It’s one of the great myths of copywriting that we’re all creative geniuses. Our words flow effortlessly from brain, to fingers, to screen.

Not true.

I still get stumped at various stages of copywriting. However, after 10 years I’ve developed plenty of tricks and tips to jump-start the process. All us word nerds have.

So here’s my not-so-secret list of tools to get those creative juices flowing and words on paper.

Blogging

Need to get your content marketing underway but have no idea…? Literally, you have no ideas. Don’t worry, this is where you can find some.

Answer the Public: A gamified approach to keyword research and content generation. Simply enter a broad topic, wait a minute and watch as hundreds of suggestions are displayed in all sorts of weird and wonderful ways.

Quora: Got a question you’re thinking about writing about? Check Quora. You’re guaranteed some fresh insights and different points of view.

Headlines

It’s the one thing you write that people most likely to read. That means you need to make it count. If the only people clicking through to your article is your mum (Hi, Mum!) then you need to start using these.

Portent’s Idea Generator: Not to be taken too seriously, this website generates headlines with the basic elements for conversion. At the very least it’s a brain dump to spark some of your own brilliant ideas. It’s fun to play with too.

Hubspot’s Blog Topic Generator: Pretty much the same as above. Enter 3 nouns for 5 free options. Don’t like what you see? Simply try again.

Social media

Ah, social media. What a love/hate relationship we have with thee. Find out what people are already liking, sharing and talking about to give your posts the best chance at going viral.

Buzzsumo: Be relevant and engaging by drawing inspiration from the most viral content out there related to your topic.

Reddit: The self-proclaimed front page of the Internet is confusing to the uninitiated. But the upvoting feature is a brilliant indication of what people truly value in real time.

Editing

Professional copywriters hire professional proofreaders. But if your copy isn’t yet spinning you a dime, these tools help polish prose to perfection.

Hemingway Editor: This is perfect for identifying that sneaky passive voice. It’ll also tell you if your sentences are too long. Most of them will be.

Title Case Converter: Seems simple. But when you’re writing for many different brands it’s hard to remember all the casing rules. A quick check never did any harm.

Grammarly: A great one for simply sending professional emails. The Grammarly plugin checks your words as you write. Anywhere. Anytime.

Creative writing

This is for all your lucky ducks out there writing something fun for a change. (Insurance is fun right?) If you have a client who wants a bit more oomph, look no further.

Idioms: This feature of the Free Dictionary allows you to discover the uncanny way words have been twisted throughout history. They make for eye-catching subject lines and help bring concepts to life.

Scrapbookers: Looking for some serious cheese? Perhaps an ironic wink at romance? Look no further. It’s everything you could hope to find inside a Hallmark card.

Wordhippo: There’s nothing more perfect than finding the perfect word. Wordhippo is my thesaurus of choice.

Rhyme Zone: To be used with the utmost care, a thoughtful rhyme can spark the kind of joy that does Marie Kondo proud.

Don’t be a real cheat

All these tools are great starting places, but no one likes a copycat.

Duplichecker: Make sure the words you write are actually yours. There are plenty of free plagiarism checkers out there, this is one of them.

So that’s my list, but it’s by no means comprehensive. What are your favourite tools for writing successful, engaging copy? Tell me in the comments.