10 of our favourite tools for great written content

Posted by on 15th March 2018 / 0 comments

Written communication continues to play a major part in day-to-day PR activity. We generate written content for each and every one of our clients – whether this takes the form of press releases, white papers, social content, blogs or feature articles – and believe that our ability to write effectively and with versatility has played a large role in our success.

Back in the day we used to rely on a combination of instinct and spellchecker to ensure that our content was up to scratch. These days there are a plethora of sophisticated tools that are designed to correct grammar, optimise sentence structure and increase focus.

Anybody who is serious about writing – for PR, business, blogging or otherwise – should seriously consider trying at least one of these tools. Here are some of our favourites:

1)            Hemingway                                      

Available for Mac and PC

If I had to summarise Hemingway in four words, I would say that it ‘cuts out the waffle’. Hemingway highlights wordy sentences in yellow and marks the really excessive ones in red. 

The desktop app also gives each document a score for ‘readability’ and allows you to export the text to word and pdf. On the newest version, you can even share edits with colleagues.

2)            Grammarly

Browser extension available for Chrome, Safari, Firefox and Edge

Native app available for Mac and PC, Keyboard for Android and iOS

Grammarly is that school-teacher who called you out on every split infinitive, every misplaced comma and every dangling modifier. But instead of just shouting indiscriminately, it takes the time to explain why each mistake was wrong and what you can do to avoid them in the future. We find it a great way to edit social media posts or blogs before publishing them.

3)            Power Thesaurus

Web-based, free of charge

‘Crowdsourced. Straightforward. User-friendly.’ This search-engine does exactly what it says on the tin – whenever the perfect word is just on the tip of my tongue, Power Thesaurus will speed up the recall process.

4)            Yoast SEO Plugin

Plugin - basic version free of charge, Premium available at $89 per sit

When posting content online, it is important to ensure that it is prioritised by search engines. That said, there’s nothing worse than a blog that’s so full of artificially inserted keywords that it detracts from the style and content.

Yoast can solve this problem for you by suggesting keywords, offering a google preview of your page and reducing duplicate content.

5)            Copyleaks

Business API Package – starting at $9.99/month.

Unlike most plagiarism detection software, Copyleaks offers packages that are specially orientated towards businesses as well as students. We all know that unoriginal content can lead to a low SEO position, and Copyleaks allows you to avoid this by checking your URL’s, files, raw text or images for plagiarised content.

We particularly value the user-friendly, cloud-based interface, the optional MS add-on and mobile application, and the advice on fighting copyright infringement.

6)            Marinara Timer

Web-based, free of charge

You may or may not have heard of the Pomodoro Technique – a time management method consisting of 25 mins of focus followed by a 5 min break. The Marinara Timer, a web application, helps you to stay focussed by regulating your work according to this schedule.

This sounds great – but we know only too well that meetings, phone calls and emails can all throw a spanner in the works if you follow these timings too rigidly. That’s why we love the custom timer, which allows you to modify the time periods to meet your team’s needs.

7)            Ilys

Web-based, $3.99/month (30-day free trial)

Ilys is an extreme productivity tool and not one that I would recommend using 24/7 – however, it certainly has some merit when it comes to writer’s block. The user types onto a plain black screen, where each letter only appears for a moment, and is unable to edit or review their work until a pre-determined word count is met.

In PR you are often working to tight deadlines - this website speeds up the writing process by forcing you to write freely, often opening up a creative channel. But we would definitely recommend running the final product through Grammarly before publishing!

8)            Calmly Writer

Web-based, free of charge

Also available as Chrome application, free of charge (with in-app purchases)

Plagued by procrastination? It is all too easy to agonise over the perfect font, colour and size for your text but lose sight of the content. With dramatically reduced formatting options and an expansive plain-white background, this website focusses on the text and nothing but the text – bringing the writing process back to the fore.

What’s more, it features a mode specifically designed to enhance readability for dyslexic users and a focus setting which highlights the paragraph that is currently being worked on to avoid distraction.

9)            Google Drive

Web-based, free of charge

Yes, it might be a little vanilla, but the utility of a user-friendly, cloud-based collaborative writing platform cannot be overlooked. Google Drive is the solution to a constant stream of emails containing marginally modified versions of the same document and also a great way to back-up your work.

10)        Noisili

Web-based, free of charge

Application available for Android and iOS at £1.99

Can’t stand the Sound of Silence? Need something to block out the incessant office noise? This website offers an ample range of background noises, such as wind, rain, white noise and café chatter, designed to improve focus and boost productivity.

You can create your own work environment by using a slider to increase or decrease the volume of each component or simply select one of the pre-configured mixes. By creating an account, you can save and share your favourite combos and use a timer to track productivity.

We pride ourselves on the high standard of our content, and some of these innovative writing tools have really helped us to improve. If there are any that you think should be added to the list, we’d love to hear what you use.

Tagged: content creation writing writing tools PR

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