Best of the Fresh van Root Newsletter 2022

The year 2022 was quite a challenge for all of us: it was full of events and news that were not always necessarily positive. 

For me, as a Ukrainian, the last year was the hardest of all. A lot of things had happened that I would not want anyone to experience. I am quite lucky to be busy with work and volunteering while being supported by my colleagues and friends. So I am taking this opportunity to ask you to further support Ukraine in the most suitable for you way.

Nevertheless, for Fresh van Root, the last year was quite successful: we worked a lot with our clients and started a few new projects. 

Even though things didn’t always go as planned due to the lack of time, we managed to send out 20 newsletters and publish 5 blog posts. For each newsletter, we chose the reading tips, tools, apps, and services carefully, so they are timely, relevant, and helpful.

This blog post presents the best of the Fresh van Root Newsletter in the year 2022: popular content that has interested our readers the most. 

It is divided into various sections according to the topic of the content: Artificial Intelligence, Social Media, Marketing, Personal Growth & Management, and, last but not least, Fresh van Root Blogposts. 

Now sit down, relax, and take a few minutes to browse the stories and reflect on 2022.

Book Recommendations and Reports 

Report: The Creator Economy Is Just Getting Started (PDF, 50 pages) | Edition 79

If you call yourself a creator or want to work with creators to push your brand – this report is for you. ConverKit surveyed 2500 creators to answer everything about running a content production business. Bits from the report: The creator’s average email list size is 645. Most creators have multiple income streams and run several channels. And the “creator middle class” is growing. More 

Book Recommendation: “Show your Work” | Edition 74

This book by Austin Kleon is a practical guide on self-promotion. It consists of 10 chapters with advice on how to get discovered. Especially helpful for those who do not enjoy presenting themselves. More

Book Recommendation: Managing Employees And Teams | Edition 71

When I pick up a book on leadership, I often think, “this book could have been a blog post.” Not with this one. Packed with practical advice on building, managing, and developing a team from start to finish. More 

Book Recommendation: Be A Great Manager (eBook) | Edition 69

The Managers Handbook shares templates, tools, and methods to up-level your management skills. More

All Things AI 

Design: AI Can Replace Illustrators (Blog post, 10min) | Edition 82

This is a side-by-side comparison of humanly-created illustrations vs. AI-created illustrations. It includes the detailed briefing made to the illustrator and the prompts fed to the text2image AI tool. Finding: The illustrators’ jobs will change quickly. They have to incorporate AI tools into their craft and reposition themselves. And I fear there will be fewer jobs on the market soon. At least for the everyday marketing production kind of images. More 

Tech: Generative AI Landscape (Infographic) | Edition 80

This image might be already outdated when you click the link. The space is changing and growing so fast that it is hard to keep up. This image shows some of the current AI companies categorized by content type. More

Stock Photos Made With AI | Edition 78

I am sharing this more for reference, not so much as a recommendation (yet). With the rise of text2image AI services, it was only a matter of weeks until stock photo sites showed up that offered to download those images. StockAI.com and PromptHero.com are the first ones I discovered, and I am sure dozens more are under development now.

Let AI Create Your Avatar | Edition 80

This service has gone around on Twitter mostly. You can upload a picture of yourself and create hundred profile avatars of yourself. Not for free, though. If you want to show yourself in a superhero pose, with a trained body, or in a fantasy world, try it out. More

AI-Powered Video Creation (Video, 1min) | Edition 77

Creating images by writing text prompts is cool, but have you tried making a video by typing text? Watch this demo to see what’s coming next. More 

Compare AI Created Images (Twitter Thread) | Edition 73

Please check this Twitter thread to see how the two AI text-to-image services (Dall E and Midjourney) deal with the same prompt. Fascinating results. As I said repeatedly, this technology will find its way into marketing content production. More

The Capabilities Of AI-powered Image Creation (Blog, 10min) | Edition 68

Describe an image with natural language, then press return. Seconds later, you get the picture you want. That is the promise of AI service Dall E 2. This blog post explores the possibilities of the AI-powered image creation tool. And in general, the results are impressive. It could also have a significant impact on content creators and marketers. Creating custom-branded images by cultivating your company’s own AI system is a possible future ahead of us. More 

All Things Social Media

Social Media: The Story of Mastodon (Interview, 5min) | Edition 80

The founder and still sole developer of Mastodon got frustrated with Twitter and set out to build his own social media software with Twitter-like features (in 2016). Since Musk officially manages Twitter, the community has been growing quickly. There are many differences compared to Twitter and Facebook; some are:

  • It is open source – everybody with the necessary skills can set up a Mastodon server and host a social network
  • There are no ads on the platform
  • There is no central content moderation. Instead, Mastodon instances manage themselves and can block each other.

