Social Media Sunday – Blog Tools and Trainings

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Some posts on this site contain affiliate links, meaning if you book or buy something through one of these links, I may earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you!). Opinions are always my own and I’ll never promote something I don’t use or believe in.

I have found myself answering the question about what tools I use a lot lately, mainly offline over lunch and coffee. But I have also received emails asking what I use for “this” or “that.” So I decided to write this post that I can direct people to and that can be used as a reference.

Besides being a blogger, I am a social media practitioner. It’s my day job. I run a social media program and a social media team at an enterprise level company. That combined with my fifteen-plus years of digital marketing has garnered me a lot of experience which I apply to Misadventures with Andi.

By no means am I an expert. But I am constantly tweaking my “system” for managing my prolific social media life, with my career, with my travel and my husband (and cat). I do that via organization and tools. Lots of tools. I don’t believe in one, I use many!

I also keep up in the space by taking or auditing trainings, online classes and webinars. No matter how long I have been blogging, I always learn something new. You never stop learning!

I want you to know that there are affiliate links in this post, but you should know I use every one of these items and would never tell you to use something that I haven’t tried and wouldn’t stake my reputation on. That is not how I roll! If I say I use it, I use it.

So if you decide you want to try one of these tools, then I get a tiny reward for you doing that. You win, I win.

Getting/Staying Organized

tools-to-keep-your-blog-organized

I function in a highly organized manner, it is just my personality. To do that I need systems and tools. That is my approach. I have a lot of blogging friends that are highly unorganized and they use tools to make sure they are doing what they committed to do. Bottom line is, organized or disorganized, tools can help!

Evernote
My brain is always on, but I am not always able to research a blog post idea or even write a blog post when I like. To keep all my ideas at the tip of my fingers I user Evernote (affiliate). I have over 115 “notes” going which I am continuously adding to. I am able to add tags to each of my notes so that I can easily search for any material I have researched or saved around a particular topic. I use their online and mobile versions as well as a desktop version that synchs and keeps any changes made on any version the most up-to-date and accurate.

Google Calendar
An editorial calendar is great for planning out blog posts, series, and other projects associated to your blog. I have tried different calendaring tools, but always come back to Google Calendar. I can look back over six years! It is easy to use and keeps me organized!

Action Method Notebooks and Moleskines
Back to the idea of not always being able to write when I want to, or have access to a device. I always have an Action Method notebook in my bag for notes. When I am on the road I use a Moleskine for notes while I am touring, interviewing, etc. it fits beautifully in my camera bag and has saved me so many times when I am writing a post several months later!

Content Curation

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I am constantly sharing on social media channels. I share content about the things that I am interested: travel, food, France/Paris, San Francisco, green initiatives, etc. And while I try to keep up on my blog reading there are now a lot of tools that bring the content to you. There are also tools that make scheduling content efficient.

Buffer
One such tool, and my main go-to when I am reading anything on the internet I want to share is Buffer. I learned about this tool from Melissa Culbertson, more on her in a minute. This tool has changed my life! It allows me to add a whole bunch of content into a queue (buffering it…get it?) for future publishing. I set the frequency and I select the channels. Buffer offers the most connected channels: Twitter, Facebook (profiles and pages), Google+, LinkedIn and now even up to 16 RSS feeds. I cannot live without this tool! (There is a free version, I use the paid one.)

Buffer also has a new sister app called Daily that sends new content to me every day and with a swipe of my phone I can add it to my Buffer queue.

CoSchedule
I recently started using CoSchedule (affiliate), a WordPress plug-in, and I love it. With this tool I can easily schedule out existing blog content as I write it, or I can go back through the integrated calendar through posts I have written in the past and reshare them on social. New people follow me on social media every day as well as visit the blog, this is a way of sharing existing content that might interest someone who has never seen it before.

Prismatic
Prismatic is a tool that aggregates content based on interests and it is supposed to get smarter as it learns what you like to share. I use this tool to augment content, but there are flaws. First I can only share to Twitter or my personal Facebook page. Secondly, I can only share immediately and I can’t schedule it for a future date. Oftentimes I find content and then use Hootsuite to schedule it.

