11 Free Email Hacks to Step Up Your Productivity

If you’re anything like me, a solid portion of your day is sifting through your inbox, sending emails to junk, and responding to time-sensitive emails.

Need some help managing it? We’ve got free email hacks that will help you better manage your inbox so you can focus on the important stuff.

11 Free Email Hacks to Step Up Your Productivity

1. Turn off your notifications or pause emails.

Other than social media, email is where most people get flooded with notifications. This can be one of the biggest blockers to productivity since your attention is being pulled elsewhere.

Solution? Simply turn off email notifications to focus on your more pressing tasks. Better yet, you can pause incoming emails from even showing up in your inbox – if your email provider allows it.

Image Source

Outlook users can pause notifications through the Boomerang app and unpause when they’re ready to tackle them.

2. Block out times for batch email review.

Emails can come at all hours of the day and if you’re working with a team asynchronous, there are no off-hours.

So, instead of constantly checking your emails and responding to each one as it comes, set aside blocks of time during your day to review them.

This can be early morning, late afternoon, or whenever when you expect to have some downtime.

Pro-tip: Once you decide on this time block, add it to your calendar to avoid conflicts with other work activities.

3. Create templates.

You know how websites have FAQ sections? In our professional careers, we often communicate the same thing over and over to our clients, colleagues, and stakeholders.

To make this a bit easier, create templates to avoid starting from scratch every time you draft an email.

Your templates will be based on the questions you get most often, the phrases you use the most, and the messages you share the most. Things like:

Cold emails
Redirections to other teams
Weekly team notifications
OOO message

To set this up in Gmail, navigate to your settings, click on the Advanced tab, and click on “Enable” next to the Templates section.

4. Create folders.

Organization is the ultimate key to productivity and emails often fall on the back burner. The irony is they tend to hold some of the most important information we use in our day-to-day.

Creating folders within your email will not only make things easier to find but also more manageable when prioritizing your emails.

For instance, you can create categories by:

Priority (e.g. Action required, informational)
Function (e.g. HR, Finance, Insurance)
Teams (e.g. Leadership, direct reports, colleagues, etc)

5. Filter your incoming emails.

Why sort through emails when you can have your email provider do it for you automatically?

The filter feature – available through most email providers – allows you to sort, delete, flag, and forward emails.

You can do so using the following information:

Email addresses
Words and/or phrases
Subject line
Attachment

Once you create the filter, you designate the automated follow-up action.

Use cases include adding emails from leadership to a specific folder, deleting junk mail, marking reminders as read.

6. Use an email scheduler.

Gone are the days of waking up at 6 a.m. just to send an email you couldn’t send at 10 p.m. last night when you drafted it.

Some email providers allow you to schedule a date and time to send your email so you can set it and forget it – worry-free.

If your provider doesn’t have this feature, consider an extension like Boomerang, which you can integrate with your email to schedule emails.

7. Enable the “unsend” feature.

We all do it: Send an email then do the obligatory re-read of the email you already re-read five times before sending JUST in case – even though you can’t do anything about it. Until now.

Gmail and other email providers now allow you to unsend an email for a few seconds after you’ve clicked “Send,” just in case you spotted a mistake or simply changed your mind.

Pro-tip: Only add the recipients once your email is ready to go – this way, you’ll never send an unfinished email again.

8. Learn shortcuts.

Shortcuts allow you to complete your email tasks quickly without skipping a beat.

With email shortcuts, you can:

Compose new emails.
Add cc and bcc recipients.
Insert links.
Open spelling suggestions.
Format text with bold, italic, underline, indents, and alignments.
Archive emails

And that’s just to name a few. If there’s a feature you use often, there’s likely a shortcut to get you there with just one click or keystroke.

Of course, shortcuts will vary by provider and device. So before you start using them, make sure you’re using the right ones.

9. Unsubscribe.

If your inbox is anything like mine, there are a few thousand emails from brands you never interact with.

While deleting these emails is time-consuming, you can start decluttering your inbox by unsubscribing from emails you never read. Unfortunately, not all brands have disengagement workflows that will automatically remove you from a reading list.

In this case, you’ll have to manually unsubscribe yourself. Trust me, your future self will thank you.

10. Get a grammar browser extension.

Most of us draft emails directly from the “New Draft” box. However, that strategy comes with some risks – namely misspelling or awkward phrasing.

Apps like Grammarly will serve as proofreader, catching your mistakes as soon as you make them. Grammarly also has neat features that will tell you the tone of your message and suggest alternative phrases.

With this tool, you never have to worry about how you sound or if there’s a hidden typo. It takes all of the guesswork out so you can just focus on pressing “Send.”

