- Clipmate – Is one of the most powerful product creation tools I use. It extends the functionality of your computer’s clipboard.So, instead of copying just one peice of text, you can copy multiple pieces of text which are added to its internal databse. This allows you to search for specific text, you can group pieces of text and much more. It makes it much easier to collect and collate research materials and manipulate that material.Clipmate is great for writing articles, blog posts, special reports and ebooks. You can get a free trial of Clickmate from Thornsoft. It’s well worth the small ($34.95) investment.
- Textpad – is my favourite text editor. It offers so much more flexibility and functionality than Notepad. It has an in-built spell checker and is my application of choice for writing articles and newsletters.In addition to the usual cut, copy and paste capabilities, selected text can be case shifted and block indented, and characters, words and lines can be transposed. One of my favourite functions is the ability to set a fixed width for your text and apply the wordwrap.Textpad can handle much bigger files than Notepad and, more importantly, has an excellent search and replace capability. A single user license is less than $30 and you can get a fully functioning evaluation copy from Textpad.
- Microsoft Office – As I’m sure you know, Microsoft Office contains a suite of applications. Obviously they are not all essential in the context of product creation.Clearly, Word and Powerpoint are the obvious choice for creating ebooks and presentations. However, have you considered the importance of keeping records? Excel is an integral part of my product creation arsenal as I use it to keep records of accounts, contacts and research sources.Microsoft Office is a relatively big investment and, while it’s my personal choice, Sun’s OpenOffice offers an excellent free alternative.
- Nuance Dragon Naturally Speaking – Why type when you can dictate? Voice to text technology has come a long, long way since the early days and Dragon Naturally Speaking offers excellent accuracy.If you are anything like me, I’m sure you can talk a mot faster than you can type? My two finger pecking is OK for the occasional note or “tweet” but it is painfully slow when creating anything of significant length!I now use Dragon Naturally Speaking for the vast majority of my work. It’s much more efficient that typing and I can create content much more quickly than when typing.Dragon Naturally Speaking is one of those applications that I always keep up to date. I’m currently using version 11 “Premium” and each new upgrade provides much more speed, power and accuracy.
At $199 it’s quite an investment. However, you’ll get a very fast return on that investment in increased productivity and effeciency. Especially if, like me, you use a wireless headset such as the CS60 from Plantronics.
- Mindjet MindManager 9 – I’ve always loved mind-mapping. It’s a great way to structure your thinking, and excellent way of recording notes and mind maps are an important part of my personal product creation system.I’m a huge fan of Mindjet’s MindManager 9. I especially like the way a mind map can be saved/exported with a standalone viewer. This means the end user doesn’t need to install special software to read the mind map.I nearly always begin my product creation process with a mind map. It offers a lot of flexibility because you can add new content at any point in the hierarchy. You can move content around. You can structure your content at many levels.
One of the biggest benefits with MindManager is the ability to output your mindmap as an outline to Microsoft Word. That’s a huge timesaver and a very useful function for someone who dislikes working in a linear fashion.
I’d strongly recommend that you give MindManager 9 a try. You can download a free trial from Mindjet.
- Skype plus Pamela.biz – An excellent combination. Skype is a superb communication tool allowing text chat, Voice over IP and video messaging. It also allows for group communication which means you can get a small group of people together with no conference call costs.Pamela.biz is an excellent add-on and brings lots of extra functionality to Skype. Call scheduling, call recording, podcasting to mention but a few of the extra functions.I use the Skype+Pamela.biz combination to schedule and record interviews. It’s easy to contact a specialist, arrange a suitable time to chat and to record the conversation. You can export the audio file as an MP3 making it one of the quickest and easiest product creation methods.
- Camtasia Studio – Video is hot right now. Video cameras have tumbled in price and it’s becoming easier and easier to upload and stream videos to hosting sites or to your own website.Camtasia Studio makes video product really easy. You can import video footage from a camcorder, you can import a Powerpoint presentation and add an audio track and you can record from your computer’s screenAlthough Camtasia Studio is another application with a fairly high price tag, you can get a free trial. Hint: this gives you time to create and sell a video based product to raise the cash to buy it!
Put tother all seven tools and you have everything you need to create a broad range of products.