Doing and remembering things is hard sometimes. We know. It can be difficult enough balancing the work-output-to-coffee-input without needing to remember many tiny fragments of information throughout each day regarding research to be done, messaging to polish, data to pull, and (lovely) clients to chat with.
We certainly aren’t complaining, because we love our work and have found other excellent apps and tools online that help us collaborate, clean up, and automate all those little things that need attending to each day.
Here are some of our favorites.
1. Editorial Calendar // CoSchedule
Gif via CoSchedule
Many of our clients come to us with content marketing needs, including blog crafting, social media, and other types of B2C communications. CoSchedule has been an absolute miracle for keeping these types of content and other outgoing communications neat and tidy.
With a designated calendar for each client, along with integrations with social media accounts and WordPress, we are able to keep track of deadlines, collaborate on content in real-time, and schedule posts in advance, making it easy to wrap up projects and keep things in check.
Bonus Points: While this is technically a paid service, they do have a neat referral program! *Hint hint*
2. Stock Photography // Pexels
We’re constantly working on design-related projects; whether it’s an email campaign, infographic, or website wireframe, we’re often in need of free (or cheap) photography. In the world of complicated licensing and mostly terrifying stock image options, there are few services that stand ahead of the pack.
Image via Pexels
Our current favorite is Pexels, a totally free for personal (and even commercial) use. You can search for, download, modify, copy and distribute any photos from the site without permissions or attributions. The best, by far, is that all of the images look like something you’d actually want to look at – not at all what you’d expect from the quality of your typical stock photo.
If you’ve got a few bucks to spare, we also like using Dollar Photo Club for stock images that don’t suck. We’ve been super happy with our $10-a-month membership for 10 high-resolution images.
3. Collaboration // Google Docs
Gif via imagineeasy.com
Virtual spreadsheets, documents, and presentations galore. We don’t just use Google Docs because it’s free and convenient; it’s a super powerful tool that we can’t get enough of.
Google Docs allows us to collaborate on content like presentations, press releases and email copy in (literal) real-time, store important company and client marketing materials, and keep everything tidy in custom folders. The service makes it way easier for us to manage our projects in a central location that’s accessible from any of our connected devices, and we can share anything directly with our clients to allow direct feedback and more.
With this kind of project management and collaboration made pretty much effortless, we’ve managed to cut down on unnecessary back-and-forth communications and improve our turnaround time.
4. Project Management // Workboard
Image via crozdesk.com
Setting goals (and then keeping them) is part of doing a good job. Workboard allows us to set up prioritized work streams for each of our respective clients, so we can provide all our projects with the utmost respect and attention to detail.
Whenever we’re in a client meeting or strategizing as a team, we are able to easily pop new tasks into Workboard, assign them accordingly while keeping others ‘in the loop’, and provide any other details needed. Drag-and-drop functions allow us to shift these tasks and priorities as they change in a visual way, too.
With great features like task prioritization, comment fields and a digestible weekly calendar of action items, Workboard helps keep us on track across the board.
5. Content Creation // Canva
Sometimes we get a little crafty when producing A+ content for clients; Canva is our secret little helper. For quick design needs, this free online platform has professional-level templates, fonts and editing tools to make graphic design simple.
Gif via designyourownblog.com
Most of the features we like to use come free, but they do also offer more complex templates and images at a small fee ($1, more or less). Canva also has ready-to-go, perfectly sized dimensions templated for any social media site, online ad, or other marketing materials, taking all of the work out of figuring out what will fit right on Facebook (and then some).
With intuitive new features rolling out all the time, we can’t wait to see what Canva will add to their awesome platform package next.
6. Communication // Slack
For a busy agency — or any company, really — Slack is insanely brilliant. And we mean that.
After realizing that things were getting too complicated (or lost, or forgotten) in the depths of our email inboxes, chat windows and passing conversations, we started testing out Slack for ourselves. While it can’t completely replace our use of Skype (which we still have a love/hate relationship with) for things like quick video chats and client calls, it’s been incredible for keeping our sometimes scattered minds in check.
Image via cyberchimps.com
We set up a separate channel for each of our clients to keep all of our communications as easy to find as possible – that includes important Google Docs and other files – in addition to our own internal channels for various agency needs so we stay in touch when we need to.
With powerful search features and other integrations, you can find anything you need with almost zero effort. And in the end, that’s the dream, right?
Staying organized, in touch, and on top of it all can be challenging sometimes — especially when you’re a remotely based agency like us! — but there are ways to make it easier. Be sure to try these tools out for yourself! Then, feel free to thank us and tell us how awesome they are (even though we already know).