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15 Vital Tools for the Content Creator’s Arsenal

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monosnap

Every writer knows the feeling. You sit down to work on a project and … nothing. Nada. Zip. Your deadline is approaching and your page is blank. You have encountered, once again, the content creator’s arch nemesis: writer’s block.

As awful as writer’s block can be, there may be something worse. Even after all is said and done, you’ve dotted your i’s and crossed your t’s, and you put your work out there for the world to enjoy, it doesn’t always get the attention it deserves. In this Digital Era content is about much more than the words on the page. The endless possibilities for formatting, images and interactive elements are enough to make anyone’s head spin.

But take heart! You’re not on your own. The following 15 apps and programs will do just about everything you need to create outstanding content. And best of all, most of them are free. From writing content to choosing fonts to taking screenshots to editing graphics to creating video, this arsenal of tools will set you up for the success your hard work deserves.

Writing and Content Creation

Online content may be more than just text, but the actual words on the page are a necessary foundation. Content must be clearly written, well-worded and free of typos and grammatical mistakes. These tools will help you build a solid foundation for your content.

Write or Die

writeordie

Whether you are best motivated by the promise of reward or the fear of punishment, Write or Die will offer the necessary incentives to keep you on task as you are writing. Inspire yourself with music and background images in Stimulus Mode, incentivize yourself with cute puppies in Reward Mode, or risk losing all your vowels if you don’t meet your goals in Consequence Mode. Try the web version for free or buy the desktop version.

GoProofReading

goproofreading

Even the most talented writer misses a typo now and then, and few things are more frustrating than finding an error right after posting your finished work. GoProofreading is an online proofreading service to the rescue. In addition to checking spelling and grammar, Goproofreading can check for plagiarism and even makes style and vocabulary suggestions to improve your writing. Also you can use free proofreading analogue  – paperrater.com.

EssayMama

essaymama

If you find yourself up against an impossible deadline and the words just won’t come, put EssayMama’s team of expert writers to work on your project. EssayMama writers are highly educated native English speakers just waiting to provide you with research and writing assistance for the perfect essay. Check out their competitive pricing for writing assignments, or visit the EssayMama blog for free tips and resources.

Quabel

quabel

For the easily distracted writer, Quabel eliminates all the bells and whistles of most word processing programs. Using the straightforward online interface a writer can set goals, track progress, and simply get it done. When you are done writing and ready to add in all the fancy formatting, Quabel allows you to export documents in multiple file types.

Styles and Fonts

Before readers can become captivated by your brilliant content, you first have to catch their attention. Displaying your content in a unique font is a perfect way to do just that. You can increase the immediate visual appeal of your content by using a memorable and distinctive font—and the options are practically endless.

Dafont

dafont

If you’re bored with the dozens of fonts available in MS Word, check out Dafont and choose from over 25,000 fonts. You can sort the fonts by popularity to see what’s hot right now, or find that one-of-a-kind font by browsing themes such as Graffiti or Decorative.

Google Fonts

google font

What if instead of browsing all the options you could just do a quick Google search and find your perfect font? Well, Google Fonts essentially lets you do just that. Pick your category (Serif, Sans Serif, etc.), specify your desired thickness, slant and width, and watch as Google presents you with an eye-catching font to match your writing.

Tools for Screenshots

Screenshots often provide a necessary supplement to your content. Whether you are writing a how-to article or sharing an entertaining Facebook comment on your blog, a screenshot elevates your text to the next level. Do more than just hit the Print Screen button your keyboard with these free programs.

Monosnap

monosnap

Monosnap is a free, easy-to-use app for capturing and editing screenshots. It allows you to capture all or part of your screen, add text and arrows, blur parts of the screenshot to keep them private, and save your final product to the cloud or to your device. You can even capture short videos of what you are doing on your screen.

