The word “hack” gets thrown around a lot these days. Funny enough, I was actually asked by my mother recently about it’s meaning. She said “isn’t hack a bad thing?” And of course, in the traditional sense of the word she would have been right.
Today, however, the word “hack” has taken on an entirely different connotation than its original use in the 1990s. Back in the early days of the Internet “hack” was used to describe the work of an Internet hacker gaining unauthorized access to something (financial files, government docs, etc.) I’m sure some of you may have seen that awesome Angelina Jolie movie Hackers back in day where she somehow pulls off looking drop dead gorgeous with an incredibly short haircut.
“Hack” today is used more broadly to describe an innovation tactic of doing something easier than it would have otherwise been accomplished. “Hack” could be used to describe an easy way of dieting and losing weight or a new way of getting your taxes done. “Hack” could be an easier way of giving your dog exercise or fixing a leaking faucet. There are literally millions of hacks to be discovered. For some cool examples of this, check out the site 1000 Life Hacks. I guarantee you’ll learn something new and innovative.
So now, with all that being said, this is the start of a Social Selling Hacks series. This is the first of many posts that will identify easier ways of accomplishing tasks in our professional lives like sharing content, finding prospects and crushing our sales quotas. Today we will be looking at Content Sharing…
Picking a Topic Focus
By far the most difficult task about content marketing is picking your topic focus. It has to be niche enough that it relates to the solutions that you offer but broad enough that you can find an ample amount of content on a daily basis. Here are a few things I’d recommend to help you hack identifying your topic focus:
1) Perform a Google Search – When ever I’m initially looking for content to share on a specific topic I always start on Google. First, brainstorm a few topic ideas that relate to the solutions your company sells. For example, Sales for Life sells a Social Selling training program so the topic focuses that I use are Content Marketing, Social Media and Sales Advice.
Once you have your ideas down, go into your favorite search engine and type in each term individually followed by the word “blogs” or “RSS.” That will look like this: “social media blogs.” Scanning through the results will give you a good idea of if there is enough content being written on this topic to regularly share with your audience. If your topic is too niche, you may need to broaden it a bit or select a few related topics to group together.
2) Talk to your Customers – There is usually nothing better than hearing it straight from the horse’s mouth. If you’re having trouble deciding on a topic focus, pick up the phone and call a few of your current clients to get their input. Ask them what kind of content they would regularly find interesting as well as what type of content they engaged with when deciding to do business with you. If certain content has helped your customers in the past it is sure to help your prospects in the future.
Finding Content for our Buying Communities
Now that you have decided on a topic focus, finding content is usually pretty easy. There are tons of tools that will help deliver content to you so that you don’t have to spend time on a daily basis performing a manual search.
1) Feedly.com – Feedly is one of many content aggreators available today. It allows you to select content sources by topic focus to create a “feed” of available posts to share on a daily basis. Content sources can be searched both within Feedly as well as added externally. This is an excellent way to stay informed on what’s happening in your industry and find content to share with your networks. Check out other available content aggregators here: 10 Best Content Curation Tools
2) Google Alerts – Google Alerts is my personal favorite way to have content delivered because it is sooo easy. Once a day Google sends me content based on a keyword generated search right to my inbox. This takes out the middle step of having to log into another site. Plus every Monday morning I’ve got a digest in my inbox from Friday, Saturday and Sunday with tons of content that I can quickly review and schedule out for the week. Definitely worth a try.
3) IFTTT.com – This site is amazing for setting up triggers (aka “recipes”). If you want content delivered to your inbox from a specific source or an aggregator like Feedly you can very easily set this up using IFTTT. It’s also got a million other hacks that are worth checking out. The lights in my living room actually now flash if there is a severe storm warning in the area. Pretty crazy eh? Did someone say “snow day!?”
Scheduling Content to Share with our Buying Communities
The last part of this process is scheduling your content to be shared with your social networks at high traffic times which will increase your visibility. Sure, you could share the content manually. But why would you do that when there are so many awesome scheduling tools that you can use to hack the process and make it easier. I literally spend 15 minutes on Monday mornings scheduling my posts for the entire week and you can too. Here are some tools that will help:
1) Hootsuite & Hootlet – Hootsuite is a multifunctional social media machine. It allows its users to post and track things all over the social sphere. But more importantly for our uses here, its browser extension Hootlet is amazing at helping you schedule out social posts. Simply open an article, click the Hootlet button on your browser, adapt your headline if necessary and select when you’d like the post to go out. Hootlet combined with Google Alerts is a deadly content sharing combo.
2) Buffer – Buffer is very similar to Hootsuite/Hootlet though it does have some added advantages when it comes to content scheduling. In Buffer all you have to do is paste the URL for the content you’d like to share into its dashboard and the rest is done for you. All of your posts are automatically scheduled for you at optimal times to post. Hootlet has a similar feature but it needs to be manually selected on each post. Buffer takes it one step further by automating your entire content schedule for you. Talk about an amazing HACK!!
Well that’s it for this post. As always, I hope you enjoyed the article and learned something new about hacking your content sharing process. Let me know if you have any questions via the comment box or feel free to schedule a quick convo with the “Let Talk Social Selling” button. Also, check out one of our free online workshops if you’d like to see some Social Selling prospecting tips in action.