Like any marketer, I believe in the value of listening: monitoring multiple sources for information about my industry and company to keep on top of trends, find relevant info to share, connect with others in my field and participate in conversations. While I've followed blogs, used Google Alerts, followed Twitter streams, and subscribed to a lot of emails for years, I'll admit that I was a bit of a disorganized mess. Not only do I get my info from different sources, but I use multiple devices: a MacBook Pro, an iPad and a Droid. So, even though I was listening, I was missing information and spending too much time in the process.
If you are looking to streamline your listening process, here are are some of the challenges I faced with solutions for each.
I needed a more robust RSS reader for my iPad.
I do most of my reading on my iPad, so I needed a reader from which I could do everything I need. I settled on Feeddler Pro ($4.99), which I really like because it meets many of my requirements:
- It syncs with Google reader and all of the folders I have set up
- I can easily add new feeds directly from Feeddler Pro
- It has a straightforward interface
- I can easily share posts directly to Twitter or email
I can easily send posts to Evernote (my new content repository, which I LOVE)
Now when I have a few minutes to spare, I am much more productive because I am sharing and saving the info that is most relevant to me.
I signed up for industry-related emails, but I hated all of the clutter in my inbox.
While I see value in getting industry news via email, I found that all of the emails would distract me from necessary work, or worse, clog up my inbox, resulting in me losing important emails admist all of the clutter. One solution was to simply delete these messages without reading them in an attempt to keep my inbox clean(ish), but then I was missing some good info!
To combat this issue, I first unsubscribed from all of the emails that I no longer found useful. Then, I set up filters on emails that I still wanted to still review (I use gmail-based accounts, so I followed these instructions). These filtered emails automatically bypass by inbox and are fed to a folder so I can see them when I have time, but they don't distract me from my other mail. It's amazing how much less email I see in my inbox, which is a huge time-saver. Out of all of the changes I made, this is one of my favorites as I can now more easily focus on the emails that need my attention while accessing the industry-related emails when I want to listen.
I wanted to limit my time on Twitter.
I use Hootsuite, but I don't love having it on in the background because it's another distraction. So, I started subscribing to NutshellMail, which delivers a digest of Twitter @and LinkedIn) info via email. You can customize what info you want to receive and choose the exact frequency of the emails. I have one email delivered around 11 so it's something I can review when I am eating lunch. Just knowing that this info will be delivered has helped me focus on Twitter in a more productive way.
I wanted to end the feeling of information overload.
No matter what process I use for listening, there is always going to be more info than I can possibly consume, so I allocate a certain amount of time to listening each day. I only read what I can, and I no longer worry about "keeping up." Having this change in attitude has really helped.
These small changes have resulted in great productivity gains for me. What other tips do you have to streamline the listening process for marketing?
About the author: Michele is the Content Development Director of the Content Marketing Institute where where she works with a fabulous group of contributors who know a lot about content marketing. She's also a B2B content marketing consultant who has a passion for helping companies use content to connect with their ideal buyers. You can follow her onTwitter @michelelinn or read more of her posts on Savvy B2B.