Our Recommended Tools and Services for Creating Online Content

With every station website we create, we’re asked about what tools and services we use.  So, in this post, we’ll cover what we use and offer some alternatives.  We’re not saying the tools and services we use are the best.  They are simply what we’ve chosen that work best for us.  This list is liable to change in the future.

Image Editing Tools

One of the tools we use daily is Adobe Photoshop.  Photoshop is an image editing tool that can be used for anything from article images to creating client banner ads.

If you’ve never jumped into Photoshop, it can be overwhelming.  Luckily there are thousands of free training videos online to guide you.  Start with basic steps like image resizing and add other elements like text.

If you have Adobe’s Creative Cloud subscription, you get much more than image editing.  It comes with the always up-to-date versions of Acrobat, Audition, Premiere, and After Effects for video.  Their other programs do amazing things that could help your station also.

Free Alternatives to Photoshop include:

Gimp: Gimp is open-source software, meaning it’s free to download and use.

Pixlr: Pixlr is a free browser-based alternative to Photoshop. Nothing to download and install, and available everywhere you can access a browser.

Adobe Illustrator is vector image editing software.  The difference between editing pixel images and vector images is that vector images are made of math.  If you ever enlarged a photo, it likely became blurry or pixelated.  Vector images can be any size while retaining sharp edges.

Your station logo was likely created inside of vector-based editing software like Illustrator.  It can also be used for drawings and other illustrations.

Free Illustrator alternatives include

Vectornator: Great option for iPad users.

Inkscape: Great for desktop users.

Screen Recording

ScreenRec is a screenshot recording tool that captures full-screen snapshots or portions of your screen.  You can highlight certain areas by drawing boxes or pointing arrows to specific parts.  ScreenRec also allows you to save video shares as well.

ScreenRec’s free tier is good for most light applications.  It comes with 2 Gig of online cloud storage for sharing links to your screenshots and screengrabs.  You don’t have to use the online storage feature for screenshots, and they can be simply copied/pasted into e-mails.

For one-on-one screencast training sessions, we use Loom.  Loom is a paid service that allows you to record your screen and camera easily. It’s a bit like ScreenRec, but we’ve built a library of recorded Loom’s that we refer back to at times.  Loom works on any device using their desktop, mobile apps, or Chrome extension.  Simply record your screen session and share a link.  Super easy.

Stock Images

We have two go-to resources for images.  One is free, and another is a paid service.

The free service we tend to rely on most often is PexelsPexels provides high-quality and completely free stock photos licensed under their own license, which says that you’re free to use the images but do it in a nice, proper way.  All photos are nicely tagged and searchable.

While image attribution is encouraged on Pexels, it’s not required or enforced.  Each time we use their images, we’re sure to give either the creator or pexels.com credit for it.  We do this because years later, we might have a record of where we obtained the image in case someone was to serve us with a copyright claim.

The paid service we use is Envato Elements.  At $17/month, it’s a tough service to beat.  You get unlimited stock images for your website and can also download unlimited stock videos, music tracks, sound effects, graphic templates, presentation (Powerpoint) templates, fonts, and much more.  All unlimited.  There’s a high probability that you’ll use Elements for a lot more than just your station website.

Several other free stock photo sites are out there, but these two are our current go-to resources.  The image for this post comes from Envato Elements.

Writing Content

You would be surprised at how badly we all write as I migrate websites.  I used to be a lot worse at writing before I found Grammarly.  Grammarly is a cloud-based typing assistant that reviews spelling, grammar, punctuation, clarity, engagement, and delivery mistakes. It uses artificial intelligence to identify and search for an appropriate replacement for the errors it finds.

Grammarly has helped me re-write dozens of station copy pages.  The free version is a browser extension that can help identify spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors.  The paid version gets deeper with writing tone help and even has a plagiarism check.  So, if your team occasionally “borrows” content from other sources, Grammarly can help you locate sentences that might be found elsewhere so your team can reword them in their own words.

Communication

Communicating with my development team could take hours or even days if we were still using e-mail.  Thankfully I found SlackSlack is an online collaboration tool.  At its core, it’s a messaging app that allows for real-time conversations.  Your entire team can be on a Slack channel so everyone can see the real-time back-and-forth communication.

You can share images, documents, and much more in a secure environment that’s closed to outsiders.  You can search through your team conversations and find things much better than searching through old e-mails.

Slack’s free tier is good enough for most cases, but you can get an unlimited message and file history and many integrations with other programs when you move into their paid tiers.

RSS Readers

Ever wish you could get news from every website you liked in one desktop app?  There are many RSS Readers, but the one I landed on for Windows is NewsflowNewsflow downloads news from RSS feeds directly to your device and stores them locally.  You can manually enter RSS URLs or search for your favorite websites with keywords.

I have about 60 different websites coming into my Newsflow app.  This keeps me on top of the latest website trends, radio news, and more.

Newsflow would be a perfect companion to a radio show because it could easily be used to generate show prep content.  I wish something like this were available back when I was doing a daily show.

Viewing Your Website

If you are viewing your website via just one browser, you’re doing yourself a disservice.  Look at your website often through different browsers and devices.  Different browsers on your desktop and multiple browsers on your mobile device.  You might be surprised that your website developer missed a step that makes your website appear broken in one of these browsers.

Using multiple browsers keeps certain activities separate and protects you from sharing your personal information.  We regularly use Microsoft Edge, Chrome, Safari, Firefox and Opera.

Conclusion

So, these are our “go-to” list of programs and services.  I hope they can help you create content for your radio station website.

Need help with your radio station website? We’d love to help.  Reach out to us.

Jim Sherwood serves as the chief creative, brand strategist, lead developer, meticulous project manager, and station collaborator for all Skyrocket Radio sites and projects. Jim is a 30+ year radio veteran with a resume spanning several small, medium, and large markets including roles as Digital Content Manager, Program Director, Production Manager, and Morning Show Host.