Social Media: Sourcing Content

One complaint I hear frequently from clients when we’re speaking about content to use in social media is, “I don’t have the time to write all the content that I need!”

You should see the look on their faces when I tell them you don’t, in fact shouldn’t, create all your own content.

An important part of a content program is sharing the content of others.  Being a subject matter expert (SME) and an influencer means that you’re familiar with the work of others and are not afraid to use it.

Step V of my plan for Developing a Social Media Program is about content creation.  Today, I intend to drill down on sourcing content to be shared.  

Before you can source content to share, a couple of things need to be sorted out first:

  1. What are your areas of specialization?  You can’t be all over the place.  Developing a topic list that goes from the general to the specific will help you focus.
  2. What keywords will you use?  A tool like Google Keyword Planner can help identify popular ones to use. (Place Link here.)

Once you understand what you’re looking for, the next step is actually finding it.  I recommend using a tool here.  That tool is a feed aggregator to automatically collect content from online sources that are relevant to your interests.

Until July 2013, the Google Reader was the standard feed aggregator and was very popular.  For some reason, best known to them, it was discontinued.  While there are multiple alternatives to Reader, Feedly quickly became the new standard and is the one I use.

The basic free version does the job very well.  There is a premium version, feedlyPro , which as of this writing goes for $5.00 US per month or $45.00 US for an annual subscription, offers various features principally designed to work with other third party apps.  (I’m evaluating the Pro version for my own use and will report back on it sometime in the future.)

Once you acquired Feedly, it can be configured to receive updates and be organized as best suits your needs.  The save for later reading feature comes in handy.  The topics and keywords can be used to identify materials to be sourced.  (Notice how one step builds on the previous?)

The next step is to make the time to sit down and review your feeds.  Discipline is important here as it is in all aspects of social media.  I typically do this from Monday to Friday over my morning cup of coffee before I go into the office.  I scan my feeds and tweet out the ones that I feel are most relevant for my followers.  My tweets also post automatically to Facebook.  (I don’t interface Twitter with LinkedIn.)

I have several recommendations for sourcing content to share:

  1. Content should be relevant to your area of expertise
  2. Any content shared should add value and be of interest to your followers
  3. Seek out what hasn’t been shared yet, don’t re-post what has already been re-posted before
  4. Try to be the first to share new content
  5. Where practical try to add some commentary no matter how brief
  6. Review your topics, keywords, and feeds periodically to ensure that they are still current and active

I also have several watch-outs for sourcing content to share:

  1. Avoid sharing content already shared by others unless you have some new comment (I know I’m repeating this one but it’s important.)
  2. Do not share, repeat, do not share the Dilbert cartoon of the day or any humorous material.  (Nothing against Scott Adams and I like to think I have a sense of humor.  But, enough people already are sharing and re-sharing these without you adding to the clutter. More importantly though, you will only have a brief moment of your followers’ time.  You don’t want them to dismiss you as some sort of New Age Henny Youngman.)
  3. The same goes for the inspirational and leadership thoughts of the day, don’t share!  You want your followers to associate you with a set of specific topics and nothing else.  The goal is for them, if they don’t read what you share, to feel guilty enough that they’ll do it later.

These are a few guidelines for how to source content with a feed aggregator.  There are other ways to source content and I’ll discuss these in future stories.  For now, try these techniques and see if you can begin to attract more followers and commentary with your shared content!

That’s it for now!

In the meantime, thank you for following and reading my blog!

I look forward to any and all comments that you may have.  I will reply to any comments made to this blog post as promptly as I can.


I do this for a living and if I can be of any assistance to either you or your organization, please feel free to call on me.  Our initial discussion will be of no charge to you.

I can also be reached at

My Twitter handle is @conpsweeney.

Stay well!

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