Reading Time: 5 minutesA good storyteller will have a vast tapestry of anecdotes to draw from in order to weave a powerful narrative that will open the hearts and minds and change behaviours of their listeners, incrementally shaping the future with every story.
If you’re like a lot of social media marketers, you will spend a lot of time searching for content to post on social media. This is often referred to as ‘content curation‘ and we’ve spoken to marketers who spend up to a day a week finding useful content to post on their networks.
As Neil Patel points out on the QuickSprout blog – curated content on social media account for 47% of all clicks, and given it’s much more time-efficient to curate content produced by other people, than create new content again and again, it’s well worth the time investment to share curated content on social media channels.
But as Neil Patel writes in another blog for Buffer:
“Even though social media tools do the posting for you, they don’t find the content to post. This is your job.”
[quoter color=”aqua”]Even though social media tools do the posting for you, they don’t find the content to post. This is your job.[/quoter]
But what if I told you there is a platform which finds the content to post. What if I told you that you could create your own personalised news feed which goes out to the trusted sources you respect, and delivers interesting articles according to keywords you put together.
How does that sound? Pretty exciting I expect.
A complete platform to curate content for social media
Neil Patel suggests spending half an hour searching for content on various networks.
- 5 minutes searching for content on Twitter
- 5 minutes searching for content on Facebook
- 5 minutes searching for content on LinkedIn
- 5 minutes searching for content on Google News
- 10 minutes searching through niche blogs and websites
He then suggests copying all those links and quotes into a document and warns against getting distracted.
I’m suggesting you spend 10 minutes scanning one personalised news feed, automatically posting those links into a board which is attached to the same platform, and given it’s all self-contained, there is no way you can get distracted by click bait articles.
[quoter color=”plum”]I’m suggesting you spend 10 minutes scanning one personalised news feed, automatically posting those links into a board which is attached to the same platform, and given it’s all self-contained, there is no way you can get distracted by click bait articles.[/quoter]
Ok – but you’ve been promised personalised news feeds before. And they get way too much to handle because you are completely inundated with content which you can’t control. So you’ve given up with your personalised news feed.
Cronycle doesn’t just aggregate content together in one place. Cronycle offers you powerful filtering to make sure you’re only served articles which contain keywords that come from your specified sources. This ensures you get a limited number of very relevant articles a day.
[quoter color=”flamingo”]This ensures you get a limited number of very relevant articles a day[/quoter]
A platform to save articles to post for later
A completely customised news feed is great. But when something is running off an algorithm, you want to make sure you are only posting the best articles from that news feed. You need a ‘holding area’ of some description where you can annotate those articles so you know what you may say on each social media platform. This is what Neil Patel was using as an open document – a place to house the best links you’ve curated.
In that holding area, it would be useful if you could post articles which didn’t just come from the personalised news feeds. It would be useful if you could hold articles which you find whilst browsing the web, either on your desktop or on mobile, so you can review which posts you’re going to send out before sending them direct to your scheduler.
You could finally be in control of curating posts to share on social media – and it could take you just 10 minutes a day.
[quoter color=”honey”]You could finally be in control of curating posts to share on social media – and it could take you just 10 minutes a day[/quoter]
Start with Cronycle today
Cronycle does exactly that. Cronycle provides you with a customisable news feed which takes sources you trust and filters them using key words which you provide. Cronycle then has a dedicated annotation space we call a board, where you can pin relevant articles to discuss with your team (if you like) before shipping them out to a scheduling tool.
How to create a workflow which is optimised for social media on Cronycle in eight easy steps
- Start by signing up to Cronycle. You’ll be given the option to use a select list of Cronycle sources to start a ‘trusted library’. If you don’t already use a news aggregator or twitter to search for articles then this is the best option. If you already have a curated list of trusted sources which you search through then take the other option.
