Your success standing out online boils down to….a pause.
It’s about that moment when something catches someone’s attention. That ‘thing’ they stop long enough to take notice of. It’s about fostering intrigue and deeper exploration.
Finding ways to create that coveted pause should be your primary focus. It should be what drives everything you do, everything you create, and every resource you use as a brand.
There are lots of different ways to garner these much needed pauses; including, visual content, brand recognition, SEO, and even email marketing.
Sooooo, the question you really need to ask is, ‘What resources will help me garner THE MOST pauses?’
No one can answer that question better than the brands that have already mastered the art of standing out online.
Or social royalty as I like to call them.
Many of the all-stars that have contributed to this post weren’t huge fans (to say the least) of being referred to as ‘royalty’. In fact, one said they’d only contribute if I put in a disclaimer! So here it is…
The folks mentioned in this post are not egotistical, fame whores who think they are better than or above anyone else. These folks don’t walk around referring to themselves as royalty, aren’t bragadocious about being an influencer and don’t let vanity titles define them. These folks worked their asses off to get to the pause-licious places they are, and don’t in anyway attribute their entrepreneurial success to a couple of resources.
These folks are by no means the end all, be all list of online and social rockstars, they are simply the ones that have contributed to my journey of social badassery.
With that ‘hater protection clause’ out of the way, let’s get to the good sh*t! Here’s the sitch…
I asked each of the social royals I could get my hands on (they’re slippery lil suckers), what ONE free + ONE cheap resource (i.e. tool, app, software, membership, etc) has had the greatest impact on their social exposure.
Here’s what each one of them had to say…
Stephan Hovnanian is the owner of Shovi Websites, a web strategy company located outside Boston. Stephan has spent his career helping companies overcome the challenges of maintaining their online presence effectively by developing and executing strategies unique to them.
Between chat, video calls, and hangouts on air, I have a tool to run my business, collaborate, and get a big bang for my content buck.
They charge $1/minute of audio. And transcribing the web series, hangouts, and podcasts I appear on makes it easy to repurpose content.
A twenty-something internet marketing savvy + night owl. Passionate about web design, HTML/CSS, beautifying things and internet marketing.
It’s a simple image editor designed for Mac, iPad and iPhone but with super cool features. I love how I can even take screenshots (full screenshot, part screen, timed screen, and more.) I mainly use this when I create tutorials. I like the way I can easily make my point using arrows, circles, rectangles and other shapes. I can also make quick sketches without looking amateur. The best thing about it is its “Save to Evernote” feature. I love how I can sync my work to Evernote app (a tool I use almost everyday).
Photoshop has been my best friend since I was 16. It’s the tool I use to create bangin’ graphics and website designs. I pay $9.99USD/month for it.
An enthusiastic and experienced entrepreneur with an MBA and four successful businesses to her credit, Ande is the founder and Chief Possibility Officer of Possibility Partners, where she advises CEOs and helps Entrepreneurs launch, brand and build their businesses without spending a fortune or wasting time.
A Chrome extension that makes for easy social sharing on G+ – I love sharing the love of someone’s G+ post across all my social platforms.
From Possibility Partners’ logo to every show’s thumbnail/instagram image, business cards to memes – this Goddess is on a serious budget and is so happy with the orgasmic results she achieves with her FIVERR men.
Dustin W. Stout
I am currently the Chief Marketing Officer of a Digital Marketing and PR Firm, Weal Media. Helping people tell better stories online is what gets me up in the morning. That, and coffee. Lots of coffee.
My favorite free resource is Evernote. Evernote is where I capture all my ideas, blot post drafts and important notes that I don’t want to lose. I even use it for social media post drafts on the fly. I love that it’s accessible no matter where I am, and I have yet to need the upgrade to the premium version.
I couldn’t live without Social Warfare ($24). It has become the most indispensable WordPress plugin I use. And yes, I’m biased because I co-founded the company but due to the nature of the work I do in the Social Media and Marketing world, it’s an absolute must-have. It allows me to place beautiful social share buttons on my blog posts, customize the way that posts are shared, add special Pinterest specific images (huge traffic driver), and create in-post Click-to-tweets. On top of that, it prevents sneaky people from superimposing their own calls-to-action on my site through framing software or “snips”.
Wade is a full time blogger, and relationship marketing enthusiast who devotes his time to sharing his knowledge through various channels, one of which includes his business/marketing podcast, The Relationship Marketing Show. Wade’s top priority is to get to know YOU better though engagement and conversation and he is always looking to connect with new people!
One of the best free social media tools that has bailed me out like clockwork is a product that I use for Pinterest called Tailwind. Tailwind helps me provide my followers with the pins they want to see by providing me with better posting analytics. You can base your pinning strategy on this tool alone because it measures everything. Pinterest has become my number one source of traffic because of Tailwind.
I use Buffer for everything including client management and even my own marketing too. Buffer is a free product to use, however, if you’re of the mindset to “Go big or go home” then you will want to pay the $10/mo fee that they charge. Buffer allows me the courtesy of planning and curating content from other people on social media, especially my favorite, Google+. My personal strategy includes mostly other people’s content with a little of mine in the mix, but you can do it however you like. With Buffer I don’t have to spend all day curating someone else’s content. I can stay ahead of the game, get someone’s great content out there, and still have time to hunt that bear that’s been in my trash!
Some people are of a mindset that you shouldn’t schedule posts, other people swear by it. But I believe you have to understand what your audience wants and needs. Whatever that is, Buffer can allow it to happen because of it’s time saving techniques in your social marketing strategy. If you’re new to blogging and/or social media, Buffer needs to be first on your list of tools to get. Even if you decide to use the free version in the beginning.
Sue Anne Dunlevie
Sue Anne Dunlevie, owner of Successful Blogging has been passionate about business since she was 12 and started her own toddler care group at her swim club. Now her unique talent lies in helping beginning bloggers with a step-by-step blueprint for success.
I recently started on Pinterest even though I’ve been blogging for 3+ years. Great images are the key to Pinterest, and as Dre told me, branding my images with my signature colors and watermark are so important. So I started using Canva – it’s free and easy to use. They have great tutorials and I can create terrific images in 5 minutes flat.
For graphic design tasks that are more complex, 99 Design Tasks is just $19 a task. The best part – it will be completed in 60 minutes. If you buy the tasks in bulk, it goes down to $11.
Stephanie is known for the fast transformations that she facilitates with her clients through working at the intersection of heart and head. She works with busy, purpose-driven entrepreneurs to own their brilliance, leverage their business and get their message out with power, ease and joy; so they can make a powerfully positive difference in the world, exponentially up-level their profits, shift their mindset towards possibility and take a no-excuses approach to boldly creating a highly successful and meaningful business built around who they are.
Audacity is one of my favorite tools to create and edit audio files. All you need is a computer, microphone connected to your computer and this software. Click the link to see a quick (7 minutes) video showing you how to create and edit an audio file.
I love this app for quickly making shareable graphics. You can add text captions to photos and modify them to create unique visual messages for your blog posts as well as social media.
A multi-talented entrepreneur, business coach and consultant, Lany Sullivan’s passion is building, training, and shaping sales teams to achieve the company’s goals, both in developing team objectives and inspired marketing. Lany has spent years in the trenches building successful sales teams, navigating a diverse range of individuals both in managerial and sales roles.
I use Instapaper as Chrome extension and as a mobile app. I LOVE this tool. I run across tons of websites that I want to hang on to for later and with the quick click of a button, I am able to save that url straight into a folder that I can read or save for later. It is the ONLY free tool that I use at this point.
Nimble is a CRM that can help you track everything going on in your business in regards to customers and potential business. With Nimble, social listening is made easy in your business and you can create a sales flow for your contacts as you move the conversations along. It integrates really well with a few email service providers and you can connect all your social media channels and email accounts to it. My strategy using Nimble is very streamlined. I don’t actually import all my contacts into Nimble. I only import the conversations that are of value to me for particular projects that I am working on in my business. Nimble allows you to be very fluid in your CRM process and if you don’t have a CRM, I highly recommend it!
Danielle Miller is a marketing coach and small business enthusiast. She is founder of Miller Media Management, a social media marketing company in Maui, Hawaii. She also teaches as an EdVenture’s instructor at UHMC and has been a guest speaker for Maui Economic Opportunity and at the Maui County Business Resource Center. Her areas of experience cover social media marketing on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Google+, email marketing, website promotion, blogging and Facebook ads.
This free software works like Photoshop. You can edit, crop, and create images of all kinds. I use it to create picture-quotes and infographics for my business. I found it quite easy to learn and lots of free training videos online. I find myself using it often to design flyers, business cards, and cover photos.
It creates user friendly dashboards for all aspects of business. I can monitor my website analytics, email marketing efforts and social media. I use it most to produce monthly result reports for my clients. This app saves me so much time! No more hunting around the website to piece together the data. It’s now all available in my customizable dashboard.
Brandon Schaefer is the CEO of 90DayEntrepreneur, an innovative and influential company which fast tracks and funds entrepreneur ideas.
My favorite free resource that helps me stand out online is definitely Canva. I’m always in Canva mocking up quick images with “call to action” text overlays. Every social post that I share, regardless of the social channel, has an image that’s associated with it. I actually have a few simple “thank you” images made up that are ready to get fired out to people that have done nice things for me online… this works really, really, well.
My favorite paid for resource that helps me stand out online is definitely the $10 per month “Awesome Plan” from Buffer. I’m a big fan of the scheduling tool, especially for resharing my content to Twitter. I’m also a big fan of analytics, and Buffer provides the perfect, easy to understand, analytics console, that I’m looking for. I look at how well my recent posts have done, what posts were my most popular, and what posts were my least popular, directly inside the Buffer console.
Peg Fitzpatrick is a social media strategist and co-author of The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users with Guy Kawasaki. Peg is passionate about social media and inspiring others to be their best.
I love Haiku Deck because it’s easy to use and you don’t have to be a PhotoShop wizard to make great presentations. I create elements in Canva and bring them into Haiku Deck to customize them. It’s great for repurposing content and creating new, fun content. I share the Haiku Decks on SlideShare, then I can pin them, tweet them, etc.
I use Feedly to feed the content monster and stay organized. It integrates with Buffer, Dropbox, Evernote, and more. Feedly is an RSS reader that pulls in previews of thousands of blog sites. This is your main view on Feedly. You can view your content all mixed into one big group or be even more organized and search by topics you create. You can create different little sections for easily finding content that you want to read and share.
Erika Madden is a business consultant and blogger at Olyvia.co who helps other women entrepreneurs, business owners, and business-minded bloggers be delightful online. Her mission is to make you look classy + genuinely irresistible in all of your digital spaces by offering 100% ick-free customer service, reputation, and marketing tips.
Not only does this guide give whip smart tips to writing headlines that get noticed, it includes more than 200 fill-in-the-blank headline formulas. I use it monthly to brainstorm blog titles (that people will actually want to read)!
I try to run my business as lean as possible, so the paid tools I use have to be pretty spectacular in their usefulness. The one I have had by my side since the beginning is Adobe InDesign. I use it for everything from my free e-book, The Classy Entrepreneur, that goes out to new email subscribers, to the fun worksheets I occasionally offer in my blog posts. At only $20/month, it’s my little secret to making all my digital products look 100% professional.
Luke is the founder of Intergeek.co.uk and crafts posts to help bloggers and websites get more traffic.
Within BuzzSumo you can search for a topic and it will bring back the most highly shared posts within that area. If I was Andrea AKA TheBloggingSoloCrazyCatLady, I might search ‘Google Plus Tips’ because she seems to boss that social network like no other. I could then filter by the most popular posts from the past year in this subject area and take a look at what was popular.
Because she’s such a G+ boss, I’d be pretty confident that she’d be able to better any content that’s already out there on the subject. So, Andrea could take the highest shared post(s) and put a unique spin on it, whilst making it at least five times as high quality.
Once you’ve got the best piece of content there is on a subject area, you can be pretty sure that when you outreach to the people that shared previous popular posts, they’ll be happy to share yours too – hopefully you’ve given it the legs to go even more viral than the other posts (and get better rankings in Google, too!).
BuzzStream saves me hours and hours of time every single week.
Outreach is such an important part of growing a modern day website, and BuzzStream makes it incredibly easy to do outreach at an efficient rate. Not only this, but it will keep track of all conversations you’ve had with previous people and even remind you to chase someone for a response if you didn’t receive one within a timeframe that you choose.
Getting websites into the tool is also extremely easy – just install the BuzzMarker and you’ll likely increase outreach efficiency by around 500%. A guess on that, but I’d estimate that I’m 5 times more efficient in my email outreach thanks to BuzzStream.
When you are able to contact so many more people in the same period of time, and you’re more likely to pick up links and shares on top of this (because personalisation becomes easier), you’re going to increase online exposure much more dramatically.
Lou Bortone is a video marketing expert and online branding consultant who helps entrepreneurs and service professionals build breakthrough brands on the Internet, so they can have more visibility, credibility and profitability. Lou delivers innovative online branding strategies, including video marketing coaching and consulting.
A Facebook App that lets you “cartoon” yourself. Just visit https://apps.facebook.com/bitstrips and get your free avatar. You can put your cartoon self into various scenes, and even add your friends to your cartoon adventures. Bitstrips gives you a fun and easy way to make your Facebook posts pop!
Animoto.com for making quick videos and montages. The paid “Plus” version is just $5 bucks a month, and gives you much more flexibility than the free version. You can choose from 65 video styles and create a video up to 10 minutes in length. They even give you over 300 music tracks to add to your video masterpiece.
Anna Bennett, Pinterest expert & consultant is a certified Social Media Strategist and principle with White Glove Social Media. She is the author of Pinterest Marketing For Business a Master Course for marketers, bloggers, business owners and entrepreneurs. She has been featured in Forbes Magazine, The Road To Social Media Success Book by Author Sean Gardner, Forbes’ #1 Social Media Power Influencer, Cision Top 50 Rich Media Social Influencers To Follow on Twitter and several other publications. Anna and her team manage Pinterest accounts on behalf of businesses. Anna is an avid tennis player and golfer, a health nut and loves afternoon tea!
Pinterest is my favorite business accelerator tool. Most businesses want two things from their on line presence – traffic and sales. Remember – no traffic to your website = no new sales. Pinterest is my favorite free tool because it has helped me consistently rank on the first page of Google as a Pinterest Expert & Pinterest Consultant. This is has helped me get lots of traffic, stand out online which is how I get most of my leads.
I use Robovy’s Pinterest scheduling tool to schedule pins on behalf of my clients. It is the easiest and most affordable scheduling tool. They offer a free 14 day trial without a credit card!
Elizabeth Kelsey Bradley is a writer and Social Media Strategist that loves all things holistic. Her work has been featured in Raspberry Magazine, Holistic Fashionista, and other online publications such as Tiny Buddha. When not traveling to random places or gulping down yerba mate ( that’s a tea fyi), she dishes out training at EK Bradley. She also runs a blog about savouring life and is the founder of Thriving Healer.
I’m a photographer, but I don’t always have enough time to shoot an image that’s appropriate for my blogs. Unsplash has fantastic free photography that is always accessible. I use Canva.com to edit my photos ( another rockin’ free resource) and my blog post is ready to go!
Mailchimp is my go-to marketing resource for all things email. It’s free to start and cheap if you want to upgrade, and it’s super easy to customize. My husband paid for an expensive newsletter service and he’s convinces ( as am I) that Mailchimp is still better.
Ashley helps his clients stand out amongst all the noise online by giving them an amazing website, ranking it high on Google and grabbing those customers when they come a-knocking. You can find him at his online home which is based deep in the Swiss Alps, right next to a chocolate factory.
Standing out online is a question of branding and content in my opinion. For the branding, assuming your basics are in place (colors, fonts, logos etc) I use the awesomeness of Canva to stand out. It not only makes a designer out of us all, even when you are not, but also has some other rocking features. For example, it helps you make the right choices regarding social media sizes. It has templates to help you make amazing graphics in minutes. And it is also completely flexible if and when you need it to be. Without Canva, my life would not be worth living.
It might not seem like something that can help you stand out online, but bear with me. The content you share, and how it appears in the streams of your followers is also important when trying to take the online stage. Buffer helps you do this by making it a cinch to share visuals on social media. The only problem is that the free account is quite limited, so I fork out the $10 a month to have unlimited posts in my buffer. That way I can go nuts when I have time, and get my buffer set for days or more. And don’t forget the visuals! (if you want more info on how amazing Buffer really is, check out this post)
Julie DeNeen is a full-time web designer and blogger, making her mark on the Internet with a tech blog called Fabulous Blogging. An award winning lifestyle blogger as well, she was chosen as Anderson Cooper’s blogger of the day in 2012 and appeared on Anderson Live several times, as well as BBC World Have Your Say. Off the Internet, she is a mom of three, a musician, foodie, and theater buff.
It’s made by Evernote and allows me to quickly capture a screenshot and add arrows and text in seconds. Since I do a ton of web tutorials, this has cut down my time editing images tremendously.
It handles all my social media tasks, gives me a quick way to share posts from other right from the web or my phone, and with the pro version, I can schedule tweets complete with photos.
Paul Biedermann is the Creative Director/Owner of re:DESIGN, a small design agency specializing in Strategic Design, Brand Identity, and Visual Content Marketing — intersecting smart design with business strategies that reach, engage, and inspire people to action.
There is no better way to stand out online and develop your professional reputation than involving yourself in an online community. It’s so great to find a place you can call home on the internet — a place where people really get to know you and you get to know them, while still keeping a window open to the rest of the world.
I think this is especially true with the ever-increasing amplitude of all the different social platforms that are available and new ones springing up almost daily — with all the content being shared, it can be difficult to stand out and make an impact, no matter what you do! And even if you find a way to do it, you need to ask yourself if you are attracting the type of people and engagement that will also bring business your way. Most will agree that this requires a focused strategy, and online communities are a powerful way to make more sense of the online world.
Online communities allow you to carve out a niche that not only targets your interests, but one that also supports and grows REAL relationships — both personal and professional. To my mind, there is no better place to do that than Google+. I started the re:DESIGN community for those who value what good design brings to business. That is MY niche. It is a fantastic place to not only engage with great people and be turned onto great content, but also to demonstrate expertise in the areas where you have knowledge and experience, thereby enhancing your professional reputation.
If you’re like me, your online strategy involves a mix of live interaction with others balanced with purely sharing good content. They are two sides of the same coin — both help grow your professional reputation by turning people onto important information as they learn more about you and discover more of your great content. But one you need to be there for, the other you don’t.
To help disseminate the content you share over the course of a day or week, Buffer is a great tool for spreading out your social sharing. This way, you avoid the tendency to bombard people as you would likely do if you were to try to do it all manually. In other words, it helps you maintain the organized, active presence you need between the times you are actually there yourself interacting with others — and the time when you would likely not be sharing links but conversing instead.
Buffer is easy to use and is key for staying visible and maintaining a professional presence when you might be engaged in other important aspects of your business — and after all, we do have lives outside of social media, right?
Carrie-Anne Foster is a social media coach who works with small businesses, brands and bloggers. With over 15 years of social media experience, and a strong background in client services, Carrie-Anne has a passion to demystify the social media scene. You can find her sharing social media tips on Google Plus, or her website.
You can create gorgeous blog or social media graphics. There are also templates to create posters, business cards, presentations, flyers and many other types of visual displays. With Canva, the possibilities are endless. If you need some ideas, visit the Canva stream. This is a great place to get inspired to create some beautiful visuals with Canva.
I spend a lot of time sharing articles to my social media platforms, so it’s very frustrating to click on a sharing icon only to find I have to do work. Quite often, I have to find the author’s Twitter handle, or optimize a Pinterest image. So when I watched a video on Social Warfare, a WordPress sharing plugin, I immediately installed it. By utilizing Social Warfare’s optimization features, it makes sharing your articles so simple. Your reader’s won’t have to do any work except hit that share button. The sharing icons aren’t the only great feature that Social Warfare comes with. You also get a Snip.ly buster, and you can easily insert ‘click to tweet’ text into your articles. One plugin has made my content create so much easier! And, it has boosted my article shares.
Penney is a social media strategist who owns a marketing consulting company that’s NOT your typical marketing company. She’s the exception to the rule in everything she does, from social media campaigns to planning a client’s marketing plans.
I love using Picmonkey to help create images for blog posts and my social media messages. One of my favorite features about Picmonkey is that I can download a free custom font to my computer and Picmonkey pulls it into the program. Then I can use my custom font as one of my text font options to help me create branded images for my social media messages and blog posts.
The program fees start at $19 and I love this email program! The simple drag and drop process to develop my emails eliminates the need to bring in a graphic designer to set up my email messages.
My account allows me to have as many lists as I want to create without adding to the cost. And when I run an online challenge with my readers, I’m not limited to a certain number of auto responders. The tech support is very responsive – both online and on the phone – and it makes the whole online tool one of the best programs that I use that helps me grow my business.
Louise Myers is a graphic design expert teaching biz owners to create social media graphics for more engagement, viral marketing, and leads! She invites you to download a free report to help you choose YOUR Best Design App. Click here to grab it!
It’s an amazing tool for discovery by a new audience that’s searching for what you have to offer, via hashtags. It’s also without par for connecting with that audience, with other like-minded individuals, and with influencers – it’s just so friendly and easy to engage. And visually, their photo editing tools are the quick and easy way to take photos from ho-hum to knockout. It’s become my default tool – I rarely share a photo anywhere unless it’s been through my Instagram quickie editing process.
Just an amazing app for $3.99! (iOS only, though). Use your own photo, or search for free public domain photos right in the app. Then add amazing typography in seconds! I can’t tell you how much time it would take me, as a designer, to come up with these fabulous type designs. And anyone can create them at a tap! If I didn’t have an iPhone, I’d have to consider getting one just to use this app. 😉
Mike Allton is the Chief Marketing Officer at SiteSell.com, and the author of “The Unofficial Book on Hootsuite, the #1 Tool for Social Media Management.” If you want to know more about how to leverage Hootsuite, particularly those complex reports, pick up a copy of the book from Amazon.
My system within Evernote makes it incredibly easy for me to capture ideas for blog posts as they come to me, and then come back to those ideas later on and flush them out. Just the other day, for instance, I was on the phone with my dad and he was talking about all of the history books on Thomas Jefferson that he’s read… Peterson, Ellis, Reed and more… and it got me thinking that would make for a great metaphor or topic for bloggers. If history writers can continue to publish new books on Thomas Jefferson, bloggers can certainly continue to write new blog posts on topics that may have already been covered. So as soon as we said our goodbyes I opened Evernote and notes a few ideas in a new Note. It may or may not develop into a published blog post, but at least I captured the idea so that when I’m ready to sit down and write, it’s there along with the dozens and dozens of other ideas and posts I have in progress.
I’ve developed a reputation as a prolific blogger, and those blog posts are what has fueled my success online. All due to having a great system in place, a machine, to pump out those posts.
With Hootsuite I can certainly manage my social activity on all channels save for my personal Google+ profile, and I’m on that channel live all day anyways. But, more importantly, Hootsuite allows me to do a far better job of monitoring and listening across social channels. I can open my Hootsuite mobile app and quickly check Twitter mentions on multiple accounts. I can open one or more saved streams built off Twitter lists so that the tweets I see are from specific people or categories of people I’m following. And I can check my saved searches for Twitter or Google+ to see what kinds of conversations are happening around topics of interest.
And one of my favorite aspects is actually the reporting, which I know many people malign, but that’s generally from a lack of understanding Hootsuite’s overly complex system. You see, Hootsuite provides you with a set of points that you can use to build custom reports. Reports are built using modules, like, Twitter Mentions or Facebook Page Insights, and each module uses a portion of your points. So you are limited in the sense that you can’t build a gigantic report that uses every available module. But, and here’s the aspect many people don’t get, it’s not a monthly allotment of points. At any time you can rebuild your report or reports into whatever you need. The number of points you have only really becomes an issue if you want to have a bunch of reports saved, or if you’re running a bunch of client accounts out of your Hootsuite dashboard (which I don’t recommend). Regardless, what I love the best is that the Click Stats modules are free, which means you can build and unlimited number of saved Click Stats reports. I use these to track sets of ow.ly links that I’ve built and shared for specific purposes. By building the link once and re-using it over time, it generates ongoing activity, and I can build and save a Click Stats report that shows me at a glance how that link or links are performing.
Therefore, not only does Hootsuite help me maintain activity on social media, it helps me monitor and measure that activity.
Sandee Jackson is a web designer and digital strategist who occasionally blogs. She loves helping bloggers and creative entrepreneurs create unique and functional homes online. You can find her pinning and tweeting on everything from marketing and design to productivity.
I’m addicted to Agile CRM to help me stand out online. CRM stands for Customer (or Client) Relationship Manager, and it’s a great way to keep track of all of your communications with your favorite online peeps. There’s social integration, so you can see all of your contact’s social posts (Twitter, Google+ and FB if you’re connected there) right in the app. You can use it to set up email templates, add tasks related to your contact management, and there’s email tracking. Better still, it’s FREE for less than 2 users, so it’s perfect for bloggers and solopreneurs!
Skillshare is an awesome video-based learning platform. You can take classes on editorial calendars, Photoshop, even handlettering — all kinds of great topics that will help you learn to bring your A game online. You can enroll in many of their classes for just $9.95 a month, so it’s an amazing deal!
Michelle Varga is a first time mom and lifestyle blogger with a passion for cooking, crafting and living frugally. She grew up in the rural countryside of East Coast Canada and is now living in the big city of Toronto with her husband, son and cat. When Michelle isn’t working on her blog and doing mommy duties you can find her try to satisfy her unending quest for new films and music.
I love this because it allows me to keep various to do lists for everything blogging related and for my personal life as well. I keep a tab pinned in Chrome with Wunderlist open so that it’s handy and I can add things to the list or check whenever I need to. Another great thing about this is that there’s an app that goes with it on my phone so the lists are synced. I can’t recommend this enough and use it constantly.
I use this to schedule all my pins for Pinterest. It makes it super easy to schedule everything to group boards and also has a section with analytics for individual boards. It’s great to be able to see how successful individual boards are over time.
Bonnie is a spitfire, no-nonsense, energizer bunny, love to smile, git-r-done attitude, motivator. Come rock your blog with me.
So my favorite tools, and those that have been most beneficial to my brand’s online presence are Buffer, for scheduling and I love Canva, for visual engagement. Both have free and paid services.
It’s a fantastic service. It has list builders, social sharing, heat maps, content analytics and a few other fantastic lead generation tools. I love it. It’s fantastic. It’s simple. It’s clean. Everyone should be using it.
Marianne is the blogger behind Design Your Own Blog, where she helps women entrepreneurs and bloggers learn how to beautify and tweak their blogs’ designs DIY-style. Her site is full of resources, tutorials and inspiration and you can purchase her new book, Blog Beautiful: 50 Tips + Fixes to Make Your Blog Glow or download her free ebook here.
Most people know about it by now but it’s such a game changing application because it helps me to quickly create graphics for my blog posts and social media when I don’t have the time to create something from scratch in Photoshop. I usually upload my own images (I have a ton of stock) but if I need one on the fly, Canva’s search is great and their stock images are only $1. Can’t beat that!
I am a total graphics and fonts hoarder so Design Cuts is like a dream come true for me! Every other week they have a ridiculously amazing bundle of graphics, fonts, textures, mockup creators, you-name-it for just $29 or less. It’s all the stuff you’d find on any graphics market but for 100’s of dollars less than if you bought them individually. I have spent so much money over there it’s ridiculous!
