Whether you’ve been a long-time freelance writer or just starting out, you’re probably familiar with the constant battle to be more productive. Especially as a freelancer, you only get paid if you complete the project, so the faster you can get the job done, the more you earn.
On top of that, you also need to stay precise and creative to ensure customers are happy and come back to you for future work. This constant balance can lead to burnout over time. Fortunately, there are several tools that can help you avoid this.
Tools for story ideas
While there are plenty of tools out there to help with freelancer productivity, in this article, we’ll focus on those solely related to writing. But before you can even start writing a new newsletter, blog post, or feature piece, you need to come up with some ideas.
Sometimes this is the part of the job that takes the most time. This is especially true if you need to write about something you’ve never written about before. It’s also hard to come up with new ideas if you’ve been writing about the same area for years.
The best way to create content that will benefit your customer is to find out what people are looking for. One of the quickest ways to do this is to type a general topic into Google (like “innovations in technology”) and see what happens.
AnswerThePublic, however, takes this research a few steps forward. Once you enter your main keywords, it provides you with the most searched questions and phrases in that area. These can not only give you great article ideas, but can also form the title of the article.
The website is free to use. However, you only get two free searches per day, so try to use them wisely and choose the most relevant word for your search.
If you can’t find an idea with the previous tool, SEMRush might be a good place to look next. This website is widely used by SEO experts, which is why it contains a variety of tools – from competitor research to PPC and social media marketing. But you don’t have to be an expert to benefit from it as a copywriter.
With a free account, you can search the top bar for a keyword related to a broad topic. This will generate Related Keywordswhich can help you focus on the right idea.
Even better than that is the Content Marketing menu. There, with Topic searchyou can find out what other websites are writing on the subject to spark your creativity.
Once you’ve found the right idea, it’s time to get down to business and write the content. This is the step that some authors find the most painful, but there are tools to navigate these waters as well.
When you don’t know how to open an article, an expert quote may be the easiest solution. These can also help you structure your article with ideas for topics to explore in the form of sub-headings. But finding an expert can take time if you don’t have a list of people handy.
Qwated is a website that connects journalists with trusted experts; there are plenty of people who would be happy to contribute a blog post in exchange for a link to their website.
It’s free to use and incredibly easy. You just navigate to experts and enter the person you are looking for, before asking what you want to ask them. You’ll get the replies delivered to your inbox, and usually people respond pretty quickly.
Let’s face it, as creative as writers are, they usually don’t invent the wheel. Most chances are that someone else has already written on the subject. This can work to your advantage because you can take ideas from other articles and expand on the topic.
However, if you’re having trouble rephrasing something you’ve read elsewhere, there’s a tool for that too. When you paste text into Quillbot, it will offer you a different way to say it, which will ensure you don’t plagiarize other writers and save time in the process.
It comes as a direct continuation of the previous tool. Even if you use Quillbot to make sure you don’t copy and paste information from other websites, some phrases may remain the same. And even if you wrote the content in your own words, you may have phrases stuck in your head that you don’t realize you’ve duplicated.
With Check-plaigaism, you can be completely sure that your text is original. We all know Google doesn’t like duplicates, not to mention the legal issues you can run into if your client runs this check and finds that the content isn’t 100% original.
Once you have finished your article or any type of text, it is time to check its quality. You’re probably already using Grammarly or other useful Chrome extensions for writers to make sure you don’t submit anything with typos or grammar errors.
Readable adds another layer to these spell checkers. It also examines the length or complexity of your sentences and the accessibility of your text. If you want more people to read it, sometimes it’s best to keep the language relatively simple.
This tool grades your text and helps you understand where you can reduce, what needs to be clarified, and what just doesn’t work.
Don’t Forget to Relax as a Writer
Even if you want to finish the job quickly and move on to the next project, sometimes you just need to take your time. While these tools can help you become more efficient, they don’t replace what you bring to the table as a writer.
So if you feel like you can’t come up with ideas, or you have writer’s block, maybe try leaving this project alone and coming back to it another day. Use these tools to help you progress, but remember to take a break from time to time and recharge your batteries.