Blogging and social media marketing can be time consuming, especially if you’re a one-person company. I simply don’t have the time to devote large amounts of my day to being active on networks or blogging. As a result, I try to find ways to be efficient and have found doing things in bulk and automating the mundane parts of my social media efforts to be really helpful.
A lot of the articles/links that I share on social networks are from other blogs/websites. To save time, I subscribe to RSS feeds through Google Reader so new posts are gathered in one place instead of me having to visit individual websites to check for updates.
Whenever I have time I check Reader, leave relevant comments on articles/posts that I find interesting (which is great for driving traffic), and save links to an Excel file that I have set up. When I’ve gathered a sufficient amount of links, I configure the dates and times that the links should be posted, which social media accounts they should be posted to, and then bulk upload the links to HootSuite. The links are shared on schedule so from there all I have to do is reply to comments. Once a week HootSuite sends me an analytics report that allows me to see which links generated clicks and on which networks.
I’m a visual person so at times it can be a bit like pulling teeth for me to sit down and write the text for a blog post. To get around that mental block, I jot down notes for blog ideas as soon as they pop into my head. I then pick a day and time where I’ll do nothing but write blog posts. Typically by the time I complete one or two posts, the writing begins to flow easily and I can write and schedule about one or two months’ worth of blog posts. Once the posts are scheduled, all I have to do is check to make sure that they are being published by WordPress and indexed by the search engines, share the blog post links via my social media profiles, and reply to comments.
Earlier this year I began sending out a monthly newsletter which includes summaries of my blog posts with links to the full versions. I use MailChimp to manage my subscription lists and campaigns but designed my own custom template. Once a month I would make a copy of the template, update the content, send myself a few test emails, and then schedule the newsletter’s distribution date. That was a good option but it still required about one or two hours per month.
A few months ago I found MailChimp’s RSS-driven campaign option where it pulls in your blog’s RSS feed, automatically creates a newsletter, and delivers the newsletter according to a time frame that you set. I spent a few hours designing a new template but now I only have to spend about five minutes per month a few days before the newsletter goes out, double-checking that everything is ok. The only draw back is that I haven’t figured out a way to automatically include the featured image from blog posts in the newsletter but that’s not a big deal.
Whenever possible I re-purpose and expand my comments from other blogs/articles, answers to questions, etc for posts on my blog. Case in point, this blog post was originally a response to a comment on a link that I shared on LinkedIn.