Not a great writer? Not a problem. These cool free tools will help you become a better writer. They’ll help improve the quality of your writing and make it more accessible.
Grammarly. Upload an article and this impressive app picks up potentially embarrassing editorial mistakes. Grammarly highlights grammar, punctuation, spelling and subject-verb agreement issues. It gives you a score—mine was in the high 90s. Good. It also told me that my article could be read by those with at least a ninth-grade education. Not so good. In an earlier blog I mentioned that we should be targeting readers at a fifth-grade level.
Hemingway. This cool, free tool is named after novelist Ernest Hemingway who was all about crisp, efficient writing, the Hemingway app is an excellent tool for sharpening your writing. Paste your work into the editor, and it will automatically highlight sections of your writing; each color suggests a different type of improvement you could make.
- Yellow–Shorten or split sentences.
- Red–Sentences are too dense and complicated.
- Purple–Overly complex words. Hover over them and Hemingway will suggest simpler alternatives.
- Blue–Use of adverbs, which come across as weak.
- Green–-Use of passive voice, which is less engaging. You should be acting rather than being acted upon.
Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer
Once you get past the name, and you’ll find that this tool is something you’ll want to be using on a regular basis. It’s based on the premise that we want to be reaching our audiences on an emotional level.
If no one reads your headline, nothing else matters. Here’s how this works: EMV (Emotional Marketing Value) words have “sounds tones” which produce stronger “emotional” reactions and are thus better at reaching the reader on an emotional level. The Analyzer givesyour headline a score based on the total number of EMV words relative to the total number of words it contains. The higher the percentage of EMV words, the better your headline is likely to perform.
Buzzsumo: Cool, free and a a rich source of blog topics
One of our biggest challenges is coming up with blog topics. I love Buzzsumo. Scroll through this site and you can view a year’s worth of topics in your interest area that were most popular on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Pinterest. You want to be targeting those topics for where there’s a significant amount of interest. Another good place to look for ideas? SlideShare. Spend some time perusing these topics and you’ll emerge with lots of good ideas.
Don’t count on this cool free tool: Microsoft’s spellcheck
If you’re relying on Microsoft’s spellcheck, keep in mind that while it’s a really good start, it doesn’t begin to address things like subject-verb agreement or the gazillion words that no longer need to be hyphenated. Language evolves at a faster rate than what Microsoft can deliver.
None of these tools is going to write your blog for you
It’s hard to beat cool and free. But you still need to sit down and write. Make it a commitment and own it. And use these apps to help you become more attuned to good writing.