The Creator’s Toolkit: 27+ Content Creation Tools for Every Stage of the Process
Behind every incredible creator is an army of tools — and even people — to support every stage of content creation. In this article, we’ll walk you through some of these tools and how they can support your content creation journey.
Photo by Rachel Martin on Unsplash
Behind every incredible creator is an army of tools — and even people — to support every stage of content creation. While consistency is the most important element of growing as a creator, the tools you choose can enhance or frustrate your growth journey.
These tools encompass everything from the social platforms you choose to build your presence on to the community-building app where you engage with your audience. In this article, we’ll walk you through some of these tools and how they can support your content creation journey.
Content research tools
Gathering data and information can be one of the more tedious parts of creating content. Especially if the aim of your content is to educate, you may need to invest more time in research than a creator focused on entertainment. The following tools can help.
Description: Google Trends is a tool that can help you track the popularity of different search terms over the years. It shows you what is interesting to people now, and you can compare against the popularity of similar search terms.
How it helps: If you’re ever stumped for ideas, checking Google Trends for topic ideas is a great way to get over your block. Bonus: another Google feature that works great for ideation is the People Also Ask section on your search page, as explained by this creator.
Description: Pinterest Trends is a hidden gem of a tool that tracks the popularity of different terms on Pinterest, much like its Google counterpart. However, it goes a step further by showing what is visually appealing now versus two months or even ten years ago.
How it helps: Creating content often requires keeping up with the latest design and aesthetic trends – Pinterest Trends offers you a visual guide into what’s currently trending and how your content can match up to that.
Price: Free with limited access. Paid plans start at $79/month
Description: AnswerthePublic is a search listening tool that gives creators insights into what their audiences are looking for. Just type in a keyword and get a plethora of autocomplete data from major search engines like Google.
How it helps: This tool helps you discover what questions your audience is asking which makes for easy content ideas. Just answer the questions in your videos and fit the keyphrase into your caption.
Price: Free (for now).
Description: ChatGPT is an AI tool that you can ask questions on any topic – the only limit is your imagination (and the fact that it only has knowledge up to 2023). Access is determined by the platform’s capacity, so you can’t rely on it too much.
How it helps: Where ChatGPT (and any other AI research tools) wins over Google is that it can curate information for you. When you ask it a question, it doesn’t give you multiple options which you have to dig into for an answer. Instead, it shares a curated answer in the format you request.
Content planning and scheduling
With all the content formats a creator might have to work with, it’s essential to have tools that can keep track of what’s meant to be published and when. These tools can help simplify the chaotic process of planning content – and save you time by scheduling your work ahead of time.
Price: Free plan. Paid plan starts at $10/member/month
Description: Notion is a productivity and project management tool that helps individuals and teams work together on different projects and tasks. You can create simple or complex systems to manage your creative process.
How it helps: The customization options of Notion mean that you can create or find many ways to manage your creative process. Check out some of their templates – use the search term “content creators” to find templates specific to your needs.
Price: Free plan. Paid plan starts at $6/month/channel
Description: Not to toot our own horn, but Buffer offers multiple features that can actively improve your content creation journey, especially stress-free scheduling to multiple social media platforms.
How it helps: Buffer’s one of the most affordable tools for scheduling content and offers multiple features to aid your growth:
- Start Page, to put in your social media bios and direct followers to all your great content across the web
- Remix, to efficiently repurpose content across your social media
- Ideas, so you can keep track of all your spur-of-the-moment thoughts
- Buffer AI, to help you quickly come up with content (coming soon)
- Analytics, to track your performance and figure out where to make improvements
- +every social media platform your audience might be on
If you create any form of written content, whether that’s a long-form newsletter or Instagram captions, then these tools might work great for you.
Content management system: Wordpress or Ghost
Price: Free plans. Paid plans for Wordpress start at $9/month and $11/month for Ghost
Description: There are many ways to publish content on the Internet, but if you want a dedicated website, you might need a content management system. We recommend Wordpress or Ghost.
