Do you struggle to find interesting content to share on social media?
Today, I’ll show you how I use a feed reader to follow others in my profession and gather information I can share with my customers on social media. I find so much information, I can fill my social queues in next-to-no time with reading material to spare.
WHAT TO SHARE ON SOCIAL
You're aiming for a mix of your own content and promotional material, plus useful, entertaining, or informative articles from other people.
There are no hard-and-fast rules here but, you should generally be sharing more of other’s people content than your own (Buffer, 2016). I aim for a third of my own content and two thirds from other people.
In some ways, this makes it easier for you. You don’t have to create enough content to keep your social feeds full. You are, in effect, repurposing other people’s content.
The problem is, of course, you have to find the best content to share.
Don’t worry. Finding content is much easier than creating it!
This is where a feed reader comes to your rescue.
You may have come across the term RSS. This refers to Really Simple Syndication. This is how news sites (aggregators), feed readers, podcasts, etc, pull new information from websites.
Every time a website adds a new blog post, it's accessible via their feed. If someone is following that feed with a feed reader, the article will pop up in their reading list:
- You find the best websites in your field, or sites that produce complimentary information your customers would find useful or entertaining.
- You add these sites to your feed reader (such as Feedly).
- Feedly then kindly pulls any new articles from these sites as they go live and adds it to a reading list for you.
- You then have access to a constant stream of articles to scan and share.
No more going to individual websites to find there's nothing new to read!
HOW DOES THIS HELP YOU
It Saves Time
I can easily fill my social media queue for the week with interesting articles in just half an hour with my feed reader.
You no longer need to visit individual website to find new information. Anything new will be sent to one place. I can’t tell you how much time this saves.
It Improves Quality
Sifting through online searches, and the mixed bag they produce, will be a thing of the past.
You pre-filter the list by only adding sites that you want to read. You know that anything on your feed has been pre-selected by you.
I’ve ended up with a list of a hundred tried-and-tested blogs that consistently provide me with more than enough high-quality content to fill my hungry social-media streams.
It Improves Over Time
The longer you add to a feed reader, the better the quality gets.
It’s also important to delete feeds from your reader. I regularly trial new blogs on Feedly. I also make sure to regularly remove those that don’t produce shareable information.
Feed your reader, but the odd diet is a good thing.
MY PROCESS FOR GATHERING CONTENT TO SHARE
Once a week, I sit down to go through my Feedly feed and fill up my social queues:
- I go through each Collection (my own categories) and scan for interesting articles.
- I right-click on anything interesting to open it in a new tab. (The free account doesn’t share directly to social or apps like Buffer, the paid accounts do.)
- When I have 10-20 tabs open, I go through the articles one by one to see if they are read-worthy or share-worthy.
- If I want to keep an article to read later, I put it in Pocket.
- If I feel it would be of interest to my followers on social media, I put it in Buffer.
- If I don’t want to read or share it, I close the tab.
- When I run out of tabs, I go back to Feedly and keep scanning, right-clicking, reading, sharing, closing, etc.
I end up with full social media queues and more articles to read than I could ever get through!
I have a lot of feeds on my list now, but continue to add new ones. I give each new feed a month or so before deciding whether it stays or goes.
I want my feed to not only grow, but to improve in quality over time. Deleting sources that aren’t of value is essential.
In the video below, I give you a quick demo of how I add to, scan, read and share using the free account on Feedly.
Below the video, you’ll find a step by step for adding, bookmarking and opening articles.
THE STEP BY STEP
Adding a Blog Feed
- Click on Add Content at the bottom of the left-hand menu. Select Sources.
- If you know the blog you want to follow, copy-and-paste the URL into the Search Box.
- If there is a feed associated with that blog, Feedly will find it.
- Click Follow to the right of the blog name and add to a Collection, if using.
Find New Blogs to Follow
- If you don’t have a particular blog in mind, you can also Search by Hashtag.
- Either click on one of the Explore the Web selections they provide. This will list the most-followed and most-shared blogs on that particular topic.
- Or, type in your own hashtag related to your industry or keywords.
- Click Follow for any blog you would like to add to your feed.
- If you're in a hurry and find articles you would like to use later, the Bookmarking function is useful.
- If you are viewing the All option, the Bookmark appears to the left of the title.
- If you are viewing individual Collections, the Bookmark appears to the right of the title, when you hover anywhere over the article.
- When you are ready to read bookmarked articles, click on Read Later at the top of the menu on the left-hand side.
- Some blogs provide a snippet of the blog post, others the whole article.
- Click on the Title to open the article in Feedly.
- Right-click on the Title to open in a new Tab or Window.
FINDING INTERESTING CONTENT FOR SOCIAL MEDIA
Feed readers are great for keeping up with the latest news in your field, finding valuable articles to share with your customers, saving time on social media management, finding inspiration for your own blog posts, or even keeping a friendly eye on the competition.
I’ve been using this technique for a few years now, with various feed readers. I can honestly say it's one of my most important work processes.
It might take a while at the start to build up your list of useful blogs. But, once established, I think you’ll find this a life saver too.