Our Favorite Apps, Services and Software in 2018
⌛ By Kaylin Staten ⌛
December is the time of reflection as we sit and reminisce about the almost-passed year and plan for the upcoming new year. At Hourglass Media, we have written our Christmas and 2019 resolutions lists and checked them twice. And we would be remiss to not talk about some #behindthehourglass hacks that have shaped our business from the beginning to 2018.
We have a whole host of favorite apps, software, services, products and personal-life hacks, so it was challenging to narrow it down to just 10 items! The following 10 items have impacted Hourglass Media in positive and productive ways in 2018 and will continue to do so in 2019 and beyond.
Here are some of our favorites from 2018:
One of our favorite ways to schedule our Hourglass Media posts is through Later. I’ve used Hootsuite since my nonprofit days at United Way of the River Cities, but Later has a special place in my heart. We use it to schedule our Hourglass Media posts for Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. If you’re not using a free or paid social-media-post-scheduling platform, consider using Later. It connects seamlessly with your social media accounts, is aesthetically pleasing and easy to use. It’s $90/year for 100 posts on each social media platform per month.
We love using social media to tell our clients’ stories -- as well as our own -- but the most effective is Instagram. It’s visual format is conductive to engagement and higher levels of impressions. One of the most impactful ways to tell your business’ narratives and reach your target audiences is through Instagram. With more that 800 million users, you are bound to reach a strong segment of users who will purchase your product or services.
I’ve been live on local news segments on several occasions, so I’ve seen the behind-the-scenes life of news stations. While I am a PR pro by trade, I’m still not a natural behind the camera without a little bit of help. That is why I use Reporter while recording professional videos on my phone. You can write a script within the app or copy/paste wording from another source. It shows up as a teleprompter on your phone so you can read with ease without memorizing! (I do recommend practicing at least once, though.) We use the free version, but monthly ($9.99/month) and annual ($59.99/year) options are available if you want your own logo and other perks.
Shout-out to all of the Rabbit-Hole Wanderers! You may unlock your phone for completely valid and productive reasons, but then, you come to your senses an hour or so later wondering how you started researching how to create salt ornaments with your pet’s paw prints on them. Yeah, that happens to me frequently! That’s why I use the Space app. It helps me retain my focus and keep on track with my daily goals and objectives without being glued to my phone for non-work-related things. My minutes do add up when I’m reading my Amazon Kindle and Play Books content, but hey, that’s productive relaxation reading, right? Begin tracking your progress through time spent, number of unlocks and data usage. All of us need a digital detox from time to time.
A lack of communication between you and your team could cost your company time and money. In a media company, it’s important that you stay on the same page with your team and clients. We use Asana to keep projects on track and talk amongst team members to assess progress and deadlines. We also upload files within the native app and website, which makes it easy for everyone to see each item. No more “I didn’t receive your email”! Everything is housed right within the app. With so many projects always on the forefront and back burner, an app like Asana makes Hourglass Media’s daily operations run more smoothly.
Adobe Creative Cloud
I’ve used Adobe programs since I was a 14-year-old aspiring high school journalist. (R.I.P., Pagemaker.) We invest in Adobe Creative Cloud for Hourglass Media, which always allows us to have our favorite applications (InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator and more) on several computers and right at our fingertips. Adobe products allow you to create professional works of art from scratch or templates. And we love Adobe Spark Page!
Nothing fuels our work days like our favorite playlists and podcasts. Spotify Premium is our favorite spot to add songs to our Hourglass Media playlist or listen to new music.
Creating templates from scratch can take a while, and when you need a quick solution that still adheres to your brand, use Canva to make your own graphics. We use it for a slew of graphics, including blog post covers, social-media posts, flyers, invitations, cover photos and more. You can choose from several free options, including templates, icons, photos and fonts, or upload your own. There is a paid option, but we use it for free and pay à la carte for graphics.
Storytellers love to read other people’s stories. If you’re looking for some books to read on your downtime, look no further than Overdrive. Use your current library card and access thousands of free book titles. You may have to wait a month or two to read popular titles, but you can place holds and will be emailed when they are available. My WV Reads account connects to my Amazon account and lets me read books on an device with the Kindle app.
Since October, I’ve been on a personal quest to become a healthier version of myself that translates into each facet of my life. So, I started WW (formally Weight Watchers) and have already seen results in the form of losing 15 pounds. The app helps you track your weight, foods and activity while also giving you recipes and stories from real-life people on their own journeys to better health. Some favorite recipes so far: Southwestern chicken soup, mozzarella and tomato paninis, General Tso’s chicken, Mexican salad, chili-lime black bean soup, chocolate and pear quesadillas, mini chocolate chip cookies and southern-style oven-fried chicken. Moderation is key, and the WW app helps me stay on track with my health goals.
Here’s to more favorites in 2019!
Copyright © MMXVIII Hourglass Media, LLC
Kaylin R. Staten, APR is an award-winning public relations practitioner and writer. She owns Hourglass Media, a consulting company based in Huntington, WV.
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