The Arc Team is Thankful – for the Tools that Help Us
It is hard to believe we have already entered into the holiday season. We are thankful for our family, friends, loved ones, health, and good fortune, but we also wanted to take a moment to reflect on the tools that make our (work) lives easier. We asked our leaders to share their favorite tool and how it helps them in their role. This is just a fun little exercise to give our clients a peak into the day-to-day lives of some of our team, and a recommendation to peers on what we think works best.
Screaming Frog SEO Spider
“A staple of my SEO toolset for many years, Screaming Frog SEO Spider is the first tool I reach for when analyzing a new website or checking for specific on-site issues. Whether I’m checking webpage response codes, evaluating site architecture, or performing any other technical task, Screaming Frog allows me to dive deeply into the data and to find the information I seek. It’s a truly versatile problem-solving tool, and I’m constantly finding new ways to use it.” – Ron Sansone, VP of Strategy & Search
“As part of Adobe Creative Cloud, Adobe XD is quickly becoming my go-to app for all sorts of visual communication. I love how deeply integrated it is with the Adobe products I’m already using. I can use it for every step of my process including wireframes, design, prototyping, and interaction design. It allows me to quickly and easily share projects with others as well as present and collaborate. Lastly, the app is constantly being updated with new features and capabilities, meaning it grows with my changing needs.” – Mike Maier, VP of Solutions & User Experience
Microsoft Office 365
“As an unapologetic Apple fanatic who is at this moment typing on a MacBook Pro that is plugged into a large screen iMac alongside an iPad, while listening to AirPods that are controlling my iPhone via my Apple Watch, I have to admit that Microsoft is the digital hero of Arc Intermedia. My supposed-to-be-sworn computational enemy instead solved all my internal communication operations needs with a suite of services all tightly compacted into the single impressive structure known as Office 365. For years I searched various options to accomplish everything our nimble, often remote agency needed, including collaborating live on documents and allowing clients to edit and comment on documents without creating digital mountains of disparate file versions; allowing us to effortlessly communicate via archivable instant message as well as audio and voice (not to mention perfectly timed comedic GIFs); providing a centralized location to store searchable notes and conversations; and also housing all our files while making them instantly accessible to all of us. Microsoft heard my impassioned cries and created one platform that does all that and more, with rarely a virtual wrinkle to be found. Especially during this pandemic, it is the backbone of our operation and I’m not ashamed at all to say Microsoft, I’m immensely thankful for you. Also, thank you for playing nice with my Apple products.” – Matthew Ulmer, VP of Operations & Client Relations
“A few years ago, Google, for reasons unknown to us mere mortals, decided to restrict access to its Keyword Planner tool. Keyword Planner was an essential research tool and one we relied on pretty heavily, and losing it forced us to find a new tool that can provide us with accurate Keyword Research information. Eventually we landed on SEMRush. But we quickly discovered that it had so much more to offer and were impressed by how deep the tool suite was – technical audits, link building help, competitor analysis, content idea generation. Needless to say, SEMRush offers plenty bang for your buck.” – Patrick Coyne, Director of Organic & Local Search
“Content has always been somewhat subjective. You can of course do keyword research, but that doesn’t always translate to a good/popular/shareable piece of content. BuzzSumo saw an opportunity to help marketers evaluate content based on social shares, engagement, and topics that did/could trend. It helps me to plan content based on data instead of a personal opinion on what works. I can now say with certainty how long a piece of content should be, whether a list or an article would be best, and how people will likely interact with and consume content.” – Katie Wong, Director of Inbound Marketing & Content
WorkFlowMax + Xero
“So yes, I’m not following the instructions of the assignment of picking just one tool that helps me with my job. But I have a good reason so please give me a chance to explain.
Ten years ago when Arc began, we desperately needed an online tool that would allow our team access to project info anywhere, anytime. We wanted an all-in-one system to track all of our projects, quotes, labor, and then be able to seamlessly leverage that data to easily produce invoices. We searched and tested the many players but none were as complete, logical to use, and natively offered invoicing as nicely as WorkFlowMax. To this day, our entire team uses this online project management tool, which is continually updated. I am very thankful for this tool, which has proven its worth these many years.
But… there was a bit of efficiency lacking. While WorkFlowMax did allow invoicing and some financial reporting, it always lived only in this system. When it came time for the info that the accounting team needed for tax preparation, planning, and filing, it was a manual process of providing that data and then another manual process to add it to QuickBooks. I had researched integrations between these two systems that originally didn’t exist until later years, but even then it was clunky at best and certainly didn’t have my confidence.
And then it happened. A robust, online accounting software called Xero, which was aggressively challenging QuickBooks with a far better online solution, acquired WorkFlowMax. The new parent company created native integrations between the two systems, allowing client and project data to easily flow back and forth. By adding Xero to my stack and using it for all my accounting needs, we could also produce invoices that offered online versions and archives for clients, credit card payments, reconciliation within the accounting data, and complete integration of the data the accounting team needed. I am truly thankful for this perfect marriage.” – David Sonn, President
“The most used tool in my toolbox is probably NinjaCat. This a reporting system that simplifies the data mining by connecting to just about anything. It supports dynamic custom reporting, dashboards and the ability to aggregate data from different sources. NinjaCat is a huge time saver and what I am most thankful for.” – Rasheed Hendricks, Director of Digital Advertising & Analytics
Start Each Day with A Thankful Heart
There is always so much to be thankful for, even if it’s just a tool you use every day or the cup of coffee that you have every morning. We hope you enter this holiday season with an attitude of gratitude and look forward to what 2021 has in store.