Finding a great app or tool sometimes can feel like winning the lottery – maybe not the Mega Millions, but at least a $20 scratch-off ticket. Here are some winning picks from some of our favorite sources.
MotoRead – when you can’t or don’t want to read with your eyes
I’m always scouring Feedly, BuzzSumo, Twitter, and the blogs of super awesome folks for articles that are entertaining and useful. But it’s not always easy to find the time to read all that great content. Instead, I send each article to the immensely epic app, MotoRead (free). That way, I can listen to a robot voice reading the article to me as I scoot to a meeting or cook the kids’ dinner.
When I’m in super-focused research mode, listening to a blog post also allows me to take furious notes underlining keywords and drawing pictures – like a more manic and messy version of one of those professional sketch-note drawers I see at conferences.
Jon Burkhart, founder, TBC Global
Apple Messages – when you don’t want to dial or wait for email
Apple Messages (free) has become a massive part of my work life. (Believe me, no one is more surprised than me.) With staff spread across three continents and 13 time zones, it’s a quick way to get an answer or deliver a bit of news when you don’t want to pick up the phone or don’t have time to wait for email.
With the integration of Messages across devices, it’s more convenient than ever. I refuse to have mail on my phone because I never get a break from work. Instant messaging allows those people closest to me – family, friends and work colleagues – to get me in real time.
Sarah Mitchell, director of content strategy, Lush Digital Media
Evernote – when you need a place for every note and list
My favorite app – one that I could not live without – might seem boring to most. Other than email, I spend more time using Evernote (free and paid) than any app I can think of. I collect everything there – to-do lists, content ideas, business plans, notes for meetings, notes during meetings, research, travel plans, and so on. In fact, when I am writing articles, I always start with my outline on Evernote. I flesh the concept out there, and then move it to Microsoft Word. I have the app on all my devices and can access it anywhere.
Arnie Kuenn, CEO, Vertical Measures
Bit.ly – when you want to track your URLs
Having a URL shortener like Bit.ly (free and paid) has helped me track specific messages I want to draw people to. For instance, I have a weekly podcast (You Are the Media). When there are specific pages I want to direct people to, it just makes it easier to give a short URL. While I can’t track people, it does show volume and I can see which segments of shows are more popular than others. As a tracking tool, I have used this for years. It’s the best. It also integrates well with TweetDeck.
Mark Masters, Owner, The ID Group and You Are The Media Conference
TripIt – when you’re traveling
Some years, I fly over a million kilometers. I don’t recommend that to anyone but, even if you only travel a few times a year, there’s an app I’ve been using since apps began that still sits in my most-useful category. TripIt (free and paid) isn’t sexy, but it just works and has saved my bacon many times. TripIt has some cool pro features to keep you across gate changes and cancelled flights, but its magic is in automatically grabbing travel info straight from your email confirmations and keeping it in one place.
Todd Wheatland, author and CEO, TiltMarket
Lumen5 – when you want to transform text into video
Lumen5 (free and paid) is a social video tool that creates videos from blog posts using artificial intelligence. Simply enter the blog post URL and Lumen5 summarizes the content, matching each scene with relevant royalty-free photos, video, and music (or you can upload your own).
The AI system is not perfect, and you’ll probably need to manually redo text overlay and replace some images, but it’s a good start. Videos don’t have to be based on articles. You can manually piece together images, text, and music from scratch. Micro videos help bring blog articles to life in social channels and for that reason Lumen5 is a welcome addition to my content creation kit.
Trevor Young, founding partner and principal consultant, Zoetic Agency
What app or tool is your go-to everyday or for your most important activities? Share in the comments.
Please note: All tools included in our blog posts are suggested by authors, not the CMI editorial team. No one post can provide all relevant tools in the space. Feel free to include additional tools in the comments (from your company or ones that you have used).
Learn about the most helpful and essential apps and tools in person at Content Marketing World Sept. 4-7 in Cleveland, Ohio. Register today for best rates and use code BLOG100 to save $100.
Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute