The right content discovery tools are critical if you want to maintain a robust social media calendar. Doing so requires that you post a variety of content, including branded (or owned) media, relevant content (like industry articles and reports), and promotional posts.
First: Find the Right Content Mix
Before you can find the best content, you need to how much to share of each. The right mix is debated. Some marketers follow the 30/60/10 principle:
- 30 percent of your content should be owned by your brand
- 60 percent should be curated by your brand
- 10 percent should be self-promotion, usually featuring a CTA of some sort
To make it even easier, I tend to follow the 80/20 rule, which says 80 percent of your content should inform, educate, or entertain, and 20 percent should promote your brand.
Still, there is no hard and fast rule for every brand. As Tanya Hall, CEO of Greenleaf Book Group, says: there’s no perfect ratio to accelerate your brand strategy. It all depends on your business objectives, target audience, and industry.
With a strategy in place, and your content calendar ready [download my free content calendar template if you need one!], it’s time to find things to share.
Also Read: 10 Places to Find Fresh Social Media Content
Second: Find the right Content Discovery Tools
Ultimately, the bulk of your content should come from other sources, filling that 80 percent or 60 percent of shared content space. As you might imagine, this is time-consuming for the average marketer or business owner, who’s to-do list grows every day.
To make your life easier, we’ve compiled the best content discovery tools to be used as resources for finding great content.
Twitter is one of the largest (and the original) networks for content discovery. Follow top industry companies, entrepreneurs, publications, and thought leaders for instant access to high-quality, relevant content. Sometimes if I’m looking for specific articles, I’ll do targeted hashtag searches.
For example, for leadership-specific articles, I’ll search #leadership, #management, #entrepreneurs, and sort by “Top.” You can also sort by Latest—I like sticking with the most popular articles because if they have a lot of engagement, my followers will probably like the content as well.
This also provides you with a list of relevant accounts you can follow to begin uncovering more of the same content.
To make it even easier, create Twitter Lists, making it easier to find what you need fast, from sources that you know are credible and up-to-date.
Price: Freemium with paid versions.
Feedly is a news aggregator that acts as an RSS feed. I use this tool to group potential content and sources by theme. This particular content discovery tool also suggests new sources based on what you’ve already clicked on or followed, so it’s easy to find fresh new content.
I like Feedly because the free version is fairly robust. You can have several feeds, which is helpful if you manage multiple client’s social media accounts.
Pro tip: if you want targetted or niche content, consider separating out large news sources into a different feed. I’ve found that because publications like Entrepreneur or Business Insider release so many articles (on a wide range of topics), it can clog up my feed with irrelevant content. Check out their tutorial for more information.
Price: Freemium, with paid plans for increased features.
Scoop.it is a complex product, but the free version contains a content discovery tool they call “Topic pages” that can be useful. Start with relevant keywords, and use their smart suggestion engine to crawl more than 40 million web pages, making it easy to find relevant content. Refer to their guide for specifics on configuring filters to fine-tune your results.
The paid and premium version of Scoop.it allows you to schedule social media, create websites and email campaigns, as well as synchronize with your other CMs or systems. If you’re in the market for any of those tools, this may be a win-win for you.
4. Daily News Roundups
Get content emailed directly to you by signing up for daily news roundup emails. This method works particularly well for brands who regularly share news and lifestyle-type information. There are many companies that send daily (or weekly) emails featuring hot topics of the day, popular articles, and breaking news. Here are a few of the big ones to check out:
- Next Draft: A news and lifestyle email. According to Lifehacker: “Dave Pell’s title of ‘Managing Editor, Internet’ is a pretty accurate description of NextDraft as a whole. Pell’s quick wit and excellent taste in things you should care about (in addition to stories more interesting than the rest of the day’s news) make it one of the two newsletters I allow access to my inbox.”
- The Skimm: A weekday newsletter that’s geared specifically towards millennial women. While this also covers broad and general news, it breaks the content down into digestible tidbits—perfect for busy marketers.
- The Hustle: A tech and news focused weekday newsletter, that focuses on bite-sized and summarized topics.
5. Industry-Specific Newsletters
If you want niche information that relates to your specific vertical, sign up for email newsletters within your industry. One of my favorite for SEO and marketing is SerpStat.
Here are a few other companies that have great marketing newsletters:
- Search Engine Journal
- Social Media Examiner
- Medium’s Daily Digest: Note, this is best for those who already use Medium, as it’s tailored by whom you follow.
To find newsletters in your industry, do a Google search. Also look for newsletter sign ups when reading content on your favorite sites.
Price: Freemium, with memberships that allow you to save (and search) more content.
Pocket is a “read-it-later” tool that helps you save content as you find it, which you can later integrate into your social strategy. Instead of bookmarking or emailing yourself, you can keep everything in one place using their platform.
You can use their browser extension, download on any device, or email anything to firstname.lastname@example.org and it will automatically add it to your list. They also have 1,500+ in-app integrations for Twitter, news apps, or even Feedly. Follow their twitter account @PocketHits that records their most-saved articles on the entire platform.
Price: unavailable, their pricing page recommends that you call for a quote.
Curata is a content curation and sharing platform. According to their website, with their “Content Curation Software (CCS) you’ll gain access to the widest selection of published content available online, at your fingertips.” You can refine your dashboard with keywords, news sources, authors, or bookmarks to return relevant results. The platform also employs machine learning so that you can rate the content, which they claim makes it better as you use it.
Similar to other content discovery tools, Curata also offers more features where you can schedule and share content, as well as integrate with your website.
Price: Freemium, with company and enterprise plans.
PublishThis is an enterprise content discovery tool, with many other features and options that you can make use of when planning and scheduling content. Their content monitoring dashboard provides you with a single destination for finding industry and competitor news. Use their search columns to see even more trending and recent content. Similar to other aggregators, PublishThis connects you with thousands of sources that are refreshed 24/7.
9. Post Planner
Price: Plans start at $3 per month for small businesses, with higher levels depending on your needs. They also offer a free account that’s limited, but could be a good place to start.
PostPlanner is geared specifically toward brands focused on Facebook and Twitter. Their pitch is: “Never run out of ideas. Our recommendation engine analyzes content across the web to identify top-performing content that will resonate with your audience.” Their content search tool is easy to use and the results can be sorted by day, week, month or all, allowing you to find the most recent stories.
If these platforms are your main areas of focus for social media, this may be a good tool for an all-in-one experience for finding, planning and scheduling.
Reddit is dubbed “the front page of the internet,” and has a truly cult-like following. The social media platform is organized by topics or threads, making it perfect for digging up the most recent and engaging content on the web.
For brands looking to find truly niche-level content, this platform might be the ticket. A potential drawback is that Reddit is very dense, with millions of subreddits and threads, and doesn’t operate like other social media sites and content platforms. There’s a bit of a learning curve to using it effectively. However, once you overcome that, you can find unlimited sources of information, articles, and news you might not find in other places.
For help getting started, check out Buffer’s article: How to Discover Irresistible Content Ideas Using Reddit.