I've got a confession to make - I'm a real geek when it comes to new software.
It's a realm I can't resist exploring, with each new release tempting me like an irresistible addiction.
Over the years, I've ventured into the world of numerous tools, trying out the latest and greatest.
But amidst the sea of options, there are a few that have really stuck and become part of my digital arsenal.
Here are the tools that will make you a better science writer/marketer:
Grammarly/Writefull: Your Grammar Guardians
Let's kick things off with an old favorite, Grammarly.
I've relied on this grammar checker for years, and it's become an indispensable companion.
It seamlessly integrates with virtually all your applications and offers speedy corrections.
If you're like me, someone who prefers to write fast and edit later, Grammarly is a time-saving gem that polishes your drafts, making them presentation-ready.
The Premium version even comes with a rephrasing tool and tone adjustments, a valuable asset for smoothing out those clunky sentences.
And they just added an AI tool that can be handy in some contexts (but still limited, like many AI chatbots).
If you write academic papers, you might want to take a look at Writefull, which is designed specifically for that purpose.
Canva: Design Made Simple
I’ve never been a Photoshop guy.
I just don’t like having to spend hours designing a simple banner.
Canva intuitive drag-and-drop tool makes creating various designs a breeze.
With thousands of templates at your disposal, inspiration is just a click away.
The Canva Pro subscription is also worth every penny as it gives you access to more elements to use in your design and super handy tools like automatic image resizing for social media and other channels.
It's also a viable option to upgrade your dull event booths.
Otter.ai/Rev: Transcription Made Effortless
Transcribing interviews is often a cumbersome task.
Enter Otter.ai, a free transcription tool that leverages AI to generate real-time transcripts of your calls and audio recordings.
The user-friendly mobile app simplifies the process, and a new feature can even capture slides from PowerPoint presentations alongside the text.
If you're after high-quality human-reviewed transcripts, Rev is a worthy alternative, albeit a bit pricier, but the results are worth it.
This is a huge time saver for any type of scientific writer.
Zotero: Organize Your References
Keeping track of academic papers can be a headache, but Zotero swoops in to save the day.
This free reference management tool is a bibliophile's dream.
The bibliography generator is customizable to various academic styles, saving you ample time.
Thanks to its open-source nature, a vibrant community of users continually develops plugins to enhance the tool's functionality.
A must-have for anyone writing academic papers or technical pieces.
Qwoted/HARO: Your Expert Connection
Struggling to find expert quotes?
Qwoted is here to save you time by connecting you with thousands of experts in your field.
It's user-friendly and offers a free starting point, making it a valuable resource for finding interviewees, or even speakers for virtual events or podcasts.
If you can't find what you're looking for there, you can always try HARO (Help A Reporter Out), which offers a similar service.
And why not use those tools to find cool quotes for your boring press releases?
Thesaurus: Wordsmith's Best Friend
Using the same word repeatedly can make your writing monotonous.
If you are looking for a synonym generator, Thesaurus is simply the best (or the finest, if you like synonyms).
It's free and available online without registration, making it a lightning-fast solution for your writing.
Loom/Cleanshot: Embrace Video Communication
Not all communication can be confined to text.
But at the same time, you don't want the headache of organising a meeting when all you need to do is give instructions that take 2 minutes.
Loom is a free video recording tool that allows you to convey your thoughts visually while recording your screen.
It's also ideal for product demos or sharing standard operating procedures with your team.
If you're a Mac user, consider checking out Cleanshot, which includes video capture as well as a great screenshot tool with quick editing features (and if you use Setapp, it’s included in your subscription).
Ulysses/iA Writer: Distraction-Free Writing
If you're like me and find Word and Google Docs cluttered with distractions, Ulysses is your perfect writing app.
The clean interface combined with Markdown (a lightweight markup language for creating formatted text using a plain-text editor) makes it easy to start writing quickly and without distractions.
The tool also has a pretty good export feature with pre-formatted templates and the ability to upload articles to WordPress or Ghost CMS, among others.
While it's only available for Mac users, iA Writer provides a similar experience for PC users.
Tally/Typeform: Survey Your Audience with Ease
Surveying your audience is a crucial aspect of marketing.
There are tons of survey tools out there, but I recently stumbled across a new one that totally won me over.
It's called Tally and it's sort of like what you'd get if you breed Notion with Google Forms.
You can create a ton of forms, from simple signup pages to complex surveys.
The great thing is that the most advanced features you'd pay for in other tools are free (like conditional logic, which is great for longer surveys).
Tally can be embedded anywhere and has a modern look that fits any site.
However, the interface may put some users off, in which case Typeform is the best alternative.
DeepL: Exceptional Translation
Translation is vital for international science communication.
Fortunately, translation tools have come a long way and can translate pretty much anything with accuracy.
Of course, everyone knows Google Translate and it’s definitely one of the best options out there.
But since a few months ago, I've been giving DeepL a chance, and I'm never going back!
DeepL uses AI for its translation and from my experience of translating German text on a regular basis, the tool has consistently beaten Google Translate on every text I have fed it.
It even offers alternative words at the click of a button, which is perfect for accurate translations.
DeepL also features an AI writing editor (in beta) that's quite useful for enhancing English text.
Ghost: A Creator-Friendly CMS
When I started my digital media career back in 2012, there wasn’t much choice when it came to a good CMS (Content Management System).
You could use WordPress and enjoy a pretty decent no-code experience, or you could use one of the many alternatives and scream every time you needed to update some text on your website.
Well, it's been a while, and for many years I've been hoping to find an alternative to Wordpress.
The Holy Grail came a few years ago when I stumbled upon Ghost, a user-friendly CMS built by former WordPress employees.
Built with creators in mind, it boasts an easy-to-use editor and lightning-fast websites, thanks to the absence of plugins that can break (looking at you, WordPress).
The Ghost Pro service is a great choice for non-developers, providing a hassle-free way to get your site up and running.
If you appreciate the slick interfaces of Medium or Substack, but don’t want to rely on an external platform, Ghost is a perfect fit, giving you full control of your website and membership revenues.
Consider it if you want to launch a science blog!
Notion: The Swiss Army Knife of Productivity
I feel it would be pointless to introduce Notion at this point, but there may be a few people who haven't tried it yet.
To put it simply, Notion is one of the rare pieces of software that has really changed the productivity landscape.
Nowadays, most tools are inspired by Notion for their design and user interface.
I'm not a big fan of one-size-fits-all software, because I feel that if you try to fix everything with one application, you'll end up with sub-par results.
But damn, Notion proved me wrong.
Many people swear by this app for everything work-related: project management, to-do lists, journaling, meeting notes, personal wiki, and so on.
And you can really do all that.
But the real killer features for me are the live editing, which lets you work together with your team on the same note (like a Google Doc), and the fact that you can publish pages to the web with just one click.
This is great if you just want to create a quick temporary page that you don't necessarily want on your website, or just share a note with someone with the click of a button.
In the end, the digital landscape is a vast playground filled with many shiny toys that promise to revolutionize our lives.
It's a realm where new ideas are born and old ones are discarded faster than you can say 'update.'
But amidst this frenzy, we must remember that our tools are only as good as the hands that wield them.
So, as you navigate this brave new world of science communication and marketing, be mindful to wield these tools with purpose.
After all, in a world of ever-advancing software and AI, your unique voice is the one tool that truly shines.