By Jodi Harris published August 12, 2012

17 Techie Shortcuts for Content Marketing

bubbl.us_1-368x230We get it — you’re overworked. There are three new projects on your desk that have to be done RIGHT NOW. Your department is a few Tweets short of weekly mandates, and everyone else is on vacation. The CEO wants his own blog, but he can barely type the word “cat”.  And every time your boss needs something that involves writing — an email to the team, her quarterly report presentation to the C-Suite, a response to a negative Facebook comment, etc. — she turns to you, the content marketing person because, hey, “You’re just better at words than I am” — even if the task is nowhere near the job you were hired to do.

It’s a tough job market, and every content professional feels the pressure to “superperform” from time to time to keep the content flowing and the client happy. So, you either need to find a way to clone yourself or find a way to get everything done so you continue to look like the marketing genius that you are.

The following time-saving tools might not be the best solutions for the long term, but when you are in a pinch and need to dig your way out of a content chasm, these handy process helpers can really save your bacon (Mmm. Bacon. When was the last time I had time to leave my desk for lunch?…).

(Note: Many of these products aren’t yet fully released, but you can try some of them out for free during their Beta phase. Others are available as paid services, but likely offer free trials.)

“Al” for one (and one for all)

Alfred: Less of a content marketing-specific tool and more of a super-awesome, customizable monkey butler for all things Mac-OS (sorry PC users), Alfred is a productivity app that can save you time, effort, and precious keyboard strokes by giving you instant access to your documents, applications, frequently visited websites, and more at the touch of your fingers. It’s perfect for tracking down all your content files for your next site audit, finding a citation you need on Wikipedia, or pulling up your favorite song from iTunes without having to stop working on any of those 18 projects you are currently juggling. The app is free at the Mac App Store, but once you see all the ways you can program Alfred to do your bidding (using the extra features available through the Powerpack), you’ll wonder how you lived without him for so long.

It’s all by design

Instapage: Your landing page is quite possibly the most important part of any marketing campaign. Use InstaPage’s templates and drag-and-drop page builder to create the features you want; track and measure your conversions and statistics through its dashboard; and let its “machine learning” technology do the optimizing for you. (InstaPage is a paid solution, but you can take a free 30-day trial to try it out).

OmniGraffle: I firmly believe that no one should be expected to be both a consummate wordsmith and a visual design whiz. Sure, it can happen, but if you are among those who can spin a helluva yarn but can barely draw a stick figure, you might want to give OmniGraffle a try next time you need to create a diagram, process chart, quick page-layout, website wireframe, or graphic image.Use it to organize your thoughts and turn logical connections into eye-catching visual representations.

SimpleBooklet: Sliders are a powerful, visual way to draw attention to your best web content or other marketing collateral. But if you aren’t a programmer or designer, they can be tricky to integrate into your existing site infrastructure. Simplebooklet has, well, simpified the slider authoring and publishing process so that anyone with a web browser and a few minutes to spare can add a slick-looking content showcase to their online presence.

visualbee

VisualBee: Designing a slick-looking presentation at the last minute doesn’t have to require pulling an all-nighter. Enter your killer content into PowerPoint, and use the VisualBee plug-in to analyze your content and give it a polished, cohesive look, complete with a layout, graphics, and customizable color schemes.

Master your multimedia

iShowU: An easy way to create interactive product demos or visually engaging video infographics, iShowU lets you record everything you do on your browser screen, add audio explanations, and make your videos instantly available for embedding into your content or posting on social media.

ishowu

Pllop.IT: Have a product you need to showcase in a hurry? Take your photos, product info, and your well-crafted content, and use Pllop.it to create easy, interactive magazine-quality displays. From there, you can “pllop” your creation into Etsy or other e-shops, your Facebook page, or your website to use as an eye-catching landing page.

PureText: Few tools help put u in frnt of GenY like txt mrktng. PureText’s SAAS offrngs hlp u create, snd & delivr pwrful mssgs w/o the need 4 app dvlpmnt xpertise or shrt code xpenses.

Planning and processes

Bubbl.us and MindNode: These simple-to-use mind-mapping tools give you a way to jot down your thoughts in a vibrant, visual way, and identify related concepts for better strategic planning. They are great for wireframing your web page navigation, visualizing your content needs, or compiling the ideas from your last team brainstorm into an organized, strategic plan.

