Friday, December 8, 2023

Tech Content creator toolkit: the cheat sheet

Intro

Some of you are probably at a stage where daily work isn’t enough, and interacting with the tech community is the fulfilling mission you’ve been waiting for. But In order to do so, you need to level up your game. Whether your goal is to be a blogger, speaker, podcaster, or social media maverick, you need the right tools to make your creator’s life easy and your content pop! This cheat sheet, curated while I was looking for better ways of content creation, won't fix all your problems, but it'll set you up for a solid creative start. 
 
The tips are arranged based on the persona they target (blogger,speaker,podcaster,social media creator) .


Table of contents

I. Blogger


A. The platform

That’s the first stop.

1.WordPress

  Almost everybody knows about this 20 year old web/blogging platform and below options are available:

  • Self hosted: Download and install it yourself in an environment shipped with PHP and Mysql DB

  • WordPress.com: Has a paid and free version that you can directly start with

    • You can start a free website or blog today with everything you need to grow including:

      • Themes and patterns,SEO, site statistics, social media sharing,Built-in newsletters & RSS, Brute-force protection, monetization, and Spam protection

  2. BlogSpot

   Another OG, BlogSpot aka Blogger is a free platform acquired by google in 2003 that’s super simple 

  • It provides Full control on page format (font size etc) through it’s HTML editor

  • Integrated with Google Analytics to track user activity, engagement and more (see tutorial )
     


3. The new kids on the block

Each decade brings its own hype; just as Myspace was once cool, today's tech creators prefer different gems to share stuff.Medium as one of the first online publishing services has always been in the lead but you can see the new kids on the block are steadily climbing. Keep in mind that Medium caters to all topics where the others are mainly for software developers. *This data was sourced from https://trends.google.com/.*

Here is a brief description of each one of them (for a deep dive comparison check this article)

 
  3.1 DEV   

   dev.to is the largest online community for software developers that offers a platform for sharing 
   knowledge, with no paywalls or ads, but instead relies on revenue from sponsors, listings, and their shop.  
   They provide a Markdown text editor and a public API for automating publishing workflows.
.      
    Typical use
: Ex
change knowledge and experience with the largest developer community.

   
   3.2 Medium

     Medium is popular publishing platform that allows all kinds of writers to share and monetize their content
     with a large reader base. While it’s user-friendly for most, it may not be suitable for developers due to  
     the lack of Markdown support, syntax highlighting, & API integration.
    Tip: A friend covered the $5/month membership fee with just 3 posts submitted to a specific publication. Top 100 Medium Tags for Better Ranking and Visibility in 2023 | by BIKRAM  SARKAR | SYNERGY | Medium


       Typical use
: To write about diverse topics and monetise your work, and a faster audience outreach.

   3.3 Hashnode

    Hashnode is a free blogging platform and community for developers that allows you to publish articles on
    your own domain with a custom blog page. It offers customization options, including a custom CSS
    feature, and supports Markdown for code embeds and syntax highlighting.

  
   Typical use: to completely customise your blog page to represent your brand and link your own domain.

  
  3.4 Hackernoon

     Hackernoon is a retro looking platform covering topics like soft development, startups, AI, and crypto.
     They moved away from a Medium publication due to limitations in embedding tables and lack of syntax
     highlighting. If your post becomes a top story then you’ll be lucky to get it translated in 13 languages.


    Typical use: work with a pro team of editors & post to a platform accepting only high-quality content.


B. The Write up

Following options will help you craft, enrich and format your content:

 

1. Open live writer

Open Live Writer is an open source editor enabling users to author, edit, and publish blog posts. It’s based on a fork of the old and discontinued Windows Live Writer code.Open Live Writer works with many popular blog service providers such as WordPress, Blogger, TypePad, Moveable Type, DasBlog and many more.

         

I am actually writing this blog using Open Live Writer.

Note: Direct picture upload from your workstation to google BlogSpot will fail but you can paste the image in a GitHub Readme then copy it back to the live writer editor.



