The modern blogger is challenged with far more than just coming up with an interesting collection of words on the screen to enthral a reader. In order to capture the attention of very techno-proficient and sophisticated readers, you really do need to be a bit of an artistic and technical wizard in many different mediums. You need to be organized, good with managing information and leads, great with people, be able to shoot and edit photo and video, record and edit audio, be good with design and layout and more.
We’ve done a lot of different things with our various websites and blogs, and along the way we’ve collected up an impressive list of tools, software and tricks to keep everything organized and looking professional. Here are some of our favourites.
Our toys (errr, I mean TOOLS!)
- MacBook Pro
- compact microphone
- good quality digital camera (photos and video)
For blogging & social media
- WordPress.com or WordPress.org (depending on your comfort level with technology)
- Tumblr (great if you’re into blogging shorter stuff – think of this like a middle ground between wordpress and twitter)
- Twitter (great for short updates, and links to things of interest to your followers)
- Google+ (Jared’s favourite)
- Facebook (ideal for keeping people you actually know up to date on what’s going on)
- LinkedIn (especially useful for business networking)
- Meetup (great for using social media to connect with groups of like-minded people in real life!)
- Hootsuite is our favourite social media dashboard (we use this to keep all our other social media accounts organized and updated without it taking over our entire lives. Good Vancouver company.)
- Google Analytics (we want to know what’s going on behind the scenes!)
Audio Editing & Production
- Garage Band is great for most kinds of audio editing we do. But – it does have a few gaps.
- Audacity is free, and fantastic for breaking up longer pieces into individual tracks, which Garage Band sadly does not let you do. Used together they work for pretty much everything.
Video Editing & Production
- Screenflow (great for creating screencasts and “how to” type tutorial segments – video, text and audio)
- Quicktime (great for screen capture, and then the files can be opened in iMovie for polishing and good for converting video clips into other formats)
- iMovie (this has fun themes, and is what we use to do editing and make most of our videos look as professional as possible)
- Youtube (best way to store your videos online and share them with your audience. Basic editing is possible after uploading too)
- Flickr (great for storing images online and keeping them organized)
Animation & Interactive Content
- Tumult HYPE (great for making animations in HTML 5 that can be viewed on any browser)
- iBooks Author (Great for making interactive books for viewing on the iPad – you can actually embed HYPE animations right into the iBooks)
- Comic Life (great comic-style images and animated comics which can be exported as HTML as well as images or documents)
- Crossword Forge (you can make crosswords of anything, and embed them in your site)
Staying Organized (all cloud based – so we can share between us, and on all our devices it’s always updated)
- OmniFocus (Task Management – takes care of individual tasks, and great for breaking larger projects into manageable chunks and then scheduling those into your life)
- iCal (Time Management – great for keeping track of specific appointments, reminders of those and locations & details for any appointments)
- Evernote (Information Management – this is all about tracking your ideas and notes and keeping them together in one place. Works with audio, video, photos, text and has text recognition for the content of photos! You can keep track of everything, and can actually collaborate with someone else using shared notebooks.)
- Dropbox (File Management – you can use this to easily share files instantly across devices and users and ensures everyone is always working from the same, most recent versions) – NOTE: If you sign up for Dropbox using this link I’ll get a little more storage added to my account.
Writing & Publishing, Photo-editing & Design
- MindNode (lets you visually brainstorm using mind-mapping concepts)
- OmniOutliner (great for outlining your ideas in more detail)
- Scrivener (if you’re needing to script out a video this is a great writing and formatting tool, also fantastic for organizing research notes and details and rearranging pieces of longer articles)
- Pages, Microsoft Word or Neo Office/Open Office (all useful for writing up articles. Keeping offline backups, always a good idea)
- iPhoto (useful for organizing photos)
- Adobe Photoshop (photo editing, resizing for web etc.)
- Adobe Illustrator (editing and creating illustrations, detailed editing etc.)
- Adobe Indesign (best for creating more involved page layouts like you would for print – magazines, newspapers etc.)
Whew. That’s a lot of stuff to know how to use. You don’t need to do all of it, and we would rarely use more than 4 or 5 of these tools on any one post – but the more you know, the better you are able to come up with something that will keep your viewers coming back for more!
Narrowing it down to the top 5, can’t-do-without tools – all of which have basic accounts for free!
- WordPress (blogging platform)
- Evernote (for managing all notes, drafts and checklists)
- Flickr will work, but if possible Photoshop is worlds better
- Youtube (everything video)
- Hootsuite (managing your social media accounts)