Shannon is a professional radio broadcaster for Arizona active rock station, 98 KUPD. His mission is to help you unlock your inner broadcaster and business potential through podcasting and digital marketing. During his radio tenure, he has produced quality programming, interviewed guests ranging from actors to rock stars, and continues to remain relevant in today’s changing digital landscape. Shannon has been interviewed by a number of hosts on Google+ Hangouts On-Air and many within the platform consider him the “go-to” guy for podcasting answers.
Anyone can find just about anything online these days, but nothing can give you the instructions or inspiration to learn a ton more. If used right, you can set your YouTube homepage to show you what other content creators are putting out into the world. This just isn’t for desktop either. Google has done a great job of unifying the aesthetics of their platform across all devices.
As an example of how I use YouTube, I have a number of playlists that I have curated privately that help me with how to operate freeware programs like Inkscape or Gimp, humorous videos, videos about a specific topic to music playlists. I can’t tell you how many times I have looked up “how-to” videos on editing an image in Photoshop.
Recently, I have been curating/listening/watching motivational speeches while I complete a 20 minute bodyweight routine. There is no better coach than a YouTube video to make you think hard about not quitting when you’re in your 4th set of 50 push ups!
But I just don’t use YouTube to consume content.
Technology has allowed our phones to record ridiculously high-def videos and this is how I create video content for my blog.
I have taken cues from people like Jeff Walker and Amy Schmittauer (Savvy Sexy Social) when it comes to eliminating the barrier of having a super hi-def DSLR when I have something like the Nexus 6 to do the job for me. It’s mind-blowing actually.
Most of the time I’m not even marketing a product on my social profiles. It sounds bad, right? But I believe that an audience will become acquainted with who I am by what I put out on the web.
For me, I’m a big fan of sharing my sunset photos on Instagram. If you go into Instagram and search the hashtag, “#sunsets”, you’ll find so many amazing photos of sunsets around the world. It’s quite amazing.
The question that I get asked the most is, “How do you make your photos look so epic?”
For the past year I have been using the Google Photos app on my phone. This is actually the Snapseed app for iPhone.
Since acquiring Snapseed, Google has integrated a lot of the Snapseed functions into their own application. We are now seeing a lot of the same filters show up in the Google Photos and Camera application.
A couple of my favorite filters for the Arizona sunsets I post is the HDR function. You wouldn’t believe how cool this filter makes your photos look. If you choose to use this filter, you’ll see tons of rich color within the photo if you can catch the sunset at the right time.
If you don’t choose to make your photo rich in color and want to practice your best Ansel Adams, HDR still awards the photographer with the ability to see highly-defined objects within the photo. HDR works really well on cloudy days!
Once I edit a photo, I sometimes share the photo to Instagram or Facebook. Everyone loves a cool photo rich in color and it can garner hundreds of likes on both platforms.
The best part? It’s free!
I can’t tell you how many times I have been out and about and someone says to me, “Your photos are off the chain! How do you do that?”
It’s great to be recognized for something that you’re passionate about, but makes you even more recognizable if you can create content outside of your passion.
If you’re just starting out in the marketing game and need an affordable solution for your e-mail marketing needs, then Mailchimp is your answer.
The platform catches a lot of flak for not being a powerhouse software like Infusionsoft, Aweber or Hubspot. But this is the reason a lot of people use Mailchimp. As they continue to build over time, they only need something as simple as Mailchimp.
But don’t let other people tell you that Mailchimp can’t perform with the big dogs. A lot of marketing has to do with funnelling, workflow and the power of persistence. If you are in the right mindset, you can make miracles happen inside of Mailchimp.
Just know that a lot of your workflow will have to be determined by how you want your subscribers to receive your emails or freebies. You’ll have to do some planning and testing as you start to use Mailchimp’s workflow.
Nevertheless, Mailchimp has done a great job of updating their platform to execute automated responses in a timely fashion. in 2014, autoresponders would go out within the hour of someone subscribing. That has since updated to immediately as we start to see the platform grow.
Further, they allow their user base to create workflow emails as you would see in software like Infusionsoft. There are a lof of “if this then that” functions you can use, but you have to dive in and learn the platform if you want to succeed. This has made a world of difference for me when it comes to sharing the right information out to my growing list.
To build a list under 500 subscribers, would you believe it only costs $10/month? This is a no-brainer if you’re thinking about making money online. If you are executing your sales and marketing right, you will make that money back with one or two emails that lead to a webinar or product.
When you reach 1,000 subscribers, your cost only goes up by $5. I’d say this is well worth your money as you work toward scaling your list and business.
Personally, I love e-mail marketing. It’s a ton of fun when you start linking your website to Mailchimp. Maybe I’m just too nerdy.
Denise Wakeman is an Online Business Strategist and host of the popular Hangout show and podcast, Adventures In Visibility. Denise works with online entrepreneurs to optimize, leverage, and strategically use social marketing tools to gain visibility, build credibility and make more money selling their products and services. Learn more about Adventures In Visibility live shows here.