Quickie coding

Pen.io: Need to create a quickie web concept page, publish that eBook you’ve been noodling on, or promote a spur-of-the-moment event? Use Pen.io to take your copy, links, and images and give them a permanent online home. No need to learn HTML —the PenUp markup language can give your page the basic functionality you need — and there are no hosting fees for the pages you build.

pen.io_-_jdh

Wufoo: You know those forms that are so essential to any lead generation effort, survey, subscription page, and online offering? Well, it’s easy to build them to your specifications by using Wufoo’s form generator. Use Wufoo’s templates, or create a form from scratch, and then put its suite of additional tools and services into play to help you add additional site functionality, analyze responses, incorporate credit card charging capabilities and more.

cmi_simple_form_built_with_wufoo

Research assistants

BestoftheWeb, BlogCatalog, and Wefollow: Looking for influencers to syndicate your content to, or target for submission placement and link-backs in an unfamiliar vertical market? Cataloging services like BestoftheWeb (for websites), BlogCatalog (for bloggers), and WeFollow (for Twitter) can save you time on tedious web searches and spare you from the frustration of checking multiple stat sites when looking for the true thought leaders in a specialized industry.

wefollow

Simply social

SimplyMeasured: You worked your butt off analyzing all the data from your social outlets, so why would you send the results off to your supervisors in the same old, boring Excel spreadsheet? Oh, you don’t know how to make those numbers sing? Well, then, let SimplyMeasured help you compile all those abstract numbers into customized reports that will show just how powerfully your content work impacts the bottom line.

ToutWant your social media status updates to stand out from the average Facebook fare? Try creating a 15-second video status update with Tout. Used by consumers as well as by celebrities like Ryan Seacrest and Shaquille O’Neil, Tout gives you an easy way to record quick bites of video content using your smartphone or webcam, which you can upload to Facebook or Twitter with just a click.

tout1

What other productivity and techie shortcuts are you using for content marketing? Let us know in the comments!

Maybe one of your best productivity helpers is to see what others are doing? If so, download our ultimate eBook with 100 content marketing examples.

Author: Jodi Harris

Jodi Harris is the Director of Editorial Content & Curation at Content Marketing Institute. As an experienced content management consultant, Jodi focuses on helping businesses analyze their content needs and resources; build infrastructure and operations; and create and distribute relevant, engaging brand messages across multiple media channels and platforms. Jodi has developed and managed print and digital content projects for marketing, entertainment, automotive, health care, and biotech publishers, as well as for entertainment industry and media brands. Follow Jodi on Twitter at @Joderama.

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  • Doug

    Excellent list – Alfred alone was worth the read! One suggestion: Post your links in lists like this to open a new browser window (Web marketing 101 – don’t send people away from your website!).

  • http://blog.junta42.com/ Joe Pulizzi

    Amazing list Jodi…thanks so much!

  • http://www.feldmancreative.com/ Barry Feldman

    Yes, that’s me. Seriously busy. Now I have to checkout 17 services, meet a deadline, take my kid swimming and watch the closing ceremonies. Thanks a lot.

    But no, very cool stuff Jodi. I started playing with Tout immediately. Now I just need something useful to say into the camera.

    • Mike

      But no, very cool stuff Jodi. I started playing with Tout immediately. Now I just need something useful to say into the camera.

      I don’t agree with that..
      visit

  • Roger C. Parker

    Thanks, Jodi: most are new to me.

    I’m especially impressed with the SimpleBooklet.com Gallery which contained examples of different formats available–quite a variety.
    Roger

  • Jodi Harris

    Thanks, everyone, for the words of encouragement. And Doug, thank you for the important reminder.

  • http://twitter.com/nicthegeek Nicole Ong

    Brilliant list! Alfred makes me wanna just whip my credit card and get a MBP

  • DarrylF

    Hey Jodi, A content rich post about content marketing! I love to see the KISS principle in action. Thanks for putting this together.

  • http://www.facebook.com/debbie.josendale Debbie Josendale

    Great list Jodi! Thanks so much for putting this together…it’s hard enough to keep up with the work load let alone find time to discover tools that could make it easier

  • http://twitter.com/dnanneman Don Nanneman

    Excellent primer for those of us (all of us!) looking for powerful, easy to use tools. Thanks @joderama

  • Logan M

    This is a cool list. I would like to add 2 things:
    -Simply Measured is incredibly expensive and,
    -Quicksilver is the best app launcher ever. I’ve never used Alfred, but why would you, if Quicksilver is a free option?

  • http://www.facebook.com/toddrbonner Todd Bonner

    Yup…there goes my weekend! It’s all about the techie tools now. Great list, Jodi.

  • Teri

    Jodi, are you aware that the visualbee program has the invasive Babylon Toolbar? I’m checking into removal now – can you jump in and find out the best instructions to get this done? Thanks!!!!!!!!