How it helps: Content management systems help you keep track of all the content you have published on the web. If one of your chosen methods of content creation is through blog articles, then a CMS is a necessary addition to your toolkit.
Newsletter management: Substack or Beehiiv
Price: Free plans for both. Behiiv’s paid plan starts at $42/user/month.
Description: Newsletters are a great way to build an audience that you can take anywhere. Substack and Beehiiv are two tools that allow you to create newsletters and share them with an email list. Both tools offer extensive resources to help as your audience grows.
How it helps: If you want to have full say in how your audience interacts with your content, a newsletter is a great way to do that. You’ll always be in their inboxes and can implement subscriptions or ads at your convenience.
Editing: Grammarly or Writer
Price: Free and paid plans (starting at $30/month) available for Grammarly. Free trial and then paid plans starting at $18/month/user for Writer.
Description: Both Grammarly and Writer use AI to check your grammar, spelling, and punctuation.
How it helps: Before putting any written work out into the world, you can check for errors with either of these tools. You can also format both tools to fit your company guidelines, so you never have to worry about the tone of your blog or Instagram caption being off.
Price: Free plan. Paid plans start from $16.99/month
Description: Otter.ai is a tool that records meetings, takes notes, and generates a summary you can share with anyone. You can integrate it with your meeting tools like Zoom or Teams, so you never have to take a physical note again.
How it helps: Although it’s often used more by companies, this tool is great for creators that do a lot of interviews and need to transcribe content to written formats.
Outlining and formatting: Copy.ai or Lex
Price: Free plans are available for both. Copy.ai’s paid plan is $49 per month for 5 people.
Description: Both Copy.ai and Lex can turn your queries into the format you need for your content. You can ask either tool any question, for example, “Write an Instagram caption for an image depicting a toddler holding a teddy bear intending to sell the teddy bear” or whatever suits your tone.
How it helps: For people who need to do a lot of writing but don’t have the time or skills, AI tools could be a great addition to your toolkit.
Visual content creation tools
So many of the social media and content creation platforms available to us are visually oriented. From creating thumbnails for YouTube videos to Instagram graphics, design and visuals will come into play at some point in your creator journey. These tools can help with creating visual content.
Price: Free plan. Paid plans start at $12.99/month
Description: Canva is a graphic design tool that you can use on the web, desktop, or mobile. It offers extensive options for creating visual, video, and even written content.
How it helps: Canva is like a Swiss Army Knife when it comes to design – incorporating it into your creator toolkit means you’ll be able to create content for any of your content platforms easily.
Description: Unsplash is a free tool that allows you to find royalty-free images.
How it helps: This is great if you need images for your social media, blog, or newsletter and can’t afford to create them yourself.
Price: Free to start, then $15 for 115 credits.
Description: DALL-E is an AI tool that allows you to generate images from text prompts. You can ask it anything you want, and like many other AI tools, the only limit is your imagination.
How it helps: DALL-E is great for quickly generating copyright-free images for your content creation, especially if you have limited capacity for design.
Audio content creation tools
Whether you’re creating a podcast or just voiceovers for your next TikTok, the following tools are great for any audio production you might need to do in your creative process.
Description: Anchor is a Spotify tool that allows you to create, edit, upload, distribute and monetize your podcast. You can set up a website dedicated to your podcast and also upload video podcasts. It’s available on both desktop and mobile.
How it helps: This is a great starter tool for anyone that wants to create a podcast but doesn’t have any skills to use more complex tools. You can just hit record from your phone and upload once you’re satisfied with your audio and editing. You can also upload pre-recorded audio to the app, and it will be distributed to every podcast platform.
Description: Audacity is a free audio recording and editing tool that you can use on desktop. It’s a great starter tool for more in-depth editing for a podcast.
How it helps: While this tool has a learning curve, once you master it, you have a free tool that can help you edit any audio content.
