Creating top-notch content may not be easy, but it doesn’t have to be expensive. That’s thanks to the existence of a wealth of 100 percent free digital tools, all of which are designed to make the content creation process more efficient and economical.
But what is the best content creation tool you can get your hands on? We’ll do you one better and highlight the top 15 free content creation tools available.
- 1. Blog Ideas Generator
- 2. Canva
- 3. Unsplash
- 4. Asana
- 5. Pixabay
- 6. Adobe Creative Cloud Express
- 7. Grammarly
- 8. Google Charts
- 9. LightShot
- 10. Ezgif
- 11. Hootsuite
- 12. Biteable
- 13. WordHippo
- 14. Capitalize My Title
- 15. Email Subject Line Tester
1. Blog Ideas Generator
Anyone who’s ever been tasked with coming up with a new batch of blog topic ideas knows the pain of staring at a blank document with no inspiration to speak of. Fortunately, free tools like HubSpot’s Blog Ideas Generator can help get those creative juices flowing.
To use it, all you need to do is enter up to five nouns. For our example, we’ll use just one noun—cookies. Then, click give me blog ideas to instantly receive five free topics:
Want more? Just click the button labeled unlock 250 more blog ideas and enter the required information (this includes your name, phone number, and email address). Then, you’ll be able to download multiple months’ worth of ideas all at once.
While not every idea will be a keeper, each one can nonetheless act as a source of inspiration to help you get on the right track.
Sometimes you want to create a polished-looking graphic for your latest article, but you don’t want to spend an hour watching Photoshop tutorials just to figure out how. That’s where Canva comes in. First launched in 2013 in the Australian city of Perth, Canva has since grown to have more than 2,000 employees and over 60 million monthly active users–and for good reason.
With a free Canva account, you can quickly and easily (truly easily) create almost any type of design imaginable. Whether you’re creating a cover photo for your Facebook group, designing a series of Instagram stories, or just about anything in between, Canva can help.
All you need to do is select the type of design you’re making from the site’s homepage. Here, we’ll choose to create a YouTube thumbnail:
On the next page, you’ll see a blank design on the right and a selection of potential visual features on the left. Simply browse through the options on the left and drag anything you like onto the blank design. You can upload all your own assets and customize every detail, or you can keep it simple by using a premade template:
This flexibility and ease of use is precisely what makes Canva such a valuable free content creation tool for design buffs and complete beginners alike.
Quick, picture a stock image—what comes to mind? Is it a group of businesspeople high-fiving, or perhaps a woman eating a salad while laughing joyously? Those are exactly the types of stock photos that Unsplash doesn’t have.
Instead, their site has free-to-use high-resolution photos that can often be truthfully described as artistic, beautiful, and unique:
To put it simply, if you don’t think it’s possible for free photos to look cool, then Unsplash will probably change your mind.
And yes, all of Unsplash’s images are completely free, including for commercial purposes. That means you can download an image and safely use it on your company’s site or that of a client, no strings attached (although including credit to the photographer is always the courteous thing to do).
As fun as it is to browse through free stock photos (or is that just us?), there comes a point when you actually need to figure out which pieces of content to prioritize, who will create them, and when they’ll be due.
- support for up to 15 team members;
- unlimited essential functions, i.e. projects, tasks, the team activity log, storage, and comments;
- the ability to view projects as either a List, Kanban Board, or Calendar;
- basic workflows, supported by integrations with more than 100 popular apps such as Slack;
- basic reporting, including status updates and the ability to export projects; and
- basic security, including two-factor authentication and Google single sign-on.
This is how beautifully organized your content strategy could be, all for a grand total of $0:
So if you and/or your team need to get your tasks and calendars under control, Asana is one free content creation tool worth checking out.
Just like Unsplash, Pixabay is a phenomenal source of free images you can use for commercial purposes with no questions asked. The main difference between the two sites is the level of curation.
