The Ultimate List of Free Content Creation Tools & Resources


Creating content isn't always a walk in the park. (In fact, it can sometimes feel more like a sprint in a swamp.)

While other parts of business and marketing are becoming increasingly automated, content creation is still a very manual job. Automation hasn't yet replaced what we do (thank goodness).  

That being said, there are plenty of tools out there to make creating content much easier. Below, you'll find a list of 28 fantastic tools and resources to help you research, write, edit, and design content more easily. (You'll notice there are a lot of design tools in here -- that's because visual content is often the part of the content creation process where people get the most nervous and frustrated. So don't worry, we've got a ton in there for you.)

For more free tools, download our content creation templates for creating blog posts, ebooks, infographics, and more.

Let's get started.

28 Free Tools & Resources to Make Content Creation Easier

For Researchers

1) Google Drive Research Tool

Google recently added a tool to Drive that allows you to conduct Google searches without ever leaving your Drive window. All you have to do is click "Tools" from the menu bar and choose "Research" from the dropdown menu. 


2) Site:search

This is a handy Google hack I use every day. Basically, it allows you to do a Google search that's limited to a particular website.

For example, if I wanted to search HubSpot's blog for marketing resources so I can cite one of our old blog posts, I'd do a site:search for with the search term marketing resources. The formula for site search is [search query]. So my example would be marketing resources.


3) Google Webmaster Tools

Doing SEO and keyword research? Your marketing software should be able to help. But if it can't (or you'd like to augment your data), Google's Webmaster Tools can be a great help. You can check things like the number of indexed pages on your website, submit your site to Google so you're getting crawled and indexed, and even disavow bad inbound links. It also can give you information on search queries that have a large volume of impressions but low clickthrough rate.

Within Google Webmaster Tools, go to "Your site on the web" and choose "Search queries." You'll see a table showing a search query, impressions, clicks, and clickthrough rate (CTR). Comparing this data to your other analytics data can help uncover some opportunities.

4) Percentage Change Calculator

I can't even begin to tell you how useful this little calculator is when looking for and analyzing data. Ever want to know the percentage change of two values without have to remember the formula? Simply enter the two values into this calculator, and it'll spit out the percentage change. Trust me, you'll want to bookmark this one.

Here are a few other handy calculators:

  • 3-Way Percentage CalculatorCalculates answers to these questions: What is X% of Y? X is what percent of Y? X is Y% of what?
  • Conversion Rate Calculator – Spits out a conversion rate when you enter the total visitor count during a specific time frame and the number of times during that time frame those visitors took a specific action.
  • A/B Test CalculatorWorks for a basic scenario with two groups of people (A & B) who get to see one version of your website and for whom you track the number of conversions or goals (purchases, downloads, clickthroughs, etc.).

5) Search in a Giphy

You know that coworker who always seems to find the perfect animated GIFs for your social posts or internal chat client? With the free Giphy Chrome extension, you'll be able to find great GIFs just as quickly.

To use the tool, all you have to do is open the extension in Chrome, search, choose a GIF, and drag and drop. So far, the tool works in Gmail, Twitter, Facebook, and more -- and they're constantly expanding support.


For Writers

6) Evernote

I use the free version of Evernote every single day. From to-do lists and research notes to writing entire chunks of articles, it's proven helpful at every step of the writing and editing process.

One great feature? Its mobile, desktop, and web apps sync automatically as long as you have an internet connection. (And if you work offline, it'll sync the next time you have internet.) Plus -- and this is super important for content creators like us -- it's constantly saving and syncing your work automatically, making it a safe place to write and store ideas.

Use it to keep a running list of ideas, take notes, store inspiring articles or ebooks -- even to write a blog post in 10 minutes by speaking it out loud and then editing the translated text.


7) Word2CleanHTML

If you like drafting blog posts in programs like Microsoft Word, Evernote, or Google Drive instead of your content management system (CMS), then this simple tool can be your best friend. Why? Because when you copy a document from Microsoft Office and paste it into your CMS, lots of little, weird formatting issues can crop up in your HTML.

Word2CleanHTML applies filters to fix all those things added into the HTML, resulting in well-formatted HTML you can paste directly into a web page CMS. Simply paste in your draft, click one button, and then copy the resulting HTML straight from the tool. When you paste that into your CMS (most will have buttons reading "HTML" or "</>" in their tool bar above your draft), it will appear nice and clean. No hair-pulling or swimming through code required.

8) WordCounter

There is no "right answer" for how long a blog post should be. As long as it serves its purpose -- whether that's thought leadership, driving leads, explaining a new concept, or something else -- length doesn't matter. But although we don't recommend writing blog posts with a word count in mind, sometimes word count can come in handy. WordCounter works exactly the way you think it does: Paste in your content and it'll spit out exactly how many words you have.

9) Cofftivity

According to a study out of the University of Chicago, "A moderate level of ambient noise is conducive to creative cognition." In other words, being the tiniest bit distracted actually helps you be more creative. That's why for many people, myself included, white noise helps promote focus.

There are a lot of white noise generators out there, but my favorite is Cofftivity. This particular one offers non-stop café background sounds at varying intensities, from "Morning Murmur" and "University Undertones" to "Lunchtime Lounge" and "Brazil Bistro." It's available on the web and as an app on iOS and Android.

10) & 11) Zerys & eLance

Need to start creating content but don't have the bandwidth? We hear about this roadblock a lot. One way to get around it is by hiring freelancers from reputable marketplaces like Zerys or eLance. These resources give you access to skilled freelance writers who can write blog posts, ebooks, whitepapers, and other pieces of written content for you. (To be sure you're hiring the best writers, read this in-depth post about how to screen for the best writers.)

12) HTML Hacks for Marketers

While this isn't strictly a writing resource, basic coding knowledge is quickly becoming a must-have skill for the modern marketer -- bloggers and written content creators included. But learning from scratch can be daunting. Where on earth do you start?

If you're a total beginner, start with HTML Hacks for Marketerswhich my colleagues at HubSpot created with Codeacademy. It'll teach you quick but useful hacks anyone -- regardless of coding knowledge -- can use in their marketing. For example, you'll learn how to make small changes to HTML like altering headers and spacing, creating text in block-quote form, and inserting social share links. My personal favorite is the hack to change font colors.

Once you've mastered these basic HTML skills, move on to Codeacademy's free interactive courses. They found a way to make learning HTML and CSS actually fun -- and you can go through each lesson at your own pace.

For Content Editors

13) & 14) Grammarly & Correctica

While human editors will be able to catch most grammatical errors, editing tools like Grammarly and Correctica are great tools for triple-checking before you press "publish" or "send." Both free tools check for grammatical errors -- and Grammarly even checks for plagiarism.

15) Hemingway App

Ernest Hemingway, admired for his succinct writing style, is the namesake for this handy editing app. Want to make your written content easier to read? Paste your content into this free web app, and it'll assess your writing and identify opportunities to make it simpler.

My favorite features include identifying passive voice and hard-to-read sentences. Check out the right-hand side of the screenshot below, where the tool has summed up how readable my writing is with a grade. (Some room for improvement here.) Their suggestion to improve readability overall? Shoot for lower than a 10th grade reading level.


16) Headline Analyzer

Here's a scary stat for you: Only 62% of people who click into an article end up reading past the headline. That makes your headline both the first and possibly the only chance for you to compel readers to keep reading -- so it's totally worth it to spend the extra few minutes coming up with a really good one.

What does a really good headline look like? The free tool Headline Analyzer by CoSchedule can tell you. It scores your headline quality and rates its ability to drive social shares, traffic, and SEO value. In my experience, its strength is helping you strengthen specific components of your title. For example, it reports on perceived sentiment and commonality of word types. It'll even show you how it will appear in search results.

So although you should take these scores and grades with a grain of salt, you can use this to give your headlines a “once-over." (And read this blog post to learn more about writing awesome headlines.)

For Designers

17) Nimbus Screenshot

This is another tool I use every day. Sure, you can capture a screenshot of your entire screen or part of your screen using the old keyboard shortcut method. But what if you want your screenshot to include stuff that's not visible on your screen?

Nimbus Screenshot lets you capture the visible part of a web page, a selected area, a selected scroll (my personal favorite), the entire page, or the entire browser window -- including everything below the fold.


Once you've taken the screenshot, you can crop, edit (like adding notes and callouts), and choose to print or save to your desktop or Google Drive.

18) Canva

If you like creating beautiful visual content in a really short amount of time, you'll love Canva. The time and resources it takes to learn design, pay for design assets, and/or get inspired to create beauty from scratch can be really difficult when you're staring at a long list of to-dos -- but Canva offers a huge library of pre-made templates and assets that you can manipulate while also adding your own imagery.

Best of all, they have so many assets and graphics available for free that you won't have to pay a cent if you don't want to. If you want to use more "premium" assets and graphics found through their image search, they'll charge you $1 for each. But there's plenty of value for free. 

Here's an example of something you could make:


19) ThingLink

Ever wanted to make an image (or infographic) clickable? ThingLink lets you upload an image and add little icons to it that appear when a person hovers their cursor over the image. These icons allow users to visit links, watch videos, or read messages you've written. Plus, it's easy to share: Users can easily embed ThingLink images. (Click here for step-by-step instructions.)

Below is part of a a clickable infographic from Thinglink my colleague Ginny Soskey created for another post:

20) Skitch

Skitch is a free app by Evernote that helps you communicate more visually. It lets you mark up images, digital assets, PDFs, and other files with arrows, callout boxes, text, and more all in one place.

In the example below, I opened the program on my desktop and used the "Screen Snap" button to take a screenshot of a web page -- which then opened right in Skitch for editing and exporting.


Although it's free, it does require you to open an Evernote account -- but that's also free (see above).

21) Infogram 

While similar to Canva, Infogram is a visual content tool that focuses on helping you create infographics, charts, and data visualization. If you like to create charts using Microsoft Excel, you're in luck -- it also offers compatibility with Excel through Infogram Charts. Also, their infographics are responsive with mobile devices.

22) Google Fonts

Want to spruce up your site pages, presentations, ebooks, and other content with cool and difference new fonts? Little-known fact: Google has a directory of 600 free fonts ready for you to download and use.

Simply find and select the fonts you like from their directory, then click "Use" to get the HTML code you can copy and paste onto your site. Alternatively, you can download the fonts to your desktop and use them when making new marketing content by clicking "Add to Collection." (Click here for step-by-step instructions for doing this in the HubSpot software.)


23) Image Color Picker

Remember that time you wanted to match your call-to-action design to that color you were using on all your event swag ... but the one person who would know what that color was didn't work at your company anymore? Next time that happens, snag a picture of that swag and upload it to, or use any image URL to do the same thing. Select any point of the picture, and immediately see its corresponding HEX, RGB, and HSV values. Helllloooo matching color schemes.

24) Haiku Deck

If you've ever had to create a PowerPoint or SlideShare presentation in a pinch, you'll wish you knew about Haiku Deck. This tool helps you quickly find simple layouts, beautiful images, and great fonts. It's available for the web and for iPad.

Want to see what one looks like? Below's an example I pulled from their list of featured decks. Note the simplicity of the design -- if you want to create super detailed slides, this may not be the right tool for you.

Snowed In? - Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

25) HubSpot's Free Stock Photos

Searching for and buying stock imagery can be a pain in the you-know-what -- especially when it comes to deciphering legalese for different use cases. I have a liberal arts degree, and Nietzsche was easier to read than whatever legalese stock imagery companies tended to give me. All I wanted to know is whether to cite or not cite a stock image of a laptop. Why was it so hard?

That's why our team decided to create a library of 550+ free and royalty-free stock photos. Whether it's a unique image needed for an ebook or that perfect photo you want to add to a blog post, that collection should have you covered.

26) PlaceIt

PlaceIt serves a very specific purpose: It allows you to upload images of your site or product into real-world environments of people holding phones, tablets, and laptops. PlaceIt will automatically alter the image to make it appear natural with the angle of the phone's screen -- which will save you time learning and/or editing in more advanced software to get the angle right.


You'll have to pay per image to get really large or high-resolution versions, though I've found free images work just fine for blog posts and and product page content. The paid downloads also remove that PlaceIt watermark from the bottom right.

27) & 28) The Noun ProjectHubSpot's Resizable Icons Collection

Like with stock photos, another challenge content creators face is finding elegant icons that resize without getting all fuzzy. There are a few resources out there for great, resizeable icons.

