Passive Content Marketing by Design

Use your current workflow: enhance the quality of your content

Jessica Bottali
Dec 15, 2015 · 5 min read

Most of us use some form of social media more often than we eat. It only makes sense then to use this more casual, personal approach as another means to share content for our businesses. When it comes to marketing our brands’ content on these platforms, we want to represent ourselves authentically, and ideally have an impact on our users in some way.

One way to create impact is by the amount of content we share.

Tweet Tweet Tweet

If I am constantly tweeting or sharing on Facebook, my users are more likely to notice my posts. This in itself is a lot of work, but tools like Buffer can help automate your workflow and assist you in managing your social media accounts.

With Buffer, you can schedule content and queue several posts at once. This is a good start with the marketing impact we have on our users, but we will want to provide impact in the sense of value as well. We’re flooded with content. Valuable content will help you stand out.

The Importance of Quality Content

Maintaining quality content is important because your users are smart. If your content teaches them something, introduces them to ideas or products they would not have otherwise known about, or even just makes them laugh, you build trust.

FiftyThree does an incredible job with this. They show you great things you can do with their app, Paper, just by sharing work their users make:

An awesome drawing by Chris Dashevskaya

Trust helps you maintain relationships with your users. It keeps their attention, inspires them to talk about you, and eventually, grows your user base.

Yet, in practice, it’s a huge challenge to find or create enough content to keep sharing, let alone valuable content.

Our problem is really in two parts:

  1. Quality: How can I generate enough content to have a noticeable and consistent impact on my users? And how can I add value to my users’ experience with what I share?
  2. Efficiency: How can I accomplish this task well in the least number of steps? In other words, how can I give my followers good content without spending all day searching for it? Because, let’s be honest, there are a hundred other things I also need to do.

Reducing Steps with Buffer Feeds

Last year Buffer added their Feeds feature. In their blog, they discuss how you can add relevant content straight into Buffer using RSS feeds from websites you already use. This can include another social media account, communities you follow, articles, etc.

I love this because it helps reduce the number of steps you’d take to share content. Now, I don’t have to go looking for content and then buffer it as I go, but I can find it all in one place. Woo!

Passive vs. Active Content Marketing

Though I may be able to feed several sources of relevant content into one place, I still need to cull through that content to see if I want to share it.

This is what I consider to be active content marketing in that it still requires actions from me. Additionally, my target users may already be reading the same content I source those feeds from. I’ve reduced a little time, but haven’t noticeably increased the value of my content. Feeds can actually do better.

How can I see to it that the content in my Feeds is almost certainly useful to my users, so that I don’t need to curate it? Or! What if I’m not entirely sure what my users would like?

There’s good news! You’ve already curated it. We read content every day and tell people we like it — favorites, likes, stars, saves. We can automatically buffer this content using Feeds. There’s no need to spend extra time curating it. This is passive content marketing.

Let’s go back to some examples. As a designer, I follow and subscribe to several community email lists. In my current workflow, I use Instapaper to save articles from these news emails to read later. When I’m reading articles within that app I tend to ❤ the ones I like and discard the rest.

Queueing the RSS feed of Instapaper articles I’ve liked into Buffer’s Feeds means I already know the content is relevant. It’s my natural workflow, so I can just queue from my Feeds as needed.

It gets even better. You can combine feeds from multiple people on your team to curate quality content.

If marketing for a company like Invision, you could source the activity from your design team by tweeting the Dribbble shots they like. In sharing what your team finds interesting or compelling, you utilize the people that best relate to your users and embrace your users’ community in a personal way.

How To Source RSS Feeds

There are a couple ways to facilitate passive content marketing; with an existing, searchable RSS feed or by creating your own.

Use an existing RSS feed

Many services already have RSS feeds for likes, favorites, or other saved activity on their site. Here’s an example for how to retrieve Instapaper Likes:

  1. After signing in, go to your Likes folder.
  2. Right click or ctrl click, then click “View Page Source”
  3. Find the line below (yours will have different content after “/rss/”)
<link rel=”alternate” type=”application/rss+xml” title=”RSS” href=”/starred/rss/4793098/wG2z48OEknaWYH0tLwnoQXlOSs” />

4. Apply your unique link and insert into Buffer 
Add your RSS feed URL in Buffer

Create a custom RSS feed

There are several tools you can use to create your own RSS feed. Zapier is an easy solution and has a lot of “trigger” options to specifically create your feeds from. I made a couple below that source my Dribbble likes and favorited tweets into their own unique feeds. Zapier then creates the RSS feed link for you that you can copy to Buffer.

Custom Zaps

These Zaps also allow you to connect several accounts to the same RSS feed. Say my product and users were engineering based. I could personalize my content and share relevant influences by sourcing Github stars directly from my engineering team into one feed.

Source the activity of several accounts into one RSS feed.

Wrapping Up

I love finding other methods for using tools I already have. How can I look at something I think I know, and continue to see it in a new light? How can a different way of using a tool influence others too? I hope this has added even a little value to the way you will approach sharing great content, and how you can have your tools better serve you.

Finally, Buffer, if you read this, I’d love to chat! I love that working with your app has prompted me to learn more and share :)

Jessica Bottali

Written by

Designer, Photographer, Hiker, Post-it note taker. I prefer to look at myself in terms of action.

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