Klout
Besides being the defacto influence rating tool, Klout is not curating content for you based on keywords that you add into their Create tool. At this point in time it is only limited to Twitter, but I can schedule it out. Klout also offers suggested publishing times as well.

Hootsuite
I use Hootsuite to schedule content on my social media channels. I use it primarily for my own blog posts, but I also use it for content I find on Prismatic or Klout. There is a free version, I use the paid one (affiliate) as it allows me more features and channels. Hootsuite is now also offering curated content to share as well…bonus!

Twitterfeed
I have over 600 blogs in my RSS feed (I use NewsBlur) and have been reading certain blogs for a very long time. I trust their content. It is always good and I want to support the bloggers who consistently write good content on social media channels. I use a tool called Twitterfeed to auto-publish the content of these select bloggers. I read over 600 blogs, I have only 22 that I have added to Twitterfeed.

Trainings, Webinars and Resources

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I have used all of these items listed in this section with the exception of one (I’ll identify it) and every one of them has brought me a lot of value.

In my first year of blogging I signed up to do Problogger’s 31 Days to Build a Better Blog (affiliate) and immediately learned so many actionable learnings that still guide me today. I was grateful to have had the foresight to do this early in my blogging career, but the material is good for bloggers at any level. I still refer back to the content six years later.

I have also recently helped a few brand new bloggers and think that Problogger’s Guide to your First Week of Blogging (affiliate) is a great resource. There is a reason that Darren Rowse of Problogger is a master!

I am a regular reader of Melissa Culbertson’s Blog Clarity blog (formerly Momcomm), I really enjoy her writing and insights. A few years ago I took her Content Brew course and loved it! I learned about Buffer from her, and I learned about Evernote (affiliate) from her as well, two tools that I love! The course reinforced a lot of the practices that I learned through my experiences in digital marketing and for people who haven’t worked in a professional marketing environment, I can tell you, Melissa’s course will teach you a lot.

The one training I have yet to take, but I know it’s going to be a good one is Pinning Perfect, also from Melissa. This one is a 2-week where Melissa has engaged Pinterest expert, Anna Luther from My Life and Kids to share her pinning secrets. The August course is already sold out, I am signed up for the September one and can’t wait to take it!

Well…those are the blog tools and trainings that I use. They have helped form me into the blogger I am today.

How about you? What tools have helped you? Please share!

68 Comments

  1. laurie damrose
    August 25, 2014

    Thank you for the inspiring post,I learned a few things.

    Reply
  2. Katie @ Domestiphobia
    August 26, 2014

    LOVE this post. Thank you! I’m a bit overwhelmed as I see I have some learning to do… maybe over a glass (or three) of wine. 😉

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      August 26, 2014

      @Katie, you nut, you are doing a bang up job as is…but I would feel great if you started using something I used and loved it!

      Reply
  3. Katie @ Domestiphobia
    August 26, 2014

    Aww, thanks! I’m not sure my dismal social media numbers would agree though — time to get crackin’!

    Reply
  4. Davia
    August 27, 2014

    Thanks for this ! needed it

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      August 27, 2014

      @Davia, my pleasure! Which type if tools are you looking for?

      Reply
  5. Lauren Martin
    September 14, 2014

    The WP editorial calendar helps me schedule out posts that I want to write but dont’ have time. And I love the mobile version of WP to write a post if I have a stroke of brilliance so I don’t forget it. You posted many of the same ones I use, I’ve also been experimenting with stumbleupon for more traffic.
    Xx
    Lauren M
    Make it a Double Please

    Reply
  6. Crystal & Co
    September 20, 2014

    I think our Learn to Blog Hangouts and forum are great resources too. Hour long videos where we give you actionable tasks and step by step tutorials on how to grow your blog!

    Reply
  7. Alyssa
    September 20, 2014

    Great ideas here i seem to try new things but then quickly FORGET about them, my problem is consistency – – any advice on that?

