3 Steps for Creating Social Content with Usain Bolt-Like Speed

3 Steps for Creating Social Content with Usain Bolt Like Speed image bigstock olympic champion sprinter usai 21611237While it’s beyond most of us mere mortals to run 100 meters in under 10 seconds like Usain Bolt, here are three steps you can use to create social content just as quickly (well nearly, anyway).

1. The digital flyer: Creating posters for the desktop

Normally, when you think about a poster or flyer, it conjures up thoughts of a telephone pole on the sidewalk covered with a million staples and a tattered poster advertising this weekend’s hottest new band.

Well think again. Digital flyers have made great strides and can now be cross-pollinated nicely with social media. Instead of creating a bland landing page on your blog to announce an event or a product launch, try creating a digital flyer and pushing that out through your media efforts.

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If you use the right service, it can be done quickly and with great impact. Take Smore.com for example. In just a few minutes you can create a compelling digital flyer for use in a Twitter or Facebook campaign. The UI and creation process is top-notch, and you get a great looking landing page in a few minutes.

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Scorecard:

  • Speed: Usain Bolt (10/10)
  • Ease: 9/10
  • Social features: 7/10
  • Cost: Freemium

2. The infographic: Talking in pictures

Infographics are a great marketing tool, when done well. They tell a story in pictures and are great fodder for SEO and word-of-mouth (WOM) marketing. They’re also great for sharing on Pinterest.

Our man Usain Bolt is the star of the most awesome infographic I’ve seen recently, showing how his 9.63-second Olympic record compares to other Gold medal sprinters over the years (he is lightning fast).

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While it’s often beyond our reach to generate something quite as elaborate, there are easy ways to create your own infographics for social media campaigns.

Two products I know of can really speed up the creation of social content in the guise of an “infographic” Usain Bolt fast. While both infogr.am and Piktochart are viable options, I marginally prefer infogr.am, mainly because I like the data feature that lets me create visual charts using my own data.

Remember, an infographic tells a story, so you need to spend some time storyboarding what you want to say and gathering your data in advance. But this doesn’t have to take much longer to create than a quality blog post, so the next time you sit down to write a post, why not give an infographic a stab instead.

Tip: Keep the subject matter generic (i.e., not necessarily directly associated with your business) so others will tend to relate to it more and want to share it.

Once your infographic is complete, you can embed it in your blog or website and share it through Twitter, Facebook and, yes, even Pintrest. And if your data and visuals are compelling enough, others will likely embed it on their sites, as well.

Scorecard:

  • Speed: “Nearly” Usain Bolt (8/10)
  • Ease: 9/10
  • Social Features: 7/10
  • Cost: Freemium

3. Quick curation: Grabbing content on the go

The single biggest underused resource for creating social media content is YOU.

If you’ve not heard about content curation before, then read on; it’s simple and it can be a lightning-fast way to create content.

Content curation involves cherry-picking high quality content written by others, such as web and blog articles, and using it in your social media marketing. You don’t steal someone else’s work; instead you use a small summary of what they have written, along with an image, and you link your reader back to the full original article.

The best and quickest way to curate is to clip (aka save) interesting web content as you come across it in your regular web browsing activities.

Some examples:

Create a curated blog post: Press-This, is a built-in feature of WordPress. Once you’ve installed the bookmarklet to your browser, it makes creating a blog post on the fly simple. When you’re reading an article you want to use to create content, highlight some summary text, click the bookmarklet button, add an image, and post. A new WordPress blog article will be created for you that will link back to the original post.

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To install the “Press This” plug-in, log in to your WordPress admin panel and navigate to the Tools tab on the left side. Click “Available Tools” and drag the “Press This” button to your browser bookmark bar.

Create a curated newsletter: Let’s face it, creating content for newsletters or social media is time consuming and tricky at best. It doesn’t have to be.

Chrome Clipper is a fast and simple way to bookmark interesting web articles and then turn your clippings into a newsletter for email or social media marketing in a few minutes. The Clipper installs as a Chrome browser extension very easily (it would be nice to have Firefox support as well).

When you find an article you like, click the Clipper icon on your browser and it grabs a summary paragraph of the article with an image and a link back to the original article. (Quick disclaimer, I am the founder of this product.)

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Once you’ve finished clipping articles, log in to the free FlashIssue web app and click the Clippings tab. In a couple of minutes, you’ll be able to organize your clippings into a mini-digest of curated content (like a clone of the Twitter or LinkedIn digest, except you create this one from your own content).

The newsletter digest can then be sent out as an email newsletter to your mailing list (or through Gmail); it can also be shared through Twitter, Facebook, etc., as a ready-made landing page you can direct readers to.

Scorecard:

  • Speed: Usain Bolt (10/10)
  • Ease: 9/10
  • Social Features: 7/10
  • Cost: Free

A final tip for curating content, in any form, is to use the Evernote bookmark browser tool. Similar to FlashIssue, it allows you to clip interesting articles and curate them into a list that can be used for marketing. I would suggest creating a folder in Evernote called Newsletters, and storing the clipped articles there for easy retrieval.

It would be really nice if Evernote provided a more automated way to extract your clippings for use in marketing, but it can be done if you figure out how to find the RSS feed for the notebook. With some basic know-how, this can be done fairly quickly (learn more here).

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Scorecard:

  • Speed: Usain Bolt on a bad day (7/10)
  • Ease: 6/10
  • Social Features: 7/10
  • Cost: Free

Creating social content can be very fast and have a great impact on your gold medal-caliber content marketing activities.

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Cover image: Bigstock

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