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Here at Professional Content Creation, I only recommend the products and tools that I either created or personally use. This page includes the essentials I regularly use in my writing and online course business. I hope you’ll find them useful.
A blog is at the core of any business. While social media has a place, you need a home base that you own. Blogs are a great way to drive traffic to your site, promote your products and services, and more.
Thrive Themes is hands down one of the most important tools for my business. I use it for everything from my blog theme, landing pages (such as this one!), building my email list, and so much more. If you don’t want to shell out the funds for the entire membership, I recommend starting with Thrive Architect and building from there.
In addition to having a self-hosted blog, building an email list is the second most important thing to do. In fact, many writers regret not starting to build an email list sooner. Email provides a way for you to communicate directly with your followers. I use it to promote my blog posts and products. It also helps me build a closer relationship with my readers.
MailerLite is hands down my favorite email service provider. One of the things I love most about it is that you can get started for free. I used to use GetResponse – and I still recommend it. However, I made the change to MailerLite, and have never looked back! Read this post to learn why I switched from GetResponse to MailerLite.
Self-Publishing & Self-Editing
I’ll admit it. I’m a DIY kind of gal. I actually enjoy the process of writing, editing, formatting, and publishing my own work. Whether or not that describes you, some level of DIY gives you freedom and saves you money. Below are my favorite tools for editing and self-publishing.
Grammarly is the first grammar-checking tool I used. As such, it’s my go-to grammar checker. It’s easy to use, and helps me catch mistakes I’d otherwise miss. For an honest Grammarly review, check out this post, Should You Hire an Editor or Just Subscribe to Grammarly?
Natural Reader reads text out loud. It helps me catch mistakes that even Grammarly and ProWritingAid miss. You know, things like “if” when I meant to write, “is.” My eye may not catch it, but my ears do. There is both a free and paid version. They both work in similar ways, but the free version has more “interruptions” in the form of prompts to upgrade. I recommend starting with the free version, and optionally upgrading if the limitations of the free version don’t work for you.
These Book Design Templates are what make it easy to format both my print and Kindle books. In fact, I write my books right in the templates and with just a bit of tweaking, I have a beautifully formatted book almost as soon as I finish the last edit. These templates were handcrafted by an award-winning book designer and are available in both Microsoft Word and Adobe InDesign.
Video and Course Creation
When it comes to content creation, video is my weakest link. I have no fancy set up. No special lights, no special camera, and I don’t like appearing on video. In spite of that, video-based courses are one of my primary income streams. I use the tools listed below to keep things simple, and low cost.
I started my online teaching career on Skillshare – because it was easy. I felt intimidated by the thought of setting up courses on my own. Thrive Apprentice changed all that. It’s included in the Thrive Themes membership, and since I have that, I started experimenting, and found it easy to use. If you have the membership, you get it automatically, but you can also purchase it separately here.
I decided to use SendOwl to protect my member’s only content because it’s what Thrive Apprentice recommends. Not only to they recommend it, they also provide a ton of tutorials which makes setting it up a breeze. Even better, if you are selling digital downloads (outside of a course-type set up), you don’t need any tools in addition to SendOwl. Go here to give SendOwl a try.
PresenterMedia is the best, most affordable place I know to get PowerPoint and Keynote templates. I use the templates to create videos, images, and even PDF lead magnets. This very affordable membership also includes icons and animations to add spice to your images and videos.
Believe it or not, PowerPoint is one of the most-often used tools in my business. I use it for creating videos and most of my images for my blog and social media. The more I learn to use it, the more I love it. I recommend subscribing to Office365 and getting the whole suite of Office programs. It’s the most economical and convenient option, especially since you can have multiple users on one account.
Movie Maker for Windows 10 is a basic video creation and editing tool and yet it has a surprising number of features, at a very reasonable price. The pro version is around $10, and includes a lot of features such as screen capture and time lapse that are often only included in more expensive programs. It’s the easiest video creation option that I’ve tried and while it has limitations, it’s a great place to start.
Screen Capture Video is THE place to learn how to use products like Camtasia, how to use PowerPoint to make videos, and so much more. Every time I get stuck, I log in to access the training I’ve purchased and immediately find information on what to do. They also offer video coaching at a very reasonable price.
TubeBuddy is a YouTuber’s best friend! When I researched starting a YouTube channel, time and time again people mentioned TubeBuddy. I decided to look into it, and I’m sure glad I did. It makes the whole process of having a YouTube channel easier, more efficient, and more profitable.