Here’s what we mean. On Unsplash, the focus is solely on high-quality photography, so if you search for flowers then you’re going to get a selection of photographs of real flowers:
But if you search for flowers on Pixabay, then you’ll also get drawings and illustrations of flowers in addition to photographs:
So if you’re looking for all types of imagery for your content, rather than photographs alone, it’ll be well worth your while to give Pixabay a try.
6. Adobe Creative Cloud Express
Perhaps spurred by the success of sites like Canva, Adobe released its own free graphic design app in 2016 under the name Adobe Spark. It was given the somewhat less catchy moniker of Creative Cloud Express in 2021, and now allows both web and mobile users to create a wide variety of designs for free.
We’re talking everything from brand logos and event flyers to YouTube banners and business cards:
As Adobe explains on its plan comparison page, the free version of Creative Cloud Express includes:
- thousands of templates, design assets, and fonts;
- access to a limited selection of photos from Adobe Stock’s free collection;
- basic editing and photo effects; and
- up to two gigabytes of storage.
So if you want to start creating professional-looking designs for free but want to explore options other than Canva, Creative Cloud Express may be the solution you’re looking for.
We don’t know about you, but we don’t remember much from high school grammar lessons other than that sentence diagrams are a royal pain. Apparently we aren’t the only ones, otherwise free content creation tools like Grammarly wouldn’t be as widely used as they are.
In essence, Grammarly is a program that embodies everything you always wanted Microsoft’s Clippy to be. It works across all your devices and apps, from your web browser to your desktop to your smartphone, and uses clear, intuitive prompts to correct your spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
If you’re writing and see a red line underneath a word, simply hover over (or tap) it to see the correction Grammarly is proposing and why:
Don’t feel like downloading a new app or creating an account? Just paste your content into Grammarly’s free in-browser grammar checker.
8. Google Charts
People like and often have an easier time understanding visual information—it’s something you probably know from firsthand experience, and it’s also something that’s been proven by scientific research.
For instance, one oft-cited paper found that people following directions from text and illustrations do more than 300 percent better than people following directions from text alone.
To that effect, it’s always a good idea to add visual aids to your content whenever possible. One amazing (and totally free) tool for doing so is Google Charts. It can be used to create a variety of chart types, all of which are both interactive and visually appealing:
Most operating systems now have their own built-in screenshot features, but if you’re trying to create anything other than basic screenshots, then those native features simply won’t cut it. One solution is LightShot, an app that works with Windows, Mac, and all major browsers.
Using it is a breeze—if you have it installed as a browser extension, for example, simply click the extension and then drag your cursor across the area you want to capture. LightShot will automatically tell you the dimensions of the screenshot, let you easily resize it before saving, offer several customization and markup options, and more:
This makes it incredibly easy to add arrows, boxes, unique text, and other eye-catching elements to your screenshots. When you’re done, just click the floppy disk icon to save the image directly to your computer.
Just keep in mind that if you upload the screenshot to LightShot’s website, by clicking the cloud-shaped button, then it will be publicly viewable whether you’ve created an account or not.
If you’ve ever scrolled through a Buzzfeed article, a popular Twitter post, or even your team’s Slack channel, then you already know how much a GIF can liven up a wall of plain text.
Want to easily do the same for your emails, social posts, and blog articles? The free content creation tool Ezgif can help. There, you can:
- convert video files into GIFs;
- create GIFs from multiple image files;
- resize, rotate, cut, and crop GIFs;
- optimize GIFs for better page speed;
- add effects and text to GIFs; and
- split (i.e. extract individual frames from) animated GIFs.
The GIF creation process is beyond easy, too. When converting multiple images into a GIF, for example, you only need to upload the files you want to be included (you can choose up to 2,000) and click Upload and make a GIF:
Best of all, the GIFs you create with Ezgif won’t have a watermark on them (unless you choose to add one yourself), meaning you won’t have to upgrade to a paid version in order to get polished results.
OK, so Hootsuite is less of a free content creation tool and more of a free content publication tool. Nonetheless, it can be so immensely helpful that we think it’s worth mentioning anyway.