11. Prioritize your emails.

If you’re still struggling with managing the large volume of emails you’re receiving, try following this popular rule: If the email requires a response that will take two minutes or fewer, respond immediately.

If it will take longer, save it for later. This strategy is designed to help you get rid of the clutter without getting overwhelmed.

There you have it – free email hacks that will help you get your inbox under control and maximize your productivity.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in Aug. 2016 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

17 Best Email Newsletter Templates and 12 Resources to Use Right Now

If you had to guess, how many email newsletters do you think you’re subscribed to? Ten? Twenty? Fifty?

To be honest, I’ve lost count — and I know I’m not alone. Email marketers have a lot to compete within their subscribers’ inboxes. That’s why a solid newsletter template is crucial to designing an email that people are encouraged to click through.

If done well, email newsletters can do wonders to help you build an engaged subscriber base, keep your business top-of-mind, and nurture leads that are already making their way down the funnel.

However, “done well” means more than just serving up great content. In fact, an often overlooked component of the newsletter creation process is the design.

Don’t have time to build out a custom template from scratch? We’ve scoured the internet for the best resources for email newsletter templates and compiled them below. Many of the templates have also been pre-tested for compatibility with major email service providers (ESPs) via Litmus — a web service that allows you to preview the way your email will look on different email clients and devices.

Once you find one you like, download the template and customize it to fit your needs.

1. HubSpot

Price: Free & paid options available

If you’re a Marketing Hub user, HubSpot offers a great collection of email templates you can use on your next marketing email. No need to log out and search for a template in another marketplace; these templates are available to you right within the tool.

Once you choose a template, you can start using it immediately right in HubSpot — no HTML or CSS required.

2. Announcement by Litmus

Price: Free

Litmus offers a free email template collection — from newsletter templates to account management templates. This marketing-specific theme — simply referred to as “Announcement” — is modern and sleek, while still being kind of fun. All of the templates have been tested with Litmus.

While you are required to create a Litmus account with your email address to access the templates, the templates themselves are free of charge.

3. ConvertKit

Price: Free

ConvertKit is a creative email template platform that’s a great option for bloggers, course creators, and more. ConvertKit comes with email automation tools, signup forms, and many more integrations.

To use ConvertKit’s email newsletter templates, you’ll need to sign up for a plan, but the good news is that they offer both free and pro subscriptions. While this platform is more on the creative side, their vast array of templates and tool integrations will help businesses in any industry upgrade their email newsletter.

4. ZURB Ink

Price: Free

ZURB Studios has five responsive email templates available for free, including the newsletter one below. It has a great, fluid layout you can customize with your own colors, images, and wording.

If you want to see how each template looks on different email clients, you can check out screenshots from each template’s email client tests, which are available on the site. These layouts are optimized for most email clients — except for outdated versions of Outlook.

The template kit comes with a separate CSS stylesheet and HTML file to ease the editing process. Most email code editors will place the CSS inline with the HTML itself after both are uploaded separately. If you’re going to add images to your newsletter, keep in mind that you’ll have to create a separate folder and compress it with the CSS stylesheet before uploading.

Pro tip: Once you’ve selected a template, use HubSpot’s free email marketing software to craft your message and send a newsletter out to the world!

5. Flodesk

Price: Free for 30 days

Flodesk is an upcoming email newsletter design platform with over 3,000 email templates and designs to enhance your email marketing. Aside from giving you access to a vast array of templates, Flodesk lets you connect your ecommerce site to help with automation and analytics.

Another benefit of Flodesk is that its subscription price ($38/month) is a flat fee. So, whether you’re sending 200 or 2,000 emails, you’ll pay the same price, and you’ll never have to upgrade your subscription to get all of the perks.

6. 99designs

Price: Free

99designs is a growing online community and collaboration platform for designers and small businesses, and they have a great designer blog and business blog. As a free offering to their blog readers, they released a set of 45 free email templates — perfect for newsletters, promotional messages, and personalized responses. All of the templates are fully responsive and compatible with all major email clients.

7. Moosend

Price: Free for 30 days

Moosend is an email marketing platform that makes it easy to design custom emails with a drag-and-drop editor and over 70 premade templates. Moosend also tracks analytics and sends personalized automated emails to subscribers based on their interest and behavior. If you’re interested in landing pages and subscription templates, it includes those as well.

Moosend analyzes your subscriber base to help with the success of your business. Just like Flodesk, Moosend lets you connect your ecommerce site to attract more subscribers and store all information in one place. Moosend is free for the first 30 days, and then you would have to upgrade to pro status for $9/month.