2. ChatGPT

There’s no shame to leverage LLMs to structure, refine your writing, especially for grammar, intro, and conclusions.
I sometimes catch myself doing funny things like asking GPT to rewrite my sentences as `Tony soprano`.   


3. Generate your Posters using AI

  It’s easier to be creative nowadays, using prompts on GenAI tools to design a better illustration to your topic. 

  Don’t try to copy others though as your post might lose the audience. Stick to relevant stuff.

  • Midjourney  the best quality but paid option only (from $8/ month)

  • DALL·E 3 is the free OpenAI image generator integrated in Microsoft platform

  • Limitation: the text injection in the images is often inaccurate and flaky which requires a manual edit.    


4. Photopea.com, Photoshop for the poor

Photopea is an Online Photo Editor that lets you edit photos, apply effects, filters, add text, crop or resize pictures.
It does almost all what Adobe PS does but on a web browser which is insane.

EDUTECH SKILLS on LinkedIn: how to use photopea | photopea tutorial |  photopea tutorial in hindi |…

For example, I can correct the flaky text in the AI Generated image by re writing it in photopea .

5. Carbon, Beautiful code snippet images

Carbon is an online tool to create nice images of your code snippets. You just need to type and your code will be highlighted according to the chosen language (80 programming languages supported).

Carbon Code Snippets. Sharing code snippets has never been… | by Connor  Hansen | hvnsen | Medium



II. Speaker


A. The Write up

Same as the one discussed above in the blogger section.


B. PowerPoint

I’ll highlight AI and non AI tools in this section

                             

1. Copilot (Windows 11)

If you are lucky to have upgraded to Windows11,  Copilot is your new AI creative friend!
                   

Copilot in PowerPoint is an AI-powered assistant that empowers your creativity in your slides. It helps you create new, summarize, and organize your presentation, along with best design based on your content.

The Copilot icon on the PowerPoint ribbon.

Screenshot of Copilot in PowerPoint menu with Create a presentation from file prompt highlighted
  1.1 Create presentation from file

   With Copilot in PowerPoint, you can create a presentation from an existing Word document by adding the file link,
   and it will generate slides, apply layouts, and choose a theme for you.Word document URL pasted into PowerPoint Copilot pane


   1.2 Create a presentation from a prompt

     You can also create a new presentation using Copilot based on any prompt > “Create a presentation about xx”.

Screenshot of Copilot in PowerPoint with a prompt entered in to create a presentation

2. Convert to/from pdf 

Sometimes you need to export the final slides into pdf for your audience, or import pages from a pdf white paper .

My go to website is www.ilovepdf.com as it’s 100% FREE and easy to use.

iLovePDF Review (Pros & Cons), Alternatives [2023] | TalkHelper

3. Multilingual presos 

If you are, or live in a bilingual geographic area like me, translation is part of the job.The go to platform is obviously google translate but some of you might ignore that it allows to translate literal files (Doc,pdf,ppt,excel ..etc) 

 10 best ways to use Google Translate-get the most out of Google Translate

It can even translate images for you! these options will save manual work 


4. Split the animations into a pdf 

   PPspliT

  Converting a PPT to a PDF while maintaining the animation steps is something important when sharing your deck.
   PPspliT is a slick PowerPoint add-in, that allows to split those animations into several slides before the export.


III. Podcaster  

Though I had to catch up with this one,  there are a bunch of aspects I can share from what I learned so far.


A. Podcast platform

I will share 3 in total since but my favorite is definitely anchor for a larger list and comparison check this article.PODCAST

1. anchor

  anchor.fm is what am using which is absolutely free even after being snapped by Spotify.It’s been awesome so far.Anchor.fm - Creative at Home

  • Excellent for beginners Great for Spotify users

  • Absolutely free and great support (very quick)

  • Unlimited storage: no limit on the number of episodes you upload

  • Provides tools for editing and recording podcasts, as well as access to Spotify tunes

  • Seamless video podcasting


2. Podbean

    Podbean is another popular free podcasting platform for hosting.

