The end of the year can be therapeutic. Open enrollment is over. Budget requests are nearly done. Recurring meetings are canceled. I use this brief window of time to clean out files, consider resources I’ve been curious about, and think about how to simplify things. This year I’m also sharing 10 time-saving resources for multitasking marketers.
Marketing technologies and channels have changed a lot over the years. Some services and processes that used to require long-term contracts or high monthly costs are now available through low-cost, Web-based interfaces. Although they may not offer the same level of detail and control as their predecessors, they offer a good combination of functionality and ease of use. And if you want to focus more of your time on strategy, you probably need to streamline recurring processes that consume a lot of time.
- Canva.com — Need to quickly create a graphic? Canva simplifies the design process with an easy-to-use interface and 1-click resizing for various applications, including social media channels. This saves a ton of time previously spent manually resizing visuals. Also, Canva recently added a print shop function so you can order collateral materials for delivery with the same sort of ease.
- Maptitude, ArcGIS, Alteryx, Google Earth Pro and PolicyMap — Depending on your mapping needs, one or more of these resources can help you generate a basic map for handouts, to embed in your website, or to produce a strategic planning map with layers of data points and demographics. Free trial periods allow you to experiment to see which best fits your needs.
- Venngage.com — Everyone wants an infographic, but visual storytelling can be complicated to pull off. Venngage provides a variety of templates with enough customization capabilities to suit common purposes. This allows you to consider using infographics for all kinds of needs, including training and process navigation. This can free up your limited design resources for key projects.
- Adobe — The Adobe Color Wheel tool makes it easier to find good color combinations with color formulas for RGB and HEX uses.
- Shakr.com — Videos are easier to make with Shakr. You can choose standard horizontal or mobile phone-friendly vertical formats, upload still images or video files, add text and music and get a video product that works for many day-to-day needs. Social media clip? Done.
- Symplur.com — The company’s free Healthcare Hashtags service shows you the social media hashtags used most often for health fields, conditions or topics. This is especially helpful for ensuring posts on narrow-interest topics gets to the right audience and have some staying power.
- Pixabay.com and Unsplash.com — These image libraries provide high-quality photographs that can be used in commercial work. Use these to add variety to the usual stock image photos we all recognize. Incorporate them into your Canva design, Venngage infographic or Shakr video for a more interesting final product.
- Fiverr.com — Need to get out of the rut with your usual go-to, quick-turn freelancers? Fiverr connects you with specialized talent for all sorts of animation, graphic design, writing, music and other needs. Select budget and turn-around-time filters so you and the freelancer are clear on expectations.
- Tagcrowd.com — An easy way to generate a word cloud based on a document, website or text you enter. This is a visually interesting way to call out recurring themes from planning meeting notes, research verbatims or longer format documents that are usually skimmed.
- HelpaReporter.com — A service of Cision, HelpaReporter connects your experts to reporters who are on a deadline and looking for authoritative sources or interviews. This is a good way to introduce your in-house experts beyond local media outlets.
These are a few of the time-saving resources I’ve found helpful or interesting in 2017. I hope your holiday season offers a chance to think, explore and feel excited about what you can do in the coming year.