Fresh, engaging content is essential to building a strong, healthy web presence. It’s not a trade secret, it’s common knowledge. Despite this, many businesses have yet to dedicate the proper resources to content creation.
If your doctor told you to cut back on salt because of high blood pressure, you’d do it, right? If a coach told you how to improve your game, you’d practice, wouldn’t you?
Odds are, you’d listen to these people and work hard to accomplish the things they suggested. So why haven’t you started writing content for your website?
I’ve found three tools to help you, the Reluctant Blogger, start writing and keep writing. Best of all: they’re completely free.
$Free.99 at evernote.com
As someone who works on both a laptop and a desktop every day, at work and at home, Evernote changed my life.
Download their app on your computer(s), phone or tablet, or login online and your files (called Notes) are synced between each and every device.
Oftentimes I’ll begin crafting an article at work and finish it at home. As long as I have an internet connection, I never have to save a thing; my draft is waiting for me as soon as I open Evernote, no matter which device I began writing on.
Before using Evernote, my Gmail Drafts folder was chalk full of half-finished blogs and blank emails with text files attached to them.
It worked, but it was tedious. More times than I care to admit I left the office without taking the necessary steps, leaving myself unable to continue an article at home.
Evernote keeps all of your content in one place, and Tags keep you organized so you can find what you need in a snap. The app even saves location info for each note, so I can see what I’ve written here in Longmont, at home in Denver, or in Australia (I wish).
While Evernote shares many features with Google Drive (more on that later), the fact it’s an app gives it one major advantage: the ability to work offline. Notes and changes won’t sync until you’re connected to the internet, but that doesn’t affect your ability to work on new notes. Just try getting to Google Drive without an internet connection.
This is a great app for the Reluctant Blogger, because it allows for writing and quick note taking at any time. No saving, no emailing yourself, no work computer needed. Fire up the app and you can finish your next post on the couch or on the bus.
$0.00 at hemingwayapp.com
A huge hurdle for writing blogs and content is, well, the writing. Most of us don’t write very much outside of our email inboxes, and that can make creating a full article from scratch seem extremely daunting.
For those who may not be so confident in their writing skills, there’s Hemingway App.
Hemingway App claims it can make “your writing bold and clear” and does so by calling out long sentences, adverbs, tricky words and instances of passive voice.
Some writing professionals and literary lovers diss the app for giving Poor to OK grades to some of literature’s most famous passages. In a way, they’re right: an algorithm can’t appreciate the beauty of a sentence or word, and it definitely doesn’t give a damn about imagery or emotion.
Where they’re wrong is this app isn’t (and shouldn’t be considered to be) for well-established writers. It is perfect for the Reluctant Blogger, though. The basic idea of Hemingway App is to keep things short, simple and digestible, which is at the heart of many “how to blog” discussions.
Having someone else read and edit your work before posting is always ideal, but for those just starting out and feeling a little self-conscious, Hemingway App is a great way to gauge yourself before putting it out there.
Limitations aside, the best part about Hemingway App is it makes you more aware of what you’re writing. Editing your own work can be challenging because you’re more likely to skim; you know what you said so you don’t read as closely. Hemingway App forces you to look at potential problem areas, though don’t expect it to catch all of your spelling and grammatical errors!
Cero dinero at drive.google.com
Formerly Google Docs, Drive is part of the Google Apps family, and it’s free to anyone who has a Google account (which is also free, unless you want custom email addresses for your business). Drive can be summed up as ‘Google’s answer to Microsoft Office,’ as it allows you to view, edit and create text documents, spreadsheets, presentations and more.
The feature that makes Google Drive such a great tool for the Reluctant Blogger is the ability for multiple people to view, edit, and even chat on a document in real time. After drafting my articles in Evernote, I copy them into a Google Doc and share them with Brad or other team members to read and edit. We use colors to call out changes and notes, and everything is visible as it happens.
Combine that with revision history and the ability to customize and save text style to match your website, and you’ve got the perfect tool to edit and revise your blogs before they go out!
I know it’s tough now, but creating this content is going to help your website and trust me: it will get easier to do.
Download Evernote right now – on your computer, your laptop, your smartphone, any and everywhere you can. Then, whenever you have even a partial idea for an article, put it in there. It’s always easier (and smarter) to outline posts before you write them, so get to it!
If you’re feeling self-conscious, plug it into Hemingway App and see what a computer thinks. After that, share it with coworkers (or Mom) with Google Drive and let them edit away! By the end of it all, you should have an article worthy of posting. If not, save it and try another one; you can revisit old drafts!
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