The Noun Project is an extensive library of thousands of icons uploaded by contributors. With a free account, you can use icons as long as you either give credit to the creator or purchase them royalty-free for $1.99 apiece.

HubSpot has a library of resizeable icons, too, which you can download for free and without any licensing or attribution. The kit comes with a free guide for how to change the color of the icons using PowerPoint, Photoshop, and Illustrator.

To that, we say ... 


(From HubSpot's Free Icon Collection.)

It's Not the Wand, It's the Wizard

The tools and resources listed above can help you create, but it's ultimately up to you to control the quality of your content. You still need to know your customer incredibly well, understand what challenges they face that your product or service solves, and create content that helps them address those challenges.

The brains and heart behind the content creator trump the code behind any tools and technology today -- and that's a good thing for succeeding in marketing today.

What other tools or apps do you use to create content more easily? Leave them in the comments so we can extend this list right here!

Editor's Note: This post was originally published in December 2013 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

free content creation templates


How to Make a Mobile-Friendly Website [Free SEO Guide]


The search engine goliath Google hath laid down its wrath once again -- this time targeting the mobile web.

On April 21st, 2015, Google began rolling out its "mobile-friendly" update, which makes mobile-friendliness a stronger ranking factor for mobile searches. The aftermath of this rollout, dubbed "Mobilegeddon," has resulted in thousands of non-optimized websites plummeting in mobile search results. 

According to the Searchmetrics blog, some of the websites most-affected by Google's mobile-friendly update include reddit, NBC Sports,, and Upworthy, just to name a few.

The good news in all of this: "Mobilegeddon" wasn't really the end of days for non- or poorly optimized mobile websites. Google's algorithm runs in real time, so even if you weren't able to get your site up to snuff before the April 21st launch date, you can (and should!) update it now and Google will reward you for it in its mobile search rankings.

mobile-friendly-transparent.pngTo help ensure that you have all of your mobile SEO bases covered, we created a new guide: How to Make a Mobile-Friendly Website: SEO Tips for a Post-Mobilegeddon World.

The guide is available both as a .pdf file and as a responsive sitepage that you can view on a mobile device. Inside, you'll find information about Google's mobile-friendly update and how you can test your site for mobile-friendliness, as well as tactical tips for optimizing your website for mobile SEO and usability.

We'll also cover the differences between Google's three approved mobile configurations: responsive design, dynamic serving, and mobile-only websites.

Ready to go mobile? Click here to download the guide.

Do you have any tips for making websites for mobile-friendly? Sound off in the comments section below.

free guide: make your site mobile-friendly




Man arrested after Liking his own mugshot on Facebook


Sometimes when you're on the run from the law, you still need to feel like you're still connected to your would-be captors on social media.

That's pretty much the only way to explain why Levi Charles Reardon would add his Like to a picture of his "wanted" mugshot on a Seattle-area police Facebook page — an act that led to his arrest.

Great Falls/Cascade County Crimestoppers posted Reardon's mugshot on April 3, noting that he was wanted for forgery

The Facebook group soon noticed that Reardon had Liked the mugshot photo from his own account

Crimestoppers took a screenshot of the social media gaffe before Reardon got to redact the Like. The screenshot was then posted to Facebook. Read more...

More about Facebook, Crime, Watercooler, Conversations, and Mugshots

Man arrested after Liking his own mugshot on Facebook


Sometimes when you're on the run from the law, you still need to feel like you're still connected to your would-be captors on social media.

That's pretty much the only way to explain why Levi Charles Reardon would add his Like to a picture of his "wanted" mugshot on a Seattle-area police Facebook page — an act that led to his arrest.

Great Falls/Cascade County Crimestoppers posted Reardon's mugshot on April 3, noting that he was wanted for forgery

The Facebook group soon noticed that Reardon had Liked the mugshot photo from his own account

Crimestoppers took a screenshot of the social media gaffe before Reardon got to redact the Like. The screenshot was then posted to Facebook. Read more...

More about Facebook, Crime, Watercooler, Conversations, and Mugshots

Welcoming HRH Princess Charlotte of Cambridge

Almost two years ago the world took to Twitter to rejoice in the birth of Prince George, the first child of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. And over the past few days, Twitter users have once again flocked to @KensingtonRoyal to hear the news break about another #RoyalBaby.

