Author-Bloggers: Five Quick-to-Learn Content Creation Tools

Like other author-bloggers I create content. There are a lot of applications out there that I can use do that, and I admit to being distracted by bright, shiny, new tools that come along. Video, audio, graphic, text, you name it, when they appear I just have to take a peek at them.

The problem with tools is that you have learn how to use them before you can create anything. How lovely it would be to download an application, install it, and instantly be able to use it to create content without time spent mucking about getting to know it.

That’s never going to happen.

So, that said, I’ve put together a list of five tools author bloggers can use to create a variety of text and graphic content without spending a lot time on the learning curve.

Two of the tools — Word and PowerPoint — may surprise you in that they are not “new” applications specifically made for creating web content.  That doesn’t mean they (or their many competing products cannot be used for the precisely that purpose.

Word

  • What it is: Microsoft’s ubiquitous word processor program, available on both Mac and Windows machines, part of the their Office Suite of products
  • What to use it for: Text content — short stories, blog articles, novels, non-fiction writing, poems, you name it
  • How long it takes to be productive: For most people, no time at all as they will have used Word or similar products in their work life
  • Where to get it: Microsoft Office Products
  • Cost: Varies, depending upon whether you buy or subscribe
  • Notes: I write my novel in Word, as well as blog content, which I then copy and paste into WordPress. You can actually do the same with any of the Word alternatives available (both free and paid), but Word is what I use.

Five Tools For Fast Content Creation -- Word

Canva

  • What it is: On-line graphics creation tool
  • What to use it for: Create, edit, download or post all manner of graphics — infographics, posters, book covers, social-media post images, etc
  • How long it takes to become productive: 10 minutes
  • Where to get it: Canva’s home page
  • Cost: Free. Just create an account and you are good to go. There is a paid version but the free version should more more than adequate for most needs.
  • Notes: I use Canva to create all of my blog post header images and some in-blog images as well.

Five Content Creation Tools -- Canva

PowerPoint

  • What is it: Microsoft’s presentation software, like Word, available on both Mac and Windows machines, part of the their Office Suite of products
  • What to use it for: Slideshows, graphics creation, book trailers, and more
  • How long it takes to be productive: 1 hour; again, many people will have already used this tool in their work lives
  • Where to get it: Microsoft Office Products
  • Cost: varies, depending upon whether you buy or subscribe
  • Notes: I use PowerPoint to create slideshows which I post on Slideshare, maps, graphics and simple book trailers. Used in combination with Snagit (see below), PowerPoint can be a very powerful graphics creation tool.

Five Tools for Content Creation -- PowerPoint

Snagit

  • What it is: Screen capture and image editing program
  • What to use it for: Capture and edit images, export them directly into other applications, create animated gifs, video screen capture and edit.
  • Where to get it: Techsmith
  • Cost: $49.95 USD
  • How long it takes to be productive: 1 hour
  • Notes: I use Snagit for countless tasks — capturing and editing images to include on my blog, creating graphic images in combination with PowerPoint, quick captures of screen content I don’t want to forget, and more. Frankly, once you get used to this software you’ll never want to give it up. And no, I am NOT paid by the good folks at Techsmith. 🙂

Five Tools for Content Creation -- Snagit

PowToon

  • What it is: Online animated video creation suite
  • What to use if for: Creating book trailers, explainer videos, marketing videos and more
  • How long it takes be productive: 2 hours
  • Where to get it: PowToon home page
  • Cost: Free. Create an account and get started. You may want to consider buying a subscription to remove branding.
  • Notes: Powtoon is on the edge of “quick to learn” tools. There are some great tutorial videos on the PowToon site, but you will need to invest a bit of time to learn the interface before being able to create.

Five Content Creation Tools -- PowToon

So there you have four tools. They are free or inexpensive in terms of both money and time. Use them to create some pretty awesome visuals for your blog and social media efforts.

What tools do you use that are quick to learn?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *