Tools Todd Quackenbush

It’s the holiday season, that time of year when every Pinterest feed and grocery store magazine promises to make your life easier – but instead somehow makes you feel guilty that you’re not providing hand-dyed, hand-spun, hand-knit sweaters for your whole neighborhood….. That time of year, in other words, when “real simple” just isn’t.

To help you reclaim some of those hours you lost trying to shear your own sheep, we’re offering a list of tools that actually will save you time. Five of them will make your content creation job easier, and one will help you to ignore all those efforts to make you feel guilty.

Tool for Tools. If you’ve ever Googled “free images” or “how to make a gif,” you know how far down the rabbit hole you can fall, fast. M&R’s If This, Then Totally That helps you find the right tool for everything from creating your own meme or figuring out why a link doesn’t look right on Facebook, to seeing how users click through your website. (We used it to find the image for this blog post, in fact!)

Tools for Images. Beth Kanter has curated a tremendous list of free and low-cost image collections. A tip straight from Beth: use her list with Canva and “you’ll be able to create awesome visual content without any pain.”

Tools for Writing. We all know what a picture is worth, but what happens when you have to write a thousand words? (Actually, we hope you don’t, at least when it comes to blog posts or e-updates!) How can you avoid jargon-laden copy and create content that helps you move your message and win supporters? One tool we love is the Communications Network’s Jargon Finder. It recently helped us translate ““systems impact” into “doing more than individuals can do alone.” Try it and see how you can uncomplicated your copy. Or, when you’re circling around a word and haven’t quite found the right fit for what you want to say, try the Word Association Lookup. This tool can also be useful for extending a metaphor throughout your messaging.

Tools for Planning. If you’re figuring out what to communicate about and when – and align your team’s communications — check out our Editorial Calendar for 2016.

Tools for Life. Finally, here’s a tool to cut down on those incessant messages to do more, buy more, consume more – courtesy of our friends at Story of Stuff.  

Now that’s something to be thankful for. See? It can be simple.

Photo courtesy of Todd Quackenbush via Unsplash. 

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isobelLightBox Collaborator Isobel White loves any tool that helps her knit more metaphors into her writing!