- Join your Twitter account to Cronycle to see all the articles the people you follow post through Cronycle
- Download the Content Clipper for Chrome or Safari. Whilst you’re browsing the niche sites which you check for interesting content, check to see if they have a relevant RSS source and add that to Cronycle.
- Add Google Alerts to Cronycle – so instead of searching Google News, go to Google Alerts. Type in the keywords you usually search in Google News and make sure you get the RSS feed. Add this to Cronycle. More info here.
- Hit ‘Create New Collection’ – type in a list of keywords which you would like to be present in the articles in order for them to be relevant for your social media channels. More on this here.
- Create a new board and entitle it ‘SocialMediaPosts’ or ‘TwitterPosts’ or ‘FacebookPosts’ – it’s up to you how you organise your Cronycle.
- Add articles to the relevant boards as they appear in your news feeds or using the Content Clipper on your browser or mobile device
- When you’ve established it’s a good article for social, then hit the three dots and click ‘share on social media’. You can either take the link to post on your scheduler, or post them right away.
And there’s a quick and easy way to curate content for social media.
Don’t just take our word for it…
This is just one application of using Cronycle. We are also used to curate articles for blog posts, for internal knowledge, and some financial analysts use us to keep up to date with oil prices. But this is a great application for marketers and social media managers and a lot of people are having a huge amount of success with it.
The Cronycle Standard Account
We’ve mentioned a Standard Account. The Standard Account allows you to further personalised your news feeds by adding bespoke sources to your library. It’s incredible value for the amount of time you save. Check out our pricing here.
Learn more from Cronycle:
This is a guide to filtering newsfeeds in Cronycle. The algorithms that are used in feeds are entirely set up and controlled by you. There is no ‘master algorithm’ working behind the scenes which can hide content that you might want to see, or place sponsored content in front of you. This gives you a remarkable amount of freedom.
This has many benefits – you will not only see content from publishers which create headlines which inspire you to procrastinate, nor will you be drawn into an echo chamber.
However, you have the ability to control your feed, and only see the articles which suit you.
Basic Filters in Cronycle
The basic filters are simple. Type in key words or key phrases which must (or must not) appear in the headline or copy of the articles. Press enter after each key word or phrase. This filtering system comes up as standard. In the below example, the articles presented in this feeds will contain EITHER ‘oil price’ OR ‘barrel price’. However, if an article contains the phrase ‘barrel price’ AND ‘Shell’, this article will never appear in the feed.
N.B. Naming a feed does not include that keyword as a filter
Advanced Filters in Cronycle
You have the opportunity to create advanced filters when you open the newsfeeds, then click on the setting cog on the top right. In the drop-down menu there will be advanced filter option.
Advanced filters allows you to use the ‘and’ function. This is would happen in instances where you want two key phrases in the article, however you don’t want those words to necessarily appear next to each other. Please see the below example:
Should I use all Twitter and RSS feeds?
When starting out, we recommend using all your sources in your feeds. As you get more comfortable with the filtering, you can think about whether you’d like to just use feeds direct from publishers, or articles which are posted on twitter.
How To Filter Feeds: Conclusions
If you would like some more information, or would like to discuss how you would like to filter news feeds please contact us.
On 26th August, Buffer hosted an excellent Twitter Chat on ‘Content Curation’. Given this is a topic close to Cronycle’s heart this discussion gave us a great opportunity to talk about curation and how content marketers can do this best.
So here is a recap of the questions Buffer asked it’s audience, as well as a quick summary of the answers given. We’d also like to offer Cronycle’s own perspective – giving ourselves the luxury of more than 140 characters(!)
Q1: How do you learn what kind of content your audience wants to read?
Three themes were repeated here; 1) ‘Listen to your audience 2) Use Analytics to see what works best and 3) Understand what your audience already reads
This is a tricky question because all too often people don’t know what they want to read until they’ve read it.
You can listen to what your audience needs to create content which answers a specific question, like ‘how do I embed images in my social media’? For these types of content pieces, it’s really helpful to listen to your audience and use analytics to see what kind of material works.
However, it can’t be overlooked that readers like to be challenged. This material will need to be unique and go beyond what they think they want to hear. Articles that express new ideas are often infinitely more successful than standard topics, but they’re hard to predict.
There may be a way of finding ideas for ‘new topics’. If you look beyond the publications and influencers that your audience typically reads you can find new ideas. Most people are stuck inside their own echo-chamber, and so perhaps you can see what people are saying in a different geography, or a slightly different bias. You can repurpose and research that information to fit your audience.
Q2: Where does content curation fit into your workflow?
There was a consensus that curation should regularly feature in your workflow; some people spent a couple of hours a day researching and working on curation, others once a month. It was clear that it could be a time-consuming aspect of their work.
The interesting thing about this question is to understand what you mean by content curation. If content curation is researching for a new topic, and understanding more about your industry, then this is likely to feature in your every day workflow. If it’s something a bit more proactive – finding specific articles to feature on your website or in your social media then curation takes a bit more work.
We think that content curation should be a continuous process and should almost work seamlessly with what you are doing in your day to day work. Ideally you should be able to feed off the ideas of your colleagues and community as well when you are looking for new ideas. This kind of philosophy is part of the Cronycle product development and ethos.
Q3: What are your favourite tools/resources for discovering new content?
The following tools were applauded by the Buffer chatters: twitter lists, feedly, newsletters, podcasts, medium, Google alerts and good old fashioned ‘digging around’.
We’re not even going to try and be unbiased here. Cronycle is built for content discovery. What’s more – it’s focused on making it easy for our users to find relevant content quickly. This is how we do it:
- Give our users complete control over sources and keywords
- Account for stumbling across content – and encompassed within this highlight sources which may be influencing you too much
- Listen to your network – given the tool integrates with twitter you can follow a public network. It also accounts for teams so you can quickly see what your private colleagues recommend you read, which isn’t shown on public social media channels.
Q4: When curating content, how often do you include your own content?
Responses to this post varied – some believed it was important to make sure content is personal, and as a result you should always include your own content.
The variety in answers to this question came because there could be many different interpretations of ‘curating content’. Does this mean curating content on your own website? In which case, yes, you should definitely include your own content! In newsletters? It’s probably best to use other content for credibility reasons as well. What about on social media? It depends on the relationship you have with your audience. We wrote a post about different types of content curation which you can see here.
Q5: How do you sift through and sort content?
Some people mentioned apps like feedly and pocket which aggregate different publishers content (through RSS feeds) and display the articles on one interface. Other people said that sorting had to start with keywords and preferred Google alerts.
We’ve got to be biased again – Cronycle is built to filter out the noise! It also incorporates features to help sort through your content with your teams. How do we do this?
- We give you the tools to use the sources you choose – like a news reader or RSS aggregator
- All the articles from your chosen sources can then be refined again by keywords
- To sort content we provide boards
- You can add specific articles to boards
- As well as comment on articles and create specific notes
- Soon you’ll be able to upload images and pdfs to your boards too to make them a comprehensive view of your content ideas
Q6: How do you curate content when you have a very specific niche?
Finding relevant bloggers was key here and using twitter lists. It was clear that when you have a specific niche, individuals are just as important to follow as publications.
This is interesting because so often publications are created for general purposes, and when you have a specific niche it’s even harder to find exactly what you are looking for. It’s also an interesting question because everyone has a specific niche. There is no person who is always looking for exactly the same content. As a result, everyone should be thinking about how they filter out the noise effectively and make sure they don’t miss out on the content relevant for them!
Q7: Let’s share! What are your three favourite blogs?
We hope you find this summary helpful and you can think about content curation with a bit more clarity. Thanks to Buffer for hosting such an amazing twitter chat.
A hot topic at the moment for content marketers is ‘content curation’. This is interesting because curation is an important but previously overlooked part of content creation.
