Own your content!
I often consider sharing a post or some thoughts on social media, particularly Google+, where I know I will get some instant feedback and discussion. If it's on a personal interest topic like Game of Thrones, I will run with it. If it's on a "professional" topic though, like social media or technology, I always stop and think whether or not what I want to say would serve me better as a blog post.
As a blog post, I own that content. It exists on my website and will be there as long as I keep my site up.
Furthermore, when I share that new post to social media, the people who are interested in reading it will be on my site as they do - not someone else's service. That leaves me completely in control of the reading experience. Advertising, buttons, widgets and calls to action are all according to what I want to accomplish.
Developing this wealth of rich content, and your tribe of interested readers and followers, is what it means to develop your platform. This is particularly important for B2B where your clients will typically have longer sales cycles, so having content specific for each phase and the ability to funnel visitors through that process is an intregal part of your content marketing.
So in these kinds of situations, my first thought is, "would this make a worthy blog post?" If not, and I still want to share the post, I can go ahead and create it.
If the answer is Yes, then my next question in my decision tree is, "do I have time to write this post now?" If I do, then I will jump into writing mode and crank it out. This is really the best scenario, as I will still be excited and interested in the topic. Maybe it's a breaking news story that I want to Newsjack, or maybe I was just inspired.
If I have to answer No, that I don't have time at that moment to blog, then it's a question of whether or not I will want to talk about it later. This is an important question! As we've discussed previously, news stories have a life cycle and if you wait too long to interject your thoughts, no one will be interested and you will have missed your window.
Since I don't have time every day to write about every social media and technology development, I often choose not to blog about certain stories. For instance, in May, LinkedIn released a new Contacts feature and stand-alone app and at the time, I was unable to write about.
So for news stories, if I can't write about them at that moment, I may choose to share someone else's story or just accept that I can't cover it and move on. Sometimes I can still cover a development later on from a different angle.
If my post idea isn't time sensitive and I don't have time to write it at that moment, I will open Evernote and start a new draft. I can include a working title and whatever thoughts I have at the moment, and can even dictate if needed. I can then revisit the topic later on at my convenience. This technique also assures that, over time, you may build up quite a few great blog post ideas and even some initial thoughts and text that you can use. I currently have around 50 posts started - mostly just titles, but many that have quite a bit more.
This post for instance, came to me while having a Google+ chat with +Michael Bennett. I was sitting in my car, waiting for my wife, and chatting with Michael about Google+ and Blogging. While there, I opened Evernote and wrote my initial idea for the post title and started writing, getting the first paragraph or two done. Ironically, I finished writing this post four days later, sitting in the same parking lot, waiting for my wife again.
I could have made a brief post along these lines on Google+, but I decided the content and discussion would be far more valuable to me if it started on my website and spread out from there to all networks.
So while it's important to actively share other people's posts and content on social media, it's also critical that you keep an eye out for thoughts and ideas that would make great blog posts. Keep that in mind the next time you have something you want to say.
Platform (9 3/4) image courtesy of iM4X, Flickr.
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By Mike Allton, Content Marketing Practitioner
Mike is a Content Marketing Practitioner, award-winning 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."Follow @Mike_Allton