Brands today are increasingly embracing remote work culture. Some of that is a 2020 phenomenon, with office spaces shut down or repurposed because of ongoing coronavirus pandemic concerns.
But this shift to remote work has been a long time coming. Telecommuting has risen by 173% since 2005. Over the last five years, we’ve seen a 40% increase in employers offering a work-from-home option. By 2028, it’s expected that 73% of all departments will have remote workers.
Remote work is here to stay. But with conveniences come challenges. How do you work efficiently? How do you stay organized with competing priorities?
Luckily—or unluckily, if your name is Sarah Connor—technology is here to save us.
Critical work from home apps
There are different remote work tools for all the different needs remote workers have every day. (While totally useful, we’ll skip over the apps for coffee aficionados and the duvet that literally makes the bed in the morning.)
Here are the tools you’ll want to write home about.
Zoom, for video and voice calling. While it’s true there’s no replacing the nuance of in-person body language and the joy of appreciative guffaws at well-timed dad jokes at the office, Zoom makes it possible to get (kinda) close.
Zoom not only allows for video conferencing and phone calls, but also has some bells and whistles if you want to host webinars or need to give people remote access to your computer.
Slack, for team collaboration (and more). Messaging and communication apps are everywhere, so if you’ve never heard of or tried this app before, we’ll cut you some slack. (This is one of the dad jokes that works better in person because of the required deadpan delivery, by the way.) Slack effectively reduces emails, allowing for teams to collaborate in the channels they need to.
But where Slack really shines is its integrations, allowing alerts and updates from other apps—everything from calendars to cloud storage to CRM platforms—to interact with selected channels. So, it’s not just instant messaging. It’s also dashboards, group schedulers, social post scheduling, and a host of other things remote employees need to do their jobs well.
Airtable, for a better way to do spreadsheets. Let’s get one thing clear: Excel is still sitting pretty on the spreadsheet software throne. But Airtable’s entered its airspace because of how effective it is at structuring all sorts of data.
Designers use Airtable for digital asset management. Developers use it to power content management systems. Brands use it as a CRM system. Marketers use it to build editorial calendars. That’s only five of its use cases.
Google Docs, for collaborative content creation. Typing up documents all by yourself is so 1995. Today, remote teams are working together by living simultaneously in the same document. Some of it is for efficiency, and some of it is for the wow factor of watching different people from different places create something in real time.
A few more essential tools for content marketing
For successful remote content marketing, here are a few additional tools and apps worth exploring.
Canva, for social graphics and visual templates. After three days, people remember only 10% of the original information they’ve heard. But pair a relevant image with that same information? People end up retaining 65% of it. Canva is a simple-to-use design tool that equips marketers and brands with the visuals they need to tell compelling digital stories.
Pathfactory, for content experiences. In B2B marketing, where sales cycles are longer and purchasing decisions are made by buying committees, content marketing is an especially important factor in improving conversions downstream.
Pathfactory allows marketers to set up Netflix-esque portals so users can binge on brand- or campaign-related content and self-nurture. So, instead of waiting for emails to drip to your segments every one or two weeks, users can engage with a bunch of content in one sitting (if they want to). The prospects who spend time binging? They’ll probably make good customers.
Ahrefs, for SEO and competitor research… and content ideation. As the saying goes, a jack of all trades is usually a master of none. Ahrefs is a true masterclass. There’s all the usual search engine geekery: keyword research tool, ranking tracker, and backlink analysis. But there’s also powerful competitive research functionality, allowing brands to discover entire keywords and themes that other pages or domains rank for (that theirs doesn’t rank for).
But wait—there’s more. Content marketers can use Ahrefs to plan content based on what’s popular around the Web right now, what’s trending, what’s seasonal, etc. If your New Year content calendar is barren, Ahrefs is worth checking out.
Grammarly, for creating error-free content. You don’t have to be Noah Webster or the Merriam brothers to care about the way your words show up online. Content marketers know that a polished campaign is only as strong as its weakest link—and an unfortunate spelling mistake or colon/semicolon snafu can hamstring marketing program success.
Grammarly has a Web app and integrations so it alerts you if you’re missing a comma in an email or unnecessarily extending a sentence in Google Docs.
What comes next
For brands embracing remote work, the right technology stack can make or break how your teams perform (and whether they succeed). For content marketers, doing remote work well means going a step further: to tap into tools that surface insights and help create compelling content and assets.
Once you’ve got the technology in place, work with the right marketing partners to help think strategically and scale your content marketing. In a post-COVID world, it’s the right tools and content partners that’ll help drive sustained results.