However, content curation is a wider term for lots of different curation methods. It is helpful to explore what the different facets of ‘curation’ can mean so you can think about how best to curate.
Here is a list of the different ways that you can curate content:
1. Identify stories and information gaps
Like a commissioning editor, in order to create the best content for your audience, you must discover what is interesting for your audience. What hasn’t been published via the channels that your audience normally reads? What will challenge your audience? What information do like they like to see and be informed about?
2. Make your content impactful and accessible
Imagine you have 20 pieces of content, in many different varieties. There is a real skill in presenting these pieces of content in a way that gives your audience the most value. This is what a museum curator does – he adds descriptions and takes his audience on a journey. Each piece is part of a wider collective. You should aim to do this as part of your content as well, whether online or offline.
3. Give validity to your own content pieces
The best articles are informed articles. Article’s that give evidence to back up the argument in your content. Like a journalist, you must curate other articles and statistics to reference in your own content pieces. Then link to them either in the article body or as a reading list at the end.
4. Syndicate other content pieces on your platform
A DJ curates the best music that they know and presents these music pieces in a show or event. Equally, the best content creators syndicate and curate other content pieces to sit alongside their own articles and complement the mix.
Each of these things are hard and time consuming – nevertheless, by thinking through what the word means, you should give some clarity to your content processes.
Cronycle makes content curation infinitely easier.
[quoter color=”honey”]What is Cronycle? [/quoter]
Cronycle marks a new era for content creators.
Cronycle marks a new era for you. Everyone is a content creator – everyone produces quality insight that is relevant for them and their teams. Everyone forms opinions using available evidence to satisfy their own curiosity.
The digital age marked a new world where information was freely publishable and freely available. Our world changed with the speed of communication; by our ability to collaborate and understand what is happening globally. The universe felt smaller, and barriers to entry felt lower. Opportunity permeated through the developed world.
With the advent of this new age, power lay in the hands of those who could access and filter through the web. Search engines and social sites rose and fell through the ranks of influence, with the most successful creating vast and huge empires.
Today, more and more information is available and access to the best analysis is harder and harder to do. Search engines and social networks use algorithms which leaves the user helpless and out of control. Workers share information using private messaging applications which are tricky to manage.
Cronycle marks a new era for accessible knowledge.
We believe in transparent choice. You should find what is relevant for you. You choose your sources. You control your feed.
We believe in collaboration. You should work with the people in your team and create intelligent analysis and aggregate understanding.
We believe in serendipity. You should stumble upon articles and information which lie outside your existing network. You should escape the echo-chamber and open your mind to new opinions.
What is Cronycle?
It puts meaning back into content.
It is for the content creators.
[quoter color=”sand”]It turns information into knowledge. [/quoter]
The meaning of the word content has changed a lot in the past 5 years. Previously when someone spoke about the word ‘content’ it seemed to be the meaning behind the platform. You probably heard the word ‘content’ used in the following contexts:
“There was no content to the article” – i.e. the article was full of waffle and didn’t really express any new idea in a coherent way
“The play lacked content”, “the painting lacked content” – saying something lacks content is like saying there is “style without substance”
Content used to be the information or the experience which is irrespective of the medium it was delivered on. Content was an extremely human entity because although a computer could interpret the language the content was delivered on, only a human would truly understand what the point to be made was.
However, that definition of the word seems to be changing. Content seems to simply mean ‘stuff’. An organisations content is simply all the ‘stuff’ that it has at it’s disposal to communicate it’s message. It is no longer a term which refers to the quality of a message, or the emotional connection you have to a medium, or whether it generates any sort of understanding.
Given the rise of content marketing, both of B2B content marketing and B2C content marketing, it seems that this new definition is going to stick. Marketers like to call their marketing ‘content’, irrespective if their content does lack content.
So when we at Cronycle refer to content, we’re referring to digital ‘stuff’ that is attempting to convey meaning. Articles, photographs, videos and audio all fall into this mix – and it is getting to the stage where finding exactly what you need is getting harder and harder.
