Credit: stock.xchng - intuitives [Image ID: 2205]Fellow internet markers, do you have numerous blogs that you write content for at any given time? Do you use social media to market the content you create? Do you find it difficult to find the time to keep a steady flow of posts streaming through your social networks?
We all know how effective it is to share our content on social networks, but short of outsourcing your work (which is definitely an appealing and efficient prospect; but it does cost money), it can be challenging to find the time to make sure your content is getting linked to, shared, liked, commented on, and so on. For maximum exposure, you often have to share your posts more than once, at different times, and on a variety of social networking and social bookmarking sites.
Of course, you probably want your content to be seen by as many eyes as possible. If you’re working for a company, they likely expect you to help them generate leads and create valuable SEO content. If you’re developing your own blog, you want your own products, ads and affiliate links to be noticed, clicked on and purchased. You want to convert visitors to blog subscribers and blog subscribers to mailing list subscribers and so on. Oftentimes, your goals are pretty similar regardless of whether you’re blogging for yourself or for others.
Now that we’ve sufficiently addressed the problem and the motivation for developing a hack for it, let’s look at one of the ways you can market your content more efficiently.
Social Media Management Platforms
Though it isn’t the main focus of this article, it’s worth mentioning that there are various social media management platforms that allow you to schedule posts in advance. I recommend HootSuite, which allows you to connect up to five social networks for free. If you want more, you can always move up to the paid version later.
For all intents and purposes, it is one of the tools I use, so it’s definitely worth mentioning. In fact, it is actually one of the key components to making this process work (though you can always find another tool that you like).
Every Blog Post is an Opportunity
As the number of posts on your blog(s) continue to increase, it is quite likely that some of your older content gets buried. However, there are probably pieces you’ve spent a significant amount of time on (especially evergreen content) that still holds its value. In essence, every post you’ve written is an opportunity unto itself; though you might have a few older posts that you would cringe even to look at.
In short, as you develop a larger and larger catalog of content, there are more and more opportunities to share it on social media. Moreover, I have found that you can increase your posting frequency significantly in proportion to the amount of content you’ve built up. However, this is not a license to spam freely. I discourage that. Furthermore, there is probably only so much time you can dedicate to this task.
I have personally found some success with increasing my posting frequency (to social media) as far as getting more likes, more followers, more favorites and more shares goes. The problem is that I often found myself sifting through my entire blog(s), picking and choosing the pieces of content I wanted to share as I went. That’s when it occurred to me. Why not…
Build a Post Database
Certainly, I can’t be the first to have thought of this, but the idea came to me swiftly and suddenly. Instead of going through your entire blog and picking pieces out and repeating the process every time you go to schedule more posts (which is what I did), why not build a complete database of pillar posts that you want to share across your social streams (especially Twitter, LinkedIn or other sites where short-form updates work well) on a regular basis?
I am building my database using a simple HTML file with tables (hopefully you have some basic HTML skills). For each entry, I am entering the title, shortening the URL of the post with bitly (so I can track and analyze the traffic I get), and I'm adding a few hashtags for searchability. Then, all I have to do is copy and paste the information into HootSuite and schedule the day and time I want the post to show up on my social streams.
This is great for Twitter in particular, because unless I go off the map with hashtags, my posts are always shorter than 140 characters. I have tested a couple of different things (i.e. including a short description or the first few sentences of the post) with posting to Twitter, but I have found that people generally like the format I’ve been using (title-link-hashtags). This is strange considering I have heard experts say the longer the tweet, the better it engages. You can always test out different things and see what works best for you.
As you can probably imagine, constructing your database will take a bit of upfront work. However, the initial investment is worth it when you consider the time you could spend on crafting new posts and tweets every time you go to schedule more.
Of course, you can always add more to your database as you generate new content. When you really think about it, this type of database would also be a great tool for any virtual assistant you might hire on in the future too.