50 Free Content Creation Tools to Streamline Your Writing Process

Content marketing is more important than ever. Consider these statistics:

  • 70% of marketers are actively investing in content marketing (HubSpot, 2020)
  • Content marketing generates 3x as many leads as traditional marketing and costs 62% less (Demand Metric)
  • 78% of companies have a team of one-to-three content specialists (Semrush, 2022)

As the demand for content rises, so does the need for content writers to work as effectively and efficiently as possible. While nothing can replace the creativity and expertise you bring to the table, the right tools can streamline your content creation process and allow you to create better content in less time.

We‘ve compiled a list of 50 free content creation tools across four key categories: research, writing/editing, SEO, and brainstorming. Whether you need to find authoritative sources, craft compelling copy, optimize for search engines, or generate fresh content ideas, these tools have you covered.

Content Research Tools

Great content starts with great research. These tools will help you find unique angles and authoritative sources to cite in your writing.

1. Google Scholar

Google Scholar is a search engine specifically for academic literature. You can find articles, theses, books, abstracts and court opinions from academic publishers, professional societies, online repositories, universities and other web sites.

Use Google Scholar to find primary sources on your topic such as research studies, scientific papers, and case studies. Citing this type of authoritative content boosts your own content‘s credibility.

Google Scholar homepage

2. Statista

Statista is a leading provider of market and consumer data, covering over 80,000 topics from more than 22,500 sources. As a content writer, you can use Statista to find relevant and interesting statistics and data points to include in your writing.

While much of Statista‘s data sits behind a paywall, they do offer a basic free plan that allows you to view a limited selection of statistics as well as download certain public data.

3. Pew Research Center

Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that conducts public opinion polling, demographic research, content analysis and other data-driven social science research. They publish reports on a variety of topics including politics, social issues, science, and technology.

Pew Research Center is an excellent source for finding authoritative, current survey data and insights to inform and enhance your writing. All of their research is free to access.

4. Think with Google

Think with Google shares marketing research, digital trends, and data-driven insights directly from Google. The studies and infographics they publish are especially helpful for writing data-backed content related to consumer behavior and digital marketing.

While Think with Google‘s research is often more high-level and less in-depth than academic sources, it provides up-to-date digital marketing insights backed by one of the world‘s most authoritative tech companies.

Writing & Editing Tools

Once you‘ve done your research, these writing and editing tools can help you produce higher quality content more efficiently.

5. Grammarly

Grammarly is a popular writing assistant that goes way beyond basic spell check. In addition to catching grammar and punctuation errors, it provides feedback and suggestions to improve your writing‘s clarity, engagement, and delivery.

Some of Grammarly‘s most helpful features for content writers include:

  • Clarity-focused sentence rewrites
  • Tone adjustments
  • Plagiarism detection
  • Genre-specific writing style checks
  • Word choice enhancements
  • Fluency improvements

Grammarly offers a free plan that includes basic writing feedback. For more advanced feedback and features like plagiarism detection, you‘ll need a premium plan.

6. Hemingway App

The Hemingway App helps you improve the readability of your writing. Simply paste your content into the web or desktop app and you‘ll get feedback on:

  • Readability: What grade level is your writing? Could it be simpler?
  • Adverbs: Are you using too many weak adverbs?
  • Passive voice: Active voice is generally more engaging.
  • Hard-to-read sentences: Hemingway highlights complex sentences in yellow and red.
  • Word count and estimated reading time

Hemingway will not catch actual spelling or grammar mistakes, but it‘s a helpful and free tool for improving the clarity of your writing.

Hemingway App interface

7. Cliché Finder

Cliché Finder is a simple tool for catching clichés and overused expressions in your writing. Paste your content in and the tool will highlight any words and phrases that have become clichés through overuse.

Using too many clichés is an easy way to make your writing feel unoriginal and uninspired. Cliché Finder makes it easy to weed them out and swap in fresher language.

8. Power Thesaurus

Every content writer has gotten stuck trying to think of the right word or seeking an alternative to a word they‘ve already used multiple times. Power Thesaurus can help with that.

This crowdsourced tool contains over 145 million synonyms and antonyms you can search and browse. Looking up a word returns a list of synonyms ranked by how closely they match. You can also view rhymes and definitions.

SEO Tools

The best content in the world won‘t have much impact if no one can find it. These free SEO tools will help you optimize your content to rank higher in search results.

9. Google Keyword Planner

The Google Keyword Planner is a free tool designed primarily for advertisers but extremely helpful for content creators as well. Use it to research keywords for your content, see how often those terms are searched, and discover new keyword ideas.

While most of Google‘s keyword data is limited to Google Ads users, you can still view search volume ranges and competition data for your keywords with a free account. This data is invaluable for creating SEO-friendly content that aligns with what people are actually searching for.

10. AnswerThePublic

AnswerThePublic is a free visual keyword research tool that generates content ideas in the form of questions and phrases. Enter a keyword you want to write about, and AnswerThePublic returns a map of related questions, prepositions, and comparisons sourced from Google and Bing auto-suggest data.

Each query AnswerThePublic generates is a potential topic for your content. The tool is especially helpful for finding long-tail keywords and understanding what questions your audience is asking about a given topic.

