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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 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 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.
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 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.
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 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.
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!
Blog Content or Promotion?
I just scanned a tweet. Someone noted how a well-read blog stressed promotion over creating content, going so far to say that blog traffic does not come from publishing great content. 100% of the time, this statement is not true. Why? If you do not publish valuable, helpful, great content, you could promote it in 1 billion places and nobody will care. Nobody will read it. You will not get traffic. Nobody will buy your stuff. You will not boost profits. I know top bloggers mean well, but sometimes they get so analytical that they blind themselves from truths, and advise bloggers inaccurately.
Blog content needs to rock, for people to share it, and for people to buy what you offer, or for people to hire you. But blog promotion needs to be top shelf too, or else you blog in a cyber cave. Nobody will know who you are or what you offer unless you promote your blog effectively through guest posting, through genuine blog commenting and by building your blogger friend network. No way around that one. Like I say in my course for getting featured on top blogs, you want to write your butt off and bond with niche leaders. This means plenty of creating, and plenty of connecting. Or, content and promotion.
But never get promotion twisted, guys. I received a few common emails this morning; strangers asked me if they could submit a guest post to me. I have no idea who they are, what they offer or heck, anything about them. But strangers who never earned my trust want to promote themselves and their blogs on my blog? Nope. I ignore these emails or alert them to buying my eBook so they can learn how to guest post on popular blogs. Promoting your blog is not about promoting YOUR blog. Promoting your blog is about building friendships with bloggers by helping them and asking for nothing. Allow friendships to form. As bonds form, blogging buddies promote your blog freely, expanding your reach and increasing your traffic and profits.
Of course, you need to practice your writing regularly to create skillful content showing off your expertise. Readers only gobble up and enjoy content created by skilled writers. Skilled writers practice writing daily, either online or offline. Nobody becomes skilled unless they write a bunch. But skilled writers do lay the foundation for a prolific, successful blogging campaign because folks freely share good content published by experienced, expert bloggers.
Both Content and Promotion
Focus both on creating helpful content and building bonds leading to cross-promotion. Think of promotion being an indirect thing. You will not promote your blog in 1000 places daily by copying and pasting links. But you will make friends with top bloggers by helping them and asking for nothing. These friends promote your blog in many spots; indirect but powerful, and effective, in spreading your blogging word around the clock.
Keep helping people through your content and through assisting other bloggers freely, asking for nothing. Content, and promotion, both create a dazzling blogging campaign. Beware about getting caught up in either/or; focus too much on content and you lose your blogger friend network, along with massive indirect promotion. Focus too much on promotion by building your network, and you have no quality content for them to share. Easy does it. Balance between each aspect of blogging and you will become a successful blogger.
Does Blog Content Make You Money?
starts off with a Bali Bang. I slammed into the ground during a wicked motorbike accident. Pain followed. Big time pain. Excruciating pain. What was my life and blogging lesson? Never take your eyes off of the road. I looked at a dog for a split second who’d been hit by a car or motorbike. Shaking my head at his injured paw, I missed the oil slick ahead. Ouch. 2 seconds later, I felt like 40,000 monkeys stabbed me in the back and lungs, after hitting pavement, Superman-style.
Blogging is similar. You will be punished if you take your eyes off of the proven, straight and narrow road of blogging fundamentals. One such fundamental is knowing YOU, not your blog, and not your content, makes money. Sometimes, we say blogs or content makes money because we speak in casual terms to help people see importance in creating and connecting. But getting clear, and helping you understand this simple concept, behooves me to stress how your generous practice, your creations and your connections make you money through your blog. Never, ever is it the other way around because blogs are inanimate objects. Content is an inanimate object too; it cannot do anything, or be anything,
You are the one, the blogger, the being, that puts everything into motion. This involves your generous effort, your willingness to learn a skill and your daily practice, creating and connecting for years, to make your content pop. Sure I sell stuff THROUGH my content but it was me, and my generous effort, and not the content itself, that did the selling. The content is not anything. Content cannot do anything. Content is worthless unless bloggers inject worth into it; see what I mean? The blogger makes it pop, or, makes content a dud, and that pop-dud outcome bases itself solely on a blogger’s generous effort and full commitment to learning their craft, day after day, for years of their lives.
You can and will succeed. You can do it. Really. But you need to understand how you are the center of it all. Everything moves according to your focus, practice and generosity. Content is a tool; like a hammer, if by itself, totally useless. Hammers need humans to work, and hammers need skilled carpenters to really sing. Content needs skilled, generous bloggers to make it sing, too, and the skills increase as your focus and generous practice, and service, increases.
Does blog content make you money? Nope, not at all. Put in the time and energy to helping folks for free. Improve your skills. Increase your exposure. In time, slowly add multiple streams of income to your blogging campaign. Allow cash to flow to you as people see you in all types of spots, making a serious impact where you show up, because of your blogging skills. Everything gets easier if you commit 100% to honing your skills blogging-wise because the content genuinely sings when you get the job done, with your prodigious, polished blogging skills.
Content makes zero dollars.
You, through your practice and generous service, develop the skills through which you make your content top notch. Profits follow.
Why Do You Want to Publish an eBook?
One subsection of my eBook on writing eBooks is:
Know Why You Want to Publish an eBook
Knowing why gives you clarity if you write to free yourself and to free your readers. But if you write just to make money or to be well know, clarity lessons. Fear invades your mind because you write mainly to get, not to give. Shifting from fear to fun intent-wise just takes a little decision on your part. Small potatoes really. But this shift does feel a bit uncomfortable if you are new to the eBook writing process because you need to face fears. Who wants to face fear? Nobody, really.
But facing fear is one tax to pay for being successful in blogging and life. Ditto for your self-publishing journey. I largely faced fears to be who I am today, although I keep uncovering fears along the way. Part of the journey. I am cool with that. I had to ask why I wanted to publish an eBook about 4 years ago when I went on a tear, but even before, in 2014, I asked why I published an eBook in the first place? Simple. I created a new blog and brand in Blogging From Paradise and just believed having an accompanying eBook would help me be successful. I only had one eBook in mind. I never thought beyond the single eBook. But someone told me I deserved to write another eBook so after my first, I wrote and self-published a second eBook. I caught the writing bug.
100 plus eBooks later, here I am, writing eBooks for years, and now, promoting the eBooks effectively. The why, the emotion I chose in writing eBooks, propels me forward because I do what I do to have fun, to spread love and to help you, largely. One small part of me wants to make money online too. This is OK. As long as it is a small part of what you do, eBook-wise. Moving that money aspect mostly to the side gives me the energy to keep writing and to keep promoting, should I choose to write another eBook. Now I am all about promoting those suckers.
Why did you consider writing and shipping an eBook? Be honest with yourself. Think through your driver. Money? Fame? Sweet passive income stream? Each primary driver saps your energy because money, fame and passive income flow to you years or minimum, months, after publishing your eBook. What do you do during that zero dollar time? Money drives you, but you see no money. Since you lose your motivator, you quit. This is why so many authors fade into obscurity. Poor driver. Sell 3 eBooks, get flustered because you made $4.35 over 6 months, and quit, because money drove you but you made no money. On the flip side, bloggers and authors who choose a fun, freeing intent promote and write every day for their online career because the work is the reward. All else feels like a bonus, gravy, extra, or icing on the cake….including money.
Be straight with your eBook driver. Do not bother writing an eBook if you mainly want money because you quit and fail when money does not arrive. Even in rare cases if you make money pretty fast, you lose your heart and feel bad reaching money goals because we are mainly designed to have fun and help people, not to make money.
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