Updated: Nov 25
This post contains *affiliate links, which means I receive commissions for purchases made through these links at no additional cost to you. I only provide links to products that I use and wholeheartedly recommend.
Where the hell do you even start with content creation? I can't exactly answer that for you. What I can tell you is that to get started as a creator you don't need fancy tools.
Most people will start creating content as a hobby, a fun side gig with the hope for more in the future. At those beginning stages it doesn't make sense to spend a ton of money on apps, tools, and supplies. And thankfully you don't have to.
With just a phone and a few tools, many of them FREE, you can start creating content and sharing your story with the world. I started with just an iPhone and now years later I continue to run a full-time business as an influencer filming primarily with my phone, plus a few tools I acquired along the way.
Below find free resources to get you started, broken down into two categories: tools an information.
There is no magic app or foolproof strategy that will make you into a top content creator. Instead, focus on your unique offering, use tools that work, learn as much as you can along the way, and keep experimenting!
Free Content Creator Information Sources
The Food Blogger Pro podcast. Specifically for food bloggers, this is a great resource to learn from others' successes and failures in food blogging, ads, industry trends, and more.
Later. Later is a content scheduling tool for social media that also sends out regular email newsletters full of valuable tips for those looking to boost their social media presence. They also have many free training tools covering everything from leveraging new Instagram features to learning to use TikTok.
Lissette Calveiro. Lissette shares excellent tips and insights and has a wealth of experience working on the brand side and as an influencer. For creators looking to figure out pricing for partnerships, Lissette's pricing calculator is a gem!
Jera. Jera has all the social media tips and tricks you could want or need, especially if you struggle with the comparison game or want to build up your authentic brand voice online.
The Instagram Stories. This short podcast (micro cast) covers news and updates on Instagram exclusively. It's a great way to stay up-to-date if you are using Instagram heavily.
Publish Press. Colin and Samir are top-tier YouTube Creators. Publish Press is their creation, a bi-weekly newsletter with great stories from other creators and actionable tips on ideas that work.
Travel Creator Memo. Specifically for travel creators, every one of these email newsletters contains actionable tips and advice for those who want to make their travel content and business shine. I'd also recommend this newsletter for newer creators in general as the tips and tricks covered within, from pitching to what camera you may need, are invaluable!
Free Content Creator Tools
It's getting harder and harder to find free content creator tools. As content creation has become a money-making career, most app companies know that they don't need to give stuff away for free.
However, here are some quality apps with free versions to get you started.
Canva. I do recommend using the paid version, Canva Pro. However, Canva offers some free resources to get you started in critical areas. You can create free infographics, for example, or make a media kit. The free perks are not bad at all, see below. #affiliate
Stock Photo Sites. If you blog or create web content regularly, you will quickly find out that stock photos are NOT cheap. However, some decent free stock photo websites are available. Some sites to start with are Pixabay, Pexels, and nappy for beautiful Black stock photos.
Google Search Bar Auto-Complete. No one is better at guessing what you are about to type than Google is. They know everything about us. Use it for free! One of the most important things you need to keep in mind when sharing content is the search intent of the reader. If you have an idea for a blog post or web page post, start typing it in Google. Let the auto-complete give you ideas about what people are searching for and incorporate that into the keywords in your posts.
Final Free Resource: Your Endless Creativity
Cheesy, right? But it's true! The success of Feed the Malik and my subscription community, Magic at the Margins, comes mainly from life experience, personal creativity, and generous time donated by friends and colleagues to let me bounce ideas off of them.
We can all be guilty of trying to read too many "how-tos" and "best tools for x" lists. These lists and tips are great, but at some point, you have to just start creating. Leaning into the process of creation, assessment, and experimentation is really how you become a content creator. And without that process, you definitely won't grow your skills as a creator.
If you have an idea, go for it. Don't be afraid to do something just because you don't have an exact road map for it yet
For example, in the beginning, I used Patreon to host my subscription service because it was the most popular service and easy to set up. After about a year, I left Patreon and switched to self-hosting my subscription service. The change was scary but ended up being a win for me and a win for my subscribers. But, if I had been afraid to make a move because of "the way you are supposed to do things" or a lack of certainty about the outcome, I would have never tried it.
Not FREE, But If You Got It You Should Pay For...
Yes, I promised to provide free resources here. You can and should get as much value as you can from as many free resources as possible on your creator journey. However, there are a few resources you might want to pay for if you can swing it. Below are just a couple of creator resources that I personally consider invaluable.
Grants for Creators Substack. This substack subscription shares grants and paid opportunities for U.S. bloggers, podcasters, and YouTubers.
The GIG. Gabby is a full-time travel creator who drops gems in her Patreon group for creators. She shares everything from paid and unpaid creator opportunities (press trips, partnerships, calls for pitches), advice on pitching, and much much more.
So there you have it - incredible free (and a couple not free but highly recommended) content creator tools. I hope you find these helpful and that they help make creating great content a little bit easier!