The Top 30 Content Creation Tools of 2017

Ben Beck, our expert martech contributor, reveals his picks for the top content creation tools in several key categories, with a breakdown of cost, skill level and time needed for each.

With hundreds, if not thousands, of different tools available to marketers it is difficult knowing which tools you should be using. Spending a lot of time evaluating different tools will take you away from the work you should be doing.

So, we’ve put together a list of our favorite solutions for creating content. These top 30 solutions are low cost, don’t generally take too much time to learn, and will make a big difference in your creativity and ability to deliver world-class content for your organization.

Email marketing tools

Inkbrush

Inkbrush allows you to quickly craft responsive, great-looking emails. You can grab a design file, and Inkbrush will convert it to email-ready HTML. All you have to do is upload the .png, .jpg, or .psd, define the layout that you want, customize the cells with color and text, and export your creation to a compliant and fully responsive HTML format, all ready to be sent out as an email to your customers.

  • Cost: Free, limited to 2 exports/month
  • Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate
  • Time/Effort Needed: Less than an hour to design and compose an email
  • Best For: Small to medium-sized businesses

ZenPen

ZenPen is a simple, streamlined text editor, dubbed a “minimalist writing zone” by its makers. Its purpose is to give you an easy way to create your written email content that can then easily be ported over to an HTML friendly format. Once you have the copy just right, you can quickly and easily copy the email-ready HTML content and paste it right into your email sending platform of choice.

  • Cost: Free
  • Skill Level: Anyone
  • Time/Effort Needed: 5 to 10 minutes to learn the HTML export function
  • Best For: Small business owners and other users

MailChimp

MailChimp is a platform that allows you to build sleek emails. Create automated marketing campaigns that welcome newcomers, provide engaging content, and automate follow-up emails. If you’re looking for the basics of email marketing, with a side of helpful data, success reports, and social media integration, MailChimp is your solution.

  • Cost: Free
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Time/Effort Needed: Less than an hour to design and compose an email
  • Best For: Small to medium-sized businesses

BEE

BEE is your solution for creating beautiful, engaging emails. You can design a gorgeous, compelling email swiftly, thanks to the free email builder with drag-and-drop features. All you need is a message and a little creativity. The BEE plugin works seamlessly with your company’s mobile app.

  • Cost: Free, BEE Pro is $10/month
  • Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate
  • Time/Effort Needed: Less than an hour to design and compose an email
  • Best For: Small to medium-sized businesses

GetResponse

GetResponse gives you the tools you need to build powerful emails that look fantastic on mobile devices, tablets, laptops, or desktop computers. You can design landing pages to go with your email marketing campaigns, drawing potential clients closer and increasing conversion rates. Create automated features that coincide with your customers’ behavior, and craft webinars that offer value to your clients.

  • Cost: $15/month or more
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Time/Effort Needed: Less than an hour to design and compose an email
  • Best For: Small to medium-sized businesses

 

Tools for Creating Videos, Motion Graphics, and Slideshows

RawShorts

With RawShorts, making explainer videos to illustrate processes and products is swift and easy. The program features a broad variety of video templates, plus a simple drag-and-drop video builder where you can insert text, transitions, effects, images, and much more. Once you’re finished creating the video, RawShorts makes it easy to share via Facebook, YouTube, your landing page, or other venues.

  • Cost: Free limited version, plus additional packages available
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Time/Effort Needed: 1-2 hours to create a video
  • Best For: Small to medium-sized businesses

Magisto

When you need professional-quality videos at an affordable price, go to Magisto. Using normal, everyday photos and videos, you can create movies that support your business’s message and products. Magisto offers captions, themes, special effects, custom branding, editing tools, commercially licensed music, and much more.

  • Cost: Premium version at $2.49/month, business version at $9.99/month, pro-level marketing version at $49.99/month
  • Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate
  • Time/Effort Needed: 1-2 hours to create a video
  • Best For: Small, medium, and large businesses

SlideShare

While SlideShare isn’t the most versatile tool on the market, it has the advantage of ownership by Microsoft and LinkedIn. That means broader network viewership and accessibility for the PowerPoints that you create. Show infographics, documents, and presentations through this embeddable content channel and discover new ways to make SlideShare work for you.

