We all know that these days, content is king, but what exactly does that mean? It’s a question I’m often asked by clients looking to build their social media presence and those unsure of how to use content to drive traffic to their website and improve their online visibility.
Additionally, everyone wants to know how to sort through all the content that’s out there: how do you know which articles, videos, podcasts, and images to share and which ones to leave behind? How can you easily find this content without taking hours to scour the internet? And, if you’re tweeting for corporations like I am, you know that you must be especially selective about the content you share online, since it comes to represent the company’s brand.
Finding and developing great content is key to social media success. As a content developer and aggregator, I find that my iPad is a great tool for finding quality content. I’ve used dozens of content aggregating tools, and I’d like to share my top three with you here. The first two (Flipboard & Slate) are apps that can be downloaded from the app store (for the iPad) while the third (Thoora) is simply a website that can be accessed from any computer.
For each, I’ll provide a brief overview, tell you my favourite feature, and let you in on the tools’ biggest shortcoming.
Available exclusively on the iPad, Flipboard is an app that functions as a personalized magazine. It pulls content from all over the internet, including your Twitter and Facebook feeds. Users chose from a list of topics offered by Flipboard for you to peruse. Then you literally flip though the contents of your customized magazine.
Shortcomings: What if Flipboard isn’t offering a topic that I’m interested in? One of the biggest downfalls of this app is the fact that the subjects are limited. Also, sometimes the videos that Flipboard pulls in from the internet don’t play on the application directly. In this case, you either have to exit the app and go back in to try again, or find the desired video through a Google or YouTube search. This can be time consuming and frustrating.
Also, as of right now, Flipboard is not easily synced with multiple accounts, making it cumbersome to use if you’re sharing content for a number of people and companies. For example, I can sync my Twitter and Facbeook account in one go, but Flipboard doesn’t accept more than one Facebook profile, for example. As someone who manages more than four Twitter accounts, I find this annoying (ahem, Flipboard, if you’re listening: please fix this!)
Favourite Feature: “Lady Gaga” is one of the topics you can follow! The application pulls in information from the mother monster’s tweet stream so you’re always up-to-date with her latest videos! On a more professional note, the “Cult of Mac” header was designed for people like me, aggregating the best content from the web on Apple developments.
I’m a little less versed in Slate than Flipboard, but I’ve found this application user-friendly, though it’s a lot more like a news blog rather than a customized magazine. The application looks a lot like the Huffington Posts’ app. Like Flipboard, subjects on Slate are limited, but this time, they’re limited to traditional news categories: Slate offers headlines in politics, arts, life, business & tech, science, and blogs.
Shortcomings: Umm.. why are business and tech lumped together? Surely there’s enough content on the internet catered to each to merit their own columns. However, I read on their app that the Slate team is updating their platform this week: I’l keep you posted on developments.
Favorite Feature: Slate has a section called the “slatest,” offering the latest news from the internet.
And last but not least…
Thoora is a super smart content aggregation tool that helps you peruse tons of web content and select which pieces to share and which ones to leave behind.
What’s great about this tool is that you select your own topics using keywords that you choose and others can follow your topic if interested. For example, I created a topic called “Occupy Wall Street,” and Thoora helped me stay on top of the latest developments, helping me track this movement.
Favorite Feature: Customized topics are defanaetly an attractive feature, and—of course—I love this one: Thoora gets smarter as you work with it. Meaning that the more you use the tool, the more it comes to understand what type of content you’re looking for. Now that’s forward-thinking!
Shortcomings: Thoora doesn’t have an app yet! You can’t do much on the Thoora website from your iPhone or iPad, and as of right now, it’s only useful when at a computer. Also, like the other apps, Thoora doesn’t allow you to share content across a multitude of channels—only one Linkedin, Twitter and Facbeook account per login, people.