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How to Become a Content-Sharing Ninja

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SharingMy guess is you're busy. You're running around all day, you're battling your email and you're taking care of your customers.

But in today's socially-connected world, it's not enough. You can't rest on a great product and go radio silent; you need to build a great brand.

That takes differentiating yourself and establishing higher visibility. It takes content. The content you create via a strategic content strategy, but also via the third-party content and resources you routinely share.

Establishing yourself as a trusted sharer of content has many positive benefits to your brand. It asserts your expertise in the niche, brands you as the go-to source of information (even when you aren't the one creating it!) and positively links you with the industry you are a part of. Any brand can use content sharing as a way to increase visibility; it just takes putting the proper steps in place.

How do you become a content-sharing ninja? Here's my method.

Bookmark as You Go

As a brand, you need to make blog reading part of your day. There is simply no better way to stay current, build relationships or to get yourself out of your own bubble than to read what others are saying, both about your world and outside of it.

Read blogs. Subscribe to blogs. Cultivate the habit.

While you're there reading for your own benefit, be smart about bookmarking and starring content as you go so you can easily share it later. If something looks interesting in your feed reader but you're running to a meeting, star it. If you see an article pass on Twitter, Instapaper it. Or Favorite it. Or create a Notepad doc where you drop links in and then read them over wine on Thursday nights. [Maybe you even share that list internally each week so your team benefits!]

I don't care how you bookmark your content, but make sure you're doing it. You're doing your due diligence and reading content anyway – get more from your time by using it for content curation.

Create Twitter Lists

Holy heck, are you as obsessed with Twitter Lists as I am? I'm not even talking about public Twitter Lists. I'm talking about the private ones you create and hoard for your own nefarious purpose. The ones that feature the smartest folks, on a variety of topics, all broken out by topic/category/niche so you're like a kid in a candy store every time you need something? OMG, those lists!

If you aren't currently using Twitter Lists to keep track of the folks who share the best content – start. Go home tonight, grab your preferred beverage, and start segmenting who you think is the Best Of on Twitter.

Who shares the best content? Who gives the best tweet-appropriate laughs? Who is the most controversial?

Create lists and collect them all. Then, any time you need something to share, pop into one of your category-specific lists and grab something that's perfectly suited.

Create Sharing Formulas

If This Than That (IFTTT) is a service many folks use to help with content sharing. If you aren't familiar, IFTTT is a recipe trigger that "does this" when something else "does that", letting users create connections between 61 different online channels.

For example, you can set it up so that if someone tweets with a specific hashtag, you tweet it from your branded Twitter account. Or if a blogger you love publishes a new post, it automatically gets shared on your Facebook. Or if someone follows you, you send them a tweet back saying thanks.

These little pieces of automation can make your life easier and help you keep a presence when life gets chaotic.

However, a word of warning: Make sure you're keeping an eye on what your account is doing and that you're there to add the "brains" to the process when needed. Otherwise, you could be in for a world of hurt.

[Here's a list of 20 awesome IFTTT recipes to get you started.]

Schedule Your Updates

Every brand presence needs a solid way to schedule the content they're sharing. Whether you're doing it through RavenTools, Hootsuite, SproutSocial or another app – you need something that's going to let you share content when you have time without turning your feed into a firehouse. By scheduling and spreading out your updates you can add value and get work done at the same time.

My tool of choice for scheduling updates happens to be Buffer. I like the simplicity it offers, the Chrome extension and it's as "set it and forget it" as you can be without making a mess. But it doesn't matter program you use, just that you're setting yourself up to make social and sharing work for you.

Break Out of Your Bubbles

You know that moment when you're staring at your Twitter feed, your RSS list or even your Facebook News Feed and everything reads unbelievably boring and unoriginal? It's because you're too far inside your own bubble. You're seeing the same articles, by the same people, shared by the same groupies.

Get out of it.

If you're working in the technology space, go read a science blog. Or some world news. Or watch a cat video. Whatever you're tired of seeing, go seek out the opposite. Too much exposure to your own world has a dire effect on your creativity, your passion and your ability to see what's in front of you. Free your creativity by seeking out other inspirations.

And guess what? If you're tired of reading the same old topics, you can bet your audience is getting tired of it, as well. Don't be afraid to share content that has nothing to do with your niche of choice. A little break helps us all clear our minds.

Sharing content with your audience is a great way to create awareness, perceived expertness, grow your brand and to create relationships. What tools or tricks do you use to keep the sharing floodgates open?


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