However, we’re also assuming that as a user of Cronycle, you care about the best content. And you want to make sure the content you create is as insightful and informative as it possible can be. Which is why we hope when people talk about content created using Cronycle, it comes back to the original meaning of the word content – the information that is relevant and meaningful and your readers will thank you for saying it.
The way many people keep track of relevant content is via Google Alerts. Google alerts are a service provided by Google, which alerts the recipient when new articles (or blog posts / video etc) are scraped by their search engine.
These typically are sent to your inbox once a day, and are filled with all manner of press releases and articles from the web. They are a great resource for content marketers and public relations professionals who want to make sure they know everything about a specific topic.
In order to get started on Cronycle quickly, you may want to start by having your Google Alerts as feeds in Cronycle. So, here’s how you do it.
Set up your Google Alerts as RSS feeds rather than emails
Go to www.google.com/alerts
Most people will be logged into their Google account already, but in case you’re not then sign in.
You will see a list of the google alerts which you subscribe to. It may look a bit like this:
You can see my ‘content curation’ and ‘relevant content’ alerts are already RSS feeds. This is signified by the RSS icon.
However, my Periscope Google Alert is currently an email update. To change this click on the edit icon (currently highlighted in blue).
You will then see the above menu. On “Deliver to” select “RSS feed”. Click “Update Alert” to save your changes.
You will return to the original list. To access the RSS feed then click on the RSS icon. Then copy and paste this link into your Cronycle using the box below in the sources tab.
And you’re done!
In the wake of Google Reader and the midst of social media’s reign, the RSS feed chugs along
RSS allows publishers to syndicate information automatically, to deliver content right to users’ fingertips. They no longer have to check their favorite sites to see if new content has been published—technology does it for them. But these days, that convenience is commonplace. Social media enables an even larger audience not only to receive content from the sites that interest them, but to become publishers themselves. Although few are questioning that RSS has a space in the digital content consumption marketplace, many contend that the space may be shrinking—a theory bolstered by the demise of Google Reader.
Google retired its service, which was the most popular RSS reader, on July 1, 2013, explaining, “While the product has a loyal following, over the years usage has declined.” (However, many believe this decision had more to do with office politics and Google’s plans for its own social network, Google+.) A host of worthwhile services, including This Old Reader, Feedly and Flipboard, were ready to take in the millions of Google transplants, but although RSS still has a fierce and loyal following, social media is proving a sufficient alternative for the average user.
“We definitely see more publishers using the option for social networks versus the option for RSS,” notes Bruce Ableson, vice president of client solutions at LiveFyre, a tech company that offers a suite of real-time products that allow users to curate content from various sources and host in one place. “We still use RSS Feeds all the time, though, especially at the smaller publisher level,” he says.
Although there’s still a huge need for RSS, Ableson notes that publishers seem more incentivized to drive readers to follow them on social networks than to subscribe to their RSS feeds.
“It’s perfectly possible that for many, social media is the new RSS,” says Rob Hicks, founder and chief data scientist of Bright North. “RSS was all about putting alerts in one place, which is exactly what Twitter does because most media sites have at least added, if not replaced, their RSS with Tweets.”
The problem is, there is a lot of noise to get through. Twitter isn’t only about signifying a new piece of quality content. It’s a hodgepodge of hashtags and interactions, making it difficult for users to quickly identify what’s worth reading. “It makes sense that brands and publishers have embraced Twitter, but whether it does as an effective job as a good RSS consuming platform is another story. I don’t think it does,” Hicks opines.
What Twitter does do well, of course, is the social aspect. “Social networks give people the ability to recommend stuff and become pseudo-publishers even if they haven’t written the content they’re sharing. I might follow someone because they are excellent curators,” says Hicks. “It adds a new level of curation which you could argue is more valuable than the original RSS thing was in the first place. I’m not sure I would agree, but I see the argument.”