Relay That! – Reviewed for Authors

Relay That - reviewed for authors“Relay That!” may be exactly what you need, if you’re managing your own social media marketing… and it’s taking far too much time.

I bought a lifetime membership (it’s software you’ll use online, in the cloud) for $49 through a special AppSumo.com deal. When I saw what the software did, I didn’t even hesitate.

(If that link doesn’t work, it’s because it’s AppSumo’s “share at Facebook” link. And, when the deal is over – or perhaps sooner – that link may not work.)

Since I started using it, I’m even more glad that I bought Relay That!

Basically, it streamlines the process of creating original, unique social media graphics. (You can also use it for PowerPoint slides, and for Kindle book covers… sort of. I’ll get to that in a minute.)

The Importance of Pinterest

Recently, I tested Pinterest for marketing, and I was kind of amazed at the surge in traffic to my sites, and a related increase in my book income.

So, I put a free WordPress plugin on all of my sites, and I bought a license to place Tasty Pins on my biggest, book-related website.

  • The free plugin is Pinterest Pin It Button On Image Hover and After Post & Page Content.  Yes, that’s it’s full name. Yes, it hasn’t been updated in some time, so WP says it may not be compatible with current WP installs. It’s also the best of the free Pinterest plugins I’ve tried. (I’m using it on this site.)
  • The Tasty Pins plugin… well, yes, it’s designed for people with recipe blogs. The plugin happens to be the only one I’ve seen that actually does what it says.

(When you’re adding WP images, the Tasty Pins plugin gives you an extra section where you can put the exact text you’d like displayed when someone Pins your post/image. The non-plugin alternative is to put the text in the “Alt” section for the graphic… and hope for the best.)

NOTE: That Tasty Pins plugin is sold with a single-site license. Unless your site and books are earning money to justify this expense, the price – I think it was $29 – may not seem worth it.

Anyway…

I was designing my own Pinterest graphics – generally 600 x 900 pixels.  In WordPress, people see reduced versions inside each article. (When someone Pins the image/article, the graphic will display full-size at Pinterest.)

But, those graphics were taking me an hour (or more) to create and tweak… and tweak… and tweak. (Have I mentioned how finicky I can be? Or how much perfectionism gets in my way?)

So anyway, I took a quick glance at “Relay That!” and knew it might save me time. And, since AppSumo.com deals can vanish in a blink, I bought the software right away.

My Review of Relay That!

A review of the WP plugin, Relay That!This product is a gold mine, on many levels, and not just because it can save a lot of time. Like a slightly confusing mine tunnel, the deeper you go into Relay That’s options, the more useful tools and designs you’ll discover.

It’s not perfect. There are some features I’d like to see added, soon.

One of them is the ability to choose font sizes. At the moment, the software works best in “dummies mode,” so you can choose different fonts & font colors… but the size (in points) remains the same.

Another is the option of moving some of the design elements, even a little. Right now, the layout you see is what you get.

But, even with those kinds of issues, I’m happy with this software. I spent about 15 minutes (maybe a little less) creating the graphics for this article.  Past, similar efforts – before Relay That – took me at least an hour, and didn’t look as polished.

Yesterday, I turned out seven Pinterest graphics and posted them with (existing) articles. Then I designed a book cover in Relay That, too. All in less than two hours.

You can use Relay That right out of the box.

  • You can use their graphics (over 250k of them) or upload your own.
  • Choose the finished image size (generally designed for specific social media sites, from Twitter to YouTube to LinkedIn to… well, you get the idea).
  • Change the text to fit your needs.
  • Then, download the finished graphic.

That’s it. It could take you five minutes, and the finished product could look pretty darned amazing.

Or, you could let perfectionism slip in, as I do.

My process involves using my own photos, or finding one online. (Lately, I rely on sites like Pexels and Pixabay, and my annual membership to Storyblocks.com‘s images.)

But… a lot of those sites provide photos larger than 10MB, and 10MB is the current per-image upload limit at Relay That.

So, I add a step: I reduce the image in Photoshop, with a simple “save for web…” at medium or high levels. (You could do the same thing with Gimp or any free graphics program.)

Then, I’m ready to create an “ooh, shiny!” social media graphic at Relay That. 

The learning curve is pretty mild. I recommend going through the Relay That tutorial (it’s 11 easy steps) and actually doing what they’re demonstrating, as you follow along.

Tips:

  • I think the Font 1, Font 2, and Highlight tabs need more explaining. I recommend experimenting with them to see what they do.
  • Also, using brackets – { and } – around ANY section of the text, even an entire section (like your URL), makes it a “highlight.”

So then I create my graphic. That takes minutes. 10 – 15, at the very most. (The one at the top of this page took under a minute in Relay That!)

After that, if I’m going to post at several social media sites, switching graphic sizes and design styles is really easy. Click, click… and done!

All with the same basic image/s & text. (It’s ridiculously simple. It’s what I did for the graphics on this page.)

Then, after downloading the finished social media graphics (I download as JPGs), I go back to Photoshop and tweak. (Because: finicky.)

What do I tweak…? Well, for Pinterest, I start with Relay That’s 800 x 1200 Tall Post template, and reduce it to 600 x 900 (so it’s a smaller file size), and then “save for web” to reduce the file size even more.

For Facebook posts (like the one at the top of this page), I just “save for web” at full size.

I love how easy this is. And how fast.

Relay That also offers templates for book covers (1410 x 2250 pixels). However, they’re pretty ho-hum (Relay That says they’re expanding their design options) and frustrating since I can’t tweak the font sizes.

So, don’t buy this with immediate plans to design all your book covers in Relay That.

However, for simple books – the kind that take a day or two to write – those covers may be good enough. Later today, I’ll be publishing a book with a cover I designed in Relay That. All it needed was a really simple cover.

Also, Relay That has templates for things like Facebook Covers, which – at 1920 x 1080 pixels – are ideal for slides in my YouTube videos. Wheeeeee!

Then there are some quirky bells & whistles like can’t-miss-this watermarks, for anyone selling their photos or artwork.

… And probably a bunch of other features I haven’t discovered in the two days since I bought Relay That. (I’m also writing a book right now.)

So, that’s my review. I wanted to throw this together right away, while AppSumo is offering such a great price for Relay That.

(As I’m writing this, AppSumo’s deal is $49 for a lifetime membership. If you buy a membership at the RelayThat.com site, it’s $25 – $97/month, depending on the level of membership you want.)

Personally, I’m delighted with RelayThat. It’s already saved me a full day’s time (working on Pinterest graphics)… which leaves me more time for writing. And it opens opportunities to expand my marketing into other social media.

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