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How to Create Your Content Machine

Content Machine

“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.

1. Email. 

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)

2. Twitter.

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.

3. LinkedIn.

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. 

4. Google+.

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).

5. Facebook.

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.

Conclusion.

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.

Don’t forget to check out New Professional News, a list of headlines essential for any new professional, updated daily at 8am.

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Top 10 Forms of Content Marketing

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Content Marketing has rapidly become our go-to method for branding media in an environment where people want their information free and easy to access. If your company isn’t using at least half of these resources or more to brand themselves, consider yourself either in the danger zone or close to it.

10. Microsites

Websites in general are the most common form of content marketing and are a given at this point. At the same time, microsites are just as important to your branding strategy. Mobile marketing thrives on microsites and gives QR codes a reason to exist. Just make sure the microsite differentiates itself from the home site and gives consumers a reason (incentive) to visit it.

9. White Papers

The beauty of white papers is that they are known to be one of the most informative ways for an interested prospect to learn more about you. When I see a white paper with a clear focus in something I’m interested in, I am almost guaranteed to read the entire thing. The simplicity, credibility, and accessibility of white papers make them essential for any business.

8. Webinars

Although they are not for everyone, webinars are fantastic tools for reaching a wide audience very quickly and keeping those prospects. They allow real-time feedback that can still be monitored and controlled, and webinars are ultimately far less costly than conferences while delivering even more effective results and engagement.

7. Podcasts

People love podcasts and RSS feeds for the same reason they love television. Keeping up with an episodic series of interesting content is addicting and satisfying. Creating a quality podcast with a loyal following is one of the best ways to network with people who are the most likely to do business with you.

6. Email

When handled incorrectly, email and newsletters become spam and do a lot of damage (spamage?). The key is to remember that the purpose of email is to share and promote, not enforce. When handled correctly, email newsletters become your trump card for generating reaches and leads for your company.

5. E-books

Basically, an E-book is just a longer version of a white paper. They both set out to do the same thing (inform under the pretense of providing a solution to your problem), but your decision between the two comes down to how much information you are looking to disseminate.

4. Infographics

Most people are visual, which means that your marketing strategy hinges on being just as aesthetic as it is informative. The truth is that infographics end up being one of the most persuasive forms of content marketing just because people are more likely to read through the whole thing and retain more of the information.

3. Video

People don’t want to read paragraphs of text when they can just watch a video that is short, punchy, and to the point. Like infographics, people are more likely to remember more information from video, and high-quality videos lend an enormous amount of credibility to your brand, ensuring trust in what your company can deliver.

2. Q&A Sites

The reason these sites are becoming more popular is because they are essentially a forum for problem solving. Marketers are realizing that they can find interested prospects very easily just by networking on popular sites such as Quora and LinkedIn. Before you begin answering those industry questions, however, make sure you have the sales pitch needed to handle the likely competition.

1. Blogs

Blogs lend a personal touch to an otherwise impersonal slew of communications your company has with its prospects. Unlike Q&A sites, your company’s blog is indirect, in that it is attracting people to your site for content rather than a sales pitch. This makes your company stand out when it comes time for that person to look for the service you’re providing, and bolsters one of the largest audiences you can accumulate online.

Jon Negroni is the Director of Public Relations, Promotion, and Marketing at Richter10.2 Media Group. For more information regarding Richter10.2, check out our introduction video here.

Image courtesy of contentmarketingtoday.com

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