Should you take Mastodon seriously? It already has a community going, so even if it does not grow into the next mega social network, it is worth checking out. And I can see organizations like the European Government already having accounts there. So yes, give it a go.

Learn more about Mastodon in this interview with the creator Eugen Rochko. More

New Social APP BeReal (Blog, 5min) | Edition 69

Are you tired of looking at the same polished pictures (on Instagram) repeatedly? Check out the BeReal app – which wants you to share snapshots of your life without any photo editing filters. How is the app different? You can only post once a day which should reduce the time spent on the app, and you get notified to take a picture and only have 2 minutes to do so. We think there is definitely a market for such an app –  get to see photos of what is happening at the moment – without filters. Wait, wasn’t that was Snapchat initially made for? Here is a description of the app and a video review. Screenshot | Video | More 

Social Media: Posts Created Using ChatGPT | Edition 82

In this article, you can see ChatGPT creating a few social media posts with just one sentence of input. While the copy and message look okay, you can see this is average dull content. Nothing you could post 1:1 on your channels except you manage social media accounts that post such boring content. But you could further tune those posts via ChatGPT to make them more interesting. More

Online Video Editor That Stands Out | Edition 67

Veed has been getting a lot of buzz recently. It caught our attention a while back, and the recent investment news caught our attention. Veed has a compelling feature set: Add subtitles, trim a video, add images/audio, change the aspect ratio of a video, apply a filter, draw on a video, and much more. We have to say: It stays out of all the browser-based video tools we tried in the past. Also lovely: You can try the editor without signing up for an account. More

All Things Marketing 

Design Trends In 2022 (Blog post, 15min) | Edition 82

Interesting Observations made on visual design trends in 2022. One thing I observed that is also mentioned in this report is a dark/black design with big fonts that I have seen on many startup landing pages. While it’s great to catch attention at first, reading long paragraphs of text on such sites is annoying. More

WordPress: Cool Themes for Personal Use | Edition 80

Anders Noren is a WordPress designer/developer creating awesome-looking WordPress themes. I haven’t set up new WordPress sites in a while. But if I would, I definitely check out Anders Noren’s designed themes.

  • Björk is a simple, clean theme for blogs and personal websites. More 
  • Oaknut – A Linktree-like Theme. More 
  • Browse all themes created by Anders Noren. More

Creating Good Old Websites (Blog, 6 min) | Edition 66

A single person created Wordle, and it was a simple website for a good idea that grew to worldwide fame. It required no login/account, and it had no ads. Is there a larger trend behind this? Anil Dash is saying yes because there is mistrust in big tech companies. He calls this “A Web Renaissance.” More 

Beautifully Designed Slide Decks | Edition 78

There is some dynamic in the market of slide share apps. Tome is also a fresh take on the segment. Instead of fixed-size slides, you create expendable cards. Using drag and drop, you can integrate 3rd party content in your decks, like tweets, Airtable, Figma, or Miro files. 

Other notable features: You can work on slides in a collaborative mode or record your webcam right in Tome and add it as a narration to your slide deck. Tome is currently in free Beta. More

Create Slide Decks Like Docs | Edition 77

The typical slide deck creation process looks like this: You start with notes, structure your thoughts in a doc, and then create the slide deck. What if you could generate slide decks like documents? Gamma solves that. Instead of slides, you create cards, and a card does not have a fixed size, meaning it could be a bunch of text-heavy paragraphs or one GIF. The block-based content editing experience is also refreshing to use. Example | More 

Build Your Custom Marketing Dashboard | Edition 67

When it comes to creating marketing dashboards, the market is full of enterprise-grade solutions, which will leave most marketers confused. You won’t be able to set them up without hiring an external consultant or investing many hours by yourself. Klipfolio is different. It is a very intuitive interface and connects to all the marketing tools you already use. Try it out and build your first report in minutes. We have done so. Screenshot | More 

