Work Hacks and Tools for the Digital Marketing Pro
There are a lot of tasks to handle when you work in the digital space. These tasks can come in the form of content, SEO, social, email, web design, or any/all of the above. Not only is there great variety in the types of tasks, there’s also variety in the needs of each. The laundry list of things to do may include coordination, collaboration, analytics, research, scheduling, social listening, content production, data insights, learning, and organization.
So, how do you keep it all under control and focus your efforts?
One method is to streamline collaboration and daily tasks and automate data and listening that way you can concentrate on key elements like production, insight, and learning.
Some may look for ways to automate the production of content or insights, but these elements are what keeps accounts and brands appearing human, high quality, and positively differentiated.
There are also seemingly just as many tools to use as there are things to do that claim to make your life easier. While there isn’t one magical tool or solution, below are some tricks, tips, and tools I’ve picked up over the years that allow you to focus on the good stuff.
Slack is a messaging tool you can use to collaborate and coordinate with individuals and teams. It is a great resource to cut down on one-line emails, communicate with team members, and even allow others to see what goes into projects without having to be directly involved. There are also some great IFTTT recipes that allow you to receive updates and RSS feeds automatically.
Asana is a great project management tool to get multiple teams and people on the same page when working on projects. You can keep documents, deadlines, and responsibilities all in one place to, like Slack, cut down on email and organize communication. Some other similar tools are Basecamp and Trello.
Have a desk littered with post-it notes? Any.do is a solution for that problem. Any.do allows you to digitize your daily tasks, set alerts and reminders, and save notes — all the while syncing across all of your devices.
Data and Listening
Chartbeat gives you real time data on the activity on your website. This information includes where traffic is coming from, what is being shared on social, social audience growth, popular content, and overall traffic. You can set alerts based on traffic, compare traffic to past trends, and see where your content is being shared on social (this is based on links meaning your handle does not need to be mentioned, which can help with monitoring dark social).
Buzzsumo tracks trending content and influencers, both overall and in your market/content areas. Additionally with Buzzsumo you can see where content is being shared and who is sharing it to not only understand what is picking up attention, but where the conversation is happening and how you can insert your brand.
The Google Trio
No one is a stranger to Google by now, but there is some value in the platform to digital pros beyond search, document sharing, and website analytics. First, you can set custom alerts in your analytics to receive immediate information about trends happening on your site. Additionally, alerts on search trends and media mentions on topics of interest interest can be set in Google Trends and Google News Alerts, respectively.
Cyfe is a dashboard tool that you can use to track social media, analytics, marketing, sales, and support all in one place and in real-time. In terms of social media, two great features are being able to track the ROI of Facebook ad spend and Twitter mentions.
Simply Measured is a social analytics tool that provides in-depth data on your own brand channels and those of your competitors. The data is easily exportable into presentations, spreadsheets, and graphs — depending on how deep you want to get into the information. The competitive analysis, keyword tracking, and social listening capabilities are huge pluses of the tool beyond having all of your social data in one place. You can also automate the data gathering and reports to be sent right to your inbox on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly basis. Some alternatives are Spredfast, CrimsonHexagon, and TrackMaven.
Iconosquare Brand Index is a free tool that allows you to see how your brand is performing on Instagram. Not only can you track your brand, but you can also see how your competitors are doing, what is working in different verticals that may be transferrable to your own brand, and understand the metrics for the top brands on the channel to provide context for your own numbers.
Klout is a website and mobile app that uses social media analytics to rank its users according to online social influence via the Klout Score, which is a numerical value between 1 and 100. Some criticize the true value of the Klout Score for determining influence, but there are few other metrics as widely accepted. The extension automatically gives you the score of any twitter account right in your feed, which is a good way to see its influence.
Commun.it gives you quick data on the Twitter accounts that have engaged with your brand, along with a breakdown of the activity of your followers and suggestions for potential followers. The tool provides suggestions for accounts to follow (and unfollow), along with a categorization of the accounts that have engaged with yours.
Hootsuite is a social media management tool that allows you to manage all of your social accounts, schedule posts, publish posts, and retrieve analytics on each channel. The tool also includes automatic short-linking and the ability to save UTM code presets for posts. Some other options include Buffer (see below) and Sprout Social.
UTM coding is crucial in determining where your traffic is coming from and tracking campaign effectiveness. This browser extension allows you to easily plug in all of the elements to a UTM code, save presets, and sync with Google Docs to save previous campaign structures.
Buffer is another social scheduling and management tool that has a lot of the same capabilities as Hootsuite. Two nice features that come with Buffer are the ability schedule posts based on when people have historically engaged with your content and an extension that allows you to create posts from any page you’re on (this includes pulling the page title, automatically shortening the URL with UTM coding, and pulling any associated images).
Gifs are becoming increasingly popular in social media marketing, but they can be hard to make without the right resources. Giphy has done something about this by offering a free gif maker. All you have to do is upload a video or paste a video URL, select what part you want to turn into a gif, choose the length, and you’re done — Giphy does the rest. You can also establish your own Giphy page so that others can engage with your brand and use your created gifs.
Have the right social post but need a great gif to make it spectacular? Well, you’re in luck. Giphy offers a browser extension (and app) that allows you to quickly search their database for the perfect .gif.
Landscape is a brand new tool from Sprout Social. This tool allows you to create images for any social channel and any photo element of that channel with the right dimensions. Once you’ve selected all of the necessary parts and cropped your image, you can then export them in the social friendly .png format.
Ever need to take a screenshot but it needs to be of more than what is on the screen? Awesome Screenshot allows you to do this. You can grab any section of a page or the entire thing. Once captured, you can also highlight sections, type, and add things like arrows and export the image.
Canva is a tool to make quick graphics from flyers to social posts. There are a lot of templates to get started from in all of the right dimensions. Canva is a great place to start, get ideas, and turn around high-quality graphics quickly if you are intimidated by Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign.
Images are crucial are for great content and social posts. Most stock images are pretty terrible, but there are great free resources for realistic images that can boost your digital marketing efforts.
Hemingway App is a tool to help cut down sentences and make your writing more effective. The app also offers suggestions for better word choices, catches passive voice, and registers the reading level of your writing.
Newsletters are a great resource for staying up on the latest trends in digital marketing. Here is a list of some of my favorites:
Once seen as an out of favor medium, podcasts have hit a new renaissance due to the ubiquity of smartphones. For social media and marketing professionals, podcasts can serve as a great means for staying up on the latest trends in the fields or hearing about what is top of mind for industry leaders. Now you can listen to these conversations easily and routinely, whether it is during activities like the daily commute, working out, cooking, or something else. Here are some marketing podcasts to get started.
With all of these resources, you’ll need a place to save the content. That is where Pocket comes into play. Pocket is an app to store articles and webpages to view later. It is a good way to keep everything you’ve been meaning to read in one place or save useful articles for easy access and reference later. You also have the ability to sync the app across devices in case you see something while on your phone, but want to pick it up on your desktop later.