I know many people today don’t remember Life Before Internet, but I sure do. And I very much prefer life with the interwebs. While I think we allow ourselves to bury our heads in our phones sometimes and there are things online that I could have gone forever without knowing they exist, the Internet on the whole is a lovely thing. Primarily because it helps things move faster. That’s especially true for public relations and marketing.
There are so many resources available to us now – literally at the click of a button. Here, in no particular order, are a few of my favorites:
Need to whip up a quick graphic for social media or a light brochure? Even if you have never used a design platform, Canva has you covered. The free platform will size things for you, give you some stock photos to use (some free and some for purchase) and provide multiple fonts and existing graphics. It also has examples if you get stuck. Even though I use Adobe Photoshop and InDesign daily, I still go to Canva for a lot of graphics. It’s easy to use and the end result is always on trend.
Death to Stock Photos
I use stock imagery a good bit – to enhance a blog, to create a slide show for a website, or in other marketing pieces. Sometimes all stock photos start to look alike. Death to Stock Photos provides a monthly pack of photos – for free. And they are not your typical shot of smiling businessmen. Each one is interesting and current, and the topics are relevant and usable.
Husbpot Marketing Grader
Want to see how your website is doing? This free tool from Hubspot looks over your site and helps you know where you can make improvements. It grades according to multiple categories including mobile, SEO, lead generation, social media and blogging. Then it provides ways to enhance what you’re doing to make your site more shareable, searchable and readable. Some of the suggestions may require outside help, but at least you have a starting point.
Curious if your Twitter followers are actually online when you tweet? Tweriod is a free resource that will analyze your audience, your tweets and your followers’ tweets and let you know when they’re active. That way you can post when you know you’ll have the most exposure.
Prefer to schedule your social media posts? Maybe Tweriod tells you that your posts will succeed at 2:00 am, but you don’t want to have to stay up till then. Hootsuite is a free tool that allows you to schedule out multiple posts on a wide variety of platforms – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram and more. It also allows you to monitor multiple feeds, like clients, competitors, hashtags, etc. It will suggest content for you, allow you to easily respond, save drafts, identify influencers and track your history. Plus, it provides analytics so you know if your campaigns are working.
This has been around a while, so it’s an oldie, but a goodie. Bit.ly is an easy way to shorten links, which is especially helpful for social media. When you set up an account, the free platform will keep every link that you’ve shortened and provide analytics on the click rate and if the link has been shared.
Ever find interesting things online but don’t have time right then to read them? Pocket saves links for you to read later on your own time. And you can tag them when you save them so they’re easily searchable and catalogued. The free platform gives you a plug-in to add to your browser, and it integrates into hundreds of apps, so you only have to click the pocket button to save it. It’s a handy research tool that I use over and over.
Google has a lot of awesome free tools, including Analytics, Docs, Mail, Alerts and, of course, Search. Google Trends is not discussed as often, but it’s a quick way to see what is popular, or rising or falling in popularity – including on YouTube. It lets you easily tie your social media posts, blogs or other material to the conversation that is happening now.
Trying to schedule a meeting with a lot of people? It can be frustrating to go back and forth to figure out a time that everyone is available. Doodle is a free tool that simplifies the process. It lets you easily set up polls so you can find out the best time to have your event. One email and done.
What tools do you use?