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12 online tools to improve your content marketing today

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As a content marketer it’s often hard to find the right tools for all the things you need to manage. Where do companies get their blog images? Where do marketers get their icons? Is all of it created from scratch for every single e-mail and every single blog post? But...I don’t want to use the same images as CIO.com!

Yep. My thoughts exactly. It was a great mystery to me where content marketers get photos, illustrations, thought-leadership content…all in a timely manner. How did they do it without a graphic designer and without a subscription to Shutterstock? (Which I considered on a couple of occasions after painfully long searches for appropriate images to go with my brand new shiny blog posts.)

Here are some useful tools I learned about in the last three months. They’re free and super easy to use. If you’re a properly trained graphic designer, some of these will be less useful then tools like Adobe Illustrator, but a lot of them are great to quickly improve the look of your website, e-mails and blog posts and create a more professional, finished look.

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Sourcing for photos and icons:
It’s hard to get royalty-free images. Here are some great sites to avoid costly image subscriptions:

1. Pixabay: Absolutely royalty free (and citation free!), high quality photos. Not really a place if you're looking for stock photos.

2. Freeimages: Royalty free images uploaded by users. Need an account to download and for the more quality images, you need to give credit.

3. GraphicStock: Has a 7-day free all-you-can-download subscription promotion. If you’re looking for the more stock-imagey photos and know what you need ahead of time, this one’s for you.

4. IconFinder.com: Has a great library of free icons, if you need to get quick (identical!) icons for social media and web.

Obviously, this is not an exhaustive list. Learn how to use Paint (or try PhotoScape), it is very helpful in getting your images to be the right size quickly.

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Quick image manipulation tools:
Not everyone has access to Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, but that doesn’t mean that your blog illustrations can’t look professional:

5. Canva: Great tool to quickly design cover photos, posters, quote images etc. Free to use with selected images. It has a 3-minute starter challenge to get you started, and it can access your Facebook photos (or just upload from your computer). The only downside: vast majority of their images and elements costs $1. P.S. Image for this post was made in Canva in about 5 minutes.

6. PDFill: It’s sometimes necessary to manipulate already existing pdf documents. PDFill (and PDFsam) are good tools to extract pages, edit, re-combine etc.

7. Place It: A nifty tool that can get your screenshots onto mobile device screens (smartphones, tablets). Downside is that the nicer quality images are not free.

8. Haiku Deck: Helps create professional-looking presentations quickly, with stunning graphics.

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Content discovery & promotion
Once you've got your content all figured out, here are some tools for how to promote it and discover other similar content.

9. Klout: Helps content discovery based on topic of interest and based on what other users have engaged with and shared.

10. Feedly: Aids content discovery based on topic search queries and content related to what you already share. Also helps with discovering popular blogs based on your topic of interest.

11. List.ly: Create lists that others can add. It’s useful for promoting your content, but also to discover what other people like and follow.

12. Paper.li: Works similar to List.ly but creates your own paper-style web-page that can be shared with others and automatically updates your Twitter newsfeed or RSS feed.

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***BONUS:

13. Buzzsumo – For discovering thought leaders and influencers based on their twitter and blog stats.

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What did I miss? Share your favorite tools below!

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