Unpopular opinion: If you’re a small business owner, you’re also a content creator.
Why? Because content marketing has been, and will continue to be, one of the most effective (not to mention affordable AND accessible) forms of marketing.
Content marketing is a prime opportunity to organically grow your awareness, reach, and most importantly, your brand community — especially on social media. And while you don’t need ALL the fancy-schmancy equipment in the world for your content strategy to be effective, it is worthwhile to invest in a few tried & true tools every now and then to level up your content creation game.
As a full-tome content strategist & creative director for thought leaders & community-driven brands, I’ve tested my fair share of content tools. So in this post, I’ll be sharing the tools that have been ultimate game changers for me and my clients that I 10/10 recommend.
DISCLMAIMER: Take what you need from this toolkit – nothing more or nothing less! There is a 99.9% chance that you DO NOT NEED everything on this list right now. Be realistic about where you are in your journey and take what you need NOW to get to your next stage.
Tap any category below based on where you need to most support to be directed to my go-to recommendations! Enjoy 😉
Table of Contents
First and foremost, we gotta start with strengthening the foundation: your content strategy! The key to a successful content strategy is 1. always being willing to learn 2. always being willing to experiment and 3. working smarter, not harder!
Use these resources to step up your game while making content strategy a bit more of a breeze to navigate.
The Reels Course
What It Is: Are Instagram Reels not really your thing? Then you need the Reels course! Created by 10-year social media vet Taylor Loren who has racked up over 50 million views with the reels she’s created for brands, she’s taken everything she knows to bring you the ultimate course to teach you everything from creating a reels strategy to filming and editing.
Investment: $397 (payment plans available)
Learn more about this course here.
What It Is: Pixistock is an on-demand, photo, caption + graphics library, designed to help you create, plan and share BETTER, more profitable content across your entire online presence.
Investment: $197 for 3-month access
Learn more here.
The Template Club
What It Is: Your Template Club is a monthly subscription of Canva templates for Instagram® designed by the experts at Your Social Team to grow your engagement, so you can make your clients happy and grow your own business.
The Template Club is currently closed but you can grab your favorite templates a la carte here.
Once you’ve established your content strategy, you need tools to keep you accountable for actually putting it into action. Here’s my hit list of content planning tools that I’m obsessed with to help you with everything from developing your content plan to coming up with content ideas.
If you’re a physical planner
What It Is: Strut Content Cards is a deck of 31 proven & expert-tested content ideas to help business owners & content creators skip the stress of brainstorming countless content ideas so they can start showing up strategically to engage, nurture, and convert their online communities; all while bringing the fun back to content creation.
With this deck, content planning is as simple as picking a card, picking a platform, and picking a date.
Use code CYBER15 for 15% off until 11/30/2021.
Dry Erase Whiteboard Content Calendar
What It Is: Plan out your monthly content where you can SEE it in ultimate style with the re-stickable dry-erase content calendar that can adhere to almost any dry, clean surface including walls.
The Content Planner
What It Is: The content planner is a 15-month refillable planner designed with features to keep your content on track and on-trend.
Learn more and shop here.
If you’re a virtual planner
What It Is: Airtable is THE ultimate digital tool for helping you create a hub to manage literally ANY part of your business – including your content plan! Think of it as Trello meets Asana meets Google Drive – but BETTER.
Grab a free Airtable content planning template to get you started here.
You don’t have to invest thousands of dollars to make small but mighty improvements to your content quality and overall brand experience for your community. Here are a few of my tried and true content creation tools (some I use daily and some on my wishlist) for leveling up content for me and my clients.
What it is: Canva is the ULTIMATE graphic design tool for creating quick, easy, and engaging graphics for social media. Not only is it beginner-friendly, but it’s packed with incredible templates for everything from Instagram quotes to Pinterest infographics.
Price: FREE (but the pro plan is highly recommended!)
Learn more and join here.
Make your content more accessible to everyone in your audience but adding subtitles to your videos.
Try Zubtitle for yourself here.
Struggling with losing your train of thought on video or saying a billion ‘ums’ in between your sentences? You can write your scripts out beforehand and use BigVu to turn your device into a teleprompter!
Try it for yourself here.
For Video & Photography
Getting a ring light is Content Creation 101! If you don’t have one already, now’s the time to get one. I promise – a ring light can work wonders on leveling up your video content quality, simply by taking this first step toward having professional lighting.
Planning a one-person show photo shoot or need a way to hold your phone steady as you vlog a day in your life? This portable tripod is perfect for taking photos anywhere, anytime. Not only is it small enough to fit in any bag, but it can easily switch from being a table stand to a tripod, or even a full-on tripod stand! It also has a bluetooth remote for taking self-portraits with ease.
You don’t have to buy every new iphone that comes out or a crazy expensive camera to have the best photo quality. Simply get you some attachable lenses instead!
Create beautiful steady videos for anything from lookbooks to vlogs with a stabilizer. It helps you capture fluid, high-quality video regardless of how shaky your hand is.
Want to improve your video quality or repurpose the audio from your live streams to repurpose as podcasts? This affordable mic will help you do just that.
For product photography
Flat lay backdrops by Everyday Co
Turn your home or workspace into a studio with beautiful backdrops you can use to take editorial-style photos and videos of your products.
Investment: The average price is $48/backdrop.
Photo props by Everyday Co
Style your products with these cool props to give your photos some dimension.
Investment: Prices range from $20 – $52
The earlier you learn this, the better: the best way to say consistent with your content marketing strategy is planning it out beforehand and scheduling your content in advance! It may feel hard at first to dedicate the time to it, but it’ll ensure that each piece of content you share is intentional, and you’ll be able to spend way less time on social media with the peace of mind that you are still actively promoting your business.
Here are a few of my FAVORITE content scheduling tools:
If you’re on all the social media platforms or you have to manage social media accounts for multiple different brands, Later is the ideal social media scheduling tool for you.
You can currently schedule content for Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Tik Tok, and LinkedIn on Later.
For my visual planners and aesthetic lovers, Planoly is a scheduling tool that is more up your alley. Also, Planoly recently announced their Reels scheduler, which is a GAME CHANGER!
You can schedule content for Instagram and Pinterest on Planoly.
For simple and aesthetically pleasing newsletters that are EASY to put together, Flodesk is your girl! Not only is it simple and intuitive to use, but it has a growing roster of tools to help you put strategy behind your email marketing efforts.
Try Flodesk for 50% off here.
Even the best content won’t get the visibility it deserves without the right optimization tactics. Here are my go-to tools for optimizing the visibility of my content with the support of hashtags and SEO.
HASHTAGS ARE NOT DEAD! Say bye-bye to manually searching for hashtags and say HELLO to easily finding relevant hashtags to help you increase the reach of your content with Flick Hashtags.
Pro Tip: Use Flick Hashtags to make hashtags groups for each of your content pillars.
Answer the Public
Look past the very weird video in the hero banner of their site and you’ll find a treasure trove for SEO terms as well as endless content topic ideas. Simply search your industry, location, or niche and it will give you a list of commonly searched words, terms, and topics in your country. You only get a limited number of searches daily, so choose wisely!
*I’ve either tried everything on this list, know someone who does, or thoroughly checked reviews for everything included in this guide. Affiliate links are included, but I don’t recommend anything I don’t genuinely love.