Digital Publishing Tools and Resources: Photos, Video, Analytics and More
Written by Matt Berringer
August 27, 2020
If you want to excel in digital publishing, you need the right toolkit. Here, we’ve listed some useful digital publishing software and resources to add to your digital publishing toolbox.
Digital Publishing Designer Toolkit
An impressive 67% of small businesses agree that graphic design is imperative to revenue growth. Graphic designers strive to represent a company’s brand through creative visual concepts, in return boosting revenue.
Likewise, video marketers share a common goal, creating engaging content across platforms and educating and enticing new and potential customers towards a brand. Of the marketers taking advantage of this growth opportunity, 93% claim their social media video content lands them new customers.
Whether you’re an established publisher or new to the digital publishing industry, you should have an up-to-date toolkit to create, edit and design quality images and videos. Create a toolkit that allows you to:
- Mockup visual designs.
- Create a prototype to demonstrate interactions.
- Communicate with your team.
- Encourage a stable workflow.
At the beginning of the digital design era, there were only a few tools to choose from. Now, with such a wide growth of technology, choosing the right tools can be complicated. Luckily, we’ve put together this guide to point you in the right direction.
What to Consider When Comparing Design Tools?
The tricky part is that there is no universal best tool. It’s like a pair of prescription glasses — no single pair works for everybody. Some people require a higher prescription, while others might only need readers. In the sense of a design toolkit, some teams require detailed platforms, and others can get by with just the basics. It really comes down to your business goals and preferred working style.
When comparing design tools for digital publishing, consider:
- Workflow compatibility: Choose a tool that is easy and comfortable to use — something you look forward to using. The easier it is for you to bring your creativity to life, the more efficient you’ll be.
- Knowledge transfer: Choose a design tool with a familiar interface so it’s easier to learn. Keep in mind, though, that every new tool has some learning opportunities before you can fully benefit from its unique capabilities.
- Level of fidelity: Design happens in stages. From brainstorming an idea to adding precise design elements to bringing it to life, you want a solution with the right tools to get you through each step.
- Team collaboration: Marketing, including graphic and video, requires team collaboration. Pick a tool that easily allows you to share and communicate with codesigners, clients and anyone else in the development and production chain.
- Monetary worth: Keeping your budget in mind, select a tool with a price expense that makes sense. If your team will use it every day to transform graphics and video, you may feel more comfortable allotting more of your budget to the tool. Consider the return on investment (ROI) when determining a budget, as it may provide more breathing room.
A tip — take advantage of free trials. Avoid spending valuable money on a tool that ends up not being compatible with your goals or style.
No matter what size your company is or the industry where your business operates, you need a photo editing tool. From creating books covers and infographics to performing simple touchups, a photo editing tool proves handy. We recommend:
A well-known Adobe program, Photoshop uses layering capabilities to add depth and flexibility to your design. It has a competitively large editing toolbox with tools like a magic wand, healing brush, and lasso select. You can perform design tasks like removing objects, transforming and augmenting photos and retouching on a pixel-level scale.
If you already know the basics, learning the interface will be a breeze. Available on desktop and iPad, Photoshop offers a seven-day free trial for individuals. After your trial, a basic plan will cost you $20.99 per month, or $33.99 for businesses.
2. DxO Photolab
DxO Photolab is an image editing and optical correction software that specializes in noise reduction, haze removal, and sharpness enhancement. If your work requires additional tools based on topical assessments, you may find this tool particularly helpful.
You can also customize the interface to accommodate your working style. DxO Photolab offers a 30-day free trial, or you can buy the essential edition for a one-time charge of $129 or the elite edition for $199.
Great for businesses looking for a cost-effective and easy design solution, Canva allows its users to create professional-looking content in half the time. It offers templates for creating marketing materials, presentations, e-books, resumes, ads, and more that you can personalize to match your brand.
You can share your work with your team, with options to ask for comments or edits, sent conveniently through email. Canva is free to use with other on-site purchases available, like exclusive templates, but buying isn’t necessary.
Other Tools to Consider
Of course, you need images to edit in these helpful design tools. Here are some stock photo sites we recommend:
For an in-depth look, see our full guide to stock images for publishing!
With video marketing quickly reshaping customer engagement, finding a tool to create and edit engaging video content is a must. Some video resources we recommend are:
1. Premiere Pro
Production managers, marketers and multimedia designers alike use Premiere Pro, another Adobe software. You can improve video quality and translate your brand’s image by adding titles, still images, filters and other effects through a comparatively easy to use interface.