  • Cost: Free
  • Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate
  • Time/Effort Needed: 1-3 hours to build a presentation
  • Best For: Small, medium, or large businesses

RendrFX

Thanks to RendrFX, there’s a cheap, simple ways to create a lot of beautiful videos at once. Use their motion graphics technology to design effective, attractive videos using your own content, combined with your pick of RendrFX templates. Upload the photos, videos, logos, images, or graphics you want to use into the template and just click— and voila! There’s your incredible, share-worthy video.

  • Cost: Free
  • Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate
  • Time/Effort Needed: 1-3 hours to create one or more videos
  • Best For: Small, medium, or large businesses

 

Tools for Creating Blogs

ClearVoice

ClearVoice is the premier solution for creating content for your blog (or other marketing channels). Used by companies like Ticketmaster and Cabela’s, ClearVoice has powerful features that help you discover new content ideas, find expert freelancers to help you write on that topic, and then manage the creation workflow all within one tool. They recently released an advanced version for agencies as well. What is often an arduous battle to get compelling content is made so much easier with ClearVoice.

  • Cost: Unlimited users starting at $249/month
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Time/Effort Needed: 1-3 hours to fully learn the system
  • Best For: Small to medium-sized businesses

Hubspot’s Blog Templates

Did you know that Hubspot offers five free blog post templates? Just download a template that fits your needs and let the structure help you frame the content. As “an inbound marketing and sales software platform,” according to the website, Hubspot can do a lot for you, including improving your lead generation and conversion rates.

  • Cost: Free
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Time/Effort Needed: 1-3 hours to create a blog
  • Best For: Small to medium-sized businesses

Playbuzz

With a little help from Playbuzz, you can create a variety of high-interest, engaging pieces of content for your blog. Predictions, tests, quizzes, games, and stories can be crafted using the Playbuzz platform and then shared via its extensive social channels. Playbuzz has an audience of over three million people.

  • Cost: Free
  • Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate
  • Time/Effort Needed: Under an hour to create a quiz or piece of content
  • Best For: Small to medium-sized businesses

HubSpot’s Blog Topic Generator

Hello again, Hubspot! The Hubspot blog topic generator is a gold mine of ideas when you’re unsure about a content strategy or eager to find new topics to cover. Although Hubspot admits that the algorithms used for this generator aren’t perfect, it’s still a great tool for sparking new ideas and gleaning of-the-moment title ideas.

  • Cost: Free
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Time/Effort Needed: A few minutes
  • Best For: Small to medium-sized businesses

 

Tools for Creating Infographics

easelly

Sometimes, you need an image to get your point across to your customers. Just select one of easelly‘s many attractive templates, enter your data and other information, and you’ll have a fantastic, professional-looking infographic ready in just a few minutes.

  • Cost: Free versions, with Pro Account at $3/month
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Time/Effort Needed: Under an hour
  • Best For: Small to medium-sized businesses

Animaker

For infographics in motion, look to Animaker, an amazing tool that provides over 100 charts, 1000 icons, 3000 maps, and much more to help you jump-start your video infographic. Use Animaker to tell stories with your data, catch customers’ attention on social media, and achieve powerful marketing on a slim budget.

  • Cost: Free 2-minute video with 5 exports per month in SD and limited options, additional packages range from $9/month to $39/month
  • Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate
  • Time/Effort Needed: Under an hour
  • Best For: Small to medium-sized businesses

Visme

Visme stands out from the crowd of infographics and animated marketing videos with its unique user-influenced style. Thanks to Visme, you can create graphics that move when the viewer scrolls down or mouses over them. Use the available widgets, beautifully crafted templates, icons, and other tools to create professional-level motion graphics that engage and inform your customers.

  • Cost: Basic package free, Standard package at $10/month
  • Skill Level: Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate
  • Time/Effort Needed: Under an hour
  • Best For: Small to medium-sized businesses

Infogram

With Infogram’s wide range of templates and customization options, including interactive maps, you’ll be well on your way to publishing noteworthy infographics as part of your content marketing strategy. Infogram is being used by well-known organizations like Symantec, nerdwallet, Goodyear, LinkedIn, and EuroNews.

  • Cost: Free
  • Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate
  • Time/Effort Needed: Under an hour
  • Best For: Small to medium-sized businesses

Thinglink

With Thinglink technology and tools, you can craft designer-level graphics that show extra content or text when your customers hover over the icons. Thinglink is a quick, easy one-stop shop if you’re interested in clickable or hoverable graphics — and as an exciting bonus, this provider can enable interactive 360-degree or virtual reality (VR) content as well.

  • Cost: Basic package free, Pro package $20/month
  • Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate
  • Time/Effort Needed: Under an hour
  • Best For: Small to medium-sized businesses

 

Tools for Creating Podcasts

Audacity

According to the Audacity team, their product is “free, open source, cross-platform audio software for multi-track recording and editing.” This is a favorite tool for podcast creators. Thanks to the hard work of the Audacity team, the software continues to improve, with support for the most current browsers and operating systems.

  • Cost: Free
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Time/Effort Needed: Under an hour to publish podcast
  • Best For: Small, medium, or large businesses

PodBean

PodBean isn’t just about creating and editing your podcasts — it provides hosting services as well. The prices are very low, and the service is good. With PodBean, you’ll receive access to podcast themes, your own podcast site and domain, custom designs, ample bandwidth, priority support, and other coveted features.

  • Cost: Advanced Level at $3/month, Unlimited Audio at $9/month, Unlimited Video at $29/month, Business version at $99/month
  • Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate
  • Time/Effort Needed: Under an hour to publish podcast
  • Best For: Small to medium-sized businesses

Ecamm

Are you planning to do an interview or an important call over Skype, Facebook, or a similar calling service? With Ecamm, you can record that session directly to your Mac computer and use it as a podcast later. This platform is designed specifically for Apple computers and related devices like iGlasses.

  • Cost: Call recorders and other products priced separately
  • Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate
  • Time/Effort Needed: Depends on the product purchased and length of the call recorded
  • Best For: Small to medium-sized businesses

SpeakPipe

Thanks to SpeakPipe, your podcast listeners can leave voice messages for you through your website. Testimonials, questions, feedback — it all becomes easier to collect and review when you’re using SpeakPipe. Your service includes a SpeakPipe button or custom button, plus a separate hosted voicemail page.

  • Cost: Bronze version at $8/month, Gold version at $15/month, Premium version at $45/month
  • Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate
  • Time/Effort Needed: Setup takes 1-2 hours for widget customization and installation
  • Best For: Small to medium-sized businesses

 

Tools for Creating Webinars

GoToWebinar

Part of the popular GoToMeeting family of services, GoToWebinar is the most widely used webinar platform currently available. From practice settings and email automation to custom branding and mobile support, GoToWebinar provides everything you need for your webinar and more.

  • Cost: Starter level at $89/month, Pro level at $199/month
  • Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate
  • Time/Effort Needed: 1-3 hours of planning and setup, plus webinar running time
  • Best For: Small, medium, or large businesses

Zoom

If the GoToWebinar prices are out of your reach, investigate Zoom instead. A Zoom webinar can handle up to 100 participants and an unlimited audience size. A broad range of packages are available depending on your needs, and you’ll have access to cutting-edge features like one-click HD screen sharing, dual-screen support, post-webinar reports, and integration with CRM and marketing automation systems.

  • Cost: Basic plan is free, Pro plan at $14.99/month, Business plan at $19.99/month, Enterprise plan at $19.99/month per host with a minimum of 100 hosts
  • Skill Level: Beginner, Intermediate, or Expert
  • Time/Effort Needed: 1-3 hours of planning and setup, plus webinar running time
  • Best For: Small, medium, or large businesses

WebinarsOnAir

WebinarsOnAir works with Google+ Hangouts to provide one of the most advanced webinar systems available. You’ll enjoy up-to-date options like Flash clickable offers, force redirection to a sales page at the end of the webinar, and the ability to take payments before the attendees join your webinar. Implement tracking pixels, automation, one-click registration, and crowd involvement strategies with this powerful tool.

  • Cost: Not Currently Accepting New Members
  • Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate
  • Time/Effort Needed: 1-3 hours of planning and setup, plus webinar running time
  • Best For: Small, medium, or large businesses

StealthSeminar

StealthSeminar provides a “free webinar school” to help new webinar creators learn the basics of webinars and discover how to plan a high conversation webinar for their business. StealthSeminar offers both automated and live webinars, with such seamless automation features that viewers may never know you’re not conducting a live event.

  • Cost: Starter fee of $197, after that $69.95/month, with additional packages available
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Time/Effort Needed: 1-3 hours of planning and setup, plus webinar running time
  • Best For: Small to medium-sized businesses

 

Tools for Social Media Content Creation

Pablo

With Pablo, you can overlay your message, quotation, or snippet of content onto a beautiful photo or a positive image. After installing the Pablo buffer app in your browser, you can highlight a catchy phrase or pithy quote from a blog or article. Just right click, send the phrase to Pablo, and pair it with an appropriate image. In just minutes, you’ll have an attractive bit of content for your social media channels.

  • Cost: Small Business at $99/month, Medium Business at $199/month, Large Business at $399/month
  • Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate
  • Time/Effort Needed: Depends on the number of social accounts and posts
  • Best For: Small, medium, or large businesses

Qzzr

Who doesn’t love a fun quiz? According to the Qzzr team, you can “create, embed, and share your own quizzes” with their easy-to-use tool. Not only does a quiz earn you more traffic, clicks, and shares, it can also give you valuable insight into your target market if you design it well.

  • Cost: Basic level is free; Pro level is $299 per year
  • Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate
  • Time/Effort Needed: Under an hour to create a quiz
  • Best For: Small to medium-sized businesses

Piktochart

Piktochart helps you out when you don’t have the funds to hire a professional designer. Using the templates and functions of Piktochart, you can quickly create spot-on graphics to use on social media. Grab a pre-sized template that appeals to you and your audience, customize it with your data, fonts, and colors, and then make it part of your social media output for the day. It’s fast, economical, and effective.

  • Cost: Basic level free, Lite package at $15/month, Pro package at $29/month
  • Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate
  • Time/Effort Needed: Just minutes to create a graphic
  • Best For: Small to medium-sized businesses

Pixabay

At Pixabay, you can access over 970,000 free stock photos, illustrations, and vectors. When you need an image or two to spice up your social media content, just stop by Pixabay and do a quick search for videos, photos, or illustrations related to your topic. All the images and videos on Pixabay are totally royalty-free, and you are allowed to use them without attribution for commercial purposes.

  • Cost: Free, donations accepted
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Time/Effort Needed: Just minutes to find a photo or illustration
  • Best For: Small to medium-sized businesses

 

Please note: All described features, plans, and prices were accurate as of the publishing of this article, and are subject to change.

Tags: content marketing

Category: Creation
Ben Beck

About Ben

Ben Beck loves working at the intersection of technology, security and marketing. From his early youth selling discount candy from his locker to building his own SMS marketing tool that he sold to the State of Utah, he has learned the value of entrepreneurial thinking and smarter marketing. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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  • Thanks Ben for including our BEE editor to your list of content creation tools! BEE Plugin is used by a number of top-tier SaaS platforms that have embedded the BEE editor directly in their UI, so, it’s not just for mobile apps.

    By the way, we also integrated Pixabay, Pexels, and Unsplash in our BEE editor, if you need any stock photos when building an email! If you’re interested, here’s our hands-on workshop: https://emaildesign.beefree.io/2016/07/using-stock-photos-in-email/

    • Ben Beck

      That is an excellent tutorial on how to use the free stock photos – thank you for sharing!

  • Oh wow! Thanks for including RendrFX in your amazing list. As creator of RendrFX, I am in awe to be featured by such amazing tools. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a3c1f1fbcf3b5f6215c25018d0c97a27b2f3410092562eb2b473f185094768ce.gif

    I’m thinking about giving 50% off the first month of RendrFX standard plan for ClearVoice readers.

    How does that sound? Good?

    Great! Here is a promo code to do just that: clearvoice50

    Have an awesome day!
    ~ Mat

    • Ben Beck

      Thank you, Mat! RendrFX is a great tool, and we’re grateful that you’ve shared a discount code!