As social sellers, it is imperative that we constantly share valuable information and insights with our networks. This is essentially what separates us from the rest of the sales community. However, clearly there is not enough time in the day for us to be constantly creating brand new content from scratch, nor is it necessarily beneficial to do so.
A healthy content marketing mix involves a significant portion of 3rd party content sharing in addition to original thought-leadership pieces. By sharing content from other sources, you are not only showing your network that you respect the opinions of others in your industry, you are also showing them that you’re well informed on topics that are important to them. For these reasons, it is important that you master some basic content curation skills to ensure you always have an ample amount of information to share with your community of prospective buyers.
Step 1: Create a List
As with many processes in life, gathering a good list of content sources requires a bit of initial brainstorming. Take 15 minutes to compile a list of topics and keywords that relate to the type of content your buyer community will find valuable. These can include product names, trends, industry buzzwords, etc.
Don’t worry about racking your brain for every single possibility. Just focus on creating an initial list of 5-10 topics/keywords to start with. You will be able to easily add new items to this list as you go.
Step 2: Find Content
Now that you have your list of topics/keywords, you’re ready to start finding content sources related to them. The easiest place to start is typically with a search engine like Google or Yahoo. Search for content sources by entering in your topics/keywords one by one along with words like “Blog,” “RSS,” “Newsletter” and “Feed” behind them. That will look something like this: “Commercial Real Estate Blog,” “Cloud Computing RSS,” “Corporate Finance Newsletter” and so on.
Once your search engine begins to return desired results, click on the links that appear to be regularly updated with valuable information and bookmark them in your browser for future use. It is also helpful at this stage to setup Google Alerts for your topics/keywords to make sure you catch any important content sources you did not find in your initial search.
Step 3: Content Delivery
Once you have found your information sources it’s time to setup an easy way of browsing the content. It is important to use content aggregator tools for this process to ensure you don’t spend too much time searching through all this content for a good article. I personally use Feedly because it is very user-friendly but there are lots of other options out there. Choose a content aggregator that you like and add your content sources to it from the bookmarks that you saved in Step 2.
Most aggregators will let you sort your content by topic, which is very helpful if you want to share content on several different topic focuses. Once you have all of your content sources loaded into your aggregator tool, you will be able to easily review tons of topic-specific content from multiple sources in one view.
Step 4: Content Sharing
Here is the easy part: SHARE CONTENT. Now that you have all this amazingly valuable content at your fingertips, share it with your buyer community. This can be done in a number of ways. By sharing through LinkedIn, you can publish to both your LinkedIn and Twitter networks simultaneously.
You can also use social publishing tools like Hootsuite to help you schedule and disseminate your content throughout the week in multiple networks. The important thing is to make sure that you’re sharing content where your buyers will find it. If your buyers aren’t on Facebook, then don’t bother sharing your content there.
Don’t forget to add some insights to your posts as well. It is one thing to share valuable content with your online community, but it is even better to provide some additional insight. Let your network know how you feel about a certain article. This will help humanize your online persona and potentially start conversations within your community. Also, don’t be afraid to be a little controversial from time to time. People often enjoy a good debate, and it can help spark additional visibility.
You’re ready to start sharing! Be sure to add in some original content along with your 3rd party curated content. We recommend the 4-1-1 strategy to anyone starting off in content sharing; that means each week you should share 4 pieces of 3rd party content, 1 piece of original content, and 1 piece of content that displays your personality, such as a favorite quote or funny picture.