A mature video editing software with routine improvements since 1991, Premiere Pro offers a seven-day free trial. It costs $20.99 per month for individuals or $33.99 for businesses.
2. Final Cut Pro X
The Apple software Final Cut Pro X targets both consumers and professionals with its easy-to-use features focused on storytelling. This video editing software offers speed and efficiency, with competitively high playback, rendering, compositing, effects and export speeds. Other benefits include 360-degree footage and external monitor support, high-dynamic range (HDR), and multicam editing possibilities.
You can try Final Cut Pro X for free for 90 days or purchase the software for a one-time charge of $299.99.
3. Cyberlink PowerDirector
For more control over the video editing and design process, you may prefer Cyberlink’s PowerDirector software. With this tool, you can perform basic techniques like splitting and trimming video clips, editing audio and images and adding video effects.
Designed for users of all levels, PowerDirector is available for a 30-day free trial. Unlike most other options, you can buy the video editing software outright or opt for a monthly subscription. For PowerDirector 18 Ultra, it is a one-time cost of $99.99, or you can pay a $69.99 subscription cost for the more advanced PowerDirector 365.
Other Tools to Consider
If you need some B-roll to fill out your video content, consider these stock video sites:
Or, for a more detailed outline of stock video for publishing, see our full guide on stock video!
Graphic Design Tools
A graphic designer may have all of the skills to deliver quality content, but they’re limited without the right tools. We suggest these tools to flourish in your graphic design capabilities:
Yet another Adobe program, Illustrator allows users to create web and mobile graphics, logos, billboards and fonts through real-time rendering. Like their other programs, Illustrator works in layers, making it easy to manipulate your design to get the best outcome.
Like their other programs, you can use Illustrator free of cost for seven days. For just Illustrator, expect to pay a monthly cost of $20.99. Or, if you find yourself gravitating towards other Adobe software, too, they offer a monthly cost of $52.99 for access to all creative cloud apps.
An all-in-one proofing software, Filestage is a mobile-friendly customizable platform that helps keep you organized and stay connected with your team. We recommend this tool namely for its impressive collaborative features. You can feel comfortable sharing information on this platform, dedicated to keeping data safe and secure.
You can request a free trial with Filestage, or choose from one of their three plans. Starter, suited for newly established businesses, is $89 per month, Pro comes with added benefits for $219 per month, and Enterprise is tailored to larger team’s needs with varying prices.
A convenient tool to keep on hand, Paletton is a color scheme designer with a variety of scheme options. Starting with a base color, the specially designed software suggests monochromatic, adjacent colors, triad, tetrad or free-style palettes to suit your brand image.
With color being such an important aspect of design, we suggest using this tool when developing presentations, infographics or any other brand-specific graphic designs. The basic software is free to use, with additional add-ons available for purchase.
Another software used to stay organized and connected with your team, ProofHub is a project management application with a simple structure to learn and use. You can assign and manage tasks, color code projects, highlight important activities, chat in-app, mark dates on a customizable calendar, create and reference Gantt charts and build milestones.
ProofHub is particularly useful for small businesses and consolidates task management into one spot. You can try it for free for 14 days or choose between two monthly plans — essential for $45 and ultimate control for $89.
Other Tools to Consider
For more graphic design toolkit options, explore:
Wrapping up your digital publishing design toolkit, it’s worth noting that a majority of these platforms publish useful guides on how to use their programs. Each tool comes with their respective benefits, so reference these guides to aid the decision-making process.
Digital Publishing Content Toolkit
With over 4.57 billion active internet users globally, there are endless opportunities to attract these users through content marketing. A majority of businesses are already tapping into this potential, with 91% of B2B and 86% of B2C organizations using content marketing to generate revenue.
Whether you already have a team of content marketers or in the hiring process, take a look at these simple content publishing tools to help publish, coordinate and create digital content.
What to Consider When Comparing Content Tools?
The beauty of content tools is its versatility. You don’t have to stick with just a handful. You have the freedom to bounce around between grammar checkers, hiring services, brainstorming tools and more. In general, consider these defining qualities when comparing content creation tools:
- Authoritative: Whether you need copywriters or way to improve your process, look for a tool that is trustworthy and proven to drive results.
- Collaborative: Like with the design process, content marketing requires team collaboration. From writing to publishing, you want your team to know what’s going on for a smooth and speedier process.
