When I graduated from college and started working for the first time in the ‘real world’, I thought everything I was learning was sort of a standardised practice in every company. Processes, not those related to a specific industry, of course, but processes in general, I thought, were the same everywhere.

But boy, was I wrong.

The thing was, the first company I worked full-time for, was a big multinational company with very large budgets and large teams. Luckily, or unluckily, for me, I choose to see it both ways; I got used to working with agencies for everything.

I worked with many creative agencies for internal campaigns and everyday artwork; PR agencies for external and crisis communications, event agencies for very small, regular and big events, with agencies to produce long and short videos for internal use, and they did everything for me. But as much as this taught me about working with big teams, managing results, and polishing my attention to details, there were other significant abilities I was not using.

I got used to getting everything done by others, as the execution of many of these tasks were part of their responsibilities. Of course, I was constantly communicating with them and giving directions, but this way of working didn’t allow me to learn how to execute. I only knew how to set-up a strategy and monitor the processes, but not actually do the thing I was asking for.

This is not good or bad; I guess it depends on what you want to focus on, and I think if you know how to do these things, just working on the strategy is perfectly reasonable.

But I didn’t know how to do these tasks, and I didn’t know that I didn’t know.

Then, years later, I started working for another organisation that had an entirely different set of processes and expectations. This was a small company that did not work with any agency other than the occasional designer for specific projects. And, as excited as I was, I was equally nervous because I needed to do all sorts of designs, produce videos, do websites and mailing campaigns, among many other things.

At first the challenge seemed big, but day by day, I started figuring out how to do these things with the help of my co-workers and especially Mr. Google, who is now my BFF.

That’s why I put together this list with my three favourite tools that I used, or still do, for any business communicator that may need them and doesn’t know where to start. I’ve been there and done that now, as well as failed miserably sometimes. But I hope that if you are ever in my shoes, this article can bring a little bit of enlightenment.

Also, I’ll be updating the list when I find new tools that could be useful for everyone.

Canva for design

There’s a free and paid version of this design tool, and although I have access to both, I really don’t see the need for the paid version. Canva allows you to create all kinds of designs, from brochures to social posts, magazine covers, letterheads, infographics, etc. Really, whatever you might need, you can do it with Canva. Even edit the colour of images. You don’t need any design knowledge, you just need to drag and drop elements, upload images, change colours, and write text, and your design will be ready to download in PDF, JPG, PNG or GIF format.

PS: If you have design experience or want to do it professionally, there’s always Photoshop, Indesign or Illustrator, which, with a little help from online tutorials, can go a long way.

Also, if you need free stock images, you can check out sites such as www.pixabay.com and www.rawpixel.com

Animoto for videos

Until a few months ago, I was using iMovie to edit videos, but then I started learning Adobe Premiere Pro. If you have a Mac, using iMovie is really straightforward; you just drag, drop, cut and insert elements. But if you don’t want to spend much time on a video, Animoto is a better alternative.

You can produce square or landscape videos, and edit captions. It also has a music library that you can choose from, if there’s the need. You can create a video in 15 minutes or so with this tool. They have paid plans starting at 10 euros a month, although I would recommend the 20-euro plan, which has more colours and songs available, and also doesn’t have the Animoto logo at the end of your video.

PS: If you are using iMovie and need a song, the YouTube Audio Library has tons of great songs that you can download in seconds.

To get the most out of your iPhone 7 (or above), there’s a little trick you can use for quality videos.

  1. Go to Settings>Camera.
  2. Turn Grid on (as above). This helps with framing when shooting.
  3. Click on Record Video and change settings to 4K at 30fps (or 1080p HD at 30fps if the phone can’t shoot 4K).
  4. Click on Formats and tick Most Compatible.
  5. Done!
Create websites quickly with Google Sites

Do you need a simple website for an event or a specific purpose? It doesn’t get any better than this. I won’t even explain how it works because once you look at it, it’s really clear. You can create multiple pages within the same page with different headers, type of contents and so on and bam, you have your website! Super easy and quick.

Finally, as an FYI, there are many more tools available, such as WordPress, for more-elaborate websites, Mailchimp for mailing campaigns and BeFunky to quickly edit images for whatever you need, as well as other sites that are waiting to be discovered through detailed tutorials on YouTube.

It all might seem overwhelming at first if you’ve never created content, but once you try these tools, you’ll get used to them in a second. Also, these are great to have available when you manage smaller budgets and can’t outsource some things. Plus, you’ll learn a whole new set of skills as well.

Image by www.pixabay.com

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