This post contains affiliate links. Because this is an affiliate marketing blog, so, #duh. This means I have been, or can be if you click on a link and make a purchase, compensated via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value for writing this post.
There are Tools and then there are Tools, ya dig?
I'm a big fan of “Work smarter, not harder,” partly because I'm lazy, partly because I already work pretty fucking hard, partly because I like to be smart. So, in order to accomplish this credo, I employ a host of tools to up my efficiency. Here's my toolkit:
Constant Contact: Look, building your email list is super important. You own that list, and it's key to keeping your audience engaged. Constant Contact is a great tool and resource for helping to capture those emails, manage your list and send out those ever-so-key newsletters. At ~$20/ month, it takes a lot of the guesswork out of your email marketing strategy.
Shareist: Shareist takes the whole editorial calendar biz to another level. Using Shareist's own set of tools, you can collect different posts and articles around the web into your inbox for curated content — do you do link roundups? Yep, this is perfect for that. You can manage multiple projects at one time, assign tasks, check out your team's progress. Even better, Shareist's team, especially its mastermind Scott Jangro, is the most amazing. Because Shareist isn't a plugin, you can totes use it regardless of which platform you use.
PicMonkey: As bloggers whose job largely involves gorgeous Insta- and pin-worthy photos, I can't recommend PicMonkey enough. Sure, some of y'all have Photoshop, and while I'm totes green with envy about that, my skillz and level of need certainly don't necessitate the software and its bulging price tag. PicMonkey, however, has a free version that has plenty of wiggle room and a paid version (monthly or annually) that has access to many more fun tools and it's still only $33 per year.
PrettyLinks Pro: PrettyLinks is a cloaking / shrinking plugin for WordPress, and it makes my life. The light, free version cloaks and shrinks links, can be set to nofollow and tracks the number of hits. The pro version has an added option of being able to automatically populate set keywords with the designated affiliate link in addition to shrinking, cloaking and tracking. It's magical.
Type-A Disclosure Plugin: FTC disclosure is necessary, but writing it out on each individual post is a PITA. The free version gives you one shortcode option for each post. The paid version gives you options for various situations, from sponsored posts to hosted trips to affiliate posts and more.
Businessese: Sometimes in blogging, you need to make things official. Businessese offers DIY legal forms — think NDAs, sponsorship contracts, etc. — so you don't have to spend a billion dollars retaining a lawyer.
WP Engine: This is my host, and I love them. The customer service is unparalleled and they pretty much take care of EVERYTHING for me. And, even better: Use my link and get 20% off your first payment.
Creative Market:This one-stop-shop for social media packs, WordPress themes, fonts, vector files, logos and so much more is a great resource for anyone who has the wherewithal to do a little DIY. Sign up for the newsletters and you'll get six free downloads delivered to your inbox weekly.