8. Campaign Monitor

Price: Free

Campaign Monitor is another free email newsletter template and marketing platform. With a variety of email templates for newsletters, welcome emails, and promotional campaigns, Campaign Monitor makes designing emails easy. Campaign Monitor also compiles your analytics and tracks when emails are sent, delivered, and opened.

For many businesses, email marketing needs to connect to their website or ecommerce site, and Campaign Monitor does just that. Campaign Monitor has it all when it comes to templates and helps you maximize your sales by staying on-brand and creating a seamless customer experience. Campaign Monitor is only free for 30 days, but plans start as low as $9/month.

9. MailerLite

Price: Free

MailerLite offers various newsletter templates for promotions, announcements, and more. With its trendy newsletter designs, MailerLite makes sure its customers stay up to date while sending newsletters. You can customize the templates using either an HTML editor or drag-and-drop editor, and connect your MailerLite account to your website. MailerLite also has features where you can grow your audience with landing pages, subscription forms, and pop-ups.

MailerLite provides data insights as well. The advantage of MailerLite is that they will send your emails based on your customers’ time zones, allowing you to send emails that can get the most opens. MailerLite also provides A/B split testing tools so you can identify the best version of every email you send.

10. Sender

Price: Free & paid options available

Sender is an all-in-one email & SMS marketing platform for ecommerce and small to medium-sized businesses who want to reach out to their customers at an affordable and accessible price.

Sender provides delivery-friendly text and branded HTML email newsletters to connect with your email subscribers and biggest fans. Choose from a library of 35+ visually stunning, premium-feel newsletter design templates that are fully customizable to your specific business requirement. In addition, all templates have responsiveness baked-in to the design so that your emails are guaranteed to play nice on mobile devices. Besides offering advanced email marketing features such as segmentation and automation, Sender also allows you to design highly responsive and eye-catching popups and forms to attract sign-ups and execute SMS marketing for higher conversions. 

Sender has a ton of affordable price points and capabilities even in their free account. With the Free Forever plan, you can send up to 15,000 emails every month to 2,500 contacts at no cost, with premium features such as segmentation and automation bundled together.

11. Constant Contact

Price: $9.99 a month

Do you run a non-profit? If so, this is the newsletter tool specifically for you. Constant Contact is an email newsletter builder that offers specific templates to help nonprofits raise funds and market their missions. With hundreds of templates to choose from, you’ll be sure to find a design based on the template you need and what type of nonprofit you run.

The great thing about Constant Contact is the business analytics. While using the platform, you can see when emails are sent, delivered, opened, and shared. You will also be able to see top trends and send personalized emails to your clients.

Constant Contact also connects with your social media profiles, includes sign-up forms, and offers text message marketing tools. Contacting your non-profit subscribers via text message can be a great advantage because people check their emails but people check their text messages more. While Constant Contact is not free, its features more than make up for it. You can start at the basic subscription ($9.99/month) or upgrade to a pro account ($45/month) to unlock all the features.

12. Themezy

Price: Free

Download sixteen free HTML, CSS, and PSD customizable email templates on Themezy. You don’t have to submit an email address to get started, and there are various color schemes and layouts to meet your email list’s needs.

Plus, they’re designed to be responsive across devices to ensure that your subscribers can read your newsletter.

13. Drip

Price: Free

Drip offers email marketing and SMS marketing for ecommerce brands. Drip is a new platform that lets you set up email marketing campaigns through hundreds of customizable templates. Along with their email newsletter templates, Drip offers excellent customer relations management tools, data analytics, and trend trackers so thorough that you can see how many of your customers bought red shoes within the last year. As a result, you’ll be able to better market yourself through your campaigns. Drip also has integrations that you can connect to your WordPress website, so you can use Drip without being on Drip.

Drip lets you start with a free 14-day trial, and the cost of your subscription will depend on your number of contacts. For up to 500 contacts, it’s $19/month, and the price goes up from there. Drip is beneficial to creators and ecommerce businesses because of the various marketing and analytical tools it offers. From email marketing to SMS marketing campaigns, Drip lets you effectively engage your customers.

14. MailPortfolio by SliceJack

Price: Free

If your marketing strategy is heavily reliant on visuals, MailPortfolio is perfect for you. It’s a minimalist template with no added background distractions. While it was made for those looking to display personal creative portfolios, it’s also suitable for larger businesses and organizations.

The template has been tested with Litmus, is responsive, and works perfectly on all email clients. (Note: older versions of Outlook may not render all of the fonts, and the Android Gmail app is not fully supported.)

15. Material Design by Paul Goddard

Price: Free

This template is based on Google’s Material Design and has a robotic-retro feel. It is perfect for sending out multi-purpose newsletters featuring new products, events, and other announcements at the same time. This theme isn’t made for a specific industry, but the template is well-fitting for businesses looking for a timeless, technological look.

Material Design has been tested on Litmus, is compatible with all major ESPs, and is responsive. While its main attraction is its unique design, this theme download also includes customizable HTML files.

16. Briar by SliceJack

Price: Free

Briar is the perfect newsletter template for marketers looking for a fluid, minimalist design featuring images and text that don’t overshadow each other. It’s perfect for sending out regular newsletters, and you can customize the Inline CSS files.

The template has been tested with Litmus and works with all major email service providers (ESPs). However, some older versions of Outlook may not render all Google fonts. Also, the Android Gmail app is not fully supported.

17. EmailOctopus

Price: Free

EmailOctopus is a marketing service that launched a series of 11 templates that can be used to create newsletters for a variety of industries. Whether you’re marketing for a fashion brand or a medical supply company, one of the templates will fit your needs.

The templates have the “typical” newsletter look, but allow you to add product announcements, feature stories, and CTAs wherever you’d like. All of the templates can be modified through any WYSIWYG editor, and the downloads include the HTML files.

These templates have been tested through Litmus across all major ESPs and are responsive to all screen sizes.

1. Feshto by Liramail

Price: $29-25/template

Feshto is an email bundle that helps ecommerce companies feature products in their newsletters and share testimonials from satisfied customers. It comes with a weekly digest module, which is their version of a newsletter.

The module features a chic, clean design that ensures your images and copy are not distracting from the other. You can choose from their various layouts, such as “Weekly Digest,” “City Story,” and “Blog Article.”

As mentioned, these templates are perfect for product features and testimonials from satisfied customers. While the default themes are black and white, you can make edits in your preferred WYSIWYG editor.

Feshto’s templates are responsive and compatible with all major ESPs.

2. Bee

Price: Free – $15

Bee is an HTML template tool with thousands of free templates for any professional to use. With a variety of categories, Bee gives you a template for everything, but it also has tools that allow you to build your own email newsletters. The drag-and-drop feature allows you to pick and choose the elements that best suit your personal needs. The versatility also allows you to customize every email you send, then download it as an HTML so you can send your emails to anyone from anywhere. Another great advantage of Bee is that it allows you to save various content from different emails that can then be used in other templates. No need to start from scratch.

With Bee, you do have a 14-day free trial and plenty of free templates to use if you do not want to sign up for an account. If you would like an account, Bee offers different versions of their Pro account depending on the field you are in. For instance, they have Pro Freelancers, Pro Team, Pro Agency, Pro Enterprise, and Pro Nonprofit; Pro Freelancer starts at $15 a month.

3. ThemeForest

Price: $6-23/template

ThemeForest is an awesome resource for email templates if you have some budget to spend. Their library has over 460 newsletter templates in all different colors, styles, and themes. The templates are rated using a four-star system, and you can filter by rating, price, recency, and popularity.

Here’s one example from its library:

Market – Responsive Newsletter with Template Builder ($19)

This template has eight prebuilt layouts, 24 color variations, 24 full-layered PSD files, and more. Plus, it’s supported by all major email clients.

4. HubSpot Email Copy Templates

Price: Free

If you’re looking for written templates you can input into your email tool, these are the templates for you.

HubSpot offers free email templates that empower you to market and sell your business over email without writing a single line from scratch. These free email template downloads save you time and money.

The templates can be downloaded right to your computer and can be used by any type of business.

5. Mailchimp

Price: Free – $200 per month

Mailchimp is an all-in-one marketing platform that helps small and large businesses scale and grow their business through marketing techniques and automations. Mailchimp has a variety of pre-made templates in their email newsletter tool. Aside from giving you over 100 designs to choose from, Mailchimp also gives you the option to download their Email Blueprints, which allows you to customize HTML templates.

6. ActiveCampaign

Price: Free – $258 a month

ActiveCampaign is a full-service email provider that offers email marketing automation and CRM tools. Its library of newsletter templates allow you to create conversion-optimized, visually impactful emails without touching a single line of code.

ActiveCampaign is free, but you will need to sign up for an account to use and view their email templates. You can use the majority of their templates for free, but if you want some customization, you’ll want to upgrade to a paid account.

7. Canva

Price: Free – 20.00 per month

Canva is an online graphics software that provides free templates for a multitude of things like Instagram posts, resumes, and email newsletters. Canva is a great tool because you can find free templates for specific niches like fashion, tech, culinary, and many more. While there is a paid tier, many of the premade templates are free, and you can add your own customizations without having to pay extra.