    Reply
  8. Brenda
    September 24, 2014

    I’ve definitely used hoot suite and Klout before, but I totally forgot about Evernote. I definitely need to see how it can help with my blog!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      September 24, 2014

      @Brenda, definitely do I love Evernote! You can use it online and offline and then synch so you don’t need to be connected.

      Reply
  9. kristine foley
    September 24, 2014

    Amen! Using tools to our advantage is important to be successful! Thanks for sharing such useful and helpful info!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      September 24, 2014

      @Kristine, what tools do you use?

      Reply
  10. Angelic Sinova
    September 24, 2014

    I love evernote! I also use a blogging planner to help keep organized <3

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      September 24, 2014

      @Sinova, what kind of blog planner?

      Reply
  11. Fi
    September 24, 2014

    The only ones of these I use are notebooks and Klout!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      September 24, 2014

      @Fi, good old fashioned notebooks work brilliantly!

      Reply
  12. Kayli Schattner
    September 24, 2014

    Such great resources here for any blogger!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      September 24, 2014

      @Kayli, thanks I hope you find them useful!

      Reply
  13. Alyssa
    September 24, 2014

    Wow, I’ve never heard of half of these things! haha! I guess I need to get learning! Great post!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      September 24, 2014

      @Alyssa, try one or two out, most have free versions until you find ones you like.

      Reply
  14. Marissa
    September 24, 2014

    Thanks for sharing such an extensive list! I want to try them all but I’m thinking I should start with one or two 🙂

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      September 24, 2014

      @Marissa, definitely start slow and then layer others on until you get the right mix.

      Reply
  15. Chelsea
    September 24, 2014

    I am going to have to check out those courses you listed! I am always looking to learn more about blogging- it really is ever changing!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      September 24, 2014

      @Chelsea, it evolves every week, so much to keep up on!

      Reply
  16. The Accidental Mama
    September 24, 2014

    I tried to like HootSuite but their interface was so glitchy!
    xoxo
    The Accidental Mama

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      September 24, 2014

      @TheAccidentalMama, they have made a lot of improvements, maybe give it another try!

      Reply
  17. Nancy
    September 24, 2014

    I love that word “social media practitioner” – never heard it used before (the last part).

    I’m pretty organized when it comes to my blog, but basically nothing else in life. I do use a pen/paper combo to keep track of my published posts, if they went live, what dates and if they were schedueled on Hootsuite.

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      September 24, 2014

      @Nancy, yep that’s what we call ourselves in the corporate social media world! Good old pen and paper works for a lot of things!

      Reply
  18. Lix
    September 24, 2014

    I love Evernote. Haven’t managed to keep up a calendar of any sort for long though and I suck at keeping my to-do lists and paper notebooks updated. What does Action Method mean?

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      September 24, 2014

      @Lix, Action Method is a type of notebook with built-in to-do lists.

      Reply
  19. Amby Felix
    September 24, 2014

    This is a TON of great information! I am learning so much regarding social media sometimes my head feels like it’s going to pop lol but I love knowing the ins and outs and can’t wait until I’m a pro!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      September 25, 2014

      @Amby, I here you on the head exploding part – you should see how much there is to keep up on social media when you do it for a brand too, a whole other set of tools!

      Reply
  20. ananda
    September 24, 2014

    thanks andi for the great tips!!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      September 25, 2014

      @Ananda, I am glad you found them useful!

      Reply
  21. Erica
    September 24, 2014

    Oh my goodness so much (great) information. I’m going to have to come back to this post when I have more time. I definitely want to take some classes, I know there is so much to learn!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      September 25, 2014

      @Erica, yes blogging evolves so quickly, thank goodness there are others who keep up on it all!

      Reply
  22. Jessica Doll
    September 25, 2014

    These all sound like wonderful tools. I use a few of them already but find that working across so many is a lot of work for me. I’ll have to check out CoSchedule though, you’re the second person to mention how awesome it is !

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      September 25, 2014

      @Jessica, yeah it can get a little overwhelming, you just have to find the right ones that work for you.