Description: If you have a Macbook, you may not need to look further than your preset apps for an audio editor. GarageBand comes pre-installed on Apple devices or downloaded through the App Store.
How it helps: You can use GarageBand to edit audio and even create original music for your creative projects.
Price: Free plan. Paid plans start at $15/user/month
Description: While Descript also offers video editing features, it’s well-known for its diverse suite of tools dedicated to audio content.
How it helps: Descript has features specifically designed to help podcast creators if you need an all-in-one tool with more extensive features than the others on this list.
Video content creation tools
Video is all the rage – from Instagram Reels to TikToks to YouTube, and its short-form feature, Shorts – creators have a million and one places to share their content. But when it comes to tools for creating, these platforms are yet to offer great editing tools. Luckily, certain companies have stepped in the gap and created tools that allow creators to create and edit their content to post on any platform. Here are some of the best ones:
Price: Free version. Paid plans start from $3.99/month
Description: InShot is a video editing app available on both iOS and Android
How it helps: InShot’s free plan is very effective and can be used to edit your content for Instagram, TikTok, or YouTube Shorts quickly and efficiently.
Price: Free version. Paid plans start from $8/user/month
Description: Loom is a screen recording tool that allows you to take crisp, clear footage of your screen to quickly comm. It’s available on desktop, iOS, and Android.
How it helps: Although it’s more common with companies for internal communication, if you create a lot of educational videos and need to guide your audience with examples they can see, Loom is a great addition to your toolkit.
Price: Free plan. Paid plans start at $7.99/month
Description: CapCut is the editing tool, particularly for TikTok videos. It offers more extensive editing than TikTok’s in-app features and also integrates with the app to upload your content. It’s available on web, desktop, and mobile.
How it helps: Although CapCut and TikTok are intertwined, it’s a great tool for editing any short-form content, so you can use it for Reels and YouTube Shorts.
Community building tools
The best creators don’t just have a lot of followers – they also see high engagement from them. With these tools, you can provide access to your time, connections among your followers, and interaction that builds deeper relationships and loyalty.
Description: Discord is a communication tool that allows users to participate in text, voice, and video chats.
How it helps: If you have a large enough audience, you might want to move the most loyal of them over to a platform where you can offer a more niche community – Discord is a great tool for that. You can control who has access to it and curate it to enhance the experience for members.
Price: Paid plans start at $39/month
Description: Mighty Networks is a tool for community building but also offers features to help launch courses and membership programs.
How it helps: Mighty Networks is a more extensive version of Discord and is great for people with a large audience who want to offer paid memberships and courses.
With a large enough audience and the right plan for monetization, you can turn your side hustle in content creation into a full-time gig. The tools that follow make that process easier.
Price: Pricing starts at 5% of your monthly income through the platform
Description: Patreon allows you to offer monthly subscriptions to your audience in exchange for perks. Some creators use it to offer access to the content they want to be paid for, or can’t upload to social media,
How it helps: If you have 100 fans willing to pay you $10 a month for your content, you have monetized your creative process.
Price: Free trial, then $29/month
Description: Stan is a platform that allows you to sell digital products. Creators can sell anything from budgeting templates to consulting services – and it’s especially popular with TikTok creators.
How it helps: If you create digital products and want to sell them, Stan is a great tool to help manage the process without you having to set up a payment system or website yourself.
Price: Free plan. Paid plans start once you cross 300 subscribers, then $9/month
Description: ConvertKit is a tool that empowers creators to grow and connect with their audiences, and eventually sell to them.
How it helps: ConvertKit is another great option with robust features that enable creators to sell products and services.
Start small and build up your toolkit over time
Take a breath and slow down – we know having multiple options can be overwhelming. No matter how great a tool looks, consider how it fits into your creative process before you sign up and hand over your card.
It’s best to start small and with the free versions, then test and see what works for you before you settle on anything.
What tools are in your creator toolkit? Let us know over on Twitter @buffer.