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10 Best Content Writing Tools to Improve Your Writing and Focus

Hi, I’m Emilija, a student at Falmouth University and an intern at dslx. 👋

As a Creative Writing student, I’m constantly looking for ways to improve my writing. While that can be accomplished through continuous writing, sometimes employing external help can be the most efficient approach. 

Whether it’s for editing, researching, or avoiding procrastination, there’s a plethora of tools for content writing available just a few clicks away.

Whether you’re a student, an aspiring writer, part of a content team, or a freelance writer, there’s no question that writing tools can improve your work. The tools on this list will help your content presentation and research processes, while shaving down your screen time along the way. 

Let’s look at my top 10 content writing tools to elevate writing. 

The top 10 content writing tools to try in 2024

I’ve divided this list of content writing tools into four key categories:

  • Research tools
  • Editing tools
  • Focus tools
  • Note-taking tools

This division will help you jump to a tool category that could help with your current writing struggle.

Let’s go!

The 2 research tools for sourcing accurate data points

As writers, we know writing is as much of an art as it is a science. To ensure our writing captivates and resonates with readers, it's essential not only to write accurately but also to thoroughly research and incorporate expert knowledge into our words.

Here are two great tools I’ve leaned on to improve my research processes. 

1. Perplexity.ai: get answers to all your questions

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Perplexity is an insanely detailed research tool for your content writing needs. It’s available on desktop and as a mobile app on both Android and iOS.

Perplexity takes websites such as ChatGPT to an all-new level, as you can ask questions and get in-depth answers with links to articles backing them up (and these ones are actual articles, not the made-up stuff that ChatGPT is known to spit out). 

If that doesn’t get you excited enough, then maybe this will: you can save all your question threads into neat, little libraries that you can access on the left-hand side menu of the website app. 

The free version is already more than perfect, in my humble opinion. However, if you’re looking for more, for about $20 a month, or $200 a year if charged annually, you can access longer, more complex answers, search based on attachments, upgraded AI models, and API credits.

Want to learn how to use AI to your advantage? Then check our content guru’s guide to utilizing ChatGPT and AI for creating articles.

2. Google Scholar: academic research made easy

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Google Scholar is a tried and true research application that you can use everywhere. With Google Scholar, you can type in pretty much any topic, and get extensive research ranging from student essays to professional research papers. 

Most of what you find is free to read, and it always specifies whether the result is a webpage, or a PDF, leading to easy navigation. It also allows you to cite all your research with a click.

Google Scholar is completely free. As a writing student myself, I can safely say that my default research companion has always been Google Scholar. 

The 3 editing tools for when you need to self edit work

Let’s start with those tools that will help one of the most important tasks writers do: editing. It’s the editing process that makes good writing great. The following tools will help you identify better-suited words, missing commas, and even check the readability of what you’re writing. I say this from experience.

1. Readable: score and analyze your texts’ readability in seconds

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As it says on the tin, Readable is a browser app that rates the readability of your text, and it can be used for pretty much anything. It can analyze your content file, multiple articles on your website at the same time, emails, and even messaging in your software. 

It’s pretty well-rounded, but only if you’re using it casually.

By using Readable, you’ll be able to get: 

  • readability scores
  • writing style analysis
  • spelling and grammar checks
  • tone and sentiment checks

Readable offers different plans for authors, small businesses, and content teams managing multiple websites with differing features, so you can pick and choose what suits you or your business best. Psst. You can save 50% with an annual plan. 

All plans include features such as scoring text, URLs, emails, generating reports, algorithms, and quality control.

If you’re looking to become a better writer then check out the dslx academy. It’s an online learning portal where you’ll find courses for writers and freelancers, get free one-to-one calls with the dslx team, and even writer-specific yoga classes! 

2. Grammarly: catch grammar mistakes and write concisely 

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Whether you’ve heard of Grammarly or not, it’s perhaps the biggest staple when it comes to writing and editing your content. 

Since its creation, Grammarly has developed and improved into a content writing tool that anyone can use for pretty much anything—in fact, I’m using it even as I write this! 

It helps detect: 

  • grammar mistakes
  • missing punctuation
  • commonly confused words, 

and offers features like:

  • adjusting the tone of your writing
  • catching plagiarism
  • even rewriting full sentences 

Sounds great? Well, it’s available as a browser website, a widget that works on almost any application and can be used on your phone too. Damn, that ducking keyboard! 

While Grammarly can be used for free, it also offers a premium plan with more features that cost $12 per month. 

If you’re more business-oriented, for £15 a month per member you can get all the nifty premium features with added ones that include brand tone guidelines and team analytics.

3. Hemingway app: a visual way to improve your writing’s readability

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Hemingway Editor is another useful editing software that works as an easy-to-use web browser. You can either write as you go or paste your text into the app and it will provide useful suggestions on how to edit your text to make it more readable through different color highlights. 

If your sentence is highlighted in red, that means it’s too dense. If a word is highlighted in blue, it means it could perhaps be a weakening adverb, [[or that you could replace with a forceful verb. If it is highlighted in green, it means it is in passive voice. If it’s highlighted in orange, it means the sentence is hard to read. Lastly, if it is highlighted in purple it means there’s a simpler alternative to use. 

It’s great for people who need something more eye-catching to edit their work. It also provides you with a readability grade. Below you can see an image from Readable that mentions at what readability level content marketers should be writing. 

While Hemingway is extremely useful with its free plan already, it also has multiple paid plans that provide you with the opportunity to use AI writing features, fix wordy writing instantly, export files, and more.

As a content or copywriter you know that perfect grammar is not the only thing you need to have your words devoured. You also need persuasion. Here’s Olivia Millard’s guide to implementing the science of persuasion in copywriting.

The 2 focus tools for finding your flow state

Writers know a thing or two about focus—or well, how easy it is to lose it! Thankfully, app developers and productivity geniuses have come to our rescue and have invented some nifty tools to keep us in our flow state.

1. ZenWriter: find your zen while you write

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ZenWriter is a focus application. If you’re a content writer struggling to focus on your usual applications, this is a great app to try. 

Available online, it provides the user with a full-screen mode, light and dark themes, choices of background music from their curated library, or the writer’s own, and a wide array of different backgrounds and fonts. And, my favorite feature, is the ability to pick and choose what kind of noise your typing will make (I love the old typewriter sound the most!).

ZenWriter gives out a 14-day free trial for anyone wanting to test out its features, and from then on it comes at a pretty reasonable price of $3 a month. Quite a bargain if you ask me, especially if you desperately need to focus and are aiming to write frequently.

2. Pomodoro: a better-known productivity hack

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Implementing the Pomodoro method is very easy:

  • You work for 25-minute intervals
  • You get a 5-minute break

Do this for as long as you need!

After about 5 sessions of work + breaks you get a 15-minute break—you deserve it!

This method of working helps people better understand their most optimal studying times and what kind of productivity cycles work best for them. 

While the classic Pomodoro technique can be implemented with a timer and self-discipline,  people also tend to use the widely popular Pomodoro website. The website has calming music available to play, a calming city escape background, and an adjustable timer to better tailor your experience.

This website is completely free, so if you’re not keen on spending money and would like to try a method for focusing, I highly suggest it. Implementing it in my day-to-day has helped me immensely! 

The 3 note-taking tools to boost your speed, organization, and diligence

Notes, notes, notes. We love to take them, but don’t always seem to organize them well. Whether you are a pen-and-paper kind of writer or an avid app user, these three tools will help you better take notes, and ensure you can organize them in a way that makes sense. 

1. Evernote: store your notes in as many notebooks as you need

 

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Available on both mobile and desktop, Evernote is a great note-taking and task-management application. It offers a variety of features such as a notes tab, task lists, a calendar widget, as well as a scratch pad. You can also embed images, videos, and links to make your notes pop and become more useful.

There is a free plan, as well as multiple paid plans. The free plan allows you to create up to 50 different notes, as well as one notebook, and gives you 60mb a month. There are three paid plans, ranging in price from $8 to $19 a month depending on what you’re going for. But, even at the cheapest premium plan, it already offers up to 10,0000 notes, which is, in my opinion, totally worth it.

2. Albus: improve your research with notes & mind maps

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Albus is an extremely colorful note-taking application that works more like a mind map rather than traditional-looking notes. It provides users with an infinite canvas where they can then generate sticky notes for anything they want, perfect for brainstorming. 

Albus also allows users to ask an AI for anything, and from every sticky note, the user will be able to click the plus sign to generate more prompts relating to the topic. Pretty handy!

The application is pretty unique, however, it’ll set you back $11 per month. Albus also offers a seven-day free trial.

3. Notion: customizing your notes has never been easier

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I swear by Notion. It’s probably my favorite application from this list, and I can safely say it’s absolute quality. 

If you like your notes clean and easy to nav, Notion enables aesthetic organization at its best. You can add lists, media, a calendar widget, and plenty more. I guarantee you, every minute you spend on Notion, you’ll discover something new that can spruce up your notes. And, it’s commonly used in businesses too, so you’ll be ready to dive into any client project that’s storing all info on Notion. 

The best part? Hundreds of features that you find in Notion are completely free! There are premium plans, but unless you’re trying to make a Notion page as a team, business, or enterprise, you don’t have to spend a single penny. 

Time to improve your writing with these content writing tools!

Writing is more than just putting words on a page. It’s countless hours of research, proofreading, procrastinating, and maybe a bit of frustration too. But, you don’t have to do it by yourself! There are so many resources to help with improvement, it would be a crying shame not to use them.

If anything, take these as motivation for writing, too. It really is up to you to create something of quality, but these tools can definitely keep you on track along the way. 

For more resources and courses to improve your writing directly, check out the dslx academy. It’s a freelance writers’ online and continuous training resource. There are new courses uploaded each month and it’s really adorable. 

That’s all from me! Happy researching, happy writing, and a happy day to you!

guest writer
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Emilija Baniulyte
Emilija is in her final year of Creative Writing studies at Falmouth University. Thanks to her experience in commissioned writing and a background in customer service, she's landed an internship at dslx. She also loves volunteering at local libraries and events like the North Cornwall Book Festival, where she generously offers her time and social media management skills. Outside of her studies, she enjoys writing, learning more about storytelling, and spending time with her loved ones.

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