social media presence

The Article Perusing Solution is Going Well

meetedgar social media toolI devised a solution at work to attempt to read as many of the articles that we cover as possible. It's not a perfect solution, as it heavily depends on the writers taking the time to put their sources on the documents, but so far it has been working very well. I can get through two verticals in about 90 minutes. When I started testing the solution earlier this week, 90 minutes for two vertical might've been too much time. However, I discovered an AWESOME social media management tool called MeetEdgar that helps tremendously.

What is MeetEdgar?

MeetEdgar is different from other social media management tools in that it allows you to build up a queue for your accounts. So, instead of just scheduling five posts over the next five days, MeetEdgar will cycle through those five posts until you tell it to stop. The tool comes with a default schedule as well, so you don't even have to spend time arranging when you want each post to go live. Just upload the content and MeetEdgar will take care of the rest.

Oddly enough, I discovered MeetEdgar on Twitter after someone I followed tweeted that they just signed up. The tweet said something about "making sure your social media posts don't go to waste," or something to that effect. I was intrigued so I clicked the MeetEdgar handle to ultimately go their website. I watched their two-minute demo video and I was hooked. This was EXACTLY what I needed! And not just for this solution, but also for my job in general. Posting to our various social media accounts is a huge time suck for me. Although I only do two or three accounts per day, I have to spend the time finding something good to post, then crafting the post and then scheduling the post. All of that doesn't include checking for comments, following people, inviting people to the page etc.

MeetEdgar is instrumental to my solution because after I spend time initially uploading a ton of content to the Twitter and Facebook accounts for each of the verticals, I only need to spend about an hour or 90 minutes every day or every other day removing old content and uploading a couple of new posts. Besides that, each account will have 10 or 15 posts to cycle through over the course of the week. I don't have to worry so much about getting new content onto the Facebook page or the Twitter feed. Instead, I can spend that time perusing the content for the weekly newsletter, or looking for ideas for blog posts, infographics and other original content.

The Next Step is to Devote the Time

Besides the writers not doing their share and forgetting to put their stories on the doc, the other big hurdle that I have is to make the time to peruse articles every day. Every day doesn't easily lend itself to having 90 minutes to set aside. Meetings come up. Emergencies need to get taken care of. My boss prioritizes another project that requires my attention. I think if I make an effort to set aside time to read these articles, then my next steps would involve documenting ideas, creating the content, and possibly looking to automate other aspects of this system. But, for right now, the goals are to make perusing articles daily a habit and to stock MeetEdgar with lots of content for all of the accounts. Once MeetEdgar is taking care of and I have a really good grasp of the stories we're covering each day, I can then move onto other initiatives and figuring out how to make time for those initiatives.

How Many Articles Can I Peruse in a Workday?

how many articles can i read in a dayAnd Can I Finish This Blog Post Before My Fiance Goes to Bed?

It seriously freaks me out when my fiance goes to bed before me. I have no idea why. He's just going to the next room and won't even completely close the day because the cat needs to be able to go in and out. But, I can't stand the notion of him asleep before me, with all of the lights out in the rest of the apartment. It's too much. I don't like it. When he shuts the light off by desk and I hear that 'click,' I start winding down as quickly as possible (not the right way to wind down, I know) so I can go to bed as soon as I can. It just feels late when he goes to bed before me and it feels like a sign I just shouldn't be up too much longer or else bad things will happen.

Anyway... Articles!

So, my first step to hustling is to get a record outside of our app and CMS of every article that we cover. We easily cover 400 stories a day: 20 to 30 stories per vertical plus another 100 or so for top news. No, I'm not going to read all 400 of those articles each day. That's not possible. But, a Google Sheet for each vertical with an easy glance at that day's 20 or 30 stories is much more digestible. With an easy glance of the source link and the description, I can pick out a couple of stories that look extra interesting or that look like they may have excellent facts, quotes or statistics that would make great social media content.