8. Adobe Express

Price: Single Application: $33.99 a month | Full Bundle: $79.99 a month

Adobe Express, formerly known as Adobe Spark, is another browser-based graphic design tool that has a multitude of templates and functions to help any company create a newsletter. Similar to Canva, Adobe offers premade templates based on industry categories like photography, architecture, and fashion. To access the templates, you must sign up for an account with Adobe.

9. CakeMail

Price: Free – $200.00 per month

CakeMail is an email marketing tool that includes user-friendly automation tools and allows you to create customizable emails for any person, occasion, and niche. CakeMail offers over 50 free editable email templates that are divided into smaller niche categories. One of the advantages of CakeMail is that you do not have to sign up to use the email templates provided, but if you would like to see how your email campaigns are performing, you can register for an account.

10. MJML

Price: Free

MJML is an HTML-based email designer. They have a wide variety of free templates that are customized for the type of email marketing your company is trying to do, including newsletters, promotions, and seasonal emails. Once you find a template that you like, MJML allows you to see the template and the HTML code in real-time as you edit it. Because MJML is HTML-based, you will have to copy your code and transfer it to the HTML editor in an email marketing service to use the template.

11. TemplateMonster

Price: Varies

TemplateMonster offers a variety of email newsletter templates, such as the Useful Notifications newsletter template pictured below, all of which are available for relatively low prices. Their templates are clean, customizable, and easy to use, and they’re compatible with most major email clients, such as Gmail and Yahoo Mail.

Additionally, the templates come with built-in responsive layouts for screen adaptability, like the ones on the mobile phone pictured below, and PSD sources for a litany of customization options.

12. Microsoft Office Templates

Price: Free & Paid Email Templates

Microsoft Office has a variety of tools, including extensive templates that can be used for Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. You can further narrow down your templates depending on the category of your business. While Microsoft does offer free templates, they are limited. For use of the paid templates, you will have to download Microsoft 365 to use them.

Get Started on Your Email Marketing Newsletter

Ready to draft your next email newsletter campaign? Download one of the excellent newsletter templates from the template galleries and landing pages above. Then, grab your free guide below for creating an email newsletter your audience will want to engage with.

Editor’s Note: The post was originally published in December 2018 but was updated for comprehensiveness in December 2019.

45 Free Content Writing Tools to Love [for Writing, Editing & Content Creation]

Creating content isn’t always a walk in the park. (In fact, it can sometimes feel more like trying to swim against the current.)

While other parts of business and marketing are becoming increasingly automated, content creation is still a very manual job.

That being said, there are plenty of tools out there to make creating content much easier.

Below, you’ll find a list of 36 fantastic tools and resources to help you research, write, edit, and design content more easily. (You’ll notice there are a lot of design tools in here — that’s because visual content is often the part of the content creation process where people get the most nervous and frustrated. So don’t worry, we’ve got a ton in there for you.)

Let’s get started.

36 Free Tools & Resources to Make Content Creation Easier

For Researchers

1) Google Drive Research Tool

Google recently added a tool to Drive that allows you to conduct Google searches without ever leaving your Drive window. All you have to do is click “Tools” from the menu bar and choose “Research” from the dropdown menu.

2) Site:search

This is a handy Google hack I use every day. Basically, it allows you to do a Google search that’s limited to a particular website.

For example, if I wanted to search HubSpot’s blog for marketing resources so I can cite one of our old blog posts, I’d do a site:search for blog.hubspot.com with the search term marketing resources. The formula for site search is site:samplewebsite.com [search query]. So my example would be site:blog.hubspot.com marketing resources.

3) Google Webmaster Tools

Doing SEO and keyword research? Your marketing software should be able to help. But if it can’t (or you’d like to augment your data), Google’s Webmaster Tools can be a great help. You can check things like the number of indexed pages on your website, submit your site to Google so you’re getting crawled and indexed, and even disavow bad inbound links. It also can give you information on search queries that have a large volume of impressions but low clickthrough rate.

Within Google Webmaster Tools, go to “Your site on the web” and choose “Search queries.” You’ll see a table showing a search query, impressions, clicks, and clickthrough rate (CTR). Comparing this data to your other analytics data can help uncover some opportunities.

4) Percentage Change Calculator

I can’t even begin to tell you how useful this little calculator is when looking for and analyzing data. Ever want to know the percentage change of two values without having to remember the formula? Simply enter the two values into this calculator, and it’ll spit out the percentage change. Trust me, you’ll want to bookmark this one.

