Many of you are aware of the importance of content curation in your social media marketing strategy. It’s critical to always provide quality content for your followers who come to rely on you as a consistent provider of news and information in your area of influence.
The issue becomes, however, that this can be a time-consuming task! And or course time is something that we all feel short of. In this post and the one following, I’m going to share a couple tools and a process that I find has helped me immensely in mining for useful content my followers will want to see.
Content Curation with Google Reader
In my work, I frequently come across blogs that I want to follow because they provide high value content that is either directly or indirectly related to my business message; or they’re often blogs of others who are influential in my industry.
I don’t really want to fill up my inbox with email messages from all of them, but I still want to see their content, share the best of it with my followers, and sometimes connect with the authors by commenting on their posts.
My favorite tool for getting all this content in one place is Google Reader. You can access the tool through your Google log-in. (If you don’t have a Google account, you can get one here) The great thing is that I can access Google Reader through my laptop, Kindle (read “any tablet”), or iPhone.
Adding a Blog Feed to Google Reader
Now that you’ve signed up for a Google Reader account, it’s time to start adding your favorite blogs that you like to follow and share with others in your audience. Here are two ways to add a blog feed to your reader:
- Click on the RSS (Really Simple Syndication) icon on a website blog that you want to subscribe to
- Select Google Reader as my RSS reader of choice
- The feed then appears in your reader
- Scroll down to the bottom to find it
- Assign it to the appropriate folder
Option 2: (This is how I usually do it.)
- When you’re at the blog site that you want to subscribe to, copy the blog’s url from your browser bar
- Log into Google Reader
- Click on on the “Subscribe” button
- Paste the blog’s url into the RSS feed field and click Add
- Scroll down to the bottom to find the feed in the left pane
- Assign it to the appropriate folder by clicking the drop-down menu next to the feed and select the folder your want (See the section below for how to create folders for organizing your feeds.)
Organizing Blog Feeds in Google Reader
Now, I have a lot of RSS feeds in my reader, so to make content easy to find I have created a system of topic-specific folders to which I can assign feeds when I add them to my reader. I also have a “favorites” folder that includes the top blogs that I want to look at first and share whenever I can. Here’s how to create a folder in Google Reader:
- Find the “gear” icon in the top, right corner and select “Reader Settings” from the drop-down menu
- On the Subscriptions tab adjacent to one of your subscriptions, click the “Change Folders” drop down
- From the drop-down menu, select New Folder (scroll to the bottom)
- Type in the new folder name and click OK
Reading and Selecting Content in Google Reader
Now that you’ve got some blog feeds coming into your reader and they’re all organized, it’s very easy to skim through them to find content you want to read and share with your followers. Here’s how:
- Select one of your content folders on the left
- In the right pane you see the most recent posts from all of the blogs in that folder
- In some cases you can read the entire post in the reader. For others, you’ll need to click through to the blog site.
- After you’ve skimmed the entire list and gotten what you want, be sure to click “Mark all as read,” at the top of the right pane, to clear out all the old posts.
So now you’ve got all the RSS feeds of your favorite blogs in one central location and you’re ready to start curating fabulous content for your followers. In the next post, I’ll share the tool I use (and how to use it) to share, effortlessly, from any of my devices (laptop, Kindle/tablet, or phone) and trickle it to your fans and followers throughout the days ahead!
Are you using a feed reader? If so, share what you’re using, below, and tell us what you like about it.