- Cost: Copywriters and copywriting tools range greatly in price, so find resources that match your business goals at a cost that makes sense for you. Again, consider the ROI when dedicating a budget. You’re likely to see a positive return, especially when posting regularly long-term.
A tip — most content tools are low commitment, so don’t feel glued to one option if it turns out not to work for you.
Tools to Find Content Creators or Copywriters
Don’t expect to find a copywriter who can do everything. Copywriters excel in different areas, like blogs, web content, e-books, publishing databases, manuals and white papers. Revisit your goals and see what content type works best for you and go from there.
The cost of hiring content creators or copywriters varies depending on their specialty and experience, the type of content you request and the point of contact. If you’re looking to hire a copywriter, determine a budget and consider these options:
By using Contently, you have direct access to over 160,000 writers, as well as videographers, designers and editors. Driven by data, they advertise complete content marketing solutions to ensure results across all industries and business sizes.
Contently is customer-focused, matching you with the best copywriter to achieve your requested content outline. Prices are business-specific, but current companies report paying anywhere from $3,000 to $25,000 a month for their tailored content marketing services.
LinkedIn is a well-known career networking site you can use to recruit copywriters through the vast directory of members. Users create a profile where they can share past work and volunteer experience, educational background, skills, accomplishments, interests and other information in a personalized About section. Using this information, you can find potential copywriters who match your preferred qualities.
LinkedIn itself is free to use, but a copywriter obviously won’t work for free — and if you do find a free copywriter, we don’t recommend trusting their content.
Comparable to Contently, Scripted is full of motivated and qualified freelance copywriters. Upon creating an account, you can browse through copywriters and add them to your “team.” Once you have a content idea, the writers will propose their ideas and present a first draft within a week. You can either accept it right away or request edits until you get a content piece you’re happy with.
Based on a monthly subscription, you can choose between three plans. Basic starts at $199, premium at $499 and cruise control at $1,299, with prices excluding content costs. Scripted does offer a 30-day free trial, requiring an annual commitment after it expires.
Other Tools to Consider
Since the demand for copywriters is growing, tons of other tools are in the works to help you find a dream content marketing team. Some other tools include:
Find a copywriter or two who you work well with and best reflects your brand image and tone.
Tools for Copy Teams
Once you have assembled a reliable team of copywriters, or if you already have a dream team, you’ll want tools to ensure better quality and consistency. Some of the most helpful tools we recommend are:
1. Hemingway Editor
The ultimate grammar checker, Hemingway Editor highlights grammatical errors within your copy, including passive voice, simpler alternatives, hard-to-read sentences and adverbs or weakening phrases. You can copy and paste your content, or you can write directly on the platform and switch between writing and editing modes.
Hemingway Editor is free to use, with a more detailed version available for $20 on Mac and Windows.
Similar to Hemingway Editor, Grammarly is a grammar checker that identifies writing errors and areas for improvement. Available in different plans, their free basic version identifies spelling, grammar and punctuation errors and wordiness.
For just under $30 a month, their premium account offers advanced support, including areas to improve clarity and engagement and other helpful vocabulary suggestions, aiding in the overall effectiveness and delivery of your content.
Equally important to posting quality content is making sure what you’re posting is original. Copyscape is a helpful tool that runs your content through a plagiarism checker and identifies any text areas that might match existing web content.
The basic service is free, but you may want to invest in Copyscape Premium for a more in-depth search, starting at only 3 cents per search.
Other Tools to Consider
Some other tools your copywriting team may find particularly useful are:
Experiment with each tool. Use what works and strive to deliver quality content to impress and attract prospective customers.
Digital Publishing Analytics Toolkit
Businesses are turning away from traditional publishing platforms, like newspapers or printed platforms, and opting for digital publishing platforms. Of the many benefits this transition brings, one major advantage is the ability to track performance and maximize revenue potential.
Compared to businesses not using analytics, insight-driven businesses are growing 30% more annually, and experts project they will earn a combined $1.8 trillion by 2021. Tracking your content’s analytics:
- Predicts customer needs.
- Protects from internal and external threats.
- Keeps your brand relevant.
- Allows you to react in real-time.
- Improves customer experience.
These advantages are largely the reason why insight-driven businesses are outperforming their competitors. Make sure your company benefits from data analytics by using the right tools.
What to Consider When Searching for Analytics Tools?
