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Weekly Roundups for Tweets & Links in Under an Hour a Week

Content marketing occurs in one of two ways: Creation & Curation. Creation is where you’re creating new content, curation is where you’re aggregating and/or organizing information that already exists. One of the most effective ways curate content in a way that builds relationships and links is to create a weekly roundup of all of the great content that’s been produced in your industry. The problem? It can take a lot of time. The solution? Read on.

We’ve designed a process that, once setup, takes less than an hour a week to quickly discover, prioritize, tweet and curate your industry’s best news into a single, weekly roundup post. The key here is putting the right tools and processes in place and letting those do the work for you, while you’re making your own marketing judgement calls at all of the right times and places.

(Some credit where credit is due: I originally discovered part of this idea here. We take it a couple steps further, leading into a content creation and link building process.

Here’s an overview of the setup process:

  • Aggregate industry RSS feeds into Google Reader.
  • Setup Twitterfeedto push your starred items to Twitter.
  • Setup your blog to allow for scheduled publishing.
  • Setup a tweet-scheduling service. (We use HootSuite)

Once you’re all setup, simply:

  • Go into Google Reader once or twice a day.
    • Perform a search on your folder for your industry’s top keyword(s).
    • Star the best posts.
    • Mark the rest as “read.”
  • Once a week, review your starred items.
    • Pull quality excerpts from each of the starred posts.
    • Gather author names and Twitter accounts.
    • Compile a quick blog post.
  • Schedule your post and tweets to publish the next morning.

Pretty neat, huh? Plus, it takes only an hour a week.

Let’s jump into the how-to.

1. Research and Collect Industry RSS Feeds

First, collect a bunch of RSS feeds for your industry and create an OMPL file to import into Google Reader. Don’t add them to Google Reader one at a time. That’s a lot of clicking and time wasted.

I also recommend doing what we do and setup a Trackur account to make sure you’re getting everything out there. (And, yes, if you’re curious, we do pay for our own Trackur account at Ontolo.)

Instead:

  • Go to the Ontolo Labs OPML Generator OPML Builder.
  • Select a name for this feed. (It will later become your folder name in Google Reader, so use something descriptive. We call ours “Industry Blogs.”)
  • Copy and paste your RSS feed URLs list.
  • Click “Generate OPML.”
  • Save the file to your computer.

(* Note: If enough people comment below about not knowing how to find top blogs in your industry, I’ll do a post about that, too.)

2. Import RSS Feeds into Google Reader

  • Go to your Google Reader Settings.
  • Click the “Import/Export” tab.
  • Click the “Choose File” button.
  • Find the OMPL file generated previously.
  • Click “Upload.”

3. Publish Starred Items to an RSS Feed

Here are the steps and screenshots:

  • Go to your Google Reader Settings.
  • Click on “Folders and Tags.”
  • Check “Your Starred Items.”
  • Click “Change Sharing,” and change to “Public.”
  • Click on “View Public Page.”
  • In the right-hand navigation on the new page, click “Atom Feed.”
  • On the Atom feed page, copy the URL.

4. Publish Your Starred Items to Twitter with Twitterfeed

Setup a Twitterfeed account or login to your existing account.

  • Setup a new feed.
  • Enter a name for your feed.
  • Paste the Atom feed URL from the previous steps.
  • Click “Continue to Step 2.
  • Authorize the services you wish to publish to. (Including Twitter and Facebook)

Now, any time you star an item in Google Reader, it will publish to the accounts you authorized above.

5. The Daily “Reviewing & Starring” Routine

At Ontolo, we’ve added 50+ RSS feeds to this particular Google Reader account. Our business, link building, could be considered a “niche” within SEO. Therefore, a lot of the blogs we have in our reader are about SEO, but we need to get quickly to the link building content. Here’s how we quickly filter out 90%+ of the SEO noise.

  • Login to Google Reader.
  • Put in a targeted search query into the search box. We’ve found phrases work particularly well at narrowing in on relevant content.
  • Click the “All items” select box.
  • Choose the folder name you chose in Step 1.
  • Click “Search.”

Next, review what’s there. As you find something that you think your readers would benefit from, simply star the item. Soon (usually within a half hour or hour), Twitterfeed will find it and publish it to your Twitter account.

6. The Weekly Roundup & Promotion Routine

All you have left to do here is to write and schedule your weekly roundup for publishing, then setup some tweets to go out promoting the roundup post. Since, based on formats, styles, publishing platforms and Twitter tools, here are some final tips for that process:

  • We segment our roundups into two parts: Must Reads and Notable Posts. This allows for us to do two things: 1, give readers the best stuff first and, 2, give an extra thanks to the exception content that week.
  • Link to the post, then also give credit to the author and, at least, a link to their twitter account. Also consider linking to their blog or home page.
  • We write these posts on Thursday nights, then schedule them to publish on Friday mornings.
  • This also lets us schedule tweets to go out the next morning without us needing to worry about it. Being on the West coast, I don’t have to wake up at 6:30 to publish to Twitter for the East coast. You can use any number of tools. We use HootSuite.
  • We schedule at least two tweets: 9:35am EST and 9:35am PST. Being a roundup post, it makes better for morning reading. Consider where your content fits into your audience’s day.
  • Contact the people you’ve linked to and let them know you appreciate their work that week. Chances are, they’ll appreciate it and may even tweet it out to their own followers as well.

Here’s an example of one of a roundup we’ve done.

That’s about it! Any questions you have, comment below and I’ll respond with any help I can offer.

About the Author
Ben Wills has been an SEO and link builder for over 10 years, directing the efforts of more than 1,000 clients. In 2008, he started Ontolo, a suite of web-based link building tools that helps you quickly find more relevant and valuable backlinks.

Editor’s Note: Ben has been a friend of Marketing Pilgrim before it was even Marketing Pilgrim.

  • http://www.marketingpilgrim.com Andy Beal

    Great advice Ben and similar to what we do here. Anything I find of interest in Google Reader gets shared, which then gets fed to Twitter and Facebook. It also gets posted to this page automatically: http://www.marketingpilgrim.com/link-blog

    We then used to use those links to find the best stories for things such as Pilgrim’s Picks and Linky Goodness (back in the day). ;-)

  • http://blog.hootsuite.com Andy from HootSuite

    Hi Ben,
    Thanks for sharing this article. We’re glad to see you using HootSuite!

    News Roundups are a great idea. We also use them to spread the news – http://blog.hootsuite.com/category/news-roundup/

    • http://seobacklinkspanda.com/ SEO Expert

      HootSuite rocks. I have been using it and “promoting” it to my friends as well. It makes my life so much easier and saves time. And of course the article was top notch, learned a lot, will be implementing this tactic as soon as I can. Thanks!

      David Sims

  • http://www.googlemarketingguru.com Menchie DC Marketing

    Hi Ben! Learned a lot from you today. Article bookmarked. And because you’re using it, I might as well check HootSuite now. :)

  • Daniel

    Try socialwatching.com instead trackur. They’re simply better, at least 20 times more results and also have the opportunity to export rss feeds and use soap services. A free interesting search of the social media is search.socialwatching.com