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Being a marketer today means having to do a lot of writing – and not just of the email variety. Today’s marketer has to be comfortable writing (and editing) web copy, social media messages, ads and reports.
Here are 3 tools you can start using to help you be a more productive, confident writer.
Grammarly is a program that checks any writing that you do on the web. To start, simply install the extension in Chrome. The tool will then check your writing for common grammatical errors as you type, up to 10 times more than what Microsoft Office typically finds.
Most modern browsers already have spell check built in; what makes Grammarly so helpful is that it will catch more than just misspelled words. It will help you find the perfect word with context-optimized synonym suggestions.
Grammarly is a great resource for me as I write a lot of social media messages on behalf of brands. While typos are to be expected (we are human after all), as a marketer you want to be sure that your messaging is concise and error-free.
You can use Grammarly without signing up for an account. However, a free account will let the tool get used to your writing style and help make recommendations so you can avoid making the same mistakes. You can also sign up for a paid account which start at about $30 a month.
Hemingway is another writing-checking tool that I frequently use. Similar to Grammarly, it will also check for common writing and grammatical errors.
What I like the most about Hemingway is that it will tell you what reading level your writing is. Every marketer knows that if you’re not writing for your audience, you may as well stop writing. Often, I’ll write something and think that it’s ready to be published only to put it through Hemingway and discover that it needs additional edits to improve its readability.
When you write (or paste your text) in Hemingway it will highlight wordy sentences in yellow and more egregious ones in red. For me, I use Grammarly for my as-I-type writing and Hemingway for my post-writing edits. The Hemingway tool is available for free online or you can purchase the app for your desktop (Mac and Windows) for $9.99.
Unfortunately for Windows users, Desk is only available for Mac. I say unfortunately because it’s such an amazing tool for boosting your productivity as a writer. It’s essentially a blank screen with very little to distract you so you can focus on writing. As a marketer, I run into a countless distractions over the course of the day, the blank slate provided by Desk goes a long way in helping me create great content.
Desk is chock-full of features; it lets you write using Markdown (a markup language often used in email newsletter programs) and it lets you send your writing directly to services like WordPress, Tumblr, Blogger and Facebook.
Today’s marketer has to be comfortable writing web copy, social media messages, ads and reports.
For me, the most useful feature is being able to change the transparency of Desk and overlay it on top of an article. This proves exceptionally helpful when you’re crafting social messages or referencing another article.
Without Desk, I have to rely on two monitors, one for the original content and one for my writing program. Desk allows me to save some time (and slight neck strain) by keeping everything I need on one screen.
The program is available for $19.99.
(Bonus Tool) Coffitivity
If you often find it hard to start writing because there is too much noise around, you may want to consider giving Coffitivity a try.
It’s a white noise app but the noise that it generates mimics what you would hear at a coffee shop. While I personally have never done a lot of writing in coffee shops, I find the sounds from Coffitivity help me tune out the noise around me so that I can better focus on writing.
Unlike other white noise apps that offer sounds of waves crashing or water dripping into a sink, Coffitivity provides the sounds of indistinct chatter and the clattering of coffee cups on plates. Coffitivity is the only white noise app I’ve found that’s not made me want to fall asleep.
It’s available for free as an app for iOS and Android, as well as via a browser. You can also pay for the option of additional sounds.
What are some of your favourite writing tools?? We want to know! Tell us in the comments section below.