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3 New Tools To Help Marketers Battle Information Overload

10 March 2014 BY

Most digital marketers are 24/7 people. We’re always connected — it’s the nature of the job.

But that constant connectivity can cause information overload. There are too many separate things to check: email, IM, social networks, phone calls, Skype, RSS feeds, text messages and so much more. We get distracted. We lose focus. We’re less productive.

Plus, it’s hard to figure out what’s most important.

Three new tools ensure that you get only the information you need, as soon as you need it, in the method you need to get it. Set them up, and you’ll be less distracted and more productive almost immediately, even on a 24/7 cycle.

1. Slack

Slack Tool

Problem it solves

Using some combination of Skype, Google Hangouts, IRC, text messages or email to communicate with your team? Getting notifications from sales CRM or issue tracking software? Drop all of that with Slack.

How it works

Slack centralizes all of your team communication — whether by email, chat or messages — plus RSS and social feeds, plus event logs, plus sales calls, plus just about whatever else you want. It all feeds into one application. Every person gets an individual login.

From there, you can set up public channels with a hashtag — think #seo-team or #website-status — that anyone can follow. Or create private groups for specific tasks or teams — think “client-website-launch” or “support.”

Slack IntegrationsYou can upload photos or documents from your desktop, DropBox or Google Drive directly to any channel or group. Others can click and review those files instantly.

Everything is archived and searchable.

Slack’s outstanding onboarding process means that your entire team can be up and running faster than you thought possible. The interface is simple to learn and navigate. If getting buy-in for new software tends to be difficult at your company, trust me. Everyone will love Slack. 18 people at my company started using Slack in a single afternoon. We haven’t looked back.

Apps and integrations

Fully native apps for iOS and Android, as well as a Mac app, keep you continually connected. Connect everything from Twitter, Trello, GitHub, MailChimp, New Relic, RSS feeds and Asana directly to Slack, or use Zapier to connect dozens more. Developers can use the open API and incoming and outgoing webhooks to create custom integrations.

It took me one minute to add my two most important RSS feeds to Slack. Two minutes to connect mentions of @RavenArienne on Twitter to a private group. 5 minutes more to connect Redmine — a program I’ve never used but that some at my company do — to a public channel in Slack, via Zapier.

Cost

Free, for up to 10,000 messages and 5 external integrations. $8 per person per month for unlimited messages, unlimited external integrations and simple usage statistics. $15 per person per month for unlimited messages, unlimited external integrations and detailed usage stats, reports and analysis.

Where to sign up

Slack.com. (Disclosure: If you use this link instead, you’ll get a $100 credit when you sign up. Then, if you upgrade to a paid account, my team will get a $100 credit, too.)

2. iDoneThis

iDoneThis tool

Problem it solves

Score a major link? Turn a Twitter shout-out into a LinkedIn recommendation? Solve a WordPress plugin issue? For those times when you get something done, and you want a high-five, but it’s not worth an email to the group… iDoneThis is there. Plus, managers can keep up with what’s happening on the team without constant emails or micromanagement.

How it works

Set up a team in iDoneThis.

Each day, at the time you specify, iDoneThis emails one question: “What’d you get done today?” You can reply to the email or go to the iDoneThis website to answer the question. Each team member replies, and the next morning, everyone gets a recap of the previous day’s activity.

iDoneThis dataAnyone on a team can comment on someone else’s “done” or give it a thumbs up. It’s perfect for staying in the loop, sharing quick feedback and celebrating achievements.

iDoneThis has some fun ways of viewing your team’s achievements over time. You can look at a word cloud by the week, month or year. You can see a flow chart of “dones” by team member by day. And because iDoneThis supports hashtags, you can click on any hashtag to pull up “dones” that include it. (My team’s favorites include #TinyVictories, #ThingsCanGetWeirdSometimes and #LateNightSarcasm.)

Apps and integrations

A Chrome extension, Mac app and iPhone app make it easy to track your dones throughout the day. You can directly connect other apps, such as GitHub, Draft and Jinni, to iDoneThis; use Zapier to connect dozens of other apps, too.

Cost

Free for 1 person. $5 per person per month for multiple team members.

Where to sign up

iDoneThis.com. (Disclosure: If you use this link instead, you’ll get one free user and my team will get one free user, too!)

3. Push.co

Pushco app

Problem it solves

If you work alone, without multiple channels of communication, Slack and iDoneThis might be more than you need. But if you still want to get immediate notification about critical news, what better way to get it than via push notification to your mobile phone?

How it works

Push.co was built by The Next Web to send your iPhone a push notification when new stories are published on news outlets like The Next Web (obviously), The Verge and Wired. And while that’s useful, that might not be the information you want to get via push message. What if you want to know as soon as you get an email from a prospect? What if you want to get a push message when there’s Google algorithm news — but only Google algorithm news?

Enter IFTTT. You can use IFTTT as the go-between for your trigger (e.g., “email from Michael Potential Client” or “RSS feed publishes an article containing Google AND algorithm”) and a push notification from Push.co.

Standing alone, IFTTT is a powerful tool for monitoring SEO campaigns. Stack Push.co on top of it, and you’ve just taken campaign monitoring to a new level.

Apps and integrations

Right now, the Push.co app is for iOS only. Android and Firefox OS versions are set to be released in early 2014.

Cost

Free. Plus, you can create push notifications for your own website, RSS feed or WordPress blog. Push notifications right to your subscribers’ mobile phones for free.

Where to sign up

Push.co online, or search for Push.co in the iOS store.

So, what else is new?

Right now, I’m using all three of these brand-new apps — augmented with IFTTT and Zapier — to stay in constant communication without getting information overload.

Most of my company’s important communication happens with Slack. Most of my team’s important communication happens with iDoneThis. And Push.co makes sure I get immediate notifications about what’s important only to me.

What are you using? Is there a more efficient way? How have apps like these helped your productivity? I’d love to hear from you.

AUTHORED BY:
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As Director of Marketing and Customer Experience at Raven, Arienne Holland divides her time between marketing, communications and understanding developers. Before Raven, Arienne spent more than a decade as an editor and graphic designer for Gannett. She’s a factoid junkie, typography aficionado and middle child who just wants everyone to get along.
  • http://cashwithatrueconscience.com/rbblog Ryan Biddulph

    Power tools Arienne! I take breaks each hour using a simple stop watch to keep light, relaxed, present, and to avoid information overload.

    • Arienne Holland

      That’s the most basic tool of all: time away! Do you use an electronic stop watch or a physical one?

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