Awesome Screenshot

awesomescreenshot

If you need to capture all or part of a web browser page (including more than just the portion visible on your screen), Awesome Screenshot will do just that. This browser add-on also lets you modify your screenshot with text, arrows and blurring. Upload your customized screenshot to the app’s website and access and share it via a unique URL.

Jing

jing

Jing allows you to capture still images, animation and basic video up to five minutes long from your screen. Enhance your image with captions, and share it quickly and easily via IM, email or social media.

Images and Design

Every content creator is likely to have a project that requires more graphics than just screenshots. The following tools allow you to add a professional-looking graphic design touch to your work without paying for a complicated design program. Free and simple-it doesn’t get any better than that.

Canva

canva

Canva is a free online tool that makes design straightforward and accessible. Simply create your free account and get started making stunning graphic designs with your own photos or Canva’s library of hundreds of images and fonts.

ThingLink

thinglink

Take your graphics straight from Canva to ThingLink to create interactive images to make your content stand out. ThingLink allows you to create links within your image and embed it in a website or social media. Readers can interact with additional information via your graphic without ever leaving your page.

PicMonkey

picmonkey

PicMonkey lets you edit and touch up photos, design pictures for banners, cards, etc., and create collages. The PicMonkey Blog has dozens of tutorials and how-to articles to provide tips on both the basics and more in-depth use of PicMonkey.

Infographic and Video Creation

If a picture is worth a thousand words, how much is a video worth? Put the finishing touches on your content with these free tools for creating infographics and video. Your work is sure to leave its mark.

Vizualize.Me

vizualize.me

Do you love to write cover letters and resumes? No? Welcome to Visualize.Me. This site is a free tool to create a visual resume. Skip the conventional bullet points and present your skills and qualifications in a unique, unforgettable infographic.

Wideo

wimeo

Wideo markets itself as an online video tool that is both easy and fun. Users can choose from a selection of video templates to customize or start from scratch to create and share animated videos. Wideo provides tutorial videos and easy step-by-step instructions to create the ideal video for your project.

Piktochart

piktochart

Transform your plain text into a memorable, interactive infographic. Piktochart offers 100% customizable themes to create your own infographics and build your brand. When how you say something is just as important as what you say, Piktochart can help your content go the extra mile.

Now that you have an arsenal full of tools to defeat writer’s block, boring formatting and lackluster text, go forth and create awesome content for the world to enjoy!

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My name is Foxy, and my job is to sniff out the good guest bloggers from the ones who aren't. This post was written by a contributing author to Blogging Tips. If you would like to learn more about becoming a writer (not one-time guest blogging) for BloggingTips.com, please contact us.

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Blogging

Blogging Is Not What You Are Doing But What You Are Being

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Phew!

Think this one through.

Blogging is what you are being. Not doing.

Blogging is not mindlessly doing stuff. Oh shoot. You realized something, didn’t you? Blogging is not building an email list. Email lists do not give you success. Nope. Clear, confident, detached bloggers who have fun building email lists and who trust in the blogging process grow big, responsive, profitable lists….over time. What does this mean?

“Over time” means you do not panic, flip out or bail on blogging, if you calmly build a list and have fun doing it, for a long time, and see the appearances of little or no growth. This is BEING a successful blogger; having fun, trusting, being patient, taking the simple, easy route, even if it feels uncomfortable after blogging and list building for a bit and seeing the illusion of scant results.

Most Bloggers Fail Because They Screw It Up

Most bloggers buy into a lie; doing specific things makes you successful. Nope. If this were the case, everybody who builds a list would be billionaires. Because they built a list, lists breed success, right? Nope. Even if you follow steps robotic-like, your energy, your emotions, your feelings, all make up your BEING. The 6 and 7 and 8 figure earners who happily take this journey are being the 6, 7 and 8 figure earners energetically, calm and confident, after having fun creating content and connecting, and seeing $4 in blogging profits after 6 months of being the person. Every other blogger panics after 1 day, 1 week or 1 month, stop being the millionaire success, do dumb stuff, begin being a broke person, and see struggle and failure until they decide to be the successful blogger again.

