Automation is a Hustler's BFF. No joke. Without it I would probably never get anything else done. Whether it's my social media posts for the week (month) or my blog and newsletters, automation has helped me find a routine that winds up shaving hours off my days. And today I am going to share with all of you wonderful readers the many joys in utilizing automation and how to make it work hard for you!
Automation for Blog Posts and Newsletters -
This section will be pretty short and probably super self-explanatory. Pretty much all blogging platforms and email providers have some type of scheduler that is built in to their system. This is one of the biggest helps that has ever come from the evolution of blogging! Way back in the dark ages there used to be no such thing. When I was starting out on AOL Hometowns, there was no way to set a post to go out anytime but when you wrote it. The same can be said for Myspace blogs and the early days of LiveJournal. Until platforms such as Blogger rolled around, automating your posts was not something humanly possible and if you wanted to be seen online and have your content shared, you had to live post.
True Story: I used the Blogger platform for almost a year before I discovered you could schedule posts. /facepalm
So knowing that you blog on a platform and that your platform likely offers scheduling, the battle here is half won. The same is true for your email based content. I use Mailchimp and scheduling my blasts is easy peasy.
Because I use Evernote as a my preferred drafting system, I usually have a few weeks worth of content ready to go at one time. Even if I am not taking the time to schedule out my content, I like to take one day a week to draft everything or make sure the coming week s drafted. It all depends on when inspiration hits. I'm usually pretty good about it unless life happens and I slack (notice last week???? Oops). The trick is to have a well of content ideas to draw on (more on that in a later post) and to spend some time flushing out ideas to turn into original content.
Now I use Mailchimp (as mentioned) for my newsletters and Squarespace for my main site and blogging needs. After I have a week or two of content I go through what is ready to go live, copy and paste the content, fix any typos and then go about adding my links and graphics to that particular post. Then I schedule it out and forget about it until it goes live when I can share it to The SIT's Girls and my social media automation.
Note: Squarespace has a handy built in social automation system as well. All you have to do is link your networks and add in how you want it shared in the "options section" and that part is done once for you!
Automation for Social Media -
I use two different social automation systems because I am cheap and I like to have different things in different places.
Buffer - This is where I automate a weeks worth of my own personal content. Not a thing from anyone else will get scheduled here. Why? Because it confuses me.
Buffer is handy in that I can schedule anything I want and it keeps track of everything in house. It will let me know when I have a top post or top tweet and I can "re-buffer" that post again and again. Oh, I do like to tweak it a bit before re-sharing because otherwise it's fully recycled content over and over. Not cool.
Using Buffer for automation also gives me insights and analytics I may n ot be able to find elsewhere. I like to keep my content separate for this reason as well so that I can see, at a glance, what is performing well and know that it is all 100% my original content I am seeing results for. Other peoples amazing work doesn't average in so I can easily evaluate and adjust as needed.
Hootesuite - For sharing others content.
I am a big believer in the 60/40 rule. That is; sharing 40% of my own original content and 60% of other peoples hard work (while giving them credit, of course). This does not factor in "live sharing" (as I call it) when I happen to be browsing Facebook or Twitter and retweet or reshare a post. This is purely what I schedule.
I gather all the content I want to share via Pinterest. Seriously, if Pinterest hadn't appeared on scene I may never have started finding amazing bloggers, business babes and Hustlers. Usually at night I go through my Pinterest feed, or maybe do a search on something that interests me that I feel will also interest my readers, and I "Like" that post. This saves the content to my liked Pins and I can then go back and go through them to decide what gets added to Hootesuite automation each week/month. Once I have scheduled it to go live, I remove the "like" and add the Pin to one of my boards for reference later.
As far as I can tell, Hootesuite doesn't allow re-sharing of your posts. This is one big reason I use it for others content. If I want to share that particular post again I am forced to go into Pinterest and find it.
While automation is a Hustlers best friend, keep in mind that you can't (and shouldn't) automate everything. I schedule my posts typically on Sunday night but I also like to check in live on each platform and see what others are up to. I often re-tweet and make sure to comment on posts on Facebook. Automation is a tool, like any other. But you still need live participation in groups and on posts to build your tribe/network/niche. Don't get so caught up in automation that you forget to actually live your life too.
What platforms are you using for automation? How has it streamlined your life?
Until next time,