Use Google Currents to monitor news and industry trends
One of the biggest challenges for businesses who want to use content marketing to communicate is finding ideas and sources for new content topics. Since most of your blog topics should not be talking about your specific products or services, what do you talk about? One technique is referred to as Newsjacking. We will discuss Newsjacking in greater detail in another post, but the basic idea is that you will take a look at a trending story and then write about it. You may simply share the details with your audience, but it's even better if you can add some additional perspective that will be helpful or interesting, and uniquely you.
At The Social Media Hat, for instance, we often write about trending stories in Social Media and the Internet that are easily covered on other sites, but we also generally add our thoughts on what that particular story means to businesses. When Facebook announced their new Graph Search, for example, we talked about how that made it even more important that businesses take the time to create and develop a Facebook Page that talks in detail about what that business does, as it will come up in searches by millions of Facebook users.
Monitoring potential news sources is a challenge. One tool that we've reviewed previously is using a combination of RSS feeds from sources you've identified, plugged into Google Reader, and then accessible on your iPhone or iPad using Newsify. A less convoluted method is to use the Google Currents app.
Google Currents is designed to bring the latest and trending stories to your attention, from sources that you'll trust.
When you first open the app, you'll be asked to sign into your Google account - though it's not immediately obvious why that's necessary other than Google wants to be sure that every human on the planet has a Google account. Once logged in, you will see a few news sources that Google has loaded up for you, and an icon to tap to Add More. The default view is Featured sources, and you can click Library to see categories for more sources. You can even add sources from your Google Reader RSS feeds.
You can swipe through stories, share them, flag them and add them to read later.
An udpate to the app also brought a number of improvements today, including:
- Edition Sidebar - quickly access your editions within categories such as business, sports, etc.
- Fast scan - Vertical swipe to scan an edition, horizontal swipe advances to next edition
- Breaking stories - ranked by Google News. Linked to full length content.
- Saved stories - star for future reference.
- New catalog design
The new Google Currents design now mirrors Google+, and is typical of Google's design and rebranding efforts.
When I'm using Newsify or Google Currents, I tend to star articles that I want to read later, or write about. If there's a breaking story that I want to write about right away, I may email a copy to myself to open on my laptop (unless I'm going to write immediately on my iPad). When i find stories that are interested, but not for my own content, I may share them to Facebook, Twitter or Google+.
Have you used Google Currents? If not, is there a different tool you're using to keep up with industry news?
By Mike Allton, Content Marketing Practitioner
Mike is a Content Marketing Practitioner, Blogger and Author in St. Louis, and the Chief Marketing Officer at SiteSell. He has been working with websites and the Internet since the early '90's, and is active on all of the major social networks. Mike teaches a holistic approach to content marketing that leverages blog content, social media and SEO to drive traffic, generate leads, and convert those leads into sales.
Mike is the author of, "The Unofficial Book On HootSuite: The #1 Tool for Social Media Management", "The Ultimate Guide to the Perfect LinkedIn Profile.", and "Blog Promotionology, The Art & Science of Blog Promotion."