The brands that stand out today are the ones that produce captivating content. Digital content creation tools help you bring those videos, podcasts, social media posts, or blog articles to life.
Ahead, explore the free and paid versions of the best content creation tools on the market today.
Table of contents
What is a content creation tool?
A content creation tool aids in the content creation process. It helps you develop content for your brand’s marketing channels, whether it’s for your podcast, social media channels, blog, or YouTube channel. These tools help with tasks like designing quick graphics with no experience and searching for trending topics to write about.
Top 10 picks for content creation tools
Why do people share content?
According to a survey conducted by CoSchedule, 84% of people share a piece of content to spread the word about a cause or brand they love. That means that folks have an appetite for content shared by businesses, as long as it peaks their interest and directly reflects your values and vibe as a brand.
Below, take a look at some of the best paid and free content creation tools that can help you raise the bar on your content marketing strategy.
Best content creation tools across different categories
Even without the budgets of a bigger brand, there are plenty of affordable and free content creation tools that can help you feed your audience’s craving for fresh content. Here are several content creation tools that will help you save time and create better content.
Video content creation tools
These tools help with video creation for platforms like Instagram and YouTube.
InShot is a simple video editing and creation tool that allows you to add music, use a green screen, speed up time, use filters, and more—all without a watermark. This makes it an effective choice for creating social media videos, and it has five stars on the Apple App Store, with 1.6 million reviews.
Cost: There are free and paid versions of InShot. Upgrade to Pro for premium editing tools.
Adobe Premiere Rush
What makes Adobe Premier Rush stand out is its ability to work seamlessly across both desktop and mobile, so you can use it when you’re home or on the go. If you make an edit on the app, it updates on desktop as well, so you can create videos seamlessly, no matter what device you have with you.
Cost: Adobe Rush has a free version that includes simple editing tools, but for desktop and mobile syncing you’ll have to upgrade to Express for $9.99 per month.
The best part about using HitFilm for video creation is that it’s easy to use but produces professional-level videos. Access to stock photos and music is available directly within the HitFilm platform, which makes the editing process quicker. Plus, you’ll be able to use an extensive visual effects library to take things up a notch.
Cost: There’s a free version that includes basic tools, with options to upgrade to Creator ($6.25 per month) or Pro ($9.99 per month).
GIFs are versatile, fun, super-short videos that are a great way to grab attention and engage with your audience. With GIPHY, you can access a library of existing GIFs or create your own from a YouTube video or footage you shot yourself. It gives you a ton of editing options and the ability to embed your GIF hosted via GIPHY, or download the source file to upload elsewhere.
— braveen (@braveenk) March 27, 2018
Lumen5 is a nifty tool that makes it easy to create videos for social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or Instagram.
You can import a blog post or script (or start from scratch), choose from a library of stock photos and music, make tweaks to the text and pacing, and upload your video where you want it to live. This makes it easy to create videos based on blog posts you’ve already written. For example, content writer Braveen Kumar created the above video based on a past blog post of his.
Cost: There’s a free version, Starter is $59, Professional is $149, and there’s an Enterprise option as well.
Content research tools
Content research tools help you predict the types of things that your audience will be most interested in.
See how different things have trended in Google searches over time with Google Trends. All you have to do is plug in a word to see interest over the years. For example, a search for “fidget spinner” yields a massive spike in May of 2017 when the item became popular.
BuzzSumo is a robust tool that can do a lot of different things. Use it for content research, for content discovery, to find influencers, and to monitor things happening online. The company also has a tool to validate your content strategy to ensure it’s in line with what’s resonating and currently trending.
Cost: There’s a free version (includes 10 free searches per month), Pro is $99 per month, Plus is $179 per month, and Large is $299 per month.
✨Other content research and planning options include: Product Hunt (discover new products), Reddit (interesting threads and thought-provoking questions), Trends by The Hustle (shares current market trends), Ahrefs (SEO tool great for keyword research), and Surfer SEO (SEO tool great for its content editor and research functions).
Scheduling and planning tools
Plan and schedule your social media calendar with Buffer. Buffer is a tool that lets you publish posts, track engagement, and view analytics in one handy platform.
Cost: Buffer has a free version, Essentials is $6 per month per channel, Team is $12 per month per channel, and Agency is $120 per month for 10 channels.
If you have an editorial calendar you need to manage, Trello makes it easy. Put the information you need for each blog post (like its title, description, URL, and images) on a card and assign that card a date. View your publishing schedule in calendar view.
Cost: Along with a free version, Standard is $6 per user per month, Premium is $12.50 per user per month, and Enterprise is $17.50 per user per month.
Google Calendar and Google Sheets
There’s not much you can’t do with Google Calendar and Google Sheets. Both function well to help you plan out what content you plan to publish, track what’s gone live, and keep a record of key information about each piece of content.
Cost: Free for individuals, Business plans for teams start at $6 per user month.
Other helpful scheduling and planning tools include: Sprout Social, Asana, and Notion.
Design and visual content creation tools
Create graphics quickly and easily with free images and simple tools.
Canva is a great tool for making quick graphics. It’s so easy to use that finished products often look like they came from a professional designer, even though you can realistically throw something together in five minutes with little to no experience.