On Metrics: Trust Your Gut (Blog, 10min) | Edition 68

Tracking and predicting customer engagement along the marketing funnel is a big priority for marketers. But in many cases, it doesn’t make sense. Especially in B2B, the buyer journey is too complex to attribute to your tracking/marketing framework fully. Rand Fishkin is making a case for trusting your gut more often than investing in more and more resources to track everything. More 

A Method To Rate Content Performance (Blog, 15min) | Edition 70

Pushing out more and more content to land a traffic bringer is a bad tactic. Instead, you should look at your existing content and its performance. This article explains a simple method to rate the performance of your content (i.g. blog posts) and outlines different scenarios on what to do with it, including a quick Google Analytics how-to. More 

Psychology Of Ad Copy And Design (Website, 5min) | Edition 70

What makes you stop scrolling in your social media feed? Here is an example of an ad that stood out in the sea of same-looking Instagram posts. But how could it be improved, and what makes a user think and click? This animated website presents one case study, and we recommend checking it out if you are involved in ad-creation in your job. More 

Email Marketing: Inspiration And Analysis | Edition 82 

I shared the Really Good Email website years ago in this newsletter, but the site has come a long way and is now way more advanced. Recently on a consulting project, it has been a valuable resource to look at competing companies and their email strategy. But it is not only design inspiration – you can preview how the email looks from different devices, at the code of the email, and add your favorites to your account—relaunching a newsletter or working on new email templates? Check it out. More

Personal Growth & Management 

Personal Growth: Talk About Your Work (Blog, 5min) | Edition 74

Do you need a little nudge to finally start the podcast, newsletter, blog, or community you have been thinking about? This is a motivational text to unleash your inner creator-self. More 

Management: OKRs vs. KPIs (Blog post, 10min) | Edition 81

Objective Key Results have emerged as the most common goal-setting framework in recent years. How do OKRs compare to KPIs, and can these two be combined? OKRs are great for aligning teams and perfectly fit your team’s agile workflow. If you are in planning mode for 2022, read this post. More

Tactics To Master Procrastination (Blog, 7min) | Edition 73

This blog post reminded me that every knowledge worker develops tactics to beat procrastination over time. But procrastination is not something you beat once and is gone forever. Humans are not machines, after all. Sometimes you figure out a “hack” that makes it easier for you to get focused and get stuff done. In this blog post, Wired author Clive Thompson shares that knowing his laptop battery only lasts for 2 hours means he needs to be fast – procrastinating is not an option. More

The Hybrid Work Culture Is The Future (Article, 10min) | Edition 66

A hybrid work model of spending 2-4 working days at the office, and the others working from home, is what most knowledge workers want to have. But what implications does this have on the cities that previously had all those people commuting, going for lunches, and window shopping? The article explores some of those questions. More 

Do Not Brainstorm (Blog post, 10min) | Edition 65

Brainstorming sessions do not work and will only surface mediocre ideas – in most cases. If an environment exists that allows creative work, brainstorming sessions are unnecessary. And if not, you should create an environment where it is possible. This blog post gives a history lesson on the term “brainstorming” and explains why most brainstorming sessions are useless and how they can be structured to work. More 

One Messenger App To Rule Them All | Edition 76

Are you messaging across several services all day and tired from switching between apps? Texts is an app you can use as a central hub to message on all major platforms. No more switching between FB Messenger, WhatsApp, Telegram, Signal, and many more. A feature we like: Schedule messages to be sent later. More 

Fresh van Root Blogposts

Unlocking Reality: Find Out What’s Trending in Productivity, Social, AI, and Content Creation – and what to expect in 2023. More

App Review: AI Video Tool Synthesia Studio. More

Height.app Introduction & Review – Project & Task Management Customizable To The Needs Of Every Team. More

A Future Proof Tool Set For Managing Your Notes. More

Crash Course Tutorial: Building A Website Using No-Code Tools And A Headless CMS. More

Stay tuned for more content in 2023! While waiting for the new edition, you can browse through the Fresh van Root Newsletters while.  

The best content, tips, and tools for curious creators. Twice a month.