To build social media communities and, ultimately, fuel growth and get installs, our channels needs to present more online than what we're doing now. Our Twitter handles need to offer more than the lede sentence and the link to the update. The main handle needs to do more than tweet a lede and the original source link with the author tagged. All of that content is great, but because it's not much different from what's offered in the apps, there's little value in both downloading the app(s) and in following us on social media. Sure, someone may miss the story on the app and then catch on Twitter, or vice versa, but even that's kind of a poor value proposition. A major factor in making social media work for you is to have content tailored to the platform, where even though we're sharing the same story across Facebook, Twitter on our app, it should not look identical across the three platforms.

Separate Content for Our Newsletter

With the stories in a Google Sheet, I can avoid looking at the updates directly to have a fresh interpretation of the articles. A fresh interpretation is needed for our upcoming newsletter, although I do not know exactly the contents of this newsletter. I sent a survey to our mailing list since we haven't emailed them in over a year (hey, it wasn't my list to begin with, so I didn't have any idea who was on this list or why they were there). This survey asked how often they'd like the newsletter, what they would like it in and why they signed up in the first place. From the responses I've received, it's looking like this will be a weekly email that features summaries of our top stories. To be able to put such a newsletter together, I need to know everything we've covered for the week and then decide our top drones story, our top video games and a couple of our top breaking stories etc.

Getting this done shouldn't be a problem. The next step now is learning first-hand how many articles I can peruse in a given amount of time. Today, I'm going to give myself one hour and see how many articles I can get through. The day afterward, I may do 90 minutes or two hours, depending on my schedule and how well today goes. The goal is to see if this is a viable solution to a) finding great social media content in the stories we already cover and b) useful in finding ideas to cover for the upcoming newsletter.

If it doesn't work, then I'm not sure what I would do. At the moment, I need to be able to do this on my own.

5 Ways to Maintain an Awesome Social Media Presence

social media presenceJust like with any other type of brand or business, a blog or online publication needs a great social media presence in order to build a solid audience. You can't rely on great content and SEO to get you there, as you need to amplify your content through social media. If you need help building and maintaining a presence your audience will love, here are five ways you can maintain an awesome social media presence for your blog or online publication:

Don't Just Share Your Own Content

I know, I know, you built a social media presence for your blog or online publication to bring people to your own content. We're not saying you shouldn't share your own content. We're saying variety is the spice of social media, and that it's totally okay, even beneficial, to share something other than your latest articles. You could share insights or statistics that you audience could find interesting. You could ask them a question, or have them fill in a blank in a sentence. You could even share articles from a partner site or something that you read that day that you found interested. Just because you're sharing something other than your content doesn't necessarily mean that you're driving people away.

Do Share Things Regularly

The last thing you want to do is create your profiles and have them collect dust. Even if you only blog once a week, make an effort to share something on social media at least twice a week. It shouldn't be too difficult to find content to share if you're publishing every day or multiple times a day, but with that it can be hard to find the time to post. Use tools like Hootsuite or Facebook's scheduling tool to have things post while you're away, or make it a point to share something as soon as its published.

Tip: Take this one step further by doing more than just posting the link. You could either add something to the link, like a question or a hint as to what the article's about to get folks interested in reading it. You could also post the article as a picture, instead of a link, since pictures have been found to garner more clicks than links.

Fill in All the Blanks

Make sure to fill in all the form fields for any social media profile, or at least all the ones that apply. We grant that as a blog or online publication, you might not have hours of operation or an "industry", but that doesn't mean the email or the description should be left blank either. Filling in all the blanks does more than inform your readers, but it also makes your profile look cared for, as if you took the time to put together that presence and think about what you want to present, instead of something you slapped together because you were told that you needed a Facebook page or a Twitter feed.

Make Your Content Easy to Share

Every single article should have social media sharing! How do you expect people to read your content, and to widen your audience, if you don't make it easy for your current readers to share your articles with their network? Too many blogs and online publications for get this one. You don't have to include all the social networks (it's recommended that you don't either), so at the very least include Facebook, Twitter, and email. You might want Pinterest if you're a fashion or lifestyle blog, and perhaps LinkedIn if you are a business or industry online publication.

What else is required for an awesome social media presence? What do you do to maintain your social networks? Let us know in the comments!