Modern publishers need tools.
We build blogs. Upload podcasts. Shoot video. Create online courses. Design graphics. Launch landing pages and accept payments from customers.
Each of the tools recommended below has been battle tested by my team and I. We use these tools every day and recommend you use them too. Because, as my father always taught me, a true pro always uses the right tool for the job.
Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means Modern Publisher will earn a commission should you choose to purchase that tool. Your cost will not be affected in any way by these affiliate links. This is one of the ways that Modern Publisher makes money (and one of the ways I recommend YOU should make money as a Modern Publisher.) I have used and continue to use each and every one of these tools for my own business. I keep this page updated with the tools I am using and I stand behind each and every recommended tool.
Tools for Creating a Website
It’s your home base and you must treat it accordingly.
In 99.9% of cases, I recommend that you use WordPress as your Content Management System (CMS). WordPress is the “software” you’ll use to easily build pages and posts on your website among other things.
Here are the recommended apps and tools when building your website:
Host your website with WP Engine
These guys rock. They have incredible customer service, an intuitive interface, and best-in-class security. They specialize in hosting websites that are using WordPress.
In fact, all they do is WordPress and they are dang good at it.
They cost more than your bargain-basement hosts like Bluehost or Hostgator and are worth every penny.
Build your website with Divi theme
Ok, you’re using WordPress as your CMS and (hopefully!) WP Engine as your host — now you need a flexible and powerful WordPress theme (AKA template).
You need Divi. Buy this theme and you’ll not need to buy another theme ever again. It’s 100% ready for mobile and it can build darn near any website you can imagine. Oh… I also love that there is an entire community of developers that support this theme with plug-ins, child themes, etc.
Create landing pages with Instapage
Landing pages are as critical to playing the information marketing game as the bat is to a baseball game.
Don’t try to build landing pages from scratch. Use a great tool and choose from the proven landing page templates they’ve already created and tested.
Build beautifully effective opt-in pages, webinar registration pages, sales pages, and even lightning-fast AMP pages
Tools for Creating Online Video
This just in: video is hot. Actually… hot is the wrong word because it implies that it is a fad.
Here’s what I recommend:
Host your video with Vimeo Pro
Waaaaat? What about YouTube?
I do, of course, recommend that you publish video content to YouTube. But, for example, when hosting content for digital courses or any number of other scenarios when you want to keep the video private, I love Vimeo Pro.
Make screen recordings on Mac with Screenflow
Screencasting is a super quick and easy way to produce content for your audience and customers.
Screenflow is a great desktop app for creating long-form screencast videos. Many of the digital courses I have created were shot predominantly using Screenflow.
If you’re using a PC, use Camtasia. It’s a great tool as well.
Shoot incredible 4K video with the Sony PXW-X70
These are the cameras I use to shoot “head on” video for online courses and, if I’m not streaming live, I use these cameras for content videos I publish to YouTube, Facebook and my blog.
These cameras are kind of a “press the big red button and start recording” situation which makes it easy for me to shoot even when I’m alone.
That said, If you’re going to have someone (that knows what they are doing), running the camera while you shoot, consider the Panasonic Lumix GH5. It’s I.N.C.R.E.D.I.B.L.E.
Go live on Facebook and YouTube using the Mevo Plus
The Mevo Plus is smaller than a coffee cup but it delivers double espresso results.
If you’re looking to start live streaming video to Facebook, YouTube, etc — you need one of these little guys.
The camera itself shoots great video, but the Mevo app is the game changer. The app allows you to live switch camera angles from your phone or tablet
Tools for Podcasting
Podcasting has gone mainstream.
Want proof? My dad is now listening to golf podcasts and this is a guy I have to rescue every time he loses the bookmarks to his AOL email and online banking.
Here are top-of-the-line tools and services for the modern podcaster:
Record audio using the Rode Podcaster
This is my microphone. There are many like, but this one is mine. My microphone is my best friend. It is my life. 😀 (<< Can you name that movie? *Answer below.)
I’ve owned a number of microphones in my career and they are all in microphone heaven now. Some took a year to die. Others hung in there a little longer.
I’ve had my Rode Podcaster for over 5 years now and it still sounds amazing. (Make sure you get the shock mount and boom kit — it’s worth it.)
*Full Metal Jacket
Tools for Design and Creating Graphics
The modern information marketer needs to have quick and easy access to graphics and images.
The “easy button” here is to hire or outsource a graphic designer— but if you’re not there yet, check out these tools that make it a snap to build great images for blog posts, Facebook ads, etc.
Get stock images and vector graphics on Dreamstime
I’m not a fan of stock images because they look… well… stock. That said, you can find some great graphics, icons and stock images that don’t look so “stocky” on Dreamstime.
Build graphics on Canva
Canva is a super slick web-based application for building graphics.
You can build logos, infographics, Facebook ad images and more with this tool.
The cool thing is (if you’re on a shoestring budget), the free version of Canva can do quite a bit.
Take screenshots with Snagit
I say it all the time: “I couldn’t live without Snagit.”
I bet I use Snagit a minimum of a dozen times per day. I use it to grab images for blog posts, slide decks and anything else. I use it to communicate with remote people on my team. It’s much easier (and
Tools for Following Up with Leads
It’s not just about building a list.
You have to, have to, HAVE TO follow up. Lead generation (AKA list building) is the most time-intensive and costly activity your publishing business will undertake.
When you’ve spent the time and money to acquire a new lead (subscriber), you need to put tools and process in place to follow up and monetize those leads. If you don’t, you will soon be looking for a J.O.B.
Here are two powerful tools you can use to follow up with your leads and subscribers.
email and automate your business with ConvertKit
ConvertKit is email and automation software built with the modern publisher in mind.
The tool is intuitive, they integrate with every tool I’ve needed them to integrate with and the customer support is second to none.
It also scales nicely as your list grows with their entry point plan starting at just $29.
Build a Facebook Messenger list and follow up with ManyChat
Facebook Messenger is fast becoming the communication method of choice for many people.
With open rates north of 90% (compared to 20% with email), the wise information marketer is building subscribers that can be reached through Facebook Messenger.
ManyChat is the best tool on the market for building a Messenger list and following up with them.
Tools for Hosting Online Meetings & Webinars
Webinars are one of the most flexible content types in the Modern Publisher Marketing Framework. Webinars can be used to build a list, acquire customers and monetize the customers and
I use the same microphone (Rode Podcaster) to conduct webinars as I do to record podcasts.
Host online meetings and webinars with Zoom
GoToWebinar was the go-to solution for nearly a decade but they’ve done very little to improve their product over the years.
It’s just better. 9 of 10 meetings and webinars I have with pro marketers and modern publishers are on Zoom these days.
Tools for Building Online Courses
This list could be very long or it could be very short.
If you plan to use a bunch of different apps and software solutions to build, host, deliver and take payment for your digital courses — this is not the list for you.
I recommend you use a single all-in-one solution that does it all. The downside is you have less control over things. The upside is that you have a single solution that handles your digital courses from soup to nuts.
Host, Deliver and Take Payment for Online Courses with Kajabi
Kajabi is easy to use and contains everything you need to deliver and sell digital courses in one package.
You can either build your course library on the subdomain that Kajabi gives you (super easy and low-tech) or set it up so that you deliver courses from your own domain (slightly higher tech).
You can even build membership sites with Kajabi.
Tools for Processing Payments from Customers
I won’t waste your time explaining why you need tools that can process payments when your selling information products.
So… I won’t. 😀
Process payments from customers with Stripe
Stripe is very easy to set up and integrates perfectly with Kajabi and darn near any other tool you’ll want to use.
They have quickly become the default solution for payment processing.
Tools for Analytics and Reporting
If you’re just getting started you might protest that you have nothing to analyze or report on.
I get it.
That said, install Google Analytics at the same time you build your website/blog so the data will be there when you want it down the line. As for Baremetrics, install that as soon as you start taking any kind of subscription (AKA continuity) payments using Stripe.
Analyze recurring revenue streams with Baremetrics
This app is absolutely awesome.
We used to have to create 15 different pivot tables in Excel to get what Baremetrics spits out on demand and in real time.
This app is well worth the cost if you’re building any kind of subscription business.
Analyze website traffic with Google Analytics
Google Analytics is not only the best website analytics program available — it’s also free.
Install Google Analytics at the same time you build your website. Even if you don’t have a clue how to use it, you’ll be happy to have the data down the road.