AnswerThePublic keyword map example

11. SEO Minion

SEO Minion is a free browser extension packed with on-page SEO analysis features. While it‘s mostly geared toward analyzing existing content, it has a few features that are super helpful when writing new content:

  • Word count, reading time, and readability
  • Broken link checker
  • SERP preview tool to optimize your page title and meta description
  • Semantic SEO analysis to ensure you‘re covering related topics and entities

The SEO Minion extension is available for Chrome, Firefox, and Edge.

Brainstorming & Idea Generation Tools

"What should I write about?" Consistently coming up with new content ideas is one of the biggest challenges content creators face. When inspiration runs dry, turn to these tools to get those creative juices flowing again.

12. BuzzSumo

To create content that resonates, you need to have a pulse on what topics and content types are performing well in your niche. BuzzSumo is a tool that can help with that.

Enter a topic or domain into BuzzSumo and it will surface the most socially-shared content related to your search. You can filter by content type, timeframe, word count, and more to find the most relevant results.

Use BuzzSumo to:

  • Find your competitor‘s most popular content
  • Identify trending topics in your niche
  • Analyze top shared content to inspire your own content ideas

While most of BuzzSumo‘s features are gated for paid users, you can perform a limited number of free searches per month. The free plan should be enough for most content writers to perform essential content research.

13. Quora

Quora is a Q&A website where users ask and answer questions on a wide range of topics. As a content creator, browsing Quora can help you:

  • Identify common questions and pain points in your niche
  • Find inspiration for new content ideas
  • Understand how your target audience talks about certain topics
  • Find authoritative people to quote or interview on a given topic

Quora‘s topic system makes it easy to find relevant questions and answers in your niche. You can also follow specific topics to curate a feed of questions related to your areas of interest or expertise.

14. Feedly

Feedly is a news aggregator application that compiles news feeds from a variety of online sources. You can use it to keep tabs on your favorite industry blogs, publications, and topics.

By centralizing relevant content feeds in one dashboard, Feedly makes it easy to monitor the latest news and discussions in your niche. This is not only helpful for generating new content ideas, but also for staying up-to-date on the latest developments you may want to cover.

Feedly offers a free plan that allows you to follow up to 100 sources and organize them into 3 feeds.

15. HubSpot‘s Blog Ideas Generator

If you want to generate blog post ideas quickly, try HubSpot‘s Blog Ideas Generator. Simply enter up to 5 keywords and the tool will automatically generate a week‘s worth of relevant blog post titles.

While the titles HubSpot generates are hit-or-miss in terms of quality, they can provide a good starting point when you‘re feeling stuck. Even if you don‘t use the exact titles, they may inspire different ideas you hadn‘t considered.

Example blog ideas from HubSpot's generator

Tools Comparison

To help you choose the best tools for your needs, we‘ve put together a comparison table summarizing each tool‘s key features, pros, and cons.

Tool Category Key Features Pros Cons
Google Scholar Research Academic literature search engine Access to authoritative sources, Covers a wide range of topics Some results may require subscriptions or payment
Statista Research Market & consumer data covering 80k+ topics High-quality data from trusted sources Much data is paywalled, Limited free plan
Grammarly Writing Advanced grammar, clarity & engagement suggestions Goes beyond basic spelling & grammar, Genre-specific feedback Premium features require paid plan
Hemingway App Writing Writing clarity & readability feedback Free, Actionable suggestions No actual spell check, Limited free version
Google Keyword Planner SEO See search volume & competition for keywords Data comes directly from Google Most features limited to Google Ads users
AnswerThePublic SEO Generates questions & phrases related to a topic Helpful for finding long-tail keywords & content ideas, Free Limited to two free searches per day
BuzzSumo Brainstorming Find most shared content by topic or competitor Helpful for identifying popular content & trends Limited free plan
Quora Brainstorming Q&A site covering wide range of topics Insight into audience questions & pain points, Potential source of quotes/interviews Some answers may be low-quality or promotional

Best Practices for Using Content Creation Tools

The tools covered in this post are extremely helpful for streamlining and improving your content creation process. However, they are not a replacement for subject matter expertise, original insight, and creative expression. To get the most out of these tools, consider the following best practices:

Have a content strategy

Content creation tools work best when used within a defined content strategy. Have clear goals for your content, know your target audience inside and out, and create content that aligns with both.

Use tools to inspire, not dictate

It‘s great to use tools like BuzzSumo and Quora to generate content ideas. But don‘t just chase trends or copy what‘s working for others. Use these tools as a starting point to inspire your own unique takes and original content.

Think for yourself

Tools like Grammarly and Hemingway are great for polishing your writing and identifying areas for improvement. But they are not infallible. Take their suggestions into consideration but also think critically and don‘t be afraid to ignore a suggestion if it doesn‘t work for your content.

Optimize for humans, not just search engines

It‘s important to use keyword research and on-page optimization to help your content rank well in search results. But don‘t overdo it to the point where your content feels unnatural or robotic. Write for human readers first, then optimize for search engines.

Create Smarter, Not Harder

Statistics show that content marketing is only getting more competitive. To stand out, content writers need to consistently produce high-quality, engaging, and optimized content at scale. Using the right tools is key to meeting these demands without burning out.

The 50 free tools covered in this post will help you at every stage of content creation, from research to writing to optimization to ideation. By leveraging technology to automate and streamline parts of the process, you can focus more energy on the areas where your human creativity and insight are needed most.

Remember, even the most advanced content tools are not a substitute for subject matter expertise and creative expression. But when used strategically, they can certainly help you create better content in less time. Here‘s to working smarter, not harder.