  • Great for businesses and enterprises

  • Excellent promotion tools

  • Provides a website

  • only Up to 5 hours of audio and up to 10 episodes for the Free plan


3. Acast

   Acast is smilar to anchor, offers quite a lot of features in its free plan such as create a website and podcast player.

  • Unlimited episodes and bandwidth.

  • Basic analytics and marketing tools (i.e transcription).

  • Video teaser and YouTube distribution.

  • Social Media Management


B. Streaming platform

This can be very diverse depending on your taste but you can choose from options such as:

1. Zoom

No introduction needed

2. Streamyard

    Streamyard My favorite for audio quality and the following reasons  StreamYard

  • Local audio/video recordings (host/guests) no loss due to weak internet

  • Will do the eq and noise reduction for you.

  • A trimmer tool to edit and post clips (YouTube Shorts)

  • Live Streaming (twich,YoutubFB,X) , Screen-sharing

  • 24/7 Live Support and a generous free plan (5 hours/m)

3. Riverside

Riverside.fm offers studio-quality local recordings without the downtime

  • Screen sharing

  • 4k quality available

  • Live audience call-in: Listeners can call in with questions and comments, like a radio talk show

  • Streaming to social media

4. Zencastr

zencastr is another alternatives for streaming that can get the job done. But they have some flaws


5. OBS + VDO.ninja
      OBS + VDO.ninja is a powerful combination that offers many benefits for podcasters and live streamers.

GitHub - steveseguin/vdo.ninja: VDO.Ninja is a powerful tool that lets you  bring remote video feeds into OBS or other studio software via WebRTC.
  • OBS: Open Broadcaster Software is a free/open-source software for recording & live streaming videos.

  • VDO.ninja: is a free, secure, & ultra-low latency peer-to-peer video bridge that allows users to bring live video from their computer, or friends directly into OBS.


Trad offs Here are some of the advantages and tradeoffs of using OBS + VDO.ninja:

C. Audio editing

     Another crucial side of podcast recording, the edit, raw version is often not as clean.

   1. Audacity

     Audacity is a free and open-source tool that can edit, and mix audio for you with basic features like noise gate.

   2. Adobe audition

     Adobe Audition is a professional audio workstation that lets you do a refined work using industry’s best, but
     it’s expensive.

   3. Cubase (Steinberg)

      I personally use Cubase which is a professional DAW (digital audio Workstation) used by musicians, composers and producers. The only reason I use it is because of my previous life in the underground music industry.
   

  Tip: Streamyard will do the eq and noise reduction for you.


D. Video editing YouTube 

1. Veed.IO

 VEED.IO is an online video editing platform offering a range of features to help create quality video content.Hero Image.png


Some of the advantages of VEED.IO for podcast video editing include:

  • Effortless podcast editing

  • Pro video editing features

  • AI-powered audio editing

  • The perfect feature for me was the dynamic Sound Wave

IV. Social Media  


A. text Format

     When you post in twitter or linkedin you often want to highlight or use bold characters but it’s not trivial.
     I usually go to yaytext.com and generate all the bold and italic text I need.
 

B. Scheduling platforms

   1. Tipefully

      Typefully is a great tool for scheduling social media posts.

  • It offers a generous free plan

  • Allows you to write, schedule, and publish great Twitter tweets and threads.

  • Provides analytics and metrics about your account, that help  grow your following

  • Use AI to rewrite & improve your tweets

  • My favorite is the tweet preview option that’s handy to check before you tweet

Other services with a Free plan

  • Simplified: social media management tool, with insights on performance and engagement.

  • Buffer: social media management tool that experts often turn to for scheduling LinkedIn posts in advance.


Conclusion

  • In one line: Content creator journey is long, but I hop this article helps!

Thanks for reading


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