Three Tools to Improve Your Blog Writing

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By Mark Evans

Summary: One of the keys to a successful blog is good writing. While some people are skilled writers, there are tools to help people make quick improvements.

By training and profession, I’m a writer (I spent more than 15 years as a newspaper reporter), but I’m always seeking ways to make my blog posts better and more effective.

An interesting development is the emergence of online tools that provide guidance and recommendations on structure, spelling, grammar and the use of keywords. Here are three tools I have been using recently:

1. Hemingway: Created by Adam Long and Ben Long, Hemingway is an online or desktop tool that offers easy guidance on the readability of content. You can either write within Hemingway, or do a cut and paste after writing a post within WordPress, for example.

Hemingway analyzes the use of sentences, adverbs, phrases and words. Each type of recommendation is highlighted by a different colour. Overall, Hemingway is a easy and user-friendly tool to make quick content changes. (Here’s a New Yorker article on how Hemingway works.)


2. Atomic Reach: Formerly a platform that provided brands with a way to use relevant content from bloggers, Atomic Reach did a pivot to offer a real-time scoring engine that analyzes content based on its quality and potential for amplified reach. The service, powered by a WordPress plugin, provides a score based on spelling, grammar and audience match.

The spelling and grammar tools are straightforward and useful, but the audience mismatch feature has little utility because it only tells you if content is too easy and too complex without offering ways to make improvements. It would also be good if the spellchecker could have an over-ride option to deal with words it doesn’t recognize. Perhaps the best part of Atomic Reach is seeing your score increase as changes are made.

Atomic Reach

3. Yoast SEO: This WordPress plug-in is not a “pure” writing tool but it does provide writers with insight into how their content is structured, particularly for SEO.

While Yoast doesn’t provide a numerical score, its analysis is broken into green (good), yellow (okay) and red (bad). This makes it easy make changes, whether it’s adding an image, a headline, a sub-title or links, or fixing grammar. The more green buttons that appear, the better it is optimized for search and, at the same time, structure.

Yoast SEO

While there is not a clear winner among the Hemingway, Atomic Reach and Yoast SEO, they do provide value and can improve your writing. Hemingway and Atomic Reach are writing tools, while Yoast SEO is focused on search optimizing. Like me, you can get a lot of value using all of them when writing a blog post.

Do you use another writing tool? Any thoughts on the value of these kind of tools?

For startups looking to jump-start their marketing, I provide strategic and tactical services – core messaging, brand positioning, marketing strategies and content creation.

  • Danny Brown

    Damn you, Evans, I have a post in draft at the minute with two of these three tools being “reviewed”! :)

    I really like where Atomic Reach is going. I agree they need to improve in some simple areas (grammar, spelling, complexity), and a more complex machine learning algorithm would be great, to identify the level of your audience based on search results, for example.

    Having said that, I was at a recent presentation for the new version of the tool, and it was interesting to see the differing complexities of my social graph (Twitter being more advanced than Facebook), and how content reflected that from a share point of view.

    Adding in Google Analytics also allowed for correlation to be included.

    If they can continue to move in this direction, the potential for Atomic Reach is huge.

  • Mark Evans

    Great minds must think alike! :)

    Thanks for the insight about Atomic Reach. I haven’t had a chance to look under the hood, but they seem to be playing in the right sandbox given the growing amount of attention on quality content.

  • opedmkt

    Thanks for post Mark – I use AR and Yoast, but will have to check out Hemingway for sure :)

  • Mark Evans

    I was given a deeper look into AR recently. There’s a lot more under the hood, as well as some interesting features coming soon.

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