Being able to consistently write engaging, high-quality content is essential for marketing your school.
Content is what connects you with families. Great content attracts more potential families and draws them into learning more about your school.
Content powers your every interaction with searchers and potential families. It’s used for blogging, paid advertising, email marketing and search engine optimization (SEO).
However, writing compelling content can be time-consuming and challenging. Most marketing content writers will tell you they never stop learning how to be a better writer.
Here are 15 tools and apps you can take advantage of to help make your writing process easier and create winning content.
Writing and Editing Assistants
According to Google’s Search Quality Guidelines, Google is looking for three things in web content: 1.) expertise, 2.) authority, and 3. trust (E-A-T). Amit Singhal, Google’s former Head of Search, shared questions Google experts ask themselves when writing algorithms. Here are three of the questions that can help inform Google on the quality of the content:
- Does this article have spelling, stylistic or factual errors?
- Was the article edited well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?
- Would you expect to see this article in a printed magazine, encyclopedia or book?
Even if you’re very knowledgeable about your school, you can get lost in poorly written content (mistakes happen to everyone).
These writing tools can help.
Grammarly is a personal favorite of mine. It quickly highlights potential issues and you can then choose to accept Grammarly’s recommendations or not.
Grammarly offers a free version that will catch glaring issues, but if you want help with sentence structure and complex grammar issues, you might want to upgrade to the paid version. It also has a powerful plagiarism checker that can help with making sure your content is unique.
Hemingway Editor is an editing tool. It evaluates your writing and then makes suggestions on how you can improve it. One nice feature of Hemingway Editor is that it highlights issues using a color-coding system so you know right away what type of issue you have.
The WebFX Readability Test Tool uses the Flesch-Kincaid readability indicators, as well as other reputable indicators, to give your content a readability score. Readability is important because most people in the U.S. read at a seventh to ninth grade level. Your content needs to be accessible to everyone, written in a way everyone can understand. This is a great tool for determining how readable your writing is.
Every writer needs a good thesaurus. A thesaurus can help you find synonyms so you don’t keep repeating the same word and maintain the interest of your reader. Many people use Thesaurus.com, but I prefer OneLook Thesaurus mostly because it has a cleaner interface (no ads).
Rank Math is a popular WordPress plugin used to optimize your content by making suggestions based on widely-accepted best practices for SEO. Other WordPress SEO plugins you might want to consider include Yoast SEO, SEOPress, and All in One SEO Pack.
Content Research Tools
Research is an indispensable part of content writing. These research tools can help you produce higher quality content that will help you meet Google’s E-A-T criteria.
SEO Coach is a simple, do-it-yourself SEO platform in an easy-to-use format. It will help you optimize your school’s website, build an SEO strategy by helping you find the right keywords, discover content topics, improve your content and help you with your local SEO strategy. And, SEO Coach offers much more – check it out here!
A standard in the content research field, BuzzSumo will help you find content that will help your blog perform better. It is best used to determine what topics are the most popular as well as what aspects of the topic have already been written about. It will show you which content, based on your keyword term, was the most shared.
BuzzSumo offers a free Chrome extension making it easy to use while you’re online.
I’ve mentioned Answer the Public several times before on this blog, but it really is a great tool for discovering what people actually want to know based on the keyword you search for. Answer the Public takes any topic and delivers queries people are typing into Google’s search bar related to it. You can download the information in the form of a visual or a list.
Not all of the questions Answer the Public responds with will be useful for your school, but some might give you important keywords that will boost your content.
Answer the Public only lets you do three searches per day, so be careful about which topics you search for.
The Blog Ideas Generator is a tool for generating topics based on a noun (keyword). You can enter up to five nouns and get a series of title idea cards you can cycle through. Each time you use the tool, you will get a week’s worth of blog post topics, and by signing up you will get a year’s worth of blog ideas.
InLinks is a content optimization platform that makes content recommendations based on keyword research, competitive analysis,T and relevancy. This tool helps with research and search engine optimization.
Google Scholar is Google’s utility for content research. You can search for research papers, case law, citations and patents.
Of course, you can find a lot of great information in regular Google Search too. Use Settings and Tools to apply filters to find the most recent and/or relevant information on any specific topic.
Now that you’re doing all this excellent research, you’re going to need to cite your sources correctly.
Citation Machine, an online citation generator, makes it easy to format your citations into MLA-style citations.
Writing Process and Productivity
These tools will help you save time, increase your efficiency and, hopefully, make the process of content writing more enjoyable.
The Tomato Timer isn’t about food but is named for the Pomodoro Technique of working in 25-minute sprints. The idea is to give you intense focus in short sprints. It’s a great little tool if you like writing in sprints.
The NaNoWriMo Writing Calculator helps you break your writing project down into smaller chunks. This is a good tool if you have a longer project, like a long blog post or ebook.
StayFocused is a Chrome extension you can use to block out websites you don’t want to be distracted by while you’re working. You’re allowed so much time for your specific websites each day, and after that, the site will be blocked.
This is a good tool if you tend to get distracted and forget what you’re working on.
Consistently producing high-quality content is challenging. But thanks to web developers, content marketers and copywriters have more tools available than ever before. Whether you need help with editing, generating topic ideas, or staying productive, there’s an app for that!