Here are a few other handy calculators:

3-Way Percentage CalculatorCalculates answers to these questions: What is X% of Y? X is what percent of Y? X is Y% of what?
Conversion Rate Calculator Spits out a conversion rate when you enter the total visitor count during a specific time frame and the number of times during that time frame those visitors took a specific action.
A/B Test CalculatorWorks for a basic scenario with two groups of people (A & B) who get to see one version of your website and for whom you track the number of conversions or goals (purchases, downloads, clickthroughs, etc.).
ROI Calculator Analyzes your website’s monthly sales and lead generation efforts to determine ways in which marketing efforts can be optimized.

5) Atlas

Atlas is Quartz‘s data center, and it’s chock-full of graphs, charts, and data visualizations. You can search for almost any topic or keyword, and Atlas will have a graphic based on recent research data for you. This is a great tool to get background information on a topic you’re researching, or to find fresh data to use in a project you’re working on. Here’s a chart based on data from early 2016:

Source: Atlas

6) Search in a Giphy

You know that coworker who always seems to find the perfect animated GIFs for your social posts or internal chat client? With the free Giphy Chrome extension, you’ll be able to find great GIFs just as quickly.

To use the tool, all you have to do is open the extension in Chrome, search, choose a GIF, and drag and drop. So far, the tool works in Gmail, Twitter, Facebook, and more — and they’re constantly expanding support.

For Writers

7) Evernote

I use the free version of Evernote every single day. From to-do lists and research notes to writing entire chunks of articles, it’s proven helpful at every step of the writing and editing process.

One great feature? Its mobile, desktop, and web apps sync automatically as long as you have an internet connection. (And if you work offline, it’ll sync the next time you have internet.) Plus — and this is super important for content creators like us — it’s constantly saving and syncing your work automatically, making it a safe place to write and store ideas.

Use it to keep a running list of ideas, take notes, store inspiring articles or ebooks, or plan your editorial and social media publishing calendars.

8) Word2CleanHTML

If you like drafting blog posts in programs like Microsoft Word, Evernote, or Google Drive instead of your content management system (CMS), then this simple tool can be your best friend. Why? Because when you copy a document from Microsoft Office and paste it into your CMS, lots of little, weird formatting issues can crop up in your HTML.

Word2CleanHTML applies filters to fix all those things added into the HTML, resulting in well-formatted HTML you can paste directly into a web page CMS. Simply paste in your draft, click one button, and then copy the resulting HTML straight from the tool. When you paste that into your CMS (most will have buttons reading “HTML” or “</>” in their tool bar above your draft), it will appear nice and clean. No hair-pulling or swimming through code required.

9) WordCounter

There is no “right answer” for how long a blog post should be. As long as it serves its purpose — whether that’s thought leadership, driving leads, explaining a new concept, or something else — length doesn’t matter. But although we don’t recommend writing blog posts with a word count in mind, sometimes word count can come in handy. WordCounter works exactly the way you think it does: Paste in your content and it’ll spit out exactly how many words you have.

10) Cofftivity

According to a study out of the University of Chicago, “A moderate level of ambient noise is conducive to creative cognition.” In other words, being the tiniest bit distracted actually helps you be more creative. That’s why for many people, myself included, white noise helps promote focus.

There are a lot of white noise generators out there, but my favorite is Cofftivity. This particular one offers non-stop café background sounds at varying intensities, from “Morning Murmur” and “University Undertones” to “Lunchtime Lounge” and “Brazil Bistro.” It’s available on the web and as an app on iOS and Android.

11) & 12) Zerys & eLance

Need to start creating content but don’t have the bandwidth? We hear about this roadblock a lot. One way to get around it is by hiring freelancers from reputable marketplaces like Zerys or eLance. These resources give you access to skilled freelance writers who can write blog posts, ebooks, whitepapers, and other pieces of written content for you.

13) HTML Hacks for Marketers

While this isn’t strictly a writing resource, basic coding knowledge is quickly becoming a must-have skill for the modern marketer — bloggers and written content creators included. But learning from scratch can be daunting. Where on earth do you start?

If you’re a total beginner, start with HTML Hacks for Marketers, which my colleagues at HubSpot created with Codeacademy. It’ll teach you quick but useful hacks anyone — regardless of coding knowledge — can use in their marketing. For example, you’ll learn how to make small changes to HTML like altering headers and spacing, creating text in block-quote form, and inserting social share links. My personal favorite is the hack to change font colors.

Once you’ve mastered these basic HTML skills, move on to Codeacademy’s free interactive courses. They found a way to make learning HTML and CSS actually fun — and you can go through each lesson at your own pace.

14) Blog Topic Generator

If you need to get to writing blog posts but aren’t sure of an angle or title to get your creativity moving, HubSpot’s Blog Topic Generator can do the work for you. Simply enter a few keywords that your blog focuses on, and the Blog Topic Generator will produce a week’s worth of titles and topic ideas for you. It might not produce the final title of your blog post, but it helps get you thinking about creative new angles for topics you’ve written about before.

