Today I’m going to share with you some ways to find great third party content faster and easier. Everyone wants a store of content ready to tweet, create list posts from, get inspiration from, etc. The hard part is sourcing it, collating it, and maintaining the system. Consistency is so important when it comes to social media and blogging, so anything that can help you maintain a steady flow of content is great.
A lot of people are scared to share third party resources because they think they’re highlighting their own shortcomings or sending people away from their own website and channels. In fact, if you build up a reputation for consistently sharing quality content, people will keep coming back to you as a go-to source, and you can reap the benefits of being an authority in your niche. Also, many people don’t create that much content of their own, so your followers will have something to read several times a day and be reminded to follow up on your posts too.
So let’s streamline your third party content sourcing!
First of all, if you’re sourcing third party content to share on social media, chances are you’ll want to schedule it a week or two at a time. There are plenty of scheduling tools out there, but my personal favourite is Buffer. Buffer will share your posts to LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter (or all three). If you’re using WordPress or another common CMS, you can also set up plugins, If This Then That recipes or zaps to share your posts, both new and old. However you should have good analytics tracking set up as this won’t be added to your messages like Buffer and Bit.ly.
Okay, so once you have your scheduling tool of choice to hand, you’re ready to begin streamlining your sourcing.
1. Create a Feedly account
Feedly is an RSS reader much like the old Google Reader. Simply add your favourite websites by entering the address or RSS URL and use Feedly’s search suggestions to add more in a similar vein.
Psst…if you want to add Media Desk, this is the RSS URL: http://www.mediadesk.co.uk/feed/
You want to pick out websites that are relevant and interesting to your target audience. Ideally you want several hundred, but you can build this up over time. As you work with Feedly, you’ll end up refining your choices and adding new options. For example, some websites will publish excessive amounts of content that prevent you seeing others. Some websites will publish lower-quality or variable-quality content, or stuff that isn’t really suited to your needs. It’s a work in progress.
You can then pick out the most interesting and relevant articles to add to Buffer or your scheduling tool of choice. Alternatively, you can ‘save’ articles to use for developing your own content or for reading later.
If you’re not overly confident about choosing articles, Feedly has a great little feature that consists of a flame in the bottom left of each article. The higher the number, the more popular the article. This can be a good indicator of quality and interest in a particular piece (and also great for title/topic inspiration for your own content).
You can also use recipes and zaps to auto-share content. With a premium Feedly account you can tag articles or categories and have those shared automatically. If you go down this route you can share a lot more frequently with less effort, but the tradeoff for that is that the quality will be lower and you have less control over what’s shared and when.
2. Sign up to good newsletters
One of the potential pitfalls of sourcing all your content from a feed reader is that you can easily default to sharing content from the same few sources. Why would anyone keep coming back to your social channels if all you do is share TechCrunch articles?
It’s good to have a secondary strategy so that you’re consciously forced to vary your content sharing. This is where newsletters come in. For the purposes of this post, what you want are newsletters that share third party content as well as their own. There’s no point subscribing to company newsletters or deals websites or the website’s own blog post roundups. You’re looking for things like the Moz top ten newsletter, a16z, and anything relevant that describes itself as a digest. These can be tricky to find but worth their weight in gold when you do.
When they arrive in your inbox, pick out the most interesting and either schedule/save them as-is, or follow the links within them to end up at all kinds of interesting pieces.
3. Join content-rich networks
There are hundreds of these, and it’s worth exploring what’s available in your niche. For example, if digital marketing is your thing, Inbound is great.
If you’re looking for something more general, then Quora and Medium are up there as two of the best. Quora is a great place to get inspiration for content and see what people are interested in and asking about right now. The answers to questions also frequently contain great links to interesting opinion and fact-based articles. Medium is a straight article/opinion source with intelligent matching that’s guaranteed to pull up pieces you (and your readers) are interested in. Again, with both websites you can see how popular something is and use that as a baseline for your content selection.
1. Always @mention and +name the websites and people you link to in your social media posts. Not only is it good etiquette, but it means they will definitely see you sharing their content.
2. Use analytics to monitor your most popular messages. This will help you refine your content sharing strategy and increase the chances that you share something your audience is definitely interested in.
3. Create a calendar or to-do list to help you stay on top of scheduling and ensure you’re posting consistently.
How do you source third party content? Tell us your tips on Twitter!