Depending on your level of familiarity with data analytics, finding the right tools may bring some confusion. When searching for digital publishing analytics tools, consider:
- Ease of use: Your analytic tool should be easy to use with a user-friendly interface. You want to be able to find information fast to make quick decisions, so choose a tool that offers visuals for easier deciphering.
- Mobile: A mobile option is equally important in making quick decisions, making it easier to access your data and increasing your reaction times.
- Business objectives: What are your goals? Break them down into measurable numbers, like leads, white paper downloads or screen views, and look for a customizable tool to monitor your progress.
With these factors in mind, there is one company that excels in digital publishing analytics — Google.
Google’s Toolbox: G Suite
Google’s Toolbox allows you to track analytics generated by Google products, like Chrome. Google is continually looking for ways to upgrade their services and make them more accessible for businesses of all sizes and budgets. The top tools we recommend are:
If you’re not already using this tool, get on it. Analytics allows you to follow your marketing, content and product performance from anywhere. To use this tool, create an account and set up a property, which acts as a data collection point. Then, set up filtered data perspectives and add a tracking code to start collecting data for your property.
Analytics is free to use. If you’re a large company, you may consider investing in Google Analytics 360, but the basic account gives enough insight that it likely isn’t necessary.
2. Search Console
When consumers have a question, they rely on Google Search. Search Console allows you to see how you’re performing on Google Search and suggests ways to be more competitive. You can monitor how users interact with your content and see what is driving the most traffic to your website. And, like Analytics, Search Console is free to use.
3. Data Studio
Data Studio allows you to take data and turn it into a shareable, visual report. You create a new report and choose a data source, which Google will transform into a detailed visualization that you can edit to match your needs. You can add metric scorecards, date ranges, text boxes and more to deliver on-brand content to your stakeholders.
As with the other Google tools, Data Studio is free to use.
Other Tools to Consider
Of course, Google isn’t the only analytical tool provider. Other resources you may benefit from include:
With a tool that provides you the clearest and most accurate analytical data, you’ll be on the right track to achieving your business goals.
Nxtbook Media: Providing Competitive Digital Platforms With Built-in Analytics
For the most accurate data, you want a singular platform that allows you to produce high-quality content while simultaneously tracking user engagement. At Nxtbook Media, we see the value of digital publishing platforms and strive to provide you with the best tools for your digital publishing toolkit — PageRaft and nxtbook4.
Benefits of Built-in Analytics
With built-in analytics, you can be sure you’re receiving the most accurate data to structure your strategic decisions. Some of the many benefits of built-in analytics are:
- Accurate, up-to-date data: Use only the most accurate data to guide your business in the right direction. Keep your data clean by using built-in analytics.
- Faster response to trends: The direct access to data and analysis enhances your ability to quickly identify and respond to audience trends.
- Greater operational efficiency: Having data in one place makes it easier for you to collect, store and process information, saving time and effort in the long run.
Our PageRaft and nxtbook4 tools keep your users engaged with the ultimate digital content experience. Analytic software provided in your partnership with Nxtbook Media provides insight into your digital reports well beyond PDF metrics. Our digital publishing platforms are customizable, engaging, and on-brand tools.
Using our technology, we’ve helped hundreds of businesses large and small achieve their business goals, like the globally recognized Norwegian Cruise Line brand.
Achieving Results: Norwegian Cruise Line Uses nxtbook4
Norwegian Cruise Line is recognized as one of the top luxury lines worldwide, promising the best possible experience for passengers around the globe. Expanding this value, they want to transform their digital content and integrate websites, images, videos and more into their digital publications.
Using nxtbook4, Norwegian surpassed their goal, now offering quality digital brochures and itineraries that drive sales and increase website traffic. Norwegian continued this digital expansion to their shareholders, offering digitally enhanced reports that highlight their environmental initiatives and cutting costs on printing.
Norwegian plans on continuing their digital experience efforts. Taking full advantage of what nxtbook4 has to offer, they plan to develop an enterprise app available to travel agents that integrates with their publications, increasing sales efforts and building a reputable brand image.
Choose the Perfect Digital Publishing Platforms
At Nxtbook Media, we want to help you take advantage of digital publishing trends and achieve your goals. Add our PageRaft and nxtbook4 digital publishing solutions to your toolkit by scheduling a demo today. Or, give us a call at 866-268-1219 and directly connect to a member of our Partnership Development Team by selecting option 6.