It’s especially handy for social media posts, since the optimal dimensions for each specific social platform (e.g., Instagram) are already laid out for you.
You can do a ton in Canva’s free version, but its Pro version affords you premium tools like the ability to upload custom fonts or to use premium shapes and images.
Cost: Canva has a free version, or upgrade to Pro for $12.99 per month or Enterprise for $30 per month.
If you need images for blog posts, social media posts, or videos, Burst has a library of free images with commercial use licenses.
Another image-sourcing tool, what makes Unsplash special is that creators around the world upload their images to the platform. Choose from a selection of free, unique photos for your content, all with a commercial license.
Make a Meme
In today’s web culture, memes are inside jokes that are easy to emulate and hard to nail. But at least they’re not a problem to create. Memes aren’t for every brand, but they’re a good way to resonate with a millennial audience if your brand has a sense of humor.
The key is to find a meme that is either timeless or trending right now and adapt the source to suit your needs as a brand while delighting your audience. Make a Meme’s meme generator lets you make a standard meme in no time at all.
Written content tools
These tools aid in the creation of written content. Read on for grammar help and AI copy generation.
Grammarly checks your grammar, spelling, and tone. It’s a helpful gut check before putting your written content out into the world.
If you need to publish a lot of written content and you’re not a writer (or just don’t have the time), Copy.ai is a great help. It’s an automated system that generates marketing copy for you.
Cost: Get 10 credits per month with the free version, and Pro is $49 per month.
While Otter can be used for team collaboration (recording meetings and spitting out a transcription), it’s also incredibly useful if you often interview subjects for blog articles, emails, or social media posts. Get real time transcription so you have access to the quotes you need immediately after an interview—especially if you don’t want to transcribe them yourself or have to wait for it to be turned around.
Cost: The Basic plan is free and includes live transcription, so if that’s all you need, you’re set. Otter assistant and other team collaboration tools are available with the Pro ($12.99 per month), Business ($30 per user per month), and Enterprise (cost upon request) plans.
Free Reading List: Copywriting Tactics for Entrepreneurs
Is your website content costing you sales? Learn how to improve your website copy with our free, curated list of high-impact articles.
Get our Copywriting Tactics reading list delivered right to your inbox.
Almost there: please enter your email below to gain instant access.
We’ll also send you updates on new educational guides and success stories from the Shopify newsletter. We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe.
These tools will help you host, record, and edit podcasts.
Host your podcast with Anchor, a tool provided by music streaming service Spotify. Get free hosting and stream your podcast to all of the major apps.
If you need to edit your podcast, Descript is an affordable, useful tool that can help. Descript makes editing easy (edit text and you edit the audio), so you don’t have to have much experience in the sound engineering department to be successful.
Cost: There’s a free version, Creator is $12 per editor per month, Pro is $24 per editor per month, Enterprise pricing is upon request.
Riverside is a podcast recording tool. With great audio and 4K video resolution (and the ability to separate them from each other), you can create amazing podcasts in a pinch.
Cost: There’s a free version, Standard is $15 per month, Pro is $24 per month, and Enterprise plans upon request.
Quizzes and survey tools
Ask your customers questions about your brand and products, or create a quiz that determines which of your products suits them best. Or use quizzes and surveys as interactive engagement tools.
Qzzr is one of the most well-known quiz-making tools on the market, and is fairly useful, even on its free plan.
If your quizzes really resonate with your audience, you can consider a paid plan to start using them to get emails and convert leads. Depending on how you crafted your quiz, you can even use the answers to build lead profiles.
Cost: Free trial, Basic plan is $24.99 per month.
Riddle is another online quiz maker that can help you create fun, interactive quizzes or quizzes that engage with future customers and help them figure out which of your products will work best for their lifestyle.
Cost: 14-day free trial is available. After that, a Basic plan is $29 per month, Pro is $49 per month, Team is $249 per month; and there’s an Enterprise plan available too.
Use Typeform to create quizzes, calculators, and other interactive tools.
Cost: Free version available, Basic is $25 per month, Plus is $50 per month, and Business is $83 per month.
What’s in your content creation toolkit?
Content marketing is so much more than just blogging. This newfound focus on the creator economy is turning businesses into producers, creators, and editors. An investment in content marketing is more impactful—and important—than ever before.
Original, interactive, engaging, funny, thought-provoking, or meaningful content will help you stand out from your competitors and engage with your community. These handy tools will support your content marketing efforts, whether you’re just starting out or have been running a business for years.
On their own, marketing tools are just tools. But put the right ones in creative hands, and you open up new ways to approach content marketing that can help you grow an engaged audience.
Content creation tools FAQ
What is a content creation tool?
A content creation tool aids in the content creation process. It helps you develop content for your brand, whether it’s for your podcast, social media channels, blog, or YouTube channel.
Which platforms are best for content creation?
The platforms that are best for content creation depend on your brand and your goals as a business. Popular platforms include TikTok, Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and your business’s blog. If you work as a creator, there are also funds that pay creators for content.
What platform tools do you use to create digital content?
There are many different tools that can help you create top-notch content. The 10 best across different content categories include: