To create the kind of content that will attract fans, followers and readers to your public library marketing channels is a time-consuming process, as we all know. With all the other things your public library staff must handle, wouldn’t it be great to find ways to streamline it? Look no further.
Here are 12 tools that simplify the task and improve quality.
Keep track of research
Evernote. This mighty note-taking app allows you to capture ideas while surfing the web, take notes during meetings, and clip relevant articles as you research topics. It’s particularly helpful for managing references. (Basic version is free; Premium available for $69.99.)
Plan and write
Scrivener is word-processing software designed especially for writers. Why use this instead of Microsoft Word? The application offers powerful organizational features that make it ideal for managing multiple writing projects at once. With its virtual index cards, you can capture ideas, organize your blogging calendar and create outlines. This is especially helpful for long-form content, which can get unwieldy in the typical word processor. ($45)
Grammarly is one of several writing tools that finds and fixes errors in your draft. Along with spelling and grammar, the Premium version also checks for sentence structure, makes suggestions to enhance vocabulary and detects plagiarism. (Free; Premium plan $139.99/year.)
Hemingway is another writing tool that aims to make your writing clear. It eliminates the passive voice, identifies both hard-to-read sentences and complex words, and removes adverbs. (Free for web app; desktop app for Mac and Windows, $19.99.)
Freedom. Time evaporates on social media. This application will block access to websites that distract you from your work. Install on your desktop and phone, then schedule blocks of time to focus on your writing, free from social media and shopping sites. ($29/year.)
Quora is a question and answer community. Search “public libraries” or “Harry Potter” to find a list of questions users have posted about these topics. You can also select a category (e.g. Reading) or bookmark a topic (e.g. Book Recommendations) and follow each in your feed. Both the posted questions and the resulting answers can make good blog post topics. (Free.)
Google Trends. Another place to get some insight into the questions people are asking is Google Trends. Results can be narrowed by geography. (Free.)
Take your drafts anywhere
Google Docs is invaluable for writing on the go. No matter where you are – in the library, on a train or at home – you can access your work on your laptop or mobile device. It’s also easy to share documents with any collaborators. Plus, it saves your writing continuously, so you’ll never lose anything. (Free.)
Find relevant keywords and phrases
Google Keyword Planner. Need to find a keyword or phrase to improve your website SEO? Although designed for advertising, Google’s keyword planner can help you find words and phrases that have high search volume but aren’t very competitive. This is particularly helpful when trying to rank higher for phrases that job seekers, parents or small businesses might use as they search for resources. (Free.)
Keep projects on track
Airtable is a very flexible collaboration tool that can be used in a variety of projects. In marketing and writing, it is especially useful for managing editorial calendars. As a database system, it takes a bit of work to get it set up. However, this structure allows you to customize it to the way you work. You can add attachments, URLs and other information to each project. A chat feature enables the team to discuss the project. (Free version available; upgrade to Plus version for $10 per user per month.)
Asana. This project management tool’s visual interface keeps you on top of multiple projects and helps you ensure that every member of the team makes their deadline. It works very well as a job tracking tool and enables collaboration. Add attachments, URLs and other information to each project and discuss projects via the conversation feature. (Free for up to 15 users; upgrade available for $9.99 per user per month.)
Trello has a straightforward, card-like interface that it makes it easy to learn and to collaborate. Like the others, it allows teams to collaborate by sharing documents and chatting within the project. (Free for unlimited users; upgrade available for $9.99 per user per month.)
Have you tried any of these tools? What others have you used? Let us know in the comments below!