Today it was confirmed that the duke and duchess have named their daughter Charlotte Elizabeth Diana:

This embeddable heat map shows the global conversation on Twitter following the announcement:

After weeks of waiting and speculation, including Twitter votes as to whether the new baby would be a boy or a girl, @KensingtonRoyal Tweeted at 6:39 a.m. Saturday morning that Her Royal Highness had gone into St Mary’s Hospital, London:

That Tweet was followed a few hours later by another confirming the safe arrival of a new princess:

There were more than one million Tweets reacting to Saturday’s announcement:

A series of updates followed, announcing the new baby’s weight and other details:

Later in the day, @KensingtonRoyal published a picture of The Duke of Cambridge carrying Prince George into the Lindo Wing to meet his new sister:

Before long, the first picture appeared of the new addition emerging from the hospital:

Celebrities and others continue to chime in with supportive Tweets: 

Meerkat now lets you watch some live streams without Twitter


It looks like Meerkat is finally addressing its troubles with Twitter, which has worked to limit the live streaming app's access to its users since the launch of rival Periscope, which is owned by Twitter.

Meerkat added Facebook support to its iOS app over the weekend, along with other features that minimize the app's reliance on Twitter, in its latest update.

The biggest change is that live streams can now be viewed from Facebook; the app no longer requires a Twitter account in order to watch all broadcasts. Those who manage a Facebook page for a brand or business can connect their Meerkat account with their Facebook page so live streams can be viewed from within Facebook. Read more...

More about Facebook, Social Media, Tech, Apps Software, and Apps And Software

Google+ Turns Users Into Content Curators With New “Collections” Feature

Collections Screens Google+, the company’s social networking service that allows users to share posts and photos with family, friends and the broader public, has been sometimes criticized for being too much like competitor Facebook in terms of feature set. But today, Google+ is taking inspiration from another source: Pinterest. With the launch of a new “Collections” feature, users are now able… Read More

Google Acquires Timeful To Bring Smart Scheduling To Google Apps

timeful Google has acquired Timeful, a startup designed to make scheduling easier by helping you solve larger goals without requiring you to sweat the details. Timeful’s app analyzes your schedule, and uses it to help you achieve specific goals you have in mind. The features Timeful created will be integrated into Google Apps going forward, and the app will remain available, but the Timeful team… Read More

Dave Goldberg, SurveyMonkey CEO, died after exercising on vacation in Mexico


SurveyMonkey CEO Dave Goldberg, the longstanding, respected figure among Silicon Valley's elite, died suddenly on Friday evening. Until now, however, details surrounding his death have remained unclear.

A source close to the family confirmed to Mashable that Goldberg was on vacation with family and friends at a private resort in Mexico, and died after collapsing while exercising at the gym there. Efforts to revive him both on-site and at the hospital were unsuccessful.

Reports from Re/code and the New York Times broke the news on Monday.

The family is planning a service and burial in California. Read more...

More about Facebook, Social Media, Startups, Sheryl Sandberg, and Us

5 Bad Writing Habits to Drop Right Now


After writing several thousand blog posts and articles, I’ve learned something about writing: It’s not just what I write that’s important; it’s also what I don’t write.

There are some things you should simply not write. I’m not referring to well-placed curse words or salacious stories. There’s a time and place for everything -- except the following five awful writing habits.

If you’re guilty of one or more of the following, take this as a warning. It’s time to improve your writing by eliminating them once and for all.

1) More Than One Exclamation Point 

Every exclamation point beyond the first one ruins your credibility by at least 25%. I totally made that statistic up, so please don’t take it as scientific fact.

However, I can say that the more exclamation points you use in succession, the weaker and less believable your point becomes.

Truly, most of the time, you won’t need an exclamation point in the first place. When is an exclamation point appropriate? Check out this handy flowchart to find out.

If you feel that you must use an exclamation point, then limit yourself to one and only one.

2) The Uberlong Paragraph

According to UX research and eye-tracking studies, many people skim on the web. Most people don't have the time or patience to snuggle up with a great article and just read it.

Instead, people scan. Their eyes flit across the screen, picking up key phrases, surveying the main headings, and glancing at the images.

Can you relate to this? How likely are you to read a paragraph that goes on, and on, and on in an unbroken onslaught of words?

Thankfully, there’s an easy way to avoid this problem in your writing.

See that return key on your keyboard? Ok. Press it.

Write a sentence or two. Press it again.


3) Buzzwords

Buzzwords are words (or phrases) that lack concrete meaning. They are popular, but that’s the limit of their usefulness.

Since I work in the startup culture, I hear a lot of buzzwords. At first, a buzzword sounds cool. I use it a few times, and feel smart. Eventually, everyone uses it, and it becomes meaningless at best and annoying at worst.

Some of the greatest jargon offenders are article titles, with all their “mindblowing” blather and “unbelievable” claims. Jargon is jargon, and while it may bait some clicks, it won’t truly blow anyone's minds.

Juvenile expressions like “epic” and phrases like “just saying” have had their heyday. But for some reason, we still hang on to our business buzzwords.

Here’s a list of buzzwords that you should probably stop using:

  • Revolutionary
  • Dynamic
  • Passionate
  • Driven
  • Paradigm-shifting
  • Strategic
  • Leverage
  • Engagement
  • Track Record
  • Innovative
  • Problem Solving
  • Cutting-Edge
  • Solution
  • Collaborative
  • Results-oriented

Sounds like a resume, huh?

In the marketing space, we also have our own set of pet buzzwords:

  • Multichannel
  • Storytelling
  • Mobile-optimized
  • Snackable content
  • Bespoke content
  • Conversation marketing
  • Actionable insights
  • Content studio
  • Sticky content
  • Data-driven publishing
  • Hashtag mining
  • Growth hacking
  • Brand evangelist
  • Thought leader

Can you use these words sometimes? In the right context? With a specific purpose?

Fine, go ahead. Just be careful. Don't overuse them.

4) The Rambling Story

If you don’t make your point in the first few sentences, forget it. You’ve lost a lot of your readers already. The article might as well be done.

When you sit down to write an article, simply write what you want to say. Get to your point quickly.

I recently came across an article that started out something like this:

My husband John brought many valuable qualities to our union: He's smart, kind, charming, sweet, and has good taste in movies. He also loves good food (especially cheese), and makes me a big cup of tea every single morning.

What could this article be about? Romance? Divorce? Watching really good movies? The value of daily cups of tea?

Nope. The article was supposed to be about preparing a certain type of food -- I came there learn about that, and only that. Instead, what I had to scroll through was an off-the-topic story about someone’s husband. Not ideal.

Stories are great, as long as they serve to reinforce your point. So do it quickly and do it confidently.

5) Vague Language

Don’t be vague. What does it mean to be vague?

Vague writing is unclear, uncertain, indefinite. You know you've found it when you read a blog post and wonder, “What the heck is he trying to say?!”

Vagueness kills me when I read it. My eyes move across words, through paragraphs, and I have no idea what ideas are within the author’s mind. All I’m getting is too many words and too little meaning.

A vague writer is expecting his readers to intuit the ideas or to uncover the hidden meaning. The reality is, most readers don’t want to work to understand what you’re saying. They want it handed to them as clearly and as explicitly as possible.

Here is how not to be vague:

  • Begin every new section of your article with a clear headline. No, not a cute headline -- a clear headline.
  • Try to communicate just one point in each paragraph. Then stop. Start a new paragraph, and do it again.
  • If you can’t write it down, speak it. (Then write down what you just spoke.)
  • Force yourself to write down your big idea in a single, simple sentence.
  • Use shorter sentences.
  • Use shorter words.
  • Use more nouns.
  • Use fewer adjectives.
  • Use fewer adverbs.
  • If you’re having a hard time communicating your concept clearly, then spend more time researching it.


Brands and individuals are publishing way more content than ever before in the history of mankind.

Some would say that we’re publishing too much content. Maybe so.

But whatever we publish, it needs to be good. If you stuff your article with all the things I’ve just described, then it definitely won’t be good.

Let go of the garbage and your writing will become dynamically and mindblowingly epic!!!!!  

(Wait, I wasn’t supposed to do that, was I?)

free guide to writing well


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