In short, Hootsuite is a social media management tool which is best-known for its ability to schedule posts across multiple platforms. All your upcoming posts can then be viewed and managed from a central calendar:
Hootsuite’s free plan includes support for:
- one user;
- two social media accounts (i.e. Facebook and Twitter); and
- up to five scheduled posts at any given time.
Its paid plans include more advanced features, of course, including support for up to 10 social accounts, unlimited scheduled posts, reporting templates, and more. But if you just need a basic scheduling tool for zero cost, the free version could work for you.
(Only interested in scheduling posts for Twitter? TweetDeck might be more your speed.)
Over the course of recent years, video content has proven to be a crucial component of many organizations’ SEO strategy. But as many other SEO practitioners and content creators have discovered, making high-quality videos is much easier said than done.
But, as you’ve probably already guessed, there’s a free content creation tool that can make the video production process that much easier. It’s called Biteable, and it’s specifically designed to help you make videos that are polished, on-brand, and marketable.
In fact, creating engaging video content for the site you’re optimizing can be as simple as customizing one of Biteable’s pre-made templates:
And although Biteable offers paid features, its free version is remarkably robust. Without ever paying a cent, you can enjoy:
- unlimited exports;
- access to four million photos, clips, and animations; and
- access to millions of Shutterstock premium video clips.
The only catch is that videos created using a free plan will bear a Biteable watermark. If you want to remove it, you’ll need to pay for the Ultimate subscription plan.
Remember the dreaded blank document we were talking about earlier? We love any tool that helps eliminate it, and WordHippo is one of them.
Although it might not be as well-known as Thesaurus.com or Merriam-Webster’s thesaurus, we’ve found WordHippo to be one of the best tools for finding synonyms. That’s because unlike many other options, the results it generates seem to be based on actual word usage rather than dictionary definitions alone.
Take for example the word golden. On Thesaurus.com, all the synonyms offered are based off its meaning beautiful or advantageous:
You’ll find all the same results on WordHippo, but you’ll also find synonyms for many more of the word’s potential meanings. For instance, there’s an entire section dedicated to synonyms for golden when used to mean ideal or idyllic:
So if it turns out that Elysian is just the word you’re looking for, WordHippo will be able to help you find it.
14. Capitalize My Title
Title capitalization can cause a surprising amount of confusion, and that confusion only tends to grow the more you think about it. Should it ever be capitalized when it’s not at the beginning of a sentence? What about that or the?
The tool Capitalize My Title is here to shine some light on the situation. Simply paste in your title and it will automatically be capitalized for you—just be sure to select the appropriate style guide using the tool’s tabs:
Whether you’re capitalizing an article title or an email subject line, Capitalize My Title lets you spend less time worrying about capitalization and more time creating catchy headlines.
15. Email Subject Line Tester
No email marketing campaign is complete without catchy subject lines to grab recipients’ attention. But when you’ve been brainstorming subject lines for hours and the words on your screen are starting to blend together, it can be difficult to tell if your ideas are actually attention-grabbing or not.
Enter CoSchedule’s email subject line tester, a free content creation tool that can help you take your subject lines to the next level in seconds. To use it, simply type or paste your subject line into the provided field, then click Score My Subject Line. You’ll instantly be shown an overall score for your subject line, as well as an analysis of whether any of its words increase or decrease email-opens:
Scroll further down and you’ll see several tips for improving your subject line, from changing the capitalization to adding numbers. At the bottom, you’ll even be shown a preview of how the subject line will look across different email clients and devices:
Graphic showing how the same email subject line will look across multiple devices and clients.
To improve your subject line, simply incorporate one or more of the tool’s suggestions before running it through the tester once more. Once it has a score of 60 or higher, you know you’re working with a catchy subject line that recipients are more likely to click on.
Use Free Tools, Get Inestimable Value
The saying “you get what you pay for” might apply in some circumstances, but when it comes to free content creation tools, it couldn’t be more wrong. With the help of the tools listed here, you can create genuinely high-quality content both easily and efficiently.
So whether you’re working with a limited budget or just trying to cut back where you can, you don’t need a wad of cash to create front page-worthy content—you just need the right tools for the job.
Screenshots by author / January 2022