“Whoa Jon! What’s a content machine?” Great question, voice in my head. Your content machine is how you take in content across multiple channels daily.
It’s simply a collection of all of the news, blog articles, tweets, and one-offs that are being put in front of you by way of Gmail, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, or even Reddit.
We often don’t put much thought into our content machines and how we’re setting up channels for consumption. Most of us just go to our favorite sites and happen upon stories we find interesting.
That said, creating your content machine is essential to ensuring that the stories you happen upon are the best in your network, and setting up your channels to do this isn’t very complicated.
The first step is recognizing what your content machine already looks like.
Ask yourself, “What do I find myself reading a lot? Newspapers? Whatever randomly pops up on my Facebook?”Which bookmarks am I actually checking?”
Be honest with yourself and acknowledge what sources influence you the most. From there, you can fine-tune these channels to supplying you with great content whenever you need it.
Next, let’s go through some of the more common channels and see how we can make them work for our content machine more effectively.
I put this at the top because this is the apex of my own content machine, and probably yours as well. It’s a given that your email is where most of your subscriptions funnel in, so I would recommend starring the websites you find most useful.
Or you can be more proactive and research some great news aggregation sites that will send you great links to explore every morning. I rely a lot on PRSA for example, since I am a member and receive great stories from them. (Subscribing to jonnegroni.com can’t hurt either)
Yes, there is more to Twitter than just gaining followers and playing with hashtags. Making Twitter work for your content machine is a little trickier than email, because it requires a little more work than just subscribing to great stuff.
You want your news feed to be filled with great content you can access on the go, so I recommend following the followers of your passions. I love to blog, so I follow a lot of bloggers. The payoff is that my news feed is full of great stories that are relevant to me and whoever I share them with.
If you have a cluttered feed beyond repair, remember that you can always create lists and bookmark them for daily use!
If you want to use Twitter for fun and professional networking, consider making two separate accounts.
Similar to Twitter, your updates feed on LinkedIn can work wonders for your content machine. Thankfully, LinkedIn is a little easier for sorting good content from sillier updates, and you can always customize what shows up in your feed.
Be sure to also join a lot of groups with like-minded people, as this will give you great updates and content to digest and share. Oh, and PLEASE check out LinkedIn Today.
I’ve spoken on this recently, but Google+ boasts a very content-rich community that is active and engaging. Because there are less active users, there are more meaningful interactions, and the service does a great job of simplifying how you get great content.
I find myself searching for what’s trending a lot on Google+, which lets you use the search bar at the top to discover great content from people you don’t follow (yet).
I say this tongue-in-cheek, but there are very useful ways to make Facebook an asset for your content machine. While I mostly prefer to use the site for recreational use (unless it’s for work), I can’t deny how Facebook’s massive network works well to deliver new content.
Okay, there are certainly many reasons why your news feed is filled with mundane information, but utilizing Facebook’s “list” function can allow you to filter posts from friends that do like to share interesting, useful content from the rest.
Now, these are just some of the ways you can get to work on your content machine. Whatever network or platform you’re using, remember to always set time aside in your day to read and follow-up with as much content as you can. It’s a great habit, and it will no doubt grow your skills and awareness of whatever industry you commit to.
Like what you read? Connect with me further via twitter @JonNegroni. I’ll follow back if you seem like a real person. You can also subscribe to this blog by clicking the “follow” button in the top-left corner.
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