03.16.201621 min read

20 Free Content Marketing Tools for Small Business Success

 By now Infusionsoft’s Content Marketing Month is in full swing. At this point you’ve read the Definitive Content Marketing Q & A and devoured the e-book and content marketing strategy workbook, but if you haven’t, click the links already – we’ll wait. Now let’s take a deep dive into 20 of the best free content marketing tools around for small business success; tools that will help you become a graphic guru, a story-telling sorcerer, a social media superhero and a project management professional. All at the same time. You’re an entrepreneur. You can do anything. designkillergraphics

1. Piktochart

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In the last two years, the search volume for infographics has increased by over 800%. It used to be that only professional designers or businesses with the budget for expensive outsourcing could afford to create these complicated graphics, but now, services like Piktochart make it possible for any small business owner to create stunning visual data displays. Using the intuitive drag and drop interface, library of templates and thousands of images and icons (and the ability to upload your own), you can be on your way to creating an eye-catching infographic in no time! Inspiration: Creating an infographic for a recent blog post on running an online contest was a breeze with Piktochart.

2. Canva

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Graphic design just got a whole lot easier. Canva allows users to create designs for web or print. From graphics for your blog, a template for your upcoming presentation or a cover for your Facebook page, Canva’s simple drag and drop interface and impressive library of graphics, templates and icons puts you in the designer’s seat. Inspiration: Canva’s step-by-step instructions are not just wonderful tutorials – they are also an excellent example of Content Marketing at it’s best: helping customers to use your product more by walking them through the actual creation process.

3. Spoken.ly

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Have you noticed many small businesses are sharing educational or inspiring quotes in well-designed graphic form? From blogs to social media,attention getting quote graphics are growing in popularity. Spoken.ly will allow you to take your own words and translate them into visually appealing, easly shared quote graphics and with a simple click on the ‘+’ symbol, you can create your own quote. You can choose from a wide seleciton of templates, fonts and colors and use hashtags to help others find your quote. Inspiration: check out these Spoken.ly quotes tagged #business.

4. Thinglink

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If an average image is worth 1000 words, a Thinglink image must be worth at least a million. The software allows users to create interactive websites, blogs, infographics, maps and presentations. By adding video, text, music and more, your visual content truly comes alive for your audience so that you can tell your story. Inspiration: It took three minutes to upload a photo, search out links and add tags to this stock photo of a workspace.

5. Placeit

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Ever notice how large companies don’t just rely on simple screenshots to showcase their site or app? With Placeit you can join them in engaging your audience by placing your app or site into a beautiful quality image. Even better, they have video showing product placement with drag and drop simplicity – allowing you to show off your creations just like the big business do. Inspiration: Making this image with a screenshot of Infusionsoft’s mobile site was a snap with Placeit.

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presentlikeasuperstar

6. Prezi

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Prezi, a cloud-based platform, allows users to create memorable zooming presentations. They can be created, edited or accessed on the go, and they automatically sync with other devices. Public presentations are free and a three-tiered pay scale allows for offline editing, custom branded themes and private presentations.  Inspiration:IFrame  

7. Slideshare

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Slideshare has become the world’s largest community for sharing presentations and with over 60 million unique visitors per month, it is among the 120 most visited websites in the world. The slideshare platform allows users to upload and share presentations, infographics, videos, webinars and more. The site gets to the heart of content marketing: delivering in-demand knowledge and expertise to your target market. Inspiration: Check out this slide deck on creating viral content from Lynda.comIFrame

8. PowToon

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Video has become integral to brand storytelling, with 61 of the Top 100 brands embedding YouTube videos on their website. Powtoon allows users to create animated videos and presentations and provides users with the tools to immediately begin creating videos or animated presentations. And their one-click download enables you to save and embed or share whenever you want. Inspiration: Check out this fantastic infographic video from Visoniz

9. Directr

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Video can be intimidating and many entrepreneurs avoid it because they believe it takes advanced skills and expensive equipment. Directr is an IOS app that helps you to easily create amazing videos for your blog, newsletter or social media, unlocking the power of video with simple tools and built in smarts like storyboards and frame selection. Videos can be uploaded to Facebook and YouTube or embedded in your newsletter and the best news of all, due to a recent purchase by Google, all levels of business subscription should soon be free Inspiration: Check out this short video by photographer Karen WalrondIFrame

10. Issuu

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Transform your PDF, Word document or PowerPoint into a beautiful digital publication in a matter of minutes. Readers can add your publication into stacks of related information, similar to creating playlists. Issuu’s functionality also allows users to share a comment on any section of the publication that resonates, and allows you to respond, opening up a valuable direct conversation. Inspiration: Check out this magazine by UK-based Content Marketing Association.IFrame

 11. Audacity

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Have you considered starting a podcast but have held off, imagining that you need to invest in expensive software and equipment? If so, Audacity is perfect for you. As open-source software, Audacity is completely free and works on both Windows and Mac. Easy to use for beginners without skimping on more advanced tools, you’ll be on your way to podcasting in no time. Inspiration: Check out this detailed tutorial for step-by-step instructions on creating your first recording.

12. Storybyte

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Images matter. Content that includes compelling imagery commands 94% more views than content without. Storybyte allows you to bring your images to life, quickly transforming your photos into a beautiful story website. Create an image-based story about an industry event or a product launch or combine a series of photos featuring real clients using your products. Inspiration: Check out this beautiful story featuring images from a professional photo shoot by Hannah Minkner. createthroughcuration

13. Listly

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It is common knowledge that list posts are hot. Listly allows you to share your expertise and engage your audience by maximizing the popularity of list formatted posts in a simple, social interface.

30 percent of all web content are lists or contain list content. Listly is the infrastructure that makes this content social. Shyam Subramanyan

Inspiration: I transformed this list of tools into Listly list, complete with links and images, in less than five minutes – and I can easily share or embed the list on a blog.

14. Medium

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Medium is more than just another platform for content distribution, it is a prediction of what is to come.   Like YouTube functions for video content, Medium provides consumers of the written word with a one-stop-shop. Readers can follow collections of content that are both self-curated and created by Medium. These collections help you find your customers, and direct your content to reach an audience already interested and invested in the topic.   Users also have access to valuable metrics and analyses of how often content is consumed. Inspiration: Check out Medium’s Content Marketing collection.

15. Bundlr

logo_red_smallSelect the best of what you find online (photos, videos, tweets, articles and more), organize it into a bundle and share it with your followers. Whether you are compiling content for your own research, creating a playlist of favorite videos or creating a curated story of a company event for attendees, Bundlr can help you package content from multiple sources and platforms. A browser button helps you clip content and add it to your bundle, then share or embed the public webpage. Inspiration: I turned this post into a Bundlr style bundle in mere minutes.

16. Storify

storify logoStorytelling is a vital part of content marketing. Storify helps users make sense of social media, curating the most important voices and transforming them into compelling stories. Drag-and-drop functionality keeps all of the original links and functionality from text, documents, videos, images and social media content, then embeds them into your post. Inspiration: In less than five minutes I created “The Tale Of Content Marketing (why storytelling matters)” using links, images and tweets that I located easily through the Storify interface.

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17. ODesk

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As a small business owner, sometimes it can seem as if you need to be an expert in all areas of business management and operations -- a nearly impossible task. Outsourcing and freelance contractors can make the difference between overwhelm and a thriving business with the support your business needs to really move forward. From graphic design to writing to software development, oDesk can connect your small business to the expert it needs to succeed. Inspiration: Head over to oDesk and do a search for the expert assistance your business needs to thrive, or post a specific job or project for free
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18. Hootsuite

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Sometimes, social media can seem like a full time job. More than seven million users put Hootsuite to work to automate and manage their social media presence and marketing efforts. The web-based dashboard allows users to access dozens of social networks in a centralized location, while analytics show you who is reading and responding to your posts. 

19. Trello 

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A content marketing strategy requires organization. Trello acts as a board of virtual post-it notes, allowing you to move from content planning and creation to distribution in a simple, yet robust, platform. Cards, color and stickers keep projects organized and defined. Trello can be used by an individual or a team, and can keep everyone involved up to date on the progress of every project. Inspiration: check out Trello’s example board, which brilliantly functions as both inspiration and user training.

20. Quora

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Small business owners need to know what questions their clients are asking. Quora allows you to search for topics, people and questions and build a feed of questions and answers that relate to your product or industry. Follow your competitors to see what questions they are asking and answering, and repurpose your own answers into other content, such as blog posts. You’ll learn the specific questions people are asking within your niche, and have an opportunity to present yourself as an expert by sharing your knowledge. Inspiration: This screenshot shows the Quora interface using ‘content marketing’ as the search term.

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