      Reply
  23. Carly Anderson
    September 25, 2014

    Thanks for sharing these great tools with us! I absolutely love CoSchedule. I am going to go check out TwitterFeed now. I love using Feedly to keep up with all the blogs I follow.

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      September 25, 2014

      @Carly, I need to get back to Feedly I jump in and out of using it, but I need to make it more of a habit!

      Reply
  24. jess
    September 25, 2014

    Thank you for sharing. These are great tips and I’m always looking for new tools!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      September 25, 2014

      @Jess, I hope you find a new one that works for you!

      Reply
  25. Katie Matthews
    September 25, 2014

    Great tips! I schedule posts on Facebook and on tweetdeck which helps me out a lot!

    Katie <3

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      September 25, 2014

      @Katie, thanks, yes every little bit helps!

      Reply
  26. Chrissy
    September 25, 2014

    Yup, I’ve got about 5 new tabs open! Thanks for the suggestions! I’m really intrigued by Prismatic, if there is something that can generate content from the web based on what I and my followers like, that’s social media gold!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      September 25, 2014

      @Chrissy, I could not agree with you more on Prismatic – they need more lifestyle content and I think that is the next evolution of these content curation tools, which will be awesome.

      Reply
  27. Rebekah
    September 25, 2014

    Thank you for the tips! I’m new to Hootsuite but it looks super useful!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      September 25, 2014

      @Rebekah, I hope you like it!

      Reply
  28. Winter White
    September 25, 2014

    Andi I have come to really love your blog and look forward to reading your posts. Thank you for the insight! am pinning this for further review and to sign up for some of those courses!

    Reply
  29. kendall
    September 25, 2014

    Love your tips – I use both hoot suite and buffer for scheduling – both are great!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      September 26, 2014

      @Kendall, thanks, glad for the affirmation you like these tools.

      Reply
  30. JoAnn
    September 25, 2014

    So much awesome information! I also use Hootsuite and am seriously considering co-schedule. Also, thinking of checking out the ProBlogger e-book! BTW, the checkbox to sign up for the newsletter under the comments is genius! How did you do that? And I see you are now able to send readers an email with a response to their comment. How did you do that as well? I want both! 😀

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      September 26, 2014

      @JoAnn, I have a developer who is like a little elf and helps me get these things up in running. The response to comments is a plugin for WordPress, I can get you the info, is your blog on WordPress?

      Reply
  31. Deanna Ritz
    September 26, 2014

    These are some really great tips on how to have a successful Blog. Thanks, I’ve pinned so I can go back later and read it in more detail. Thanks so much!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      September 26, 2014

      @Deanna, I am glad you found it useful!

      Reply
  32. Jemma @ Celery and Cupcakes
    September 26, 2014

    Evernote is such a great tool for staying organised, love it!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      September 26, 2014

      @Jemma, so glad to hear, with the new baby coming soon you will need to be super organized 😉

      Reply
  33. Leslyn
    September 26, 2014

    I just pinned this on Pinterest so I can use these tools! They sound like great programs! Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      September 26, 2014

      @Leslyn, I hope you find one you like!

      Reply
  34. JoAnn
    September 26, 2014

    Yes, my blog is on WordPress 🙂

    Reply
  35. Ayana Pitterson
    September 29, 2014

    This is probably one of the BEST, INFORMATIVE and PRACTICAL information I have come across regarding blogging. THANK YOU and you have a new follower for LIFE! lol.

    Thrifting Diva
    http://www.thriftingdiva.com

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      September 30, 2014

      @Ayana, oh wow! Thank you so much!

      Reply
  36. Myrabev
    October 13, 2014

    Thanks for this post its pinned so I can refer back to the many tips you have shared, I love hootsuite like crazy

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      October 14, 2014

      @Myrabev, I am glad you found it useful!

      Reply
  37. Jill Pond
    December 10, 2014

    This is so useful, andi! Thank you. Now, to actually get signed up for something will be the next task…

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      December 13, 2014

      @Jill, I hope they work for you!

      Reply
  38. estherjulee
    December 15, 2014

    seriously.. what would i ever do without evernote & hootsuite!

    Reply

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