13 Tools I use every day as a pro content creator

Social media tools are essential for anyone that have goals assigned to their content. And you should have goals for your content!


There are several tools I use every day to get my workload under control. I’ll break these down into 3 sections; keeping track of it all, design and editing, and automation and analytics!


Here are 13 of my favourite content creation tools for saving time, getting better results, and making the most of every day.


Keeping track of it all


The process of designing content can start in many different places. It could be from a high-level meeting with your directorate, or some customer data you have been digging in to find some questions to improve customer experience. Or an awareness day you want to join in with. To keep all this information neat and tidy, I use Trello.

Trello has been my go-to for years to keep everything in my life in order. It eliminates confusion about a specific project or piece of content I’m working after a few weeks away. I love the customisable side of things too. It’s really nice for collaboration as well. With it being cloud-based, all my data, drawings, screenshots, ideas, notes and links are all accessible on the easy to use the desktop browser and the iPhone app.


Design and editing


I live with a pen in my hand. I scribble drawings all day long. If designs are in collaboration with others, I’ll generally store them in Trello, but the reality is my camera roll on my phone is full of designs. It’s a nice easy place to keep stuff as you can create folders for different projects.

But what about the actual design? Ok, I know I said that these tools need to be accessible on any device, but there is an exception to the rule—kind of.


I have two, sometimes three monitors in use when I’m designing. One of those screens is dedicated to Photoshop. I use it for everything—photo manipulation to graphic design. If I have posters or leaflets to do, I will use this much of the time, of course, on InDesign on major projects and Illustrator for those icon designs and complex drawings, but Photoshop rules them all far as I’m concerned.


For when I’m on the move, I love Spark. It’s like Photoshop’s younger sibling. Hasn’t learned a thing from its older brother but is definitely charming and has some really cool functions. Being able to brand your content is important, and Spark allows multiple brand management – on your phone and desktop. This is a precious alternative!


Animations are something else. I generally create all my assets for animations in Illustrator and/or Photoshop and move over into After Effects. The thing is, there’s no mobile version for After Effects. And that’s a good thing! Designing and compiling an animation can be a processor intense situation. Right now, I defy a mobile device to be able to handle these demands.

As part of the design process, I’ll need to pull down assets from various places. Often, I’ll use Shutterstock, but the cost can sometimes mount up depending on the project, so I do use Unsplash for some of my images if I can’t take them. Unsplash, ‘Powered by creators everywhere’ is the self-proclaimed ‘Internet’s source of freely-usable images’. It really is excellent. Although, the library does feel a bit ‘hipstery’ if you know what I mean. That’s not a bad thing, but sometimes you’ll struggle to find exactly what you’re looking for.


When it comes to videos, whether that’d be a short 30-second clip for a social feed or a full-on promotional video, I’ll use Premiere Pro. Let’s face it; the last 12 months have been home-based with no real opportunity to get out and run and gun. So, I sit here and chuck everything into a timeline and start making cuts like a barber on the first day of the lockdown restrictions being lifted.


But there has been a ton of times, and these times will come back, where I have to run and gun. Getting that video clip of an interview online with some basic editing, within half an hour of it happening makes the difference to the overall production value, so I’ll use Adobe Rush. Adobe Premiere Rush is considered the all-in-one video editing app for ‘creating on-the-go’. You can use it wherever you are, on any device. It’s free as well! If you want to publish in 1080p, it’s not free, and you will need to splash out. So, the free alternative is, for the Apple fanboy, is iMovie. That’s got me out of a hole many times!


Automation and analytics


Automation is fundamental to all this. There’s no way I can be at every platform every time a post goes live. It’d be a full-time job.


Scheduling posts in a nice easy to use and view calendar is ok, and there are many tools out there that will support you, believe me, I’ve used them all. But I’m happy to say, like I am with Photoshop open on one screen, I’m comfortable to have Orlo open on the other.

It’s not just a sexy content calendar that’s easy to use. It’s also a functional one too! With powerful scheduling, it’s backed up by a brilliant content library. So, if you have been busy ploughing through your designs without starting the work on your copy, you can chuck the final drafts into the library, schedule the content and have it approved (or not) by your stakeholders all as part of the same workflow.


Once your content is out there, you can easily manage every single inbox in one place, from Facebook comments and direct messages to LinkedIn responses and private messages on your Twitter. The platform allows you to custom tag the messages, which is great for segmenting your messaging to see trends in your analytics.


At the other end of that workflow, is the nitty-gritty. What was the impact of that campaign? How well did you respond? What’s the sentiment change over time with your audience? It’s powerful stuff.


Summary


13 Tools I use every day as a pro content creator

  • Trello

  • Camera roll

  • Pen and paper

  • Photoshop

  • Adobe Spark

  • After Effects

  • Illustrator

  • Shutterstock

  • Unsplash

  • Premiere Pro

  • Adobe Rush

  • iMovie

  • Orlo

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