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Five Tools That Make My Job Easier

Posted on October 4, 2019


Hand Tools

Today’s Buzz is by Danielle Rogers – the Community Marketing Manager for the City of Newton, Iowa. Connect with her on LinkedInTwitter, and Instagram!


What I’m watching: I may have already binged the newest episode of the Great British Baking Show on Netflix. I’m truly addicted and glad the US is finally on the same season as the UK (even if it is delayed by a few days).

What I’m reading: These two books are up next… God Land: A Story of Faith, Loss, and Renewal in Middle America and Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism.

What I’m listening to: I’ve been listening to Whiskey Jam Number Ones playlist on Spotify for the last few days as I try to plan my next trip to Nashville.


My job as a community marketing manager is a hybrid communication and marketing position within our Community Development department. I handle everything from public information, news releases, and quarterly magazines to website management, advertising, and graphic design.

I sometimes say I am the “jill-of-all-trades” with a serious case of whiplash. One minute, I’m working with our police and fire department marketing a citizen’s public safety academy. The next, I’m writing a news release for a new public works project. 

But with a unique position, comes the pull and push of projects, daily tasks, and not knowing up from down on most days. Marketing and communications are my passion, though, so here are five tools that help me do my government communication and marketing job better. 

  • Canva – I do not claim to be a graphic designer but I do use Adobe Creative Cloud on a daily basis. But that’s not always quick. So Canva has become my go-to for graphic design projects that need to be done yesterday (which is all the time) and for fun social media graphics. I’m paying for Canva Pro. This allows me to save my organization’s brand standards (colors, fonts, and logos). It also gives me access to apps on my tablet and phone for designing on the fly. 
  • GrammarlyMy college degree is in journalism. AP Style is something I lived and breathed. It’s still what I use for news releases, media advisories, and most of my writing. But I’ve come to terms with the fact that I need to write for my audience sometimes. Grammarly has become my go-to to simplify. Why? It helps me make sure my writing is clear, engaging, and delivers a message that a fourth-grader will understand. Again, I’m paying for a higher level of the product, but it’s worth it. Even if I die a little each time, I find myself waging a battle with Oxford commas.
  • TrelloDon’t get me wrong…I love sticky notes (both physical and digital), but I need a little more than that to keep myself organized. Trello allows me to look at things from a big-picture or minute detail! I create boards, lists, and for a variety of things – my desk, other departments, or special projects. I haven’t used this in a while, but I’m ramping up my use of this tool again.
  • Hootsuite – I manage 11 social media accounts for our city of 15,000. I log into Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter every day to engage, post, and interact with our residents. But Hootsuite helps me manage our campaigns and plan ahead so I can see what I have going out on all of our social media. It’s not perfect… I could be doing more… but it fits my budget (super important), and it helps me keep my sanity.
  • LastPass – I have passwords for passwords. Okay, not really, but I found myself with passwords on sticky notes, scraps of paper, and I was resetting anything I lost. And I like to try a lot of new things (evolution of communication and media is AWESOME), so I sign up for almost every app, network, media, you can imagine. So LastPass has become my go-to for secure passwords and password management. It helps me keep my personal passwords and work passwords separate, organized, and safe.

Hopefully, the five tools are something that you can apply to your gov job or get you thinking about tools or apps to make your job (slightly) easier.

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