Some Affordable Content Management Tools for Struggling SMBs

Life was going along fine. You were creating beautiful content on schedule. It was so easy with all the contributors under one roof to meet your timeline and produce outstanding work. And then, COVID-19 came along, and everything changed. Suddenly, expensive content tools became a liability instead of a luxury.

Some tools can help you stay on task and create unique content, but with the pandemic, money is tight. Here's a look at some affordable content management tools to keep your business on budget.

Project Management

To create content efficiently, you need to create a schedule and make sure the project moves promptly to each stage. Project management software can help you do that, especially when you have a team working from home. 

Trello

Trello is a project management software that can be used on your computer or mobile device, offering you a lot of flexibility. Each piece of content appears on its own separate card on the board. Cards are arranged in lists that sit beside each other. You can drag and drop cards into different lists depending on the stage of the content process.

Once you open the board, you can see what parts of the project are currently being worked on and by whom. You can also see how far along in the process each piece is by checking which list the piece is under. Also, your entire team can access the information, and it's free. 

For instance, one board could have a list for outlines, first drafts, edits, and final previews. Cards with summaries of the content can be dragged from one list to the next as each step occurs in real-time.

Alternatively, a board could have lists for the brainstorming, research, and other steps that occur before the writing process even begins.

Basecamp 3

Basecamp 3 is a project management software that allows as many users as you need at a flat rate per month with a 30-day free trial. There is a free personal use version.  You can see your to-do list, access documents, message team members, and execute automatic check-ins with your staff. You can assign different staff members to different projects.

Asana

Asana is a project management software and app that your team can access from their computer, phone, or tablet from anywhere. With Asana, you get to see the project and its components in the format that you prefer. You can choose a list format and check things off or as a calendar with pieces of the projects appearing according to their start and finish dates. You can use the “assign” function to change your team's priorities with just a few clicks.

Design Tools

If your content includes artwork, you need a design tool to make it shine. While photoshop is useful, it is less efficient and can cost hundreds of dollars per year. There are other great choices that come at more reasonable prices.

Canva

Canva is a design tool that you and your team can access through the web or a mobile app, depending on your needs. This tool allows your team to collaborate on social media graphics, presentations, posters, and other visual content. The app offers a variety of fonts, illustrations, templates, and images for you to create the content you want, and each team member can make changes as needed or leave comments on the current design. 

Adobe Creative Cloud

Adobe Creative Cloud offers your team a suite of software design apps. There are apps for photography, video editing, drawing, and website design. You can download it onto your computer or laptop and use it without internet access. There are tutorials to get you and your team up and running if you struggle with one of the applications. You get access to 20 or more apps, the Creative Cloud Libraries, and cloud storage for easy access by your remote workers.

Piktochart

As a web-based infographic application, your team member can access this design tool from almost anywhere and on almost any device. Your team uses the available templates as a starting point to create beautiful content. This software is designed to be easy to use, even for people without a lot of design experience. You can create a presentation, social media graphics, reports, flyers, posters, and more. 

Content Optimization

Nothing ruins the appearance of professionalism, like spelling and grammar errors. This makes content optimization essential. 

Grammarly

Have you ever wanted an editor to double-check your spelling and grammar? Grammarly is the right choice. You can copy and paste your text into the Grammarly program, upload documents, or write text inside the program, and it finds all of your spelling and grammar errors. If you choose the free version, you only see the misspelled words, but it'll tell you how many and the types of grammatical errors are in the text. The full version will show you these errors. It will also grade your overall tone.  

Hemingway Editor

With Hemingway Editor, your team gets a word processor and proofreading tool. You can use this software online or download it onto your computer or laptop. It color-codes the errors so you can easily correct your mistake, and it also makes suggestions on how to improve your writing from noting passive sentences and correcting hard to read sentences. 

After the Deadline

After the Deadline is a cloud-based application that checks your spelling and grammar, and there isn't a cost for using the app. The program can also help identify instances where you used the wrong word by checking each sentence and paragraph for meaning. 

While COVID-19 has brought many challenges to small and medium-sized businesses, you and your team can continue to produce stellar content in a timely manner with these affordable tools.

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