It’s never been easier to broadcast a live, online video show. live video helps you create intimacy faster than any other medium and accelerates engagement with your audience. The fastest, easiest way to add live video is to take advantage the best tool Google has developed… the Hangout on Air, also known as HOAs.
An HOA is live streaming video, broadcast publicly and simultaneously on Google+, YouTube and your website, if you choose. If you think about it, you can take advantage of the power of the biggest search engine on the Web to create content that is not only broadcast to large audience in real time, but also posted simultaneously to the second largest search engine, YouTube.
An audio site you can use to host your audio and podcast files. It’s got a lot of social features built in and you can share tracks with a player that plays inline (on the social site) on Google+, Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook. I use SoundCloud to host the mp3 version of my hangout video show, Adventures in Visibility. So I get triple visibility from each episode: video on Google+ and YouTube, and audio on SoundCloud (and iTunes and Stitcher). Can’t beat the visibility.
Thomas E. Hanna
Thomas E. Hanna is on a mission to rescue remarkable visionaries from internet obscurity. He is the founder of BlogPhoto.tv, where he equips budding entrepreneurs with the tools, resources, and training you need to stand out online.
I’m going to break the rules a bit here, but bear with me. There is good reason.
So often when we begin our quest for “tools” and “resources” to help us stand out online, what we are really looking for is a way to maximize our time through automating our connections. While this can be a good thing, it also threatens to pull us from the greatest resources that we have. Occasionally, we need to be reminded what these actually are.
The Greatest Free Resource You Will Ever Have Is… the relationships you build. And you can’t automate that. You have to get out there, spend time with people online and off, and invest yourself in others. Focus in part on connecting with industry colleagues, as these are the gatekeepers to becoming a recognized influence in your field. Focus the rest of your relationship building time on your target demographic, as this is where you will cultivate fans and brand ambassadors.
The Greatest Paid Resource You Will Ever Have Is… your website. The cost of this will vary, but it is the most important investment you can make in your future success. Your site is the stage where your story is told. It is your business card and your opening handshake. If people land on your site and it does not communicate professionalism and the culture of your business, then you are establishing a barrier to your success. However, if it nails that first impression, you have just conquered many of the obstacles to your credibility.
Ian Anderson Gray
Ian runs a social media blog called Seriously Social and is a web developer and digital marketing consultant. He is co-founder of Select Performers Internet Solutions – a family run web and digital marketing agency based in the North West of England.
This tool allows you to connect two online services together (or even real life objects such as light bulbs or thermostats!) With IFTTT I can share cool articles I’ve discovered in Feedly with my Twitter audience via Buffer. I can archive my posts in Evernote and I can be notified when someone adds to me to a Twitter list. I can also be notified when someone tweets a link to my website without mentioning me. The list of what you can do with IFTTT is endless.
Actually Triberr is free, but there is a great $10/mth premium plan. Triberr has been a huge factor in the growth of my blog and business. Triberr allows you to connect with like minded bloggers in your particular niche. You can then share each other’s content. It’s been a huge driver of traffic and increased my social shares dramatically. However those aren’t the main reasons for recommending Triberr. The wonderful thing has been the way it has allowed me to connect with some amazing people who have become friends, mentors, influencers and supporters.
Co-author Influence Marketing: How to Create, Manage and Measure Brand Influencers in Social Media Marketing. My blog DannyBrown.me is recognized as the #1 marketing blog in world as per HubSpot. Husband. Father. Optimist. Pragmatist. Sometimes in that order. Never says no to a good single malt. You can find me on Twitter – Google+ – LinkedIn.
A great collection of hi-res and royalty free images you can use anywhere. There are 10 images released every 10 days, and aren’t your usual stock photography shite. Good times.
Excellent social sharing plugin that does much more. Customized tweets, Click-to-Tweet integation, optimized images for social sharing, multiple design options, Pinterest optimization (even though I don’t use it, much to the chagrin of a certain design bro’ette from Cali!). For only $24.00, it’s a steal.
Excellent social sharing plugin that does much more. Customized tweets, Click-to-Tweet integation, optimized images for social sharing, multiple design options, Pinterest optimization (even though I don’t use it, much to the chagrin of a certain design bro’ette from Cali!). For only $24.00, it’s a steal.
Holy possibilities, right? Now that you have plenty of options for carving out your piece of the social scene, it’s time to get your implementation on.
Bookmark or pin this post, so you can easily refer back to it when you need the right tool for the job.
It might all start with a pause but it can end with your loftiest dreams coming true. Soooo, to put it bluntly, if something isn’t going to contribute to the ultimate goal of a pause, f*ck it….it’s a bright light you don’t need to chase. BAM!
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