Frustrated with PhotoShop? Getting anxiety over urgings to get your organization more interactive via the web? Had it up to here with technology user manuals that are more complicated than a Rubik’s Cube?
You could probably use some tools that offer simplicity and a short learning curve so you can get up and running fast. Here are 7 tools for 2011 that fit that bill. Check them out and see how they can help your communications grow, become more interactive, and grab more attention.
1. CamStudio: Looking for open source, 100% free computer screen and audio recording software? CamStudio just might be the simplest of them all. This lightweight software gets the job done. And best of all, you can download it and be up and running in minutes and recording your first screencast (seriously, I’m not kidding about the ‘minutes’ part). CamStudio is perfect for creating an internal computer training library of files. Use it for customer tutorials of new features on your website. Or use your imagination.
2. Lexy: Personalize your social media even more by creating audio tweets and audio Facebook posts that are one to three minutes in length. Once you sign up, your audio posts are catalogued as ‘shows’ in your free account by Lexy. You can easily post a show to Twitter or Facebook with a simple click. Audio tweets or audio Facebook posts are great ways to elevate your connection power to users. Audio tweets and posts allow to you to show emotion, compassion, energy, etc., in ways that words can’t.
3. Rypple: This web-based social software is designed to help organizations manage feedback and provide coaching. It’s free to use for one-on-one coaching (involving only one user, and one person to be coached). For very small nonprofits, this may be useful, and that’s why I’ve included it on this list. For larger nonprofits (user plus up to eight people being coached), the cost is $19 per month. Sure, email can be used for coaching, as well as face-to-face, but Rypple’s all-in-one feedback platform does make it more efficient and compartmentalized for tracking.
4. 280slides: Need to make a presentation and share it anywhere in the world, or with an audience at an event or campaign kickoff? 280slides helps you do it with incredible ease and a user-friendly system that is virtually goof-proof. There are even built-in themes to give your presentation a polished and professional look. Because you don’t download any software, your presentations are securely stored by 280slides. Here’s another handy feature, you can download your presentation to PowerPoint format (on Twitter, we would use the hashtag #woot to communicate our excitement!).
5. Pixlr: It’s common to hear small nonprofits get frustrated when dealing with photo manipulation, resizing, etc. Pixlr makes it super simple. This free, web-based image editing system will be a breath of fresh air if you’re pulling your hair out over trying to learn and use PhotoShop.
6. Ustream: Ustream isn’t new, but it’s surprising how many nonprofits still don’t know about it. If you have a computer, internet connection, and a camera you can broadcast an event live for free. There’s no limits on audience size. Using web streaming technology gives you unlimited possibilities. Stream a media conference. Stream a major announcement. Stream an event. Ustream instantly helps you deliver experiences to your audience from the comfort of their own chairs.
7. PitchEngine: Developed by a former journalist turned PR guy, PitchEngine lets you publish media releases for free. Now, there are lots of places on the web to pitch media releases, but PitchEngine is the best free option and is indexed by major search engines (that’s free viral marketing and premium visibility for you!). You can also circulate your release via social media. Don’t get confused by all the pricing plans on the PitchEngine site. Just register for free and take advantage of the no-cost ability to submit one media release per 30-day period. No cost. No hassle. Just free exposure. And maybe more media attention than you imagined.