The Core Elements of Being a Success

Blog mainly:

  • for fun
  • taking the easy but uncomfortable path; do what feels natural to you, even when you slam into fear of wasting your time, fear of being criticized, fear of mental blocks, etc
  • with a complete trust in yourself
  • with a complete trust in the blogging process
  • with a complete trust in sound, proven advice from successful bloggers

Very few bloggers be these energies persistently. Very few bloggers happily earn a pretty penny over time. Few bloggers be success. Most bloggers try to do their way to success but since they act without giving any thought to their intent, their driver, their energy, almost all of these bloggers are being broke, poor, struggling and failing.

Blogging is not robotic. If blogging was robotic, every blogger who did specific things in a certain way would succeed. But this is not true. Blogging is energy. Top bloggers use all types of different approaches to reach the top. This indicates blogging is primarily energy, your energy coloring your actions and results.

Imagine if you feel like a failure. I advise you to write a guest post for me. You tell me you are lazy, have no ideas, cannot do it, need to take a few months off, etc. I offer you an opportunity to promote your success but since you are BEING a failure and feeling like a failure you are blind to the DOINGs (generous guest posting) of a successful blogger. See what I mean? Plus, if you seize the guest posting opportunity while feeling like a complete failure, either the post quality stinks or you write a masterpiece by the odd chance, that nobody reads. Nobody read it because you are feeling/being a failure, so, you see failure results.

100% of the time, blogging is energy. Being a success means blogging your fun, doing what feels easy and natural to you, trusting in self and the process, and feeling uncomfortable along the way.

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Blogging

Why Does Blogging Seem Hard?

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Aha!

The question of blogging questions.

Why does blogging seem hard?

Blogging in and of itself is not hard. Blogging is a concept. A blog is an inanimate object. It is neutral. It is not hard, tough or easy.

Human beings label their feelings with emotions. THIS is why blogging seems hard.

Why?

Doing the neutral activity of blogging feels scary, meaning you unearth and either resist or feel fears. Feeling the fears feels highly unpleasant. Especially if said fears feel deep, strong, and terrifying, depressing or anger-inducing.

But if you resist these deep fears, and refuse to feel them, and blog mainly from a dominant vibe of fear, you fully experience the feeling of blogging being super hard. Blogging is actually neutral but you refuse to feel deep fears that blogging has unearthed. You resisting fear leads to prolonged blogging failure, aka, not seeing much money and traffic, aka, blogging being really hard.

Real World Example

A few moments ago, I scanned one of my daily blogging income streams. I made a little less than I had been making for 1 of a billion reasons. 1 such reason may have been the internet crashing here last night. We experienced a few big, powerful thunderstorms.

Anyway, I noted the dollar amount being lower and felt fear arise in my body. Rather than resist the fear, I felt the anxiety, and my mind hurriedly racing ahead to next month’s paycheck, and then, after breathing deeply for a few moments and fully embracing the fear, I released it. I did not resist it. I felt it. The fear disappeared. I then blog from an abundant, relaxed, detached, generous energy, which helps me become more and more successful.

But the old me – and most bloggers – see a lesser dollar amount for daily earnings, feel an intense fear arise, panic, bury the fear versus feeling it, and run around like mad men and mad women with that DEEP FEAR DRIVING THEM, desperate and greedy, resisting the fear, being driven by fear, and of course, they do stupid stuff with a dominant fear energy guaranteeing their blogging failure. Then, these humans who refuse to face, embrace and feel fears, proclaim blogging to be hard. This is a lie. Blogging is neutral. But you refuse to face, embrace and release your fears, so blogging *feels* hard.

