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If you’re an influencer, content creator, or affiliate marketer that wants to take their content quality up a notch on a shoestring budget, we’ve got you covered: check out our list of free resources and apps to help you become a better content marketer.
Marketing & Communications Manager
When it comes to tech, tools and apps for content marketing, there’s a reason we use the word martech (marketing technology) “stack” – it’s because there isn’t one marketing technology to rule all. In fact, content marketing teams may use at least 14 different technologies and tools for scheduling, management, production, analytics, and more.
Luckily, if you’re an affiliate marketer, influencer, or content creator, you’ll find that many of the free martech tools and apps available are more than sufficient to cover your content marketing needs, especially if you have a limited budget or aren’t particularly Photoshop savvy.
To help you get ahead, I’ve curated a list of free content creation tools that are in my own martech stack. As a seasoned content marketer, several of the apps in this list have been in my stack for years because they’re easy and reliable for producing quality content. If you find any of these helpful, please share with your friends, too. Happy content creating!
Free Content Marketing Apps and Tools
1. Image Editing (Adobe Photoshop Alternatives)
Adobe’s software is superb for digital media in general, but the learning curve can be steep, and subscription costs are expensive over time. Here are some alternatives to consider:
Category: Graphic design; image and photo editing
OS/Platform/Device: Web browser
Free: Yes, ad-supported
Best for: Photoshop lovers that don’t have a paid subscription to Adobe
Photopea is a web-based image editor that mirrors Adobe Photoshop CS5. Virtually all of its core functionality is the same, and its UI, controls, and shortcuts will be very familiar to any beginner-intermediate level Photoshop user.
If you become a regular user, I recommend upgrading to the annual paid tier to get rid of the ads and, of course, thank the developers for providing a cost-efficient Photoshop substitute that gets the job done.
Category: Graphic design
OS/Platform/Device: Web browser
Free: Yes, Freemium
Best for: Creating online and print content easily, with a limited learning curve
It’s no wonder Canva made headlines recently when it was valued at $15 billion USD. Canva is the ultimate, “graphic design for dummies” platform that makes content creation headache-free, and is perfect if you’re turning around a high volume of graphics for your channel regularly.
Category: Photo editing
OS/Platform/Device: iOS / iPhone
Free: Yes, Freemium
Best for: Professional-looking photos when you don’t have a DSLR
Sometimes you know quality when you see it, and this especially applies to photography. If you want to take your iPhone photography up a notch, Focos adds that much sought-after professional touch using computational photography. Large apertures, precise lighting refinements, bokeh (that background blur effect where the subject is in focus), and other features are all achievable with this app.
For instance, here’s a photo of my dog on the couch, taken with the iPhone X’s camera app (left), and Focos’ lens, bokeh, and lighting adjustments applied (right).
2. Free Stock Photo, Video and Music Libraries
Here’s a short list of free galleries to source photos and other media. Make sure to credit and support the hard-working photographers, videographers, and musicians that graciously share their work with the world.
Free Stock Photos
Free Stock Video
Free Stock Music
3. Video Editing
Whether you’re looking to edit your first YouTube videos or want to edit on mobile, here are some apps to consider for both desktop and mobile editing.
Category: Video editing, desktop
OS/Platform/Device: Windows, Mac
Best for: Professional-looking videos
It’s surprising that DaVinci Resolve is free considering how much functionality is packed into it. Their software is non-linear and allows you to create popular video effects like picture-in-picture, split screen, gradual zoom, text overlays, and other features that are typically reserved for commercial video editing software.
Two things to note: a decent graphics card is recommended to run this program, and the learning curve can be steep for inexperienced video editors. Regardless, the quality you can produce with DaVinci is great and worth trying out.
Category: Video editing, mobile
Free: Yes, freemium
Best for: Social videos
At the freemium level, Splice is perfect for trimming, cropping, resizing videos, and, of course, splicing clips together. The app also has a library of free stock music to use, as well, which makes it easy to pull together an impressive video on the fly. Admittedly the best features are unlocked at the Pro level, but for $3-$4 USD a week it’s a very affordable upgrade if you want to try it for just one or two videos you’re working on.
4. Make Your Own Animated GIFs
Many, many moons ago when I was a teenager hiding in my room and avoiding homework, I used to create my own animated GIFs in Macromedia Fireworks, painstakingly making micro-adjustments frame-by-frame, pixel by pixel.
Thankfully those days are long gone and animated GIFs are far easier to generate with online tools.
Pressing ‘Print Screen’ is the fastest way to capture your entire screen, but if you often need to crop, mark up images, or share your screenshots online (without pasting it into Microsoft Paint), these are my go-to screenshot for Windows and Macs respectively:
6. Download or Extract Videos Clips
If you need to extract small bits of videos for content creation, these tools allow you to download or locate clips easily:
- File2HD: There are very likely better tools than this since I started using it in the early 2000’s but I’ve found this to be the most simple way to download YouTube videos in full
- Playphrase.me: This is a very neat tool that will search across movies for a phrase that you input, and will return clips of actors saying that exact line.
- YouTube Clips (in beta mode as of July 2021): You might find this feature visible on major YouTube channels that you watch: you can select and share a small clip of a YouTube video livestream onto your social channel, email or text message. If you’re a YouTube content creator, this is a quick and dirty way to promote your videos.
7. Design and Generate HTML for Emails and Landing Pages
If you need to generate a design or HTML code for a landing page or email and don’t have a paid website or email marketing provider, Unlayer is fantastic on both fronts. The drag-and-drop builder is fast, powerful and will generate fool-proof responsive designs and source code for you the paste into a platform.
Unlayer starts as a 14-day free account but is still accessible after the trial ends.
8. Competitive research
In addition to Google Alerts for trending topics and SEM Rushfor keyword research, here are a few somewhat lesser-known tools that could be useful if you’re a YouTuber or looking to analyze your competitors in a methodical way:
Category: Research tool
OS/Platform/Device: Chrome Extension
Best for: Research on YouTube analytics
YouTube’s algorithm can sometimes feel like a guessing game and identifying metrics past subscribers count and video views can often be a struggle. This Chrome extension directly overlays metrics about every channel and video in the YouTube videos you watching, and in the search engine results page. By looking at the relative rankings of videos and creators and their authority on specific topics, you’ll be able to refine your strategy and grow your channel in the right direction.
Note: to install the Chrome extension, you are required to grant VidIQ certain permission to accessing your YouTube analytics.
Category: Web data extraction
OS/Platform/Device: Chrome Extension
Best for: Product research
If you’re researching the products of your competitors where they have an e-commerce site or any large database of public content that you’d like to analyze for research purposes, using a scraper will enable you to automatically pull the data into a table or CSV file that you can throw into Google Sheets or Excel to analyze and feed into your content strategy.
Note: some knowledge of HTML and a basic understanding of website elements is recommended for this tool.
9. Writing Tools that Make Life Easier
If you’re a content marketer, it’s unavoidable that you’ll be writing copy in one form or another. And while it’s not necessarily everyone’s cup of tea, it can be a little bit faster and easier with the help of a few tools and widgets. Here’s what I’ve been using over the past few years – some are oldies but goodies, and others are AI-powered and remove a lot of manual labor.
- Grammarly: A must-have for highlighting and correcting typos, and high quality writing suggestions to improve your composition
- Remove extra line breaks: Copying and pasting from a PDF is the biggest offender – this tool removes extra line breaks quickly
- Marketing Email Copy: Looking for inspiration? I often turn to email marketing for examples of concise, effective copy that gets clicks and conversions
- Otter.ai: If you need to full transcripts of videos or are generating captions, this tool will change your life (first 45 minutes of transcribed video/audio is free)
What’s in your martech stack that’s giving you the edge with content creating?
Leave a comment to let us know below. And if you’re an affiliate marketer, influencer or content creator that is looking for high-paying CPA programs or wants to diversify your portfolio, learn how you can join Fintel Connect’s network to get your foot in the door with some of the most recognizable brands in financial services.