*This is a Guest Post by friend of 3Rhino Nation, Travis Balinis
You’ve all heard the (overused) phrase “content is king.” While that broken record might be annoying to hear time and time again, there is much truth to it. And, with the recent demise of Google Reader, some of you might be a bit worried about how to get going on finding content to share with your online audiences. I can help.
For the past few years, I’ve worked as an Inbound Marketing Manager and more recently, I moved to be the Product Marketing Manager. In both of these roles, I was tasked with creating, building, and maintaining a social presence for the brands I was representing. One of the best ways to do this is to share awesome, relevant content. You might not have all the time in the world to spend crafting the perfect blog post to truly reflect how wonderful your brand is, but trust me, you don’t have to do as much as you might think.
Now there are a number of tools out there to help you on your way but I’ve found that there is a necessary balance between the human element and 100% automation. What I mean is that while you can easily sign up for something like Paper.li (which I recommend you do), and create an auto-published daily newspaper of content, you might not actually find that everything included in the paper is to your liking. That, and the open rates of your daily Paper.li via Twitter might have no where the potency of some hand picked, well-timed tweets and LinkedIn updates throughout a day. The two tools I’m going to discuss today are Zite and ContentGems.
Zite, according to it’s site, “evaluates millions of new stories every day, looking at the type of article, its key attributes and how it is shared across the web. Zite uses this information to match stories to your personal interests.” Not only that, but it taps directly into your social graphs so the experience is customized daily.
I love Zite. I log in every morning as I have breakfast and essentially earmark my favorite posts from the past 24 hours. Here’s a screenshot of how Zite chose to layout a page from my Marketing category.
As you tap on an article of interest, Zite has figured out a way to perfect optimize most posts for a clean reading experience.
From here, if you tap the little arrow in the bottom right, a box pops up and give you plenty of options of things to do with this, including Evernote, Twitter, Facebook, Instapaper, Google+, LinkedIn, and Pocket. Now personally, I love using Pocket. I’ll send articles I like to my Pocket so when I get to work, I can easily find what I’m looking for.
I’ll open all my articles for the day once I’m at work and add them to Buffer. What Buffer does is simple, elegant, and efficient. I’ll queue up 3-7 posts that I found interesting that morning and share them with my Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn audiences throughout the day. The one down side to Buffer is that it doesn’t (yet) connect to Google+. Fingers crossed they get that built out soon.
Zite is super flexible, personal, and it learns as you read. You can further personalize your content intake experience by connecting your Facebook, Twitter, Google Reader and Pocket accounts.
ContentGems is something I recently came across and it’s quickly jumped to the top of my list. Also, I could not have spelled out better exactly why someone would want to use a content aggregating tool: “ContentGems helps marketers find, curate, and share engaging content so they can build their company’s thought leadership and increase qualified website traffic.” Brilliant. Built my content marketers for content marketers.
What has me intrigued by ContentGems so much is that they have figured out a good way to reincorporate two of the things that I loved so much about the app Summify (before Twitter bought it and killed a good thing). For starters, the amount of content you get is very concentrated. Unlike Zite or Flipboard, etc, ContentGems focuses on narrowing down your manual efforts to find you the best fit matches for your search parameters.
The second thing that I love about CG is the daily email update. It reminds me that they’re already done the work for me AND I can directly push that content to the two things that I use on a regular basis: Buffer and Pocket.
Where CG falls short is on the automation side. The amount of customization I had to do with keywords, “include this,” “Don’t include this,” etc. was exhausting. Not to mention that with only a free version of it, you’re only allowed two “interests.” I’d love to have more to simply experiment with various keyword combinations. You can of course choose a paid plan at anytime, but hey, I’m doing this without a budget.
Questions? Please let me know by commenting below.