Solution

Feel fears when fears arise. Cry it out. Shout it out. Feel depressed or deflated.  Do not resist fear. Then, after feeling fears, you will feel good, detached, relaxed and trusting. Feeling these dominant abundant energies, you will create, connect, trust, persist and blog from a relaxed, chill energy. Blogging from this calm, trusting, generous energy makes blogging easier and easier and easier. Money flows in easy. Traffic flows in easy.

Blogging went from hard to easy because you faced fears, felt fears, and progressively blogged from an abundant, generous, calm, detached vibe.

Tip for Feeling Fear

Engage in some energy management ritual that expands your awareness. I do deep yin yoga and power walk daily. Prayer and/or meditation may help. Breathing deeply helps. Do anything that expands your awareness so you can observe and feel fear versus resisting this destructive energy.

Some humans bury fear with busy-ness and jobs they hate. Other people turn to drugs or alcohol to bury fears. All of these folks are unhappy and depressed because you cannot feel good, abundant, relaxed and successful with oodles of fear buried deep inside of you.

Be with your fears. Be gentle with yourself. The blogger who feels and releases fear soon learns blogging gets easier and easier.

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Blogging

Do You Need to Respond to ALL Comments?

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No.

One mistake holds back many bloggers who fail to scale. These folks obsess over responding to every single comment, every email, every message. Why? Pride. Obsession. Attachment to people. Fear of missing out on an opportunity. Fear of missing out on friendships.

Unfortunately, if you spend 14 hours daily responding to every single social request and chat and email and blog comment and message – even if it feels fun – you lose opportunities to scale through blog posts, guest posts, podcasts and doing interviews.

Please; if responding to virtually everything feels fun, do it. But 99% of bloggers BS themselves on this because they respond to EVERYONE from an energy of fear, pain, lack, resistance, force and hustle. Bad idea guys. Force negates. But, power attracts. Meaning if you are willing to use power, and love, and fun, to inject into your work, you quickly see: the cornerstone of massive scaling and persistent growth and freeing blogging success is writing, publishing and placing blog posts and guest posts.

Example

Today, how do I have most fun growing my business, reaching more people, helping more people, and leveraging my blogging presence? Do I achieve these feats by spending 3 hours responding individually to every retweet, Like, blog comment, and so on, and so on? Nope. I spend those 3 hours effectively and efficiently by writing and publishing 3-6 blog posts and guest posts. Blog posts and guest posts scale. Blog posts and guest posts help me reach hundreds to thousands of targeted folks through each blog post and guest post.

Blog posts and guest posts never seem to be written by people who complain about having no time to blog post, and, guest post. Meanwhile, a hefty chunk of these humans spend 1, 2 or 3 hours responding to every Like on Facebook, from a strained, forced energy, fearing they miss out on traffic and bonds, not having fun doing it. But the wise move would be spending 10 minutes responding to comments on Facebook and maybe a few Likes, then, devoting 2-3 hours to writing and publishing blog posts and guest posts.

Think Scale Not Small Time

WAY too many bloggers play small, giving most of their attention and energy to building 1 to 1 bonds. Making friends is important but meeting new friends is even more important.

One lesson I learned from millionaire bloggers: scaling through blog posts and guest posts is the quickest way to reach more people, make more money and increase your blog traffic. Building 1 to 1 bonds by engaging commentors plays a role in succeeding online, but the top bloggers on earth are not running around, spending endless hours responding to Likes on Facebook.

Titans scale.

Titans also build one to one bonds through engagement, but if you are not getting 1000 page views a day, something is wrong in the scaling department. Namely, you are playing it small, not thinking about scaling. Scale. Guest post. Post to your blog. Make this the focus of your day. Then, feel free to engage folks 1 to 1 in a limited time frame.

You need to let go responding to every single person all day long to genuinely scale, to reach an increasing number of folks and to do what matters most to your business.

People will buy your stuff without you engaging them. Guaranteed. Folks will find your blog, love your content and buy your course or eBooks. This is a simple, organic process that you muck up every time you believe you need to respond to and engage every single person who reaches out via all online channels.

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