13 Tools Our Web Content Team Can’t Live Without
No tool or machine is a substitute for a skilled, experienced writer. But equipping yourself and your team with the right tools can help you become a better writer and increase efficiency.
Countless tools are available to help you on your content writing journey — from content classics like Grammarly to mindfulness practices like daily stretches. Here are 13 tools our content team leverages to get our jobs done better, easier, and quicker, and output our best possible content
1. Semrush’s Keyword Magic Tool
Every great piece of SEO content starts with keyphrase research. At GPO, we love Semrush’s Keyword Magic Tool. Intuitive and easy to use, this tool helps us find relevant keyphrases with the right difficulty and search volume for client blogs and other content. Different settings and filters allow us to capture keyphrases as broad or specific as needed.
Tip: Pair the Keyword Magic Tool with other Semrush tools like Domain Overview and Organic Research to get a fuller picture of the competitive landscape, likelihood to rank, and growth trends.
2. Google Analytics, Search Console, and Looker Studio
Writing might be all about words, but those words need to be backed by data. We leverage our analytics and reporting tools when creating content calendars and developing topic ideas. They let us track performance, see what type of content draws more searchers, and what pieces might need a refresh.
Tip: Create dashboards in Looker Studio (pulling from Analytics and Search Console) that give you a quick overview of monthly blog or website performance. We get tons of use from the dashboards our amazing analytics team has created.
If you see one of us scrolling through Reddit during the workday, we’re not looking for the latest memes or popcorn-worthy AITA drama — we’re doing research! Reddit can actually be a great tool for content ideation. Finding subreddits relevant to your industry can give priceless insight into the common questions and problems potential customers face.
Organization is key when juggling multiple content projects with different timelines and writers. We use Trello to help us manage and track each piece of content. Our board contains swim lanes for when content is assigned, in progress, in review, ready for the client, delivered, approved, scheduled, and published. We ensure cards are moved accordingly as an assignment reaches each stage in the process. Our Trello board helps ensure nothing falls through the cracks and we can always track down a piece.
While some writers see AI as a threat, we’ve embraced it as a tool we must learn to wield. We don’t use it to create complete, ready-to-publish pieces, though. We use ChatGPT and other AI tools to help with research (always fact-checking outputs), inspire us when we get stuck, and find that specific word or turn of phrase slipping our minds.
“Sometimes a funny, punny punchline for a social media post or meta description is at the tip of your tongue, but you just need a little inspiration. ChatGPT is great for sparking a little extra creativity.”
Charlee Freeman, GPO Web Content Writer and Account Manager
Tip: As you adopt AI into your content workflows, set guidelines and quality standards so your entire team is on the same page about what AI usage is and is not acceptable.
Maybe you just typed a word, but it doesn’t have quite the right connotation to convey your message. Or, maybe you used the same word a few too many times in the same post. When you know an alternate word but it escapes your grasp, a thesaurus can be your best friend. We’re big fans of thesaurus.com and Power Thesaurus.
We all wish we could create perfect content the first time around, but even the most experienced writers make mistakes. Whether checking our own work or each other’s, our team uses Grammarly to help us catch pesky grammatical and stylistic errors.
Tip: Don’t blindly accept Grammarly suggestions. Use your best judgment to decide if the suggestion is accurate or necessary — machines make mistakes, too! Our team only addressed 45.33k out of 90.7k suggestions in the past 30 days.
8. Semrush’s SEO Writing Assistant
Another Semrush tool we love is the SEO Writing Assistant. This tool can be conveniently added as a Google Docs extension, making it a breeze to check the SEOworthiness of your content. Paste in your targeted keyphrases, and it will give you a score out of 10. The score is based on keyphrase density, how well you follow SEO best practices, the piece’s readability compared to other relevant posts online, and tone consistency.
Most internal communication can be a quick message — no need to get email involved. Slack lets us easily stay in contact with each other and the rest of the company. We can send a quick DM to ask questions, shout each other out in our public content channel, and Slack ourselves with ideas or thoughts we don’t want to lose.
“I’ve used GoogleChat, I’ve used Microsoft Teams, but nothing compares 2 u, Slack. Easy to use, file and calendar integration, gif integration, customizable themes, ability to schedule messages, it’s truly a great app.”
Kelsey Conner, GPO Web Content Writer
10. Google Sheets Cheat Sheet
If you’re not a spreadsheet whiz, Google Sheets can feel like treacherous, uncharted territory. Unless you work with huge data sets, you don’t necessarily need to become a Google Sheets expert. Learning some tips and tricks can be helpful, though.
Our content team uses Google Sheets for content calendars, assignment tracking, compiling keyphrase research, and more. Kelsey Conner, one of GPO’s writers, recommends the Google Sheets cheat sheet. She has it bookmarked for common formulas, formatting tips, and shortcuts.
11. Tomato Timers
We all have our preferred time management strategies, but GPO’s Content Operations Manager, Holiday Newton, favors the Pomodoro method when she really needs some heads-down time. The Pomodoro method involves a 25-minute focused work session followed by a 5-minute break. After four cycles, you take a longer break. Tomato Timers is a cute and fun way to help time your work and break sessions to stay focused.
12. Focus Music/Sound
Some writers need background noise, while others demand complete silence. Our team often needs noise to keep us focused and in the zone. Some of our favorite focus sounds are below.
Lo-Fi Hip Hop Radio
The Lofi Girl has become somewhat of a pop culture icon — for a good reason. Charlee Freeman uses the Lo-Fi Hip Hop Radio to help her calm down, relax, and GSD on a busy workday. This 24/7 live stream of an animated girl studying features chill, calming beats perfect for helping you reach that mindset to happily get work done.
Pearl Django – Under Paris Skies
Charlee also recommends the YouTube playlist Under Paris Skies by Pearl Django to help get her into a focused mindset. She says, “Want to imagine you’re sitting at a bistro eating escargots or in a high-rise flat overlooking the wonderful architecture of Paris? This music helps take me there. It was always my dream to be a freelance writer in Paris doing exactly this.”
Some writers need more of a white noise vibe instead of music to help them focus. Holiday Newton turns to Ambient Chaos, where you can adjust different settings to create a custom ambient sound. Holiday loves mixing the rain, coffee shop, and campfire noises when she needs to activate that focus mindset.
Remember, what works for us might not work best for you. If you don’t know where to start, try familiar music — or songs you know and enjoy. A Harvard neuroscientist found that familiar music was the most effective for helping him relieve stress and focus.
13. YouTube Stretch Videos
Sitting at our desks all day hunched over the keyboard wreaks havoc on our bodies. Kelsey Conner incorporates a daily stretch break to help keep her body and mind happy. She follows a mid-work stretch video she found on YouTube almost every day when returning from lunch. Even a quick stretch can do wonders for refocusing your mind.
GPO Writers Are Equipped with the Right Tools
Whether you need local landing pages, unique product descriptions, or engaging blogs, our content team has the skills, experience, and tools necessary to deliver killer content. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help your organic search strategy.