software and toolsOn the eleventh day of Christmas, Spin Sucks gave to me…11 software and tools, 10 books for communicators, nine PR pros to follow, eight podcasts to subscribe to, seven blogs to read, six online courses, five effective storytelling rules, four productivity tools, three books on writing, two marketing trends, and a professional goal for 2019.

Software and tools? Softwares and tools?

I think software. You know what I mean!

Here we are…closing in on the end of our 12 Days of Christmas series.

One of the things we discuss at great length quite often in the Spin Sucks community, is the software and tools everyone uses.

So, rather than have you dig through many conversations, I thought I’d put it all right here for you.

You’re welcome.

Here are the 11 software and tools you must be using in 2019!

Software and Tools: Active Campaign

A few years ago, we graduated from Mailchimp (which I recommend until you get to about 10,000 subscribers) and went straight into ActiveCampaign.

Because of the work we do for clients, we had experience using HubSpot, Infusionsoft (or Infusionhard, as I call it), Marketo, and Rainmaker.

ActiveCampaign, hands-down, was far easier to understand, implement, and use almost immediately.

No week-long, in-person training. No 7,500 hours (slight exaggeration) of online training.

Just set it up and go!

We love it. The only thing I don’t love is the “deal” section is supposed to be a CRM, but it won’t work for our needs (see Nutshell below).

So keep that in mind if you’re looking for an all-in-one package.

Software and Tools: Brand24

Discover what people are saying online about your brand—as it unfolds in real time.

Brand24 gives you instant access to mentions about your brand across the web, from social networks to influential publishers.

They also provide an influencer score, which helps you identify people with the most social influence—especially as it relates to your brand.

AND their sentiment analysis is some of the best I’ve ever seen. Rarely do we have to manually recategorize mentions.

Best of all? It integrates with Slack. Yippee!

If you’re looking for a new media and social media monitoring tool for 2019, we love Brand24!

(I personally am in there multiple times a day and I don’t handle our social media. Which means at least three of us on my team use it multiple times a day. It’s that good!)

Software and Tools: BuzzSumo

BuzzSumo is an influencer research and monitoring tool that we can’t live without.

It allows you to:

  • Find content that is most shared on social media channels. Just enter your domain or another, and see what has been shared that site on the social networks.
  • Find influencers related to particular topics, from grass feed and pig’s tails to business leadership and marketing. You need a topic? They have it!
  • Get alerts based on keywords, brand name, links, author name, or domain.
  • Track competitors and do an analysis based on their content.

They also are constantly introducing new features and roll out new tutorials several times a year.

Want to try them out in 2019?

They are our 30-Day Communications Challenge partner and have a discount for anyone who buys this year’s eBook.

Software and Tools: CoSchedule

It’s no secret that I love CoSchedule.


It is the only tool we use for project management, email marketing planning, social media scheduling, editorial calendar planning and execution, and, and, and.

It’s crazy easy to use and it allows you to quickly see, at a glance, who is working on what.

Plus, it has little boxes that you can check off when you’re finished with a task.

So satisfying.

I got hooked on the social media templates that allow us to share our content multiple times without doing them all invidually.

And then I kept trying more and more things and now everyone in my organization is hooked.

Plus, there may be a 2019 Gini/CoSchedule wedding and you don’t want to miss out on that.

Software and Tools: Iris

You may recognize the name Aly Saxe. She’s guest blogged for us on occasion and you can find her around the interwebz. She’s not afraid to speak her mind.

She is, in fact, one of my most favorite people on earth. She’s smart, she’s analytical, and she really gets what the PR industry is missing.

But she’s not the tool to consider for 2019 that I am going to recommend (she can’t even be accused of being a tool).

Her company, Iris, is the PR tool I recommend.

Iris is a PR tool that allows you to track media relations effectiveness.

You BCC an Iris email address when you send a pitch and it stores it in the correct campaign.

As you update the result (interview, story place, speaking engagement contributed content, award won), it automatically updates your file.

And then it pumps out a pretty little graphic, by week, that shows you your effectiveness.

As the business owner and the person in charge of new business, I can look at the graphics and tell a prospect, with confidence, that we place xx percent of the stories we pitch in their industry.

I love it—and I love Aly.


Software and Tools: Lumen5

Lumen5 is an online video creation tool that allows anyone without technical knowledge or experience to easily create an engaging video.

