I Have to Say, New Copywriting App Airstory is Pretty Badass.
Focusing on just one of its features: The Airstory Researcher Extension for Google Chrome.
Up until recently, the word processor was the last great innovation in writing. Which is kind of interesting I think. At least when you consider the fact that written content is a foundational element to the internet.
Luckily, over the past few years, that’s started to change. While we still haven’t seen anything that’s redefined writing on quite the same level that the word processor did, applications like Ulysses, iaWriter and Byword took Markdown mainstream; Hemingway and readable.io help you write clear and simple prose; and pioneering Scrivener was the first application to build a writing process around novelists’ preferred writing methods, as opposed to forcing users to adapt to its quirks.
When I was copywriting full time, I remember reading about Airstory. They hadn’t released anything yet, but I was intrigued: here was an app — a fully-fledged word processor — built for copywriters, and from the features they touted on the landing page, it worked the way I work when I’m writing.
That is, flitting between browser tabs, snagging bits and pieces of information here here and there, molding it into something new and original on a separate page. Something tells me I’m not the only one to use this “workflow.”
At the time, Airstory was on an invitation-only beta. I added my email address to the waiting list and forgot about it; I didn’t really expect to hear anything else.
A month ago I stumbled back onto Airstory. Now out of the beta phase and being sold, I re-reviewed the features and bought a lifetime subscription for it — they were having a special for $39.00 for life.
What is it?
Airstory is a nonlinear, cloud-based word processor that enables collaboration and has features that make it easy to get content where it needs to go — they have a WordPress plugin that allows you to publish directly to a site.
Airstory is built on cards. Cards are content containers that can be notes, pictures or entire posts/articles.
At its core, you’ve got the project pane, which holds the project cards you’re working on. To the right, you’ve got the card library, which is the collection of all the individual cards that make up your projects — outlines, paragraphs, notes, etc.
They don’t have to be part of a project though. They can just be scattered clippings from the internet, which is what I seem to primarily use them for. Hey, who knows. Maybe they’ll come in handy some day. You can hide the card library by clicking the card icon on the left-hand sidebar.
There are some other cool features that I may get to on a later post. For now though, there’s one thing in particular that instantly made its way into my writing process.
Airstory Chrome Extension
The Airstory Researcher Chrome Extension essentially lets you highlight any text you find and add it to an Airstory project. The other great thing is that you can just as easily add pictures you find that work for your article.
For the text feature, once you’ve installed the extension, log in to Airstory and take anything you find out there and add it to a project.
For example, here’s SEMrush’s blog:
Let’s find a piece of text on this article by Becky…
Say we want to make a note of this first paragraph.
Highlight it and give it a good, strong right click.
Scroll down to “Save Text to Airstory.” Once you’ve clicked that, a new popup appears. The text you want is quoted and you can add tags for future reference to make them easy to find in your Airstory card library later on.
A really cool feature here is the ability to add images Airstory pulls from the article or page. It reminds me a bit of Buffer — letting you easily find some good content to make your post or article that much better.
You can add multiple images to save along with the text you want to. When you’re done, click ‘save.’
I didn’t assign my exerpts to any project, but if you, say, added a new one while you were clipping the content, called “Airstory,” this is where it will be waiting for you.
Once you navigate back to Airstory.co, you can find your card in your projects pane.
An extremely useful feature of the Airstory Researcher Extension for Google Chrome is its ability to do the same thing outlined above, but with images. Just take any Google Image search, scroll down to the one you want to use and right click it, just like with the text.
You’ll get the same helper popup as with the text snippet, asking you if you’d like to go ahead and assign this image to a project or add tags to it.
Adding text and images quickly is a huge time saver, but as always, make sure to be careful when adding images or quotations to your posts in this way — you can’t overlook work that’s protected by some law or another. Always attribute the author if it says to do so.
Although it’s a service and workflow I’ve been enjoying, their price point is $59.00 a month. I think that’s steep for anyone who’s not using this program to manage a creative team.
I am a big believer in paying for the apps I use and enjoy, although I am disgruntled in general about the tech industry’s shift toward monthly pricing. I’m just comparing it to other apps I use, like… for instance… Trello. Yes, I know that it’s not apples to apples.
Those two programs are very different. But I pay $12.50/mo for Trello, and it’s more well-rounded than Airstory, has more features and a laundry list of integrations. It may not be a perfect comparison, but if you put the features list and integrations both inividual programs are capable of, and consider that Trello is so flexible it could replace Airstory, the $59.00/mo price tag seems even more strange.
Note: I didn’t receive anything from Airstory or anyone else in writing this. I just thought it was cool and worth mentioning to anyone who writes.