On content creation and curation

I’ve been looking into content creation and curation, and how people use content to gain new customers.

Content Creation

The main tip that’s come up over and over again is re-using and re-purposing content across different platforms. I really like the idea of using things like SlideShare to change blog posts or videos into slideshows to share in a different way. I admit to being biased – I personally dislike videos (especially how-to guides), I can read faster than you can talk, and I like being able to skim to get the main points. But I see the point of them, and there will be some people who prefer being shown what to do, and going along with the video to get to where they need to be.

I recently used Slides.com to make slideshows (one of my talks is linked), they have some beautiful templates completely free and its very simple to use.

There are also examples of doing multiple tweets – just a tip or two, with a link to the blogpost, then the tweet is published multiple times, depending on the timezones of followers (I adore tools like Tweriod for finding out when to tweet something for maximum exposure). This plus a twitter program that allows you to schedule tweets are a match made in heaven.

And that’s before Facebook,Pinterest, LinkedIn, and any other social media accounts your company has, all of which can be connected through the use of something like IFTTT, or hootsuite

Finally, this article has some amazing tools for content creation. Canva is a great tool for making quick, simple images for advertising, and information.

Content Curation

Content Curation is the act of selecting, and sharing content that you’ve not created, but that your followers will enjoy, and engage with. As well as being interesting, it will also help to show current and potential customers that your company knows what new trends are coming, and are able to react to new technologies to make your products and services the best it can be.

There are many many tools that can help with this (and in listing these I’m doing my own content curation, but I promise you I love all of these tools).

For gathering the content, I am a big fan of Feedly. I have it on my laptop and my phone. I also have my tumblr set up via IFTTT so that anything I like on tumblr is saved to feedly. This means I can tweet things easily at a convenient time.

I’ve mentioned IFTTT many times, and it is powerful. My social media is set up to go out to all my accounts when a post is published. There are so many different recipes you can use to customise what happens when.

Its a lot of work, but there are many tools and strategies to streamline the process as much as possible.

Hootsuite is my favourite social media app. It’s browser based on laptop/desktop, and it supports multiple social media streams. Updates can be scheduled (it even offers its own auto-scheduling service so it can decide when updates will get the most exposure (I’ve not used this though, as I use Tweriod)), and updates can be sent out to multiple accounts in one go.

There is an applet that allows easy sharing from the browser, and offers some powerful analytics (especially if you upgrade to pro).

I’ve also had a quick play with LikeHack, which offers a list of what your followers are liking, tweeting, etc, so you can ensure you’re offering content that your followers want to see. It’s a nice service, still in beta, so bugs are expected, but easy to use, and useful if you’ve got a lot of followers and want to keep on top of things.

The hardest part of all of this is actually getting all this done. It takes time and it has to be a long term thing. Create and curate good quality material consistently, and monitor your followers’ content, feedback, and activity levels regularly. Use some form of metrics to gauge what works and what doesn’t.

Plan content in advance (just make sure its still upto date when it comes to posting time), liaise with other parts of your company to make sure content is shared across the board, and don’t be afraid to disrupt your schedule for time-sensitive content. No one likes it when a company puts a year old meme on their social media like it’s still new.

On Specifications

Specification

An act of identifying something precisely or of stating a precise requirement

Specifications are a way of laying out client requirements, maybe in slightly more depth, or more technical detail than used in user stories.

It’s important to know exactly where the limits of a feature need to be, and what functionality the client expects. These explicit declarations are needed for all aspects of the development cycle, from project managing (accurate time scales can’t be given if people have to keep going back and changing things) through to testing – we need to know exactly what data to test the functions with, what the expected results and goals are, and how it integrates with other parts of the system.

The specification template I use is as follows:-

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