Staying current with industry trends is essential to mastering your content marketing efforts and becoming a thought leader in your area of expertise. It involves more than just evolving with new technology (though that is a key component), it requires contributing and interacting with new ideas.
Recent research finds that news consumption is increasing, not decreasing. On Facebook alone, 30 billion pieces of content (web links, news stories, posts, notes, and photos) are shared each month! Navigating the deluge of content written on a daily basis since the death of Google Reader (RIP) can be overwhelming. To help, we've rounded up some tools that are expertly designed ot help you connect to the most important information, and the people who are writing it, when you want it.
A type of cloud-based bookmarking program, Pocket makes it easy to save a website or web page for later viewing. Add the extension to Chrome and each web page is a click away from being stored in your Pocket. Use Pocket to remember web pages or resources that could be useful later on.
Use Pocket for: Blogging.
It’s great for compiling interesting news, educational resources and anything you might want to remember later. Whenever you hit a wall trying to write, scroll through your queue to grab some inspiration.
Available for both Apple and Android operating systems, Flipboard capitalizes on the simplicity of live tiles. Create custom streams for the type of content you’d like to see and Flipboard will display updates from thought leaders and area experts in a tile format.
Use Flipboard for: Blogging and Social media.
The highly visual tiles are great to reference in blog and social posts alike. Create streams for each of your industries and use recent posts as inspiration or research material for your latest piece.
3. Google+ Communities
Communities on Google+ are less of a program and more of a forum for professional peers to discuss industry goings-on. There are thousands of communities of varying size, so find the community that’s right for you by searching for a topic area related to your industry.
Use Google+ for: Blogging, Social media, email newsletters.
Once you join a community, engage in discussion and check out the resources your peers are sharing. It might spark an idea or a great conversation that could be answered with a blog post. Repurpose this content or rewrite it to suit your specific industry and publish.
4. Solicit Advice
Take your Google+ communities (and other social networks) one step further and interact with your professional peers to help stimulate ideas. Send a request out via a tweet or Google+ post asking for thoughts on a certain issue pertaining to your industry. Perhaps there is controversy over new technology or a “proper” way to handle a certain task.
Use your social networks for: Creating relationships, Guest blogging opportunities.
The opinions and ideas of your peers might provide clarity on the subject for you, allowing you to write intelligently about it while developing your industry knowledge. Build relationships with others in your field and seek out guest blogging opportunities to amplify your messaging.
Spreadsheets may not be as visually appealing as Flipboard, but a spreadsheet full of potential ideas can help you organize your content. Think of 20 potential subject headings for content that you might write about on your site, and take a look at it whenever you need a content idea.
Use GoogleDocs for: Content calendars, content management, collaboration.
As you come up with more and more ideas, add a new subject to the spreadsheet. Cross out the lackluster ideas and roll with the strong ones. Collaborative content documents can become an excellent internal resource for content creation and is ideal for multiple users to see what topics are available to be written about.
6. Local Meet-ups
Nearly every professional industry contains opportunities to meet with fellow professionals to share and develop. LinkedIn is a great resource for finding fellow professionals that want to connect and develop their skills through conversation. Meet-ups may occur once a quarter, once a month or more frequently.
Use local meet-ups for: content inspiration, meeting other thought leaders.
Continuing to educate yourself on evolving industry trends helps you stay in the forefront of thought leadership, and local meet-ups help foster growth through networking.
They’re valuable resources for learning information and getting news updates on-the-go. They also adapt to your on-the-go, heavily mobile-dependent life. Find a well-known podcast for your particular industry or using an app like BeyondPod to browse a massive list of podcasts and find the one that’s right for you. TED Talks are my personal favorite.
Use podcasts for: blogging inspiration.
8. Leverage Twitter
Twitter has a function that allows segmenting contacts into lists, so make a list containing everyone you follow according to their particular sector. When viewing a list, only tweets and interactions from those people show up, but they’ll still show up on the traditional home feed.
Use hashtags to help identify who might be a good resource to follow and add them to the list. Twitter now allows users to create up to 500 lists, so don’t be shy about putting people on more than one list.
Use Twitter for: amplifying content, reaching new audiences.
What tools or resources do you use to help stay current on industry news? How do you use these tools to positively impact your content marketing efforts?
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