All you have to do is take existing written content (try it out with a blog post) and copy and paste it into their software.

The system is powered by artificial intelligence to help choose the right video clips to match your content.

In just a few seconds, you have a really nice draft of a video.

You do have to go in and make tweaks, but it’s significantly easier—and far more efficient—than starting from scratch.

And, for $49 a month, the price can’t be beat. I mean, really. Think about how much time you’ll save…and then multiply that by your hourly rate.

Trust me. It’s worth the expense.

Software and Tools: Nutshell

This year, as our client size has grown on the Spin Sucks side of the business (yippee!), we had to start using Nutshell, a customer relationship management tool.

We love it so much, we fondly refer to it as Nutlove internally—or ?❤️.

It’s crazy easy to get it set up and integrate with your email marketing. We also have it integrated with our calendar software (ScheduleOnce), our application software (Wufoo), and our customer service software (Zendesk).

In 2019, we’re going to integrate it with IBM Watson to start to build internal training and onboarding videos.

It does all of that…and probably even more!

If you’re looking for an easy-to-use CRM that gives you lots of flexibility and isn’t Salesforce, check out ?❤️.

Software and Tools: SEMRush

Everyone knows I’m a Moz fan, but I was challenged earlier this year to see if SEMRush could also fill that space in my heart (especially now that Rand Fishkin is gone).

And, I have to say, I love it a little more.

Andy Crestodina and I co-hosted their monthly webinar last week and, in real time, he did a screen share and showed everyone (and me) how to use SEMRush to find the questions people are asking in Quora…so you can create content around it.

That is, of course, only one tiny thing they do.

They help with keyword planning, monitor your brand, track social media mentions, do backlink audits, provide insights on your organic traffic, provide updates on your search rankings, and more.

For the same price as Moz, I’m getting more out of it AND it’s far more robust.

So I challenge you for 2019 to consider the alternative and check them out!

Software and Tools: Slack

If you’re already in the Spin Sucks community, you know Slack is a big, big tool for us.

We’ve been using it for years and build our community there for three reasons:

  1. It doesn’t have the Facebook rabbit hole (you know what I’m talking about—don’t pretend it’s just me!) where you open it to go to a work group and 20 minutes later, look up with no idea why you were there in the first place. Then you close it to get back to work, remember you never made it to the group, and reopen it…all to go down another hole.
  2. People were looking for a private place to have conversation where their bosses and/or clients were not hanging out.
  3. We own the data and the relationships.

And Facebook…well, let’s just say there are entire governments out to get them right now. It’ll be interesting to see what happens in 2019, but I’m glad our community is on Slack.

Software and Tools: Temi

Earlier this year, I started using Loom (and now Vidyard) to create videos when providing feedback to our Spin Sucks clients.

It became such a popular way to guide, educate, and inform that I began to use it in other ways.

When I’m interviewed via email, I answer the questions on video and then transcribe it using Temi.

That does two things:

  1. It provides context and body language for my responses; and
  2. It allows the editor to still copy and paste from something written.

We also have been using Temi for all of our recordings and throwing the transcripts into the client’s file in Nutshell.

Next year, when we introduce Watson Personality Insights, we’ll be able to feed those transcripts into the AI and automatically produce training videos.

Pretty cool how it all comes together, isn’t it?

Software and Tools: Zoom

And last, but certainly not least, my Zoom love for video chat.

We introduced Zoom internally several years ago—and then we got our clients to use it for our weekly meetings with them.

Game. Changer.

We suddenly had the full and undivided attention of everyone on the call.

And everyone was engaged and productive.

All because we could see one another’s face.

It’s certainly not a replacement for in-person, and I do still do many phone calls, but video chat works almost as well when you just can’t get together in person.

Plus, with Zoom, you can record calls and transcribe the audio (Temi) and add to your CRM files (Nutshell) so you can eventually use the data to make yourself (or your team) more effective.

Ba da boom!

It’s Your Turn

And now it’s your turn!

Which software and tools do you recommend communicators check out for 2019?

Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder, CEO, and author of Spin Sucks, host of the Spin Sucks podcast, and author of Spin Sucks (the book). She is the creator of the PESO Model and has crafted a certification for it in partnership with Syracuse University. She has run and grown an agency for the past 15 years. She is co-author of Marketing in the Round, co-host of Inside PR, and co-host of The Agency Leadership podcast.

View all posts by Gini Dietrich