Kari Chapin asked me recently, “What’s your favorite business tool?”
I answered immediately: Pocket. I love Pocket.
There’s so much to read online right now — so many videos to watch, and blog posts to read, longform articles about interesting topics to explore — and I rarely have long chunks of time to get through them, even though I want to. I might be able to read a few paragraphs, or watch the first minute or two of a video, but then inevitably I have to go pour someone a bowl of cereal or find someone’s socks and I lose track of what I was reading or looking at.
For years I would email myself all these links so that I wouldn’t lose them. That worked, but my email box was getting really full and cluttered.
And then I found Pocket!
Pocket is a way for you to save links for later. As long as it’s a link, you can save it. I save YouTube videos, blog posts, articles, and recipes.
It’s easy and quick to save links to Pocket. Once you set up your free account, you can install a bookmarklet right on your browser that allows you just click to add an article to Pocket. Or, if you’re using your phone, you can email the article to “firstname.lastname@example.org.” Both options are super simple.
I have over 100 articles in my Pocket right now (ahem), but thankfully Pocket is searchable. You can also tag articles in your Pocket for even easier searching, but I will confess to not using this function yet.
Pocket is offline. The parking lot at my children’s elementary school has no internet service. If I’m sitting in the car waiting for them there, I can open Pocket and read the articles or watch videos I’ve saved there without being online. This is also terrific for the airplane.
Here’s how I use Pocket:
1. For my newsletter. I cook dinner each night at 5:00. While I’m stirring the pots, and monitoring homework, and supervising someone playing with playdough, I’m also looking at Twitter. Twitter is awesome for finding links to interesting stuff, but there’s no way I can read whole articles in the midst of the late afternoon chaos of managing three kids. Whenever I see a link to a headline that looks interesting I send that article to Pocket so that I can read it later. Some afternoons I send 10 articles to Pocket. (The people at Pocket recently contacted me to tell me I was a “power user.” Yep.)
On Tuesday mornings I sit down to write my newsletter. I open my MailChimp template and I open Pocket and just read. A lot of stuff ends up in my newsletter, but some of it just gets shared on Twitter or on my Facebook page. Even if you don’t share links in a newsletter, Pocket is a great way to save articles of interest to your audience that you can then drip out on Twitter or Facebook over the coming days and you can share them right from Pocket.
2. For fun. I use Pocket to save fun stuff, too. A lot of these links come from my Facebook friends. Cute videos, good recipes, book recommendations for young readers – all of those links go to Pocket for later perusal. It’s so easy to see something, enjoy it, and then never find it again! With Pocket I have a place to send all those cat videos so that I can find them when I need to entertain a crying four-year-old.
3. For research. Last July I met with Nicole from Craftcation and we decided that I would teach a class about email newsletters. I knew I’d need to gather information about best practices in email marketing before I’d be able to put the class together, and I used Pocket to help me. For six months, whenever I came across an article about newsletters I sent it to Pocket.
When it came time to sit down and put together the class materials I opened Pocket, put “newsletter” in the search bar, and was able to read through every article I’d saved. I took lots of notes on my old-school yellow legal pad and started putting my class together.
I use Pocket for researching blog posts as well. When I’m putting together one of those more journalistic posts (like this one) I’m reading broadly about a person or a concept. I send every article to Pocket so that I can find it easily and quote it properly. Pocket is private so nobody can see what you’ve saved or what you’re looking at.
Know someone else who uses Pocket? You can send an article from your Pocket to theirs! I’m working on a giant collaborative project right now and my partner and I send each other articles via Pocket all the time.
I use several online tools for my business, but for me Pocket is perhaps the most vital. I use it every single day. It’s just one of those things that makes everything easier.
Download Pocket for free right here and see what you think. And if you use Pocket already, do you like it? Do you use it for the same things I do?