Financial Advisers often ask about the challenge of coming up with a constant stream of content for blogs, newsletters and other online activities. They often ask me about how to come up with topics to write about, to find good content on the web to share and then how to manage all this content effectively.
So to help you with this challenge, here are just 4 apps that I use, that help me hugely in developing a constant stream of content for my own activities. At the end of the day, I think that being organised is such a huge element of successfully addressing this challenge. The other good thing about these Apps is that they are available online, as an App on your PC or Mac, on your tablet and on your phone. As a result they are always with you and they stay synced across all of your platforms, so as you update a note in your phone for instance, it then carries across automatically to every device.
In terms of coming up with topics of original content to write, you need to keep your eyes and ears wide open, all of the time. As you have conversations, attend presentations, read material etc., you need to constantly be thinking, “Is there anything in this that I can write an interesting short article about?” or “Is there anything in this topic that I can write an alternative angle / opinion about?” And once there is, this is where the first App comes in.
This is a great app for capturing ideas, thoughts, notes etc. You can type notes into Evernote, copy in web addresses, copy webpages, attach documents & presentations and even record audio files. This is particularly useful if you have a load of thoughts in your head and just want to capture them – record them as an audio file and tidy it all up later…
I use Evernote all the time for a whole range of reasons now, apart from this content challenge. You can set up different notebooks within it for personal use as well as business use and you can attach tags to every note to keep any related articles together. The days of forgetting great ideas are behind you if you get into the habit of using Evernote.
This is a great source of ideas and of little pieces of “colour” for articles. It is basically an online presentation forum, where users upload copies of their presentations. There are now over 10 million presentations uploaded on Slideshare so there is no lack of ideas there… So if you have the germ of an idea, it is a great place to get some different thoughts about a topic for you to develop out some alternative perspectives in your article.
Also, the content is free to use. The content is shared on Slideshare for the use of everyone, so help yourself if you want to reuse or remix some of the slides on it.
The next 2 apps are the two that I use to sift through a potentially vast amount of content, in order to find articles that I think are relevant and interesting to my target audience (in my case financial advisers). The aim here is to become a trusted source of useful content, helping my audience with sales, marketing and strategy challenges by sharing good articles, and saving them the bother of having to go searching for these articles themselves.
Have you seen the little orange buttons on web pages with 3 little white lines in them? These are RSS (Really Simple Syndication) buttons, which enable you to have content sent to you as it is uploaded on the web – this might be from a blog, a news feed etc. However (thankfully) you’re not sent an email every time something is uploaded. Instead it is sent to a reader, which gathers all of these articles in one place. Think of a reader as an enormous in-tray or magazine rack for online articles, waiting for you to go through them. Sounds a bit daunting I know…
Except when using a reader (my favourite is Feedly) you can flick down through hundreds of articles in minutes, reading only the headlines if you want, dipping into an introduction if your interest is piqued or indeed the full article if you think it is actually worth reading. And you can mark them all as “Read” very easily as you go along, ensuring those particular articles don’t appear again. You can categorise the different feeds into groups, which can further help you speed up the process too. The benefit of Feedly is the time it saves you in getting through huge numbers of articles.
If Feedly is your magazine rack, Pocket is your scrap book of articles that you have “cut out”. As you quickly scan through all of your articles in Feedly, some will catch your attention for you to read later when you’ve a bit more time on your hands. So with 2 clicks, you put them in your Pocket! Again you can tag articles for different purposes – it might be to share out later, to rewrite with your own perspectives, to help you develop a new angle for your proposition etc.
You can then go back into Pocket when you want to carry out an activity (for example share some content through LinkedIn), and simply click on the article that you’ve saved for that very purpose.
These 4 Apps are simply invaluable to me. Without them, I’d struggle for a constant stream of content, would forget ideas I have and would never find again great content that I’ve found on the web to share or write about.
With the help of these Apps, my challenge is having a few too many ideas and being in the fortunate position of trying to decide the better ones to use. This is a result of organisation, not creativity!
Are there other good apps out there that you are using to address your content challenge?