is an excellent resource for most users. Even the best writers will occasionally forget to include an Oxford comma or use passive voice, but Grammarly will flag those issues so you can correct them. Just review all their suggestions before applying them to your writing!
Bonus tip: If you have the Chrome plugin, it also works with Google Mail to flag errors in your emails, too.
5. Hemingway App
If you want to go beyond Grammarly and have your work harshly judged by AI technology, consider using the free Hemingway tool (which has a web and desktop version). The tool tells you what reading level your content is and when sentences are unclear or need to be rewritten.
Its recommendations may be surprising (and should be considered at your own discretion), but if you’re not a strong writer or someone else on another team that isn’t a strong writer (like a salesperson or member of the executive team), it’s a great tool that explains it suggestions so that writers can improve.
6. Pomodoro Timer
There’s a saying posted on one of the walls at Facebook headquarters: “Done is better than perfect.” In B2B content creation, that means posting content is better than not posting content at all, as long as there’s strategy behind it.
If you find yourself procrastinating or struggling to get content written, try using a Pomodoro Timer to set aside dedicated time to write. With the Pomodoro method, you spend 25 minutes in dedicated work time, then take a 5-minute break. This is one cycle, and most people only need four to eight cycles a day to complete the majority of their deep work.
Free B2B Content Design Tools
Well-written, useful content sometimes isn’t enough to generate conversions from users. Adding additional media content to your written blog posts and articles is the best way to grab attention and keep users on-page. Leveraging different graphics and media is also a great way to appeal to different types of learners.
Here are our favorite free content design tools to help you create visually appealing content.
This easy-to-use tool makes it easy to create amazing infographics and other visuals without design experience. Use their free formats to create infographics on almost any topic. While some features are locked with the free version, there are still a lot of great features that make this worth checking out.
Suppose you don’t have a designer on staff or they are busy with other projects. In that case, it’s easy for a content writer, assistant, or researcher to create an infographic or video that summarizes a long piece of content. You can quickly distill the main concepts of a piece of content into a visual format so people can read it at a glance or repurpose your B2B content into multiple pieces.
This tool is similar to Piktochart, but they offer a lot more free design templates to create almost any visual content including blog header posts, social media posts, infographics, and worksheets.
Canva offers tons of free templates and stock images to use with your graphic, but you can also pay for additional elements. If you don’t want to pay, you can always use the free alternatives or find a different Creative Commons photo that you’re allowed to use from elsewhere (like Pixabay) and import it into Canva. Just make sure you give credit in your content for images when required.
9. Facebook Live
Video is exploding, with the average US adult watching more than three hours of video content a day. As a result, more B2B content marketers are leveraging video, according to Content Marketing Institute. The report found that 69 percent of respondents plan to increase their budget for video content in the next year. Plus, 51 percent reported that webinars and webcasts produce the best result.
Using a tool like Facebook Live is a simple way to leverage the power of video and produce video content users want to interact with. Once you’re finished streaming, save these videos to your profile and embed them in your long-form content. It’s also possible to download the video to upload them to your YouTube profile or website.
To add live video to long-form content, simply elaborate on the content’s core concepts. In your video, the content author or an expert on the team can break down the main points or share more information about a specific topic. If you have an expert to interview, that could also be a great addition to the written content.
Free Content Promotion Tools
Writing or creating your content is just the first step. Next, you have to promote it. Several free promotional marketing tools help reach your audience on different platforms, like social media and email.
In the Content Marketing Institute study, 87 percent reported that they use email campaigns to nurture their audience. Mailchimp is an email marketing platform with a robust free plan. Their “forever free” account lets you send up to 12,000 emails per month to up to 2,000 subscribers. The platform is also straightforward to use and provides several pre-designed email templates to send newsletters, informational blasts, or new blog alerts to your mailing list.
You can ask users to sign up for your mailing list at the end of blog posts, in video descriptions, and in other places on your website and social media. As your list grows, you’ll have a wider audience to promote new blog posts, videos, and other content promotions.
If your site runs on WordPress (which is also free), install the free version of the Sumo plugin, which has a variety of promotional features like email subscriber popups, social share buttons, and other tools to drive clicks and email conversions across your site.
This tool will help you grow your email list, which should be a priority. Email marketing continues to be a valuable way to promote content. CampaignMonitor reports that you’re six times more likely to get a click-through an email than in a tweet, and email subscribers are three times more likely to share your content than visitors from other sources.
12. Click to Tweet
If you want to make it easy for employees, colleagues, and website users to share your content consider using Click to Tweet. Prewrite a tweet then embed the created Click to Tweet URL in your content. Once they click on it, a new window will pop up on Twitter with the pre-written tweet filled in. All they have to do is click!
Consider adding Click to Tweet messages to:
- Out-of-office messages
- Email signatures
- Internal slack channels or other employee communication
- Within the article to promote sharing by readers
- In an email to a mastermind group
- At the end of social media messages on other platforms, like LinkedIn or Facebook.
With Click to Tweet’s free version, simply sign in to your Twitter account and start creating your tweets. Make sure to include the URL of the content you want to share.
After it’s done, Click to Tweet provides a URL to share. You can also embed CTA cards within your blog post in a variety of formats. Choose your design, and the code is given for you to copy and paste:
Final Thoughts About Free Content Creation Tools
There are dozens of other free tools to promote and create content, like Zapier, Buffer, Hootsuite, and many others, but the ones on this list have consistently helped our team with content creation, promotion, and research. Experiment with what works best for you and your B2B content marketing team and your specific goals.
Think we missed any need-to-have tools? Reach out to us on Twitter!