3 Simple Steps to Automate Your Content Marketing Creating content marketing eats up your time. Here's how to use automation to get better, quicker results.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
As a business owner who has to perform multiple tasks in a day -- sometimes simultaneously -- you likely appreciate the benefits of working with systems. Having systems in your business takes away some of the strain and helps you focus your energy on things that really need it.
Related: Stay Ahead of the Competition With These 6 Content-Marketing Trends
The same goes for content marketing. But even if you enjoy this task, you're a busy person who probably doesn't want to have to spend any more time than necessary creating and sharing content.
1. Content curation
One of the best ways to build your brand's online presence and grow your audience is by finding useful content and sharing it. In fact, one content-sharing rule suggests that five of every 10 social media updates you make should be content from others that is relevant to your audience.
That means curating great content. By automating this process, you get the advantages of not having to go out and find the content yourself, plus saving yourself time and providing your audience with relevant information on a regular basis.
That's why a tool like Scoop.it is a must-have. With a Pinterest-esque interface, this tool is designed to give you a familiar user experience. To start, pick a topic and Scoop.it will generate relevant content complete with sharing buttons. You'll also be able to view complementary topics and other relevant users you can follow on the site.
Once you register, you'll receive daily updates of topics you follow, giving you a stream of relevant articles that you can share with your audience.
Scoop.it has a freemium option, so you can try it with limited features before committing to it. Alternatives to Scoop.it include: Feedly, Storify, Swayy and Sniply.
Related: 7 Mistakes That Will Doom Your Marketing Automation Implementation
2. Social sharing
Scheduling is one of the most important aspects of social media management. This allows you to share updates with your audience at the time that's best for them -- whether you yourself are online or not -- and save yourself time in the process.
Buffer does a great job in that respect. It was originally designed for Twitter but now you can also use Buffer for Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+. This integration with social channels gives you easy and automated sharing of social media posts -- including blog posts. To share, all you have to do is choose a time zone, then set the schedule.
The tool also allows you to add posts to a queue so you don't have to keep scheduling. However, it's advisable to not over-schedule: Scheduling too much and too far in advance could lead to untimely sharing. For instance, content that made sense a fortnight ago could be irrelevant by the time it goes out.
In terms of app-integration, Buffer has Android and iOS apps that you can download to use it from your smartphone. There are also Chrome, Opera, Firefox and Safari extensions available to use it on PCs too.
Buffer has a freemium plan with certain limits so you can start sharing and see how it suits you. Alternatives to Buffer include Hootsuite, SocialPilot and SocialOomph.
As you share your content across various channels, you'll find it hard to keep up with the audience's reaction. So you'll need a tool that notifies you whenever your brand is mentioned.
A tool that allows you to do this automatically is Mention. Mention allows you to see all the mentions your name or brand gets across social platforms, websites and blogs from a single dashboard. It also allows you to reply to messages and engage with the audience straight from the dashboard.
To keep you abreast of all the mentions of you or your brand, Mention will send you an email update whenever the mentions occur. This helps you to respond to audience comments on time, boosting your engagement. With this, you can quickly address any questions or concerns about your brand from the audience.
In addition to tracking your brand, you can use it to monitor your competition by setting up relevant keywords: owner's name, brand name, specific pieces of content, etc.
Mention also allows you to assign particular tasks to team members. Make sure that you don't have just one person responding to comments but the most relevant people in your team engaging with the audience.
In 2013, Mention teamed up with Buffer to make it easier to track your mentions and publish them across social media channels. Alternatives include: Mediatoolkit, SocialMention and Mentionlytics.
Related: The Best Technology Tools for Content Marketing
Systems and automation provide discipline and predictability to content marketing. If you use these tools for curating content, sharing content and managing your mentions, you'll be well on the way to mastering content marketing for your brand.