Taking a moment to watch the Internet in Real Time churn along and I’m reminded of the classic storybook by Tomie dePaola, “Strega Nona”. After invoking the magic pasta pot, the tale’s fallible protagonist, Big Anthony, is unable to stop the bubbling pasta as it fills the witch's house and tumbles into the town pushing through the doors and windows of the townspeople.
Fortunately for us, unlike Big Anthony, we don’t have to consume all the online content bubbling out as punishment for our sins. We can be selective, and more and more tools, sites, and apps support this way of browsing.
If you’re in charge of social media accounts for yourself, or your business, you should be looking for content to share that’s relevant to your audience's interests. About half of this should be selected from the unstoppable pasta pot of content, helping to position yourself as an authority in your industry and connecting you with other influential people and businesses.
So how do you go about quickly and easily picking out great, topical, engaging content? A nice hearty plateful with a good mixture of sauce and spaghetti (if we’re to stick with the magic pasta pot analogy).
Here are 3 really simple steps I’ve taken to make my search for content easier, and ensure I have my finger on the pulse of the latest trending topics and conversations.
Step 1. Start with a simple Google search with filters and add Google Alerts
For a very broad approach start with a Google search and filter by ‘News’.
Immediately we're seeing the latest articles, if you industry is food or health related we're already seeing something timely and a bit contriversial - 'lower your risk of stroke and heart disease with chocolate' - come on conversation starter!
Next do a normal web search and filter by ‘Time’ to see if we find some more recently published posts.
So now you have a broad idea of what's ranking in real time for your keyword "healthy eating". If the results are fruitful - sorry for the terrible pun - you can set up a Google Alert so that you don’t miss a thing. “Healthy eating” might be a bit too broad, but it’s a start, and you can always focus your keywords as you go.
Now the content you’re interested in is being sent straight to your inbox ready to read and share.
While you’re setting up Alerts, check you have a vanity alert for your brand. This will help you with reputation management and control. Include common misspellings or abbreviations, for example: Wordtracker and Word-tracker.
Step 2. Make a list of interests on Facebook and add them to your favorites
You know when you log into Facebook and you scroll through your news feed, right? It’s no secret that you're seeing is an algorithmically selected portion of updates from people and pages you follow. But you won’t see everything posted, and not everything you do see will help with your search for shareable content.
To segment your newsfeed by industry topics you can create lists of people and pages that are of interest to you and add them to your favorites so they sit nicely on the top of the left panel of your Facebook home page. Nice and handy.
To create a new list click ‘Home’ then scroll down and click on ‘Interests’ on the left panel, then click ‘Create List’.
Select the people, or pages to add to your interests, give it a name and save it.
Then go back to your Interests, click on the cog (or flower icon) and ‘Add to Favorites’.
Now when you log on to Facebook you can easily see and share more content from sources related to your industry.
You can also edit the visibility settings of your list by clicking on the ‘earth’ icon. It will be set to public by default.
Step 3. Create Twitter lists and subscribe to existing Twitter lists
Browsing through your Twitter feed for all the 100s or 1000s of accounts you follow, is more information than any one person could absorb in 100 lifetimes. Unlike Facebook it’s not algorithmically sorted, so the content is a literal stream.
Lists are a life saver and time saver for anyone seeking sharable content.
Whenever I follow someone on Twitter I will always consider which list they should be added to. It will quickly become a part of your process and before long you’ll have built up a solid list of influential people tweeting valuable content and hot stories in your industry.
Lists act as a curated feed focused around certain topics, and you don’t have to follow someone to add them to a list.
Click on the cog wheel to the left of the Follow button and add them to a new or existing list.
Want a ready made list? Subscribe to Wordtracker’s lists here, you will need to be logged in to your Twiiter account to view lists.
Now when you’re flat out running your business, and you know you need a bit of juicy content to share, you’ll have the tweets of industry influencers at your fingertips.
This is just the beginning
This is by no means an exhaustive list, in fact a complete list would be more inundating than the pasta from the magic pot :)
As a little bonus, here are 3 additional sources I use to speed up my search for content. I’m not going to go into too much detail, it’s best to check them out for yourself and see what works best for you.
Flipboard - is a magazine style app that feeds you news based on topics you’re interested in. You can link up your social accounts to get everything in one handy place.
Alltop.com - is a website not disimilar to Flipboard, but without the magazine style imagery. You can sign up and select your favorite topics.
Pulse - is an app that’s owned by LinkedIn and allows you to subscribe to different online publications including Gizmodo, Best of Reddit and Creative Bloq.
What they all have in common is the ability to select subjects you’re interested in. This means you’re able to dive straight into relevant content quickly and easily.
I hope these simple tips help you in your quest to curate great content for your social media accounts. If you share great content regularly you’ll begin to engage with your audience and get more followers!
Now over to you - I’d love to know what tips your have or apps you use to carve your way through the content jungle.