I think all of us Silicon Valley types are constantly trying to work faster and smarter. Here are some marketing and productivity tools that help me make the most of each day.
HootSuite: This free service bills itself as “the most widely used platform for managing social media.” I use the tool to schedule messages on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other social apps. This lets me write and schedule posts efficiently.
Google alerts: I have set alerts for all my clients (past and present). Although the alerts are not real time, they are up-to-date enough, and I have often told my clients about online mentions they had missed. I also have an alert for my name. It’s good to know when someone is “talking” about me. (This probably wouldn’t work if I were named “Mary Smith.” Fortunately, there aren’t that many people named ”Kay Paumier.”)
HARO: I’ve written about Help a Reporter Out (HARO) before. This free service helps connect reporters with sources for their stories. Here’s how it works. Three times a day HARO emails or tweets inquiries from reporters looking for information or people to interview. People who respond to the inquiries will either answer questions or outline their credentials to encourage the reporters to talk with them. I’ve used HARO successfully for years; a friend even got mentioned in The Wall Street Journal thanks to a HARO inquiry. It’s a real publicity “mainstay.”
Dragon speech recognition software: I recently fractured my shoulder—which I do not recommend—and was typing with one hand—also not recommended. So I started using the Dragon NaturallySpeaking speech-recognition software. It’s definitely not perfect but it does help me capture my thoughts quickly. (I dictated the first draft of this post using the software.) A word to the wise: turn Dragon off when you’re on the phone. Otherwise the software tries to capture what you’re saying. I have had some interesting sentences appear in the middle of my drafts.
Doodle: This free, online calendar tool says it will help you schedule a meeting “twice as fast” (as traditional ways). They are too modest. Doodle speeds things up much more than that. The approach is straightforward. You suggest dates and times on an online table. The invited participants indicate their availability, and the organizer identifies the date and time that will work. This eliminates a lot of back-and-forth.
The telephone: How retro is this? Personally, I think the phone is one of the most under-rated business tools. Too many people try to discuss things on email and via text. Those are great ways to share information, but they are not discussion platforms. My rule of thumb: if we haven’t settled something in three emails, pick up the phone. It’s amazing how effective that old-fashioned method of communication—talking with people—can be.
What about you? What tools do you find helpful?