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Posted by John Middlebrook on Mar 5, 2020 6:52:28 PM

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As a marketer for the last 20+ years, a computer screen, or 2-3, is essentially my "cockpit" to the Internet. I usually have a MacBook, a second (huge) Samsung monitor and my iPad Pro on my desk. Anytime someone takes a second to look at my Google Chrome window, they will almost always say "My God, how many tabs do you have open?". Well, that answer right now is 24.

If you're just shaking your head right now, let me explain in more depth. As a marketer, business owner and nerd, I feel the need to be connected to many tools that I need to do my job efficiently, as well as keep my clients happy and always growing. In this blog, I'd like to dig into them a little more, break them down into categories and explain what they are all for. Will this bore you, maybe? But I'm always learning, growing, and maybe it will shed light on some tools that you can add to your toolbox.



Let's just keep this one simple. I use Google for all of my email hosting and I have many accounts, 5 to be exact. I keep at least three of them open at all times and can bounce back and forth from business to personal with a 'control tab'. In that same vane, I also have my Google Calendar tab directly next to my email. I like to be organized and not have to look around for each tab on a big screen.


Client Management

As a HubSpot Solutions Partner, most of my time is in the software. I ALWAYS have a tab open for each, individual clients' HubSpot portal. I could have 6 open at one time and bounce back and forth, depending on which client I may be working on any given day.

Managing many clients at once is not always easy but managing day to day marketing, and doing content generation and blogging, that is not manageable as a small agency. For many years I've successfully use WriterAccess for all of content generation for our customers. The service allows you to "shop" or cast writers and other creatives, all over the globe. Tell me that you don't think I can find a writer that can write content in your vertical, let me try, I dare you. They have hundreds of thousands of freelance and full-time writers in their network and I've always been able to cast a good writer or two for our clients. They have multiple levels of service, white labeled product and workflows that make it very easy to order content and have it written by professionals in just a matter of days, and very cost-effectively.


Client Websites

How could we possibly manage a clients' web site if we don't ALWAYS have a tab of that clients' site open. I really shouldn't have had to list this one.


Reporting, Data and Analysis

These are critical to my job. None of the work we do matters if we cannot see and report on the data. Here are a few of the tools I have open every single day:

  • SEMRush, every client of Calibrate Brands has an in-depth project in SEMRush. I use this software to monitor changes in their sites, SEO, to brainstorm content ideas, to monitor and report on their brand, backlink research and so much other data. It is an invaluable tool in my job
  • AccuRanker, tracking hundreds, actually thousands of keyword rankings of our clients and their competitors takes a great product. I have used several and SEMRush can also do this feature but I like the features and reporting within AccuRanker
  • Google Analytics, I'm not even going to link to this, lol. Any marketer that is not looking at analytics, almost daily, is not a good marketer.
  • Toggl, as an agency, our clients pay us by the hours of work per month that is in our retainers. In order to keep sane, Toggl is a free app that you can use to track time and other billable tasks. The free version is limited to a handful of projects and accounts but works very well for smaller agencies
  • Screaming Frog SEO Spider, while this is not a browser tab or hosted app, it is critical to our success. This is a go-to for spidering down client content to evaluate and build solid SEO plans.


Social Media

Social media management is my job. For all of my clients I have an involvement in their social media channels, as well as my own. The big one's that will always be open would be:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Instagram, using "Grids", an awesome app for Mac
  • YouTube, always be learning. I love to watch people in my space and tons of vloggers

Not really digging TikTok yet for the types of clients we work with.



Photoshop is obviously a go-to software when manipulating and working with photos and graphics. But there are other tools now that make creating graphics for clients so much easier than starting from scratch:

  • Canva, Canva has been around for a few years now and has a huge library of easily customizable graphics and resources. If you're a large agency with many resources available, this may not be for you. But if you don't, want to be kind of scrappy and create CTA's, Instagram banners for a story, Facebook headers, Twitter, etc, it can make it so much easier. This image below took about 3 minutes to create in Canva.

Podcast Series Image

  • Pexels, there are hundreds of sites offering stock photography. Some are free, some are very expensive. For the majority of our needs for our clients, Pexels can hit us a home run. If we need more specialized and "niche" images, we use Shutterstock for a paid option for great photos
  •, this is a new one for our clients but make it very easy to create high-quality video ads.....on a tight budget. They host and have tons of 4k and other high quality video and make it very easy to create videos with a technical team and a ton of equipment and studio costs.

Banking and Finance

Lastly and one that is not open all of the time is tools for banking, invoicing and managing money.

  • Intuit QuickBooks
  • PNC Bank

If you have any of your favorites that you want to share, please do so in the comments. That is how we all learn!!


Topics: Growth Stack

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The Calibrate Brands blog is a resource for marketing and branding professionals looking for place to go for news on website design, branding strategies and how to build traffic to your site.

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