For several years I have been an avid user of a software program called Evernote. It’s a useful tool that has become a hub for my daily activity. At its most basic, it serves as an organization tool for notes, emails, files, and more. The data stays in sync with your mobile devices and even multiple computers.
Used creatively, however, Evernote becomes much more than an electronic notebook or filing cabinet. It can help manage a communicator’s workflow to improve the results of any public relations or marketing efforts.
Most folks can get by with the free version of the product, making it a very appealing choice for staying organized and productive.
Here are some specific ideas that will help get the most out of Evernote:
1. Track your ideas for pitches, owned media content, and more.
It is very easy to use Evernote to stockpile ideas for blog posts, pitches, and other marketing efforts. The tag-based filing system makes it very easy to take a web page, an email, or just some free-form notes and organize them appropriately. Whenever you feel writer’s block coming on, just hit your ideas file.
2. Prepare yourself for meetings with bosses, assistants, and others.
If you create tags in Evernote that are prepended with the “@” symbol, it’s a good way to denote an item that needs to be discussed with a specific person. It can be a great way to prepare for weekly 1-on-1’s, client meetings, or ongoing relationships with reporters.
3. File your receipts.
All of those emailed receipts for various services need to go somewhere. If you forward them to your personal, private Evernote address, they will be in your online file cabinet when you need to create reports. You can also scan or even photograph receipts and put them right in your Evernote notebooks for digital safekeeping.
4. Organize your research.
Whether you’re working on a blog post, magazine article, white paper, or even a book, Evernote can be a great place to store and organize your research. Since you can apply any number of tags to a piece of information, it makes it an ideal way to put data and information at your fingertips when you need it.
5. File your clips.
With the ability to email information in or clip web pages with a special bookmarklet, Evernote is well suited to becoming a repository for media clips that you want to refer back to. It may not be as robust as a dedicated media monitoring tool like CustomScoop, but it can supplement both free and paid tracking services by helping you to establish an easily searchable archive integrated with your other research and information.
6. Improve business development activities.
Communicators who work in agencies are always on the hunt for new client opportunities. Evernote gives you the easy ability to store articles about interesting prospects, lists of leading companies in certain sectors that you find on web sites, information about specific leads, or even just ideas to pursue.
7. Achieve the elusive “Inbox Zero.”
Who doesn’t want to get rid of all the email in their inbox? Using Evernote it is very easy to achieve – and maintain – Inbox Zero. If you get an email you can’t deal with right away, forward it to your secret Evernote email address and you can then put it alongside other key tasks and information.
8. Put your tasks in order.
Evernote isn’t a task manager, but the flexible tagging system it contains allows it to be used for just that. The best part is that because you can apply multiple tags, a single piece of information can be a task, as well as archived research, an idea, or anything else you can think of. Just apply the appropriate tags, and you’re all set. Consider setting up tags for tasks that need to be done today, this week, or just sometime. These simple buckets will help keep you focused.
9. Mark things to read, watch, or check out later.
How many times a day do you come across an article, video, or web site you want to explore more? The typical approach is to either consume the content right away or forget about it. The alternative is to add an item to a task list that also has much more important stuff on it. Or perhaps stash a sticky note on your monitor reminding you to check it out later. If you add a simple @CheckOut tag to your Evernote setup, you’ll be able to toss in all sorts of goodies to consume later.
10. Share information with colleagues.
With the premium version of Evernote, it is possible to share notebooks between users. For communicators who are collaborating with others on projects, having a single place to store and access research can be extraordinarily helpful.
11. Take better notes when you’re out at meetings.
We may not do those 3 martini lunches with reporters anymore (alas, those were the days), but most communicators spend lots of time in meetings (including some over much healthier and less liquid lunches). Rather than fumbling for pen and paper, you can just whisk out your smartphone and put your notes directly into Evernote. No more rifling through your purse or wallet to find the crumbled scrap of notepaper afterward, just fire up your computer and you’ll have the info you just entered on your phone an hour earlier.
These are just some of the ways that Evernote can make life easier for communicators. What are the ways you use Evernote to make you a more effective public relations or marketing pro?