Here are the blog post titles I received when I entered “content,” “inbound marketing,” and “blogging”:

15) Blog Post Templates

All blog posts aren’t created equal, but we’ve found that there are steps you can take to make your posts comprehensive and shareable. With these blog post templates, we’ll walk you through an outline to write successful how-to, listicle, newsjack, and curation blog posts. Instead of starting from scratch, you’ll save time and, hopefully, nail your blog goals.

For Content Editors

16) Editorial Calendar Template

Creating a balanced editorial calendar can be tough, especially if you don’t have one centralized calendar that you and your team can refer to. To save you time and headache, we’ve created editorial calendar templates for Google Calendar, Google Sheets, and Excel that you can fill in and share with your team to start the next month or year off on the right foot.

17) & 18) Grammarly & Correctica

While human editors will be able to catch most grammatical errors, editing tools like Grammarly and Correctica are great tools for triple-checking before you press “publish” or “send.” Both free tools check for grammatical errors — and Grammarly even checks for plagiarism.

19) Hemingway App

Ernest Hemingway, admired for his succinct writing style, is the namesake for this handy editing app. Want to make your written content easier to read? Paste your content into this free web app, and it’ll assess your writing and identify opportunities to make it simpler.

My favorite features include identifying passive voice and hard-to-read sentences. Check out the right-hand side of the screenshot below, where the tool has summed up how readable my writing is with a grade. (Some room for improvement here.) Their suggestion to improve readability overall? Shoot for lower than a 10th grade reading level.

20) Headline Analyzer

Here’s a scary stat for you: Only 60% of people who click into an article end up reading past the headline. That makes your headline both the first and possibly the only chance for you to compel readers to keep reading — so it’s totally worth it to spend the extra few minutes coming up with a really good one.

What does a really good headline look like? The free tool Headline Analyzer by CoSchedule can tell you. It scores your headline quality and rates its ability to drive social shares, traffic, and SEO value. In my experience, its strength is helping you strengthen specific components of your title. For example, it reports on perceived sentiment and commonality of word types. It’ll even show you how it will appear in search results.

So although you should take these scores and grades with a grain of salt, you can use this to give your headlines a “once-over.” (And read this blog post to learn more about writing awesome headlines.)

For Designers

21) Nimbus Screenshot

This is another tool I use every day. Sure, you can capture a screenshot of your entire screen or part of your screen using the old keyboard shortcut method. But what if you want your screenshot to include stuff that’s not visible on your screen?

Nimbus Screenshot lets you capture the visible part of a web page, a selected area, a selected scroll (my personal favorite), the entire page, or the entire browser window — including everything below the fold.

Once you’ve taken the screenshot, you can crop, edit (like adding notes and callouts), and choose to print or save to your desktop or Google Drive.

22) Canva

If you like creating beautiful visual content in a really short amount of time, you’ll love Canva. The time and resources it takes to learn design, pay for design assets, and/or get inspired to create beauty from scratch can be really difficult when you’re staring at a long list of to-dos — but Canva offers a huge library of pre-made templates and assets that you can manipulate while also adding your own imagery.

Best of all, they have so many assets and graphics available for free that you won’t have to pay a cent if you don’t want to. If you want to use more “premium” assets and graphics found through their image search, they’ll charge you $1 for each. But there’s plenty of value for free.

Here’s an example of something you could make:

23) ThingLink

Ever wanted to make an image (or infographic) clickable? ThingLink lets you upload an image and add little icons to it that appear when a person hovers their cursor over the image. These icons allow users to visit links, watch videos, or read messages you’ve written. Plus, it’s easy to share: Users can easily embed ThingLink images. (Click here for step-by-step instructions.)

Below is part of a a clickable infographic from Thinglink my colleague Ginny Mineo created for another post:

24) Skitch

Skitch is a free app by Evernote that helps you communicate more visually. It lets you mark up images, digital assets, PDFs, and other files with arrows, callout boxes, text, and more all in one place.

In the example below, I opened the program on my desktop and used the “Screen Snap” button to take a screenshot of a web page — which then opened right in Skitch for editing and exporting.

Although it’s free, it does require you to open an Evernote account — but that’s also free (see above).

25) Infogram

While similar to Canva, Infogram is a visual content tool that focuses on helping you create infographics, charts, and data visualization. If you like to create charts using Microsoft Excel, you’re in luck — it also offers compatibility with Excel through Infogram Charts. Also, their infographics are responsive with mobile devices.

26) Infographic Templates

As a content marketer, you might feel more comfortable creating written content than visual content, but that’s no excuse to exclude infographics from your strategy. Visual content is growing in demand from your audience, and infographics are particularly shareable. We’ve created the backbones of 15 different templates that you can easily play around with to customize for your content and audience — here’s a sneak peek of one template, and you can grab the rest here

Source: 15 Free Infographic Templates in PowerPoint

27) Google Fonts

Want to spruce up your site pages, presentations, ebooks, and other content with cool and different new fonts? Little-known fact: Google has a directory of 600 free fonts ready for you to download and use.

Simply find and select the fonts you like from their directory, then click “Use” to get the HTML code you can copy and paste onto your site. Alternatively, you can download the fonts to your desktop and use them when making new marketing content by clicking “Add to Collection.” (Click here for step-by-step instructions for doing this in the HubSpot software.)

28) Image Color Picker

Remember that time you wanted to match your call-to-action design to that color you were using on all your event swag … but the one person who would know what that color was didn’t work at your company anymore? Next time that happens, snag a picture of that swag and upload it to ImageColorPicker.com, or use any image URL to do the same thing. Select any point of the picture, and immediately see its corresponding HEX, RGB, and HSV values.

29) PowerPoint Templates

Is there anything more boring than a PowerPoint presentation featuring black text on a white background? With the help of these templates, you’ll be able to put together compelling, visually appealing presentations. Whether you’re driving lead generation or reporting on your blog’s growth to your team, keep your audience’s attention with these eye-catching presentations.

30) SlideShare Templates

SlideShare doesn’t need to be daunting. You can easily create shareable, embeddable SlideShare presentations in PowerPoint with the help of these templates — no need to start from scratch or hire a freelancer. Once you’ve created your first presentation, check out our guide to marketing SlideShares successfully.

31) Haiku Deck

If you’ve ever had to create a PowerPoint or SlideShare presentation in a pinch, you’ll wish you knew about Haiku Deck. This tool helps you quickly find simple layouts, beautiful images, and great fonts. It’s available for the web and for iPad.

Want to see what one looks like? Below’s an example I pulled from their list of featured decks. Note the simplicity of the design — if you want to create super detailed slides, this may not be the right tool for you.

Snowed In? – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

32) HubSpot’s Free Stock Photos

Searching for and buying stock imagery can be a pain in the you-know-what — especially when it comes to deciphering legalese for different use cases. I have a liberal arts degree, and Nietzsche was easier to read than whatever legalese stock imagery companies tended to give me. All I wanted to know is whether to cite or not cite a stock image of a laptop. Why was it so hard?

That’s why our team decided to create a library of 550+ free and royalty-free stock photos. Whether it’s a unique image needed for an ebook or that perfect photo you want to add to a blog post, that collection should have you covered. Here’s one of our “around the kitchen” stock photos — yum.

Source: The Free Stock Photos You’ve Been Searching For

33) PlaceIt

PlaceIt serves a very specific purpose: It allows you to upload images of your site or product into real-world environments of people holding phones, tablets, and laptops. PlaceIt will automatically alter the image to make it appear natural with the angle of the phone’s screen — which will save you time learning and/or editing in more advanced software to get the angle right.

You’ll have to pay per image to get really large or high-resolution versions, though I’ve found free images work just fine for blog posts and product page content. The paid downloads also remove that PlaceIt watermark from the bottom right.

34) LICEcap

Looking for the perfect GIF to include in your blog post? If it doesn’t already exist on Giphy, you can make one yourself using LICEcap. Film a screenshot and turn it into a GIF using this handy, free tool — we use LICEcap for our blog posts, too. 

35) & 36) The Noun Project & HubSpot’s Resizable Icons Collection

Like with stock photos, another challenge content creators face is finding elegant icons that resize without getting all fuzzy. There are a few resources out there for great, resizable icons.

The Noun Project is an extensive library of thousands of icons uploaded by contributors. With a free account, you can use icons as long as you either give credit to the creator or purchase them royalty-free for $1.99 apiece.

HubSpot has a library of resizeable icons, too, which you can download for free and without any licensing or attribution. The kit comes with a free guide for how to change the color of the icons using PowerPoint, Photoshop, and Illustrator.

To that, we say …

(From HubSpot’s Free Icon Collection.)

It’s Not the Wand, It’s the Wizard

The tools and resources listed above can help you create, but it’s ultimately up to you to control the quality of your content. You still need to know your customer incredibly well, understand what challenges they face that your product or service solves, and create content that helps them address those challenges.

The brains and heart behind the content creator trump the code behind any tools and technology — and that’s a good thing for succeeding in marketing today.

What other tools or apps do you use to create content more easily? Leave them in the comments so we can extend this list right here!

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in December 2013 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.