I had a question on my Facebook profile from the lovely Amanda Alexander asking where I find all the interesting information that I share with my audience on a regular basis.
I promised her a blog post on the subject and here it is!
Why Share Interesting and Valuable Information?
So, firstly, why would you want to find and share content with your audience?
This depends on what you’re trying to do and why you’re using social media.
If you are in business then there are a number of reasons why you should be thinking about sharing valuable content with your audience of prospects, customers and other interested parties.
Firstly, the clue’s in the word – ‘valuable’. If your audience find your content useful and helpful then finding more of it and sharing it with them is a good thing to do to help to build your relationship with them. It also helps you to potentially demonstrate your knowledge in the area by curating quality content and not sharing the stuff that’s not important.
It’s also gives you an opportunity to share links on social media rather than just status updates, which can be a bit ‘me, me ,me’ or maybe less engaging if they’re one liners. And if the content you’re sharing is your own blog post then it can be helpful to gain traffic to your website and improve your SEO.
Selfishly I like to read good content myself, and a fair amount of it! That’s how this blog started as you may already know if you’ve read my About page! And I can’t help but share interesting stuff that I read if I think my audience might also be interested in it.
The challenge though is in how to do this in a time efficient way whilst ensuring that the content is valuable and perhaps sometimes a bit off the beaten track for some people. Most of us have seen the very popular stuff that’s seemingly shared everywhere, like the ‘what colour is this dress’ post or this week’s Jamie Oliver video. I do share some of the very popular content but I also often find myself ignoring it for a while, because it is so popular, until curiosity finally gets the better of me!
What’s my Process
I gather content from a number of different routes, more of which later. And then most mornings, before Doddsy and Little Doddsy are up, I read a good number of articles that have caught my attention. I read any time that I can really but I do try and commit at least thirty minutes every morning as part of my ‘waking up routine’.
I mark those that I want to share and then once a week, usually on a Monday, I schedule all the articles to be shared in a random order on different platforms over the coming week or so using Buffer, again more on that later!
Pocket allows you to read articles whilst offline so I also do a lot of my reading on the train (our hi-speed train in Kent goes through too many tunnels for a steady internet connection, so better to just give up trying!) and on the Tube.
I add articles to Pocket in four main ways.
I have the bookmarklet on my Chrome browser, which means that any time I come across an article I want to read, I can click the bookmarklet and add it to Pocket rather than read it on my laptop, which I really don’t like to do. In fact I often click through from email newsletters to an article and then I just add it to my Pocket with the bookmarklet on the browser bar and then delete the email.
I use IFTTT to automatically save articles to Pocket from RSS feeds on my favourite blogs, ie those where I usually want to read all their posts, regardless of what they are!
I also use Feedly to gather the RSS feeds from other blogs where I want to be a bit more discerning about what I want to read. And then once as week I go through my Feedly account, on my iPhone or iPad (as they have the best interface for this job) and quickly choose the articles that I like the look of enough to add to my Pocket account using the handy little option that Feedly gives me to add straight to Pocket.
And finally when in Pocket if a post links to another interesting post there is a + button to just add that post into your reading list for later (though that option only works when online).
Once I’ve read something I think is shareable I then click on the star that you can see on the bottom of the image above so that it goes into my ‘Favourites’ in Pocket. Then once as week I share all my Favourites using Buffer.
Buffer is the tool that I mainly use to share my curated content. I still use Hootsuite for Twitter, conversations and monitoring as well as scheduling if things need to go out on specific dates/times but other than that I use Buffer. The reason is that Buffer allows you to set up a schedule for your social platforms and then any content you send to it gets published automatically at those times from your queue of content.
I have the premium version as I like to use a different schedule for each platform and I have more profiles on there than the free version allows.
Another trick is that once I’ve batch added my content to Buffer from Pocket (removing the stars to ‘unfavourite’ the content as I go along) is to go into the content queue on Buffer for each profile and ‘shuffle’ the content so that not only is the curated content going out on different platforms at different times it will now be going out on different days too, just to add a little variety and ‘hit’ people at different times!
It’s Much Easier to Do this Consistently with a Process in Place
To the unititated this must all sound a bit overwhelming! But in reality it is a very simple process that allows me to read tons of really interesting articles and share the best ones with my audience on a regular basis.
I try to systemise and automate as much as I can to allow me to get stuff done routinely and with least hassle, so I am always tweaking processes to make them run better. This one has endured so far though as it works really well and all of it can easily be done from my iPhone so I can easily fill ‘dead’ time waiting in bank queues and doctors’ waiting rooms, even brushing my teeth (I was that child who would even read the backs of cereal packets at the breakfast table just to read something)!
I will finish by saying that I always have far more articles listed in my Pocket account than I can ever read and whilst I’m usually someone who likes to ‘clear’ lists I have positioned it to myself that I have a lovely never ending reading list with loads of variety, just waiting for those moments when I want to read something. So I don’t feel overwhelmed with the long list!
I’d love to know if you try and of these tools or if you have your own way of doing something similar. Please leave a comment below to let me know!