You’ve heard of Google Analytics, but which other tools should you be using?

As Chief Marketing Officer at Readable.io and with over 20 years diverse digital marketing experience, Steve made the perfect addition to this blog series.

Before we start, here are a few things you might not know about Steve…

  • As of 2018, he’s lived in Sussex longer than he lived in Scotland
  • By night, Steve is a House & Techno DJ!

Over to you, Steve Linney…


Just picking ten digital tools I couldn’t live without is a pretty hard task. But, I got there in the end – with a little bit of rule-bending along the way. This is my selection of tools that make being a marketer so much easier.

Bending of the rules #1: I’ve intentionally left out the tools that we all know about. Such as Google Analytics, Dropbox, Evernote, Tweetdeck and Moz. You don’t really need to know why I use them, as you either use them or know why you don’t.

Instead, I’ve gone for tools that possibly aren’t as widely used, but are worthy of a lot of praise. There’s also a couple of big names in there too.

1. Slack

My first choice you’ll have heard of, but I was late to the game with Slack. And I didn’t much like it, to begin with. Now, it’s an essential tool for me and my colleagues.

As a communication tool, Slack replaces the need for short emails. Which, means no wading through a large inbox each day. That’s something we can all agree is fantastic!

It’s super easy to send text, images, files, sections of code or a South Park gif – other gifs are available…

This is especially useful as we do a lot of remote work at readable.io. With Slack, you feel like you’re working closely with your team, even when you are on the other side of the world from each other.

Note to other remote workers: remember to clear the drying underwear that’s behind you before you video chat with your CEO.

2. Asana + Instagantt

Asana is a task management tool that I’ve loved and used for years. It’s been incredibly useful for me to:

  • Scope out overall projects
  • Set up a list of tasks and assign them to myself or members of my team
  • Follow the progress of projects and tasks
  • Sign projects off
  • Tick off each job, when it’s done

Instagantt is a tool that works in conjunction with my Asana account and turns everything into a Gannt chart. Very useful for being able to see a birdseye view of everything that’s going on.

3. GSuite

Another of the big players when it comes to tools, but I couldn’t do my job without GSuite.

As a Mac user, I loathe Office365 with a passion. It’s like they made the Mac version just to annoy its users. All in a vain attempt to make them throw their Mac out of the closest window and go buy a Window’s PC. Well, that’s my theory, anyway…

GSuite is the polar opposite and is all about getting the essentials correct:

  • The draft of this blog was written, commented on and edited in Docs
  • Before that, I updated our monthly reports in Sheets
  • Calendar reminds me of what appointments I have
  • Gmail is the first thing I look at each day, sometimes while still in bed…

The fact that these are seen as the norm is a sign of how good tech is today. But, GSuite does it incredibly smoothly and without any fuss added to your day.

4. Apple Books

I’ve loved Apple Books since I first used it. I know a lot of people still love books but, for me, an app is much easier to use.

  • I can carry a tonne of books and audiobooks with me
  • Highlighting and taking notes is incredibly useful. They help me take what I’m reading and put it into practice
  • Reading in bed is a lot easier to do. Always a bonus

I have to admit that I’m not a huge fan of reading fiction books. It’s not that I don’t like fiction, it’s just that I tend to prefer books that can help me gain insight into life and my career.

Some of my favourites over the last few years include:

  • Presence by Amy Cuddy – brilliant at helping you boost your confidence in difficult situations, such as public speaking
  • Quirkology by Richard Wiseman – fascinating book about the human mind
  • The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor – proving that happiness is the key to being good at what you do
  • Webs of Influence by Nathalie Nahai – a book that every marketer should own

My current book is Give and Take by Adam Grant, which shows you why being a giver helps your career, your life in general and boosts your happiness.

5. Adobe Creative Cloud

Bending of the rules #2: Adobe Creative Cloud is the portal to some ridiculously good apps that I definitely cannot live without. Such as:

Photoshop. Probably the tool I’ve used the most, since the late 90s. I taught myself how to use Photoshop while sat in an internet cafe – remember them?

I still use it daily, both professionally and personally, for everything from editing my next Instagram image, through to designing the new readable.io and Added Bytes logos.

After Effects. This is a tool I’m still learning to use properly, but it’s been brilliant for creating the animated sections of our videos.

Adobe Premiere Pro. A very easy to use high-end editing tool.

Back in my video production days, I was a die-hard Final Cut Pro fan. I even threatened to leave a job because they wanted me to use Adobe Premiere Pro over Final Cut. Ah, to be in my 20s again…

Today, I’m a complete Premier Pro convert. It’s great for cutting together 60 second YouTube mashups, explainer videos, and ReadablePro promo videos.

Dreamweaver. Whenever I tell coders that I use Dreamweaver, they visibly wince… I’m not a coder, but I know enough to pull together our email campaigns. Dreamweaver is ideal for me to get that job done.

6. Drip

Email automation and workflows are essential to every marketing strategy. Drip is our tool of choice for making that happen.

There is definitely some area of improvement with Drip, but it’s fundamentally easy to use and delivers results.

I’m using it to:

  1. Segment subscribers
  2. Add subscribers to bespoke workflows
  3. Drive engagement
  4. Boost revenue

7. coolors.co

In short, coolors.co a very cool tool for generating colour pallets. Ideal for when I was researching new brand colours for readable.io.

It’s fantastic and free!

8. ImageOptim

ImageOptim is another tool that I’ve used for years. It’s a compression tool for images and perfect for squeezing out those last few bits of file size that Photoshop leaves in.

9. ReadablePro

Even if I didn’t work at readable.io, I’d still be using ReadablePro. It’s a powerful readability tool that analyses your text as you type, which helps you create clearly written pieces of content. Perfect for everything from a social post through to a novel.

ReadablePro is used by content creators, writers, marketers, small business owners, educators, and professionals. All of whom are passionate about clearly written content.

10. Logic Pro X

My final tool is the one that I spend most of my spare time in, Logic Pro X.

I’ve been making house and techno with Logic for 15 years. It’s simple to use but packs an incredible punch.

You don’t need to be an expert to record simple audio. But, if you want to delve deeper, becoming a master is an ongoing process. But, it’s a fun one.

When it comes to marketing, Logic is ideal for recording voice-overs and podcasts. Although, something like Bandcamp would do the job for free.


So, there we have it. My top 10(ish) tools that I can’t live without – what’s life without a little rule bending?

It’s fair to say that I’d be lost without my tech tools. If a nuclear winter ever comes and you need to survive in a tech-free world, best not come to me. But do send help.

Steve Linney 10 digital tools


Readable.io are not only our office neighbours but a brilliant team building SaaS products for writers and content creators around the world. We like them so much, we’ve even hired for them! So a huge thank you to Steve for this list of digital tools. I’ll overlook the rule-breaking as it’s so great to hear about the huge range of alternative digital tools marketers aren’t always aware of.

Keep an eye out for more in this series of ‘10 Digital Tools I Couldn’t Live Without’ as we’ll be continuing to publish new additions on a regular basis from equally inspiring digital marketing experts.

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