This is part of a biweekly series on tools, resources and apps to help PR and media professionals be more productive and effective.
In simple terms, Evernote is a cloud-based content storage service. More specifically, it enables users to take notes, capture media, save Web pages and more in a synced account that's accessible via personal computers and mobile devices. Evernote helps you "Remember everything," as the motto on its website says. Once you get a grasp of everything this tool offers, you'll understand why the company's logo is an elephant.
With accessibility for Mac OS X and Windows computers and all major mobile operating systems, Evernote is a handy multiplatform tool that takes a load off of your brain. It essentially acts as an extension of your memory, which is quite helpful for PR and media folks who deal with heavy loads of content and long to-do lists every day. Throw in the search, organization and sharing features in Evernote and it's easy to see how it opens up a number of opportunities to boost your productivity.
Here are just a few examples of how you can use Evernote in your daily work (or non-work) life:
- Take notes from interviews, meetings, etc., in an Evernote note, which will be synced to your account and accessible on all your devices that have access to the Web or Evernote software installed. This simplifies a process that might otherwise involve sifting through digital documents on various devices and loose sheets of papers.
- Take photos of receipts, business cards or other things you want to remember and see later. Not only will these images be filed away in your Evernote account, but they'll be searchable, too. So, for example, if you snap a photo of San Diego-based zookeeper Jane Doe's business card and want to find it later, just search for terms like "Jane Doe," "San Diego" or "zookeeper" in your Evernote account. The image of the business card will turn up.
- When you have those delicate flashes of brilliance that fade by the time you whip out a pen and paper, just record a voice note and save it in Evernote. You can listen to all your recorded ideas later to confirm your genius.
- If you're reading various websites on a particular topic and want to keep a record of content you might want to revisit, you can install the Evernote Web Clipper browser extension. With the extension, you can clip and save a full page, the article being displayed, text you've highlighted on the page or the entire URL.
- If you receive an email that contains your flight itinerary, a bill or anything else you'd like to save, or if you just find it easier to email a particular piece of content to your Evernote account at any given moment, you can email notes to a custom Evernote email address. The content will be stored in your account.
Collecting and saving content in Evernote is just the start. The tool also allows users to organize notes into Notebooks, and to further organize those Notebooks into Notebook Stacks. As mentioned above, users can also search through their notes using terms and various filters (contains, source, created, modified, etc.), limit searches to specific notebooks, and save searches for future use. Users can also tag notes with keywords to make them easier to sort, organize and find.
Evernote also has a social aspect to it: Notebooks can be shared with the public or with specified individuals. Also, notes can be shared via Facebook, Twitter, email or a custom link. These functionalities make Evernote a collaborative tool, which can come in handy when working on team projects.
This isn't even to mention the other facets of Evernote, including Skitch (an app for annotating, editing and sharing photos), Evernote Clearly (a browser extension that enables users to read Web content stripped of all the "distractions"), Evernote Trunk (hardware, applications and notebooks that leverage Evernote) and Evernote Premium (higher upload limits, faster support, better collaboration capabilities, etc.).
The best way to get started with the tool is to create an account, install Evernote onto your computers and mobile devices, and start experimenting. There's much to explore and there's no harm in tackling one feature at a time.
For more information on how to get started with Evernote and possible ways to use it, see the resources below: