5 automations that will save you hours

5 blogging and social media automations that save HUGE amounts of time

Blogging is incredibly effective, but it’s quite likely one of the parts of your business or life you put the most time or energy into. Every post takes time to research, cite, write, format, and promote. You don’t want to be making things more difficult for yourself than they already are because you have so many tools at your disposal.

Today we are hearing from Benjamin Brandall a content marketer from Process Street. He’ll be showing you some ways and tools you can automate tasks you might already be doing manually.

My hope is that this will show you interesting new ways of doing things and save you time.

In this post I’ll explain how to:

  • Save favorite tweets with links to Pocket to read later
  • Send tagged Evernote notes to different apps
  • Add new RSS feed items from various blogs to Buffer
  • Use Quuu to automatically get suggestions of relevant content to share
  • Use an autoresponder to send a welcome email to new subscribers

With these tips you can more easily create a reading list, assign tasks to your team, share automatically on social media, and more.

Let’s get into it.

5 automations that will save you hours

Save favorite tweets with links to Pocket to read later

If you are a Twitter user, it can turn into one of two things: a waste of time, or a source of inspiration.

I used to see articles on Twitter during my breaks that I’d open, but it wouldn’t be the right time to read them so they’d end up sitting around and then getting x’d off at the end of the day. Either that, or I’d get sucked into the rabbit hole of reading instead of working. Neither method is ideal!

Insert first problem solver, I set up a quick automation with a platform called IFTTT (it stands for ‘if this, then that’). The automation’s rules were: if I favorite a tweet with a link on Twitter, then save it to my Pocket account.

Pocket is a website, mobile app and desktop app that saves articles for you to read later. You can even read them offline while on the go, formatted in an easily readable way.

Pocket is a great online tool for time saving

Now when I’m browsing Twitter on a break, I treat it as an opportunity to add to my reading list that I process when I’m ready to, not when I’m vulnerable to distractions. And I’ve also found that having a big reading list means I get more content ideas in turn.

Like this idea? Set the automation up here.

Send tagged Evernote notes to different apps

On the surface, Evernote seems like a generic note app. Just like Apple notes, or even Word. Digging deeper, you’ll find you can use it as a ‘control panel’ for a lot of your laborious data entry tasks.

Evernote is more than just a note taking manager

For example, at Process Street where I work, we manage our tasks using a website called Trello.

Trello for task manager

Trello lets you create boards (like boards in offices packed with sticky notes) and then add tasks to those boards. On the content team, we each have our own board along with other shared boards for projects like blog articles and content promotion.

Instead of going to the correct board when I have a task for someone specific or an idea to post on the blog articles board, I can use an automation that will send the text from Evernote to the right board based on the tag I give the note!

Post to trello via Evernote. Automate my business

For example, if I wanted to add the same task to my board and my colleague’s board, I’d write a note with the task title and any additional info, then tag it ‘trello-ben’ and ‘trello-adam’ to get it to automatically send to Trello.

You can use this automation, too. Just go here.

Add new RSS feed items from various blogs to Buffer

Buffer is my personal favorite social media tool. It’s a free way to schedule and automate your social media profiles.

For example, if I wanted to drip out a series of tweets over the course of 10 days, I could log into Twitter every day and type them out, or I could just queue them up in Buffer and have them automatically post over time, one per day.

And that’s a pretty basic use case. In my opinion, the most useful thing you can do is integrate Buffer with your RSS feed, or the RSS feed of other blogs you want to share content from. It’s important, as an industry influencer, to share a range of quality, trustworthy content. So why not set that on autopilot?

To do this, use a similar platform to IFTTT called Zapier.

You can create zaps using this tool, check out a what you’ll see below.

How to integrate buffer with RSS with Zapier

Click ‘use this zap’, then paste in your RSS feed URL (or the RSS feed URL of another blog you trust). Connect your Buffer account, and it will automatically fill with posts for you. Genius right?

Use Quuu to automatically get suggestions of relevant content to share

If the last automation sounded good to you, here’s another interesting one along the same lines. What about hand-curated content for your social media profiles according to your specific interests? By connecting Quuu to your Buffer (or HubSpot) account, you can get automatic suggestions for content that your audience will love.

And, it’s free.

Use an autoresponder to send a welcome email to new subscribers

Welcome emails are perfect for making a positive, impactful first impression on your new readers. Without them, your readers are jumping in at whatever email you happen to send next, and the experience can vary from time to time.

Take the chance to introduce yourself, show off your best content, and, if you’re selling something, you can offer a discount. As Preneur says, there was a time before autoresponders where you’d have to manually craft a welcome email for each new subscriber. What a nightmare that’d be if it were still true!

Try Co-Schedule for Free

You can take it further than just one email, too. At Process Street, we send out a 10 email campaign to new subscribers including our process management ebooks, our best blog post collections, and some offers for paid Process Street plans.

The cheapest autoresponder is Mailchimp, which includes autoresponder features and 2,000 subscribers for free. Other alternatives include Active Campaign ($9/month, after an awesome free trail – this one’s Amanda’s affiliate link, she loves and uses it herself) and GetResponse ($15/month).

I hope these tips have helped you streamline your business and save time on with your marketing, blogging and social media!

Benjamin Brandall is a content marketer at Process Street, where he writes on startups, SaaS, and workflows. In his spare time, he runs Secret Cave, a blog about obscure entertainment and internet culture.

How to size social media images in 2017

Welcome to Day 19 of the 30-day blogging challenge today we are talking about one of the most asked questions in the blogosphere.

We’ve been talking about social media sites for the past few days and I thought it was worth going over the best image sizes for each social media platform. While this is not an all-inclusive list, I’m covering the big 7 sites. For any other niche specific social media sites you may be using, do a quick Google search to find the best images sizes.

How to size social media images in 2017

Having the right size image for each social media site will help make your content shine and get you the best chance of having people share it.

Facebook – Facebook will pull up any images on your page and let you choose with one to display on your Facebook post. You also have the option to upload an image directly to Facebook and then include a link in the description. In either case, 1200 x 630 pixels is the image size you want to shoot for.

If you are hoping your readers will post and share links to your blog post on their Facebook profiles and pages, include an image of that size in each of your blog posts.

Twitter – The best size for images on Twitter is 440 x 220 pixels with a maximum file size of 5 MB. Since you’ll be uploading these to your tweets as you tweet about your posts, I recommend making a separate twitter image (or even several if you’d like) and not including these in your posts.

Instagram – Instagram images are square so keep that in mind when you’re posting. The app will help resize and crop the images as needed. If you want to create them in your editing software and then upload it using 1080 x 1080-pixel images.

Pinterest – For Pinterest images a 2:3 ratio of width to height seems to work best. Depending on your niche, you may want to play around with even taller images as well. The minimum image size is 100 x 200 pixels right now, but most images will be shown in the feed with a width of 236 pixels and the height is scaled. Expanded images {when you click on them} are up to 735 pixels wide.

Include a large image in a vertical orientation on your post to make it easy for visitors (and yourself) to pin right from your site.

YouTube – You don’t really have to use an image on YouTube (aside from your profile and cover images of course, but I thought it may be helpful to include the recommended images size for a custom thumbnail. The main thing is that you maintain the 16:9 image ratio. For best results use 1280 x 720 pixels for the custom thumbnail size.

Tumbler – Tumbler is another very visual social media platform. High-resolution photos will help here and you can upload images up to 10 MB large. Images will appear at 570 x 750 pixels which is a great starting point for your image size.

Google+ – This isn’t the most popular social media platform for most of us, but it is well worth spending a little time sharing your content on because it is quickly picked up and ranked in the Google search results. The best image size for your content is 497 x 373 pixels. Since you’ll be uploading the image to Google+, I recommend creating a custom image and using your keyword as part of the image file name.

30-DAY CHALLENGE {dig deeper}

 

Social Media Images 2017

Images Provided by Make A Website Hub

Social Media Love Part 2 – Get Content Ideas

In yesterday’s post, we talked about how we can use social media to promote our blog posts. During the process we started establishing a presence on the social media platforms where our target audience hangs out. This step is crucial. You don’t want to use your own favorite social media sites, or the ones where you think your people should hang out. Instead, do your research and find the places where the people you’re trying to reach are already hanging out at.

Then start interacting on those pages and in those circles and groups. Not only will this help you to build a platform that you can then use to promote your own content, you’re also getting to know your target audience better. And best of all, you can get almost endless content ideas from your social media interactions.

How Social Media helps with Content Ideas

Some of the content ideas will come as you’re interacting and answering questions. Those are great opportunities for quick content ideas similar to the idea I shared a while back about taking email questions and turning them into blog posts. The same works here and you can either copy and paste the question and your answer, or even take a screenshot and then elaborate a bit in your post.

That technique alone is great, but don’t stop there. As I’m interacting on social media, I always keep either a notebook and pen close by or a document open to take notes. As I read through posts and discussions, a lot of ideas for future blog posts come up and I make a note of them. Start creating lists like this yourself and you’ll never run out of ideas for things to blog about.

If you want to take it a step further, start drafts for each of these blog post ideas and make a quick note of what you want to cover, or write up a rough outline for the post. Save it as a draft and it will be waiting for you in your blogging dashboard when you’re ready to flesh it out, pretty it up, and publish the post.

The more you interact with your target audience on social media, the better you get to know them and the better you can serve them with your blogging content. That in turn will result in larger email subscriber numbers, more visitors to your blog overall, and hopefully a larger income from your blog as well.

Don’t discount the information and research you can do on social media sites. It’s a treasure trove of information and content ideas.

We just skimmed the surface here, if you’re interested in really advancing your blog you should sign up for the email exclusive version of this 30-day challenge!

Sign up below!

5 steps to promote your blog on social media

Yesterday we talked about how important it is to promote your blog posts after you hit publish. Today we pick back up on the topic and dig a little deeper into how we can leverage social media to do just that. Tomorrow we’ll wrap it up with part two of social media love where I’ll show you how you can use social media to improve your blog and come up with endless post ideas. Stay tune for that and read the simple five step process of using social media to promote your own stuff.

5 Steps To Social Media Promotion

Step One – Identify Where Your Target Audience Hangs Out Already

The first thing you need to do is figure out where your target market hangs out on social media sites. Yes, most of us have a Facebook account, but it’s not the best social media platform for every single niche. Do your research and come up with a short list of platforms where you want to focus your efforts.

Step Two – Establish a Presence and Learn the Ropes

Then get active there and start making friends. Figure out the social media platform and pay attention to what other bloggers are doing that seems to be working. Things always change on social media so this will be an ongoing thing. Start learning and start making connections with your target market.

Step Three – Tailor Your Posts and Your Images to These Social Media Platforms

Figure out how to best present your content. What images should you use, should they have text on them and what sizes work best? Find that out and start tailoring your content to those specs. Try different approaches and see what works best for you, your blog, and your niche.

Step Four – Promote and Interact

With all the prep work done it’s time to start promoting your content. Aim for a mix of interaction, sharing other people’s content, and of course sharing your own. Mix it up and don’t just toot your own horn all the time for best results.

Step Five – Grow, Rinse, and Repeat

As you spend more time on each social media platform and interact with other users you reach will start to grow. Keep it up and spend a little time each week connecting with new people in your target market. Keep growing and of course rinse and repeat on an ongoing basis so your content is continually promoted.

Every few months re-evaluate what you’re doing and see what’s getting you the best results. Do more of that and try new tactics, techniques, and social media platforms as you come across them.

30-DAY CHALLENGE {dig deeper}

6 ways to promote your blog posts

Welcome to Day 16 of the 30-Day Blogging Challenge today we are going to talk about content promotion otherwise known as advertising for page views!

You spend a lot of time and effort crafting a few blog posts per week. You come up with the idea, decide when it’s best to have it on the editorial calendar, you do SEO keyword research, you take, buy or find the images and you create and format them to match your brand. In other words, you put a lot of time, thought, and effort into your blog posts. You hit publish and then you move on to working on the next blog post. If that’s you, {and I have to admit it’s me sometimes too, I know shame on me} a very important step is being skipped – promoting your blog and your blog posts.

Getting the word out about the awesome post you’ve just published is just as important as writing it in the first place. In fact, you should be spending just as much if not more time and effort in the promotion of your posts than you do actually writing them. Here are six different ways to promote your blog posts. The first two or three are essential and something you should do every single time you hit publish. The rest are things you should do regularly but not necessarily for every single post.

6 ways to promote your blog posts

Social Media

The first thing you should do as soon as you publish a new post is share it on your favorite social media sites. Each niche has different sites that work better than others and some posts are born for Pinterst but will fail miserably on Facebook and vise versa would receive no traction on Pinterest but go viral on Facebook. Figure out where your target market already hangs out and get active there!. Be it Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumbler, or any of the other social media sites. Then start sharing your content each time you publish a post. And don’t forget to go back and share older posts as well, like every week!!!

Email

I wasn’t kidding when I said a few days ago that list building was important. Here’s another great instance when having an email list comes in handy. Send out an email about the new blog post to your list. Include a link to it in your weekly newsletter. Add a little info about the topic, like I have been doing for the last 30-days… Did you know that my newsletter subscribers are receiving exclusive tips and blogging content? You can too, sign up here. In other words, share the post with your subscribers. Not only will you entice them to come back to your blog, there’s also a pretty good chance they will start to share it with their circle of influence.

Blog Comments

Find a few related blogs and make quality comments on them. In the URL field, link to your new blog post. It’s an easy way to get links and traffic back to your site. It may not be the most effective link building strategy, though I’ve actually got countless subscribers from simple blog comments… I think it’s cause I’m real, and I really don’t do well with faking it 😉 It’s easy and a great way to get in front of other bloggers and their audience, but be genuine not drop and run!

Guest Blog Posts

As you start to build relationships with other bloggers in your niche and related niches, offer to write guest blog posts for them. Pick one of your more popular or profitable blog posts and use it along with your main blog URL in the author resource box – or even better, work the link to your blog post naturally in the content of your guest post.

Videos and Life Streaming

With Google Hangouts, YouTube, Periscope, and Facebook Live it’s never been easier to get into video content. Record a short video about your blog post and share it along with a link to your post. Don’t forget to invite readers to read the post in your video.

Webinars and Podcasts

Last but not least consider going on webinars and podcasts to promote your blog and individual blog posts. They are a great way to broaden your reach and get in front of a brand new audience.
Of course, this isn’t an all-inclusive or even extensive list of things you can do to promote your posts. But it’s a start. Work on these and add other promotional methods in as you come across them.

We just skimmed the surface here, if you’re interested in really advancing your blog you should sign up for the email exclusive version of this 30-day challenge!

Sign up below!