9 Tools to Help You Stay on Top of the Latest Happenings In Your Industry

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Content marketing has become a huge part of the marketing strategies for businesses. After realizing the tremendous ROI that it’s possible to drive by publishing original content across the media sites, many large brands have started building their audience and reaching out to influential people to help.

With content marketing strategies increasingly being deployed and more content being pushed out every day across the many media sites….

Do you know that most content won’t receive any major social media platform interaction?

One potential solution you can opt for is subscribing to email updates from major media sites and brand blogs in your niche. 61% of consumers like to receive weekly promotional emails and 28% want them even more frequently.

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But, even receiving lots of emails from broadcasts can create issues when it comes to content marketing…

In a 2015 survey by Adobe, 40% of Americans said that they go on, “self-imposed email detox programs.” This might mean that your potential customers don’t check their email for 5 days (on average) or more.

So, you have to ensure that you catch the most important updates in your industry and also get a sneak peek at the underperforming, yet high quality content floating on the internet.

Am I creating an artificial challenge to keep up with awesome content?

Let me share a couple of examples to explain the case for high quality content curation that people will want to share on their twitter accounts and many other social media sites.

In 2014, Brian Clark shared that his next content marketing project will be a content curation-based, recurring business model. He believed that in such a model, picking the best content for your potential customers is your way of providing value.

The next person I want to introduce you to is Ryan Holiday. He has built an email list of 55,000 loyal subscribers.

His value proposition?

Download this checklist of 9 tools to help you stay on top of the latest happenings and influencer programs in your industry.

Since 2009, Ryan has read 2,000 books and shares his best recommendations through email. An added value addition is that he responds to every email from his readers.

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Making sense of content on the internet is even harder than from good old books. You can find content gems, even in the deepest corners of the internet. Excavating them is a challenging task.

So, in this article, I want to introduce you to 9 tools that will help you stay abreast of the latest from your industry. Besides content discovery, there are tools to make your reading experience convenient and to start your content marketing on the right foot.

Here we go… 

1. Feedly

This is a free RSS based content aggregator that you can use to store all the latest happenings from around the world and categorize them, as per your requirements.

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You can perform a quick scan and come up with more catchy headlines and content ideas for your blog and social networks. As a bonus, get the pure pleasure of consuming insightful content from one place rather than trawling the search engines.

After Google shut down its reader, people expected RSS to die. But, the number of paid Feedly subscribers has grown by 800% in the last two years, showing the effectiveness of using the reader rather than the standard search engines.

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What’s great about the Pro Feedly account is its integration with various other online tools from the search engines. For example, you can create a Google News Feed within Feedly. Just follow the steps in this article.

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You can get started by adding feeds to your reading from any website, using the Chrome extension.

2. Subscribe to updates from industry sub-reddits

Reddit accounted for 2% of all content shared on the internet in Q4, 2014. They are a content marketing experts paradise for driving traffic back to their website.

But, with 36 million user accounts and billions of comments, you’re sure to discover top-notch content from your niche on the media platform. The subreddit search box is a great place to start your search for relevant sub-reddits.

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You can use the site search for finding other mentions (like posts) of your keyword(s) on the platform.

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You can also use metareddit to find relevant subreddits for a keyword. The directory shows you currently trending and growing subreddits. You can also search for a keyword and filter the results by last post and number of subscribers.

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You should especially check out the Ask subreddit – it’s a breeding ground for journalists to looking for new story ideas making it great for content marketing and seeking relevant posts for your other media sites.

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If your industry gets talked about a lot, then I’d recommend that you buy a professional tool, like Reddit Keyword Monitor Pro. You can set keywords and phrases, inside the tool, that you want to monitor on Reddit and quickly access and do an in-depth analysis on them.

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I would also recommend that you monitor any industry-specific forums and Q & A websites that get good engagement from potential customers and influential people. For the internet and content marketing niche, such communities include Inbound.org and Warrior Forum.

On Inbound, the Ask Me Anything (AMA) sessions are worth reading. You can get a hands-on with the world’s most prolific marketers and influential people and ask them about their strategies. Here’s one conducted by Rand Fishkin.

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3. Google Trends

The tool shows you real-time trending searches, including news and the like, that are picking up momentum on the search engines. You can even filter the stories by geography and category. If you cover high quality newsworthy content on your blog, then this can be a great value-addition.

And, even if you write exclusively evergreen content on your blog…

The tool can uncover those golden content ideas that will be in huge demand in the near future. They are denoted by “breakout” meaning the queries on the search engines that have risen by 5000% or more.

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You can also monitor your brand name and your competitors to see who is getting attention. In the example below, Bic pens has received a search spike. But, it was getting negative publicity for its poor product lines.

Always try to have positive association with your brand across the search engines and media sites.

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4. Ahrefs Content Explorer

This is a handy feature extension, by the SEO tool Ahrefs, to discover the content that’s trending on social media platforms.

You can search for any keyword (present in the title, content or everywhere) and find the most shared content, just by clicking the ‘Explore’ button.

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You can filter the results by shares on a particular social network, organic traffic and by the number of referring domains to the content.

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The tool’s homepage also shows you the most shared content on social media in the last 24 hours.

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The content ideas you’ll get from the results of the tool are proven to work.

So you can:

  • consume the top-performing content and learn what’s new and getting love in the industry,
  • tailor your content ideas and headlines around this top-performing content in your niche,
  • share this content with your followers on social media sites to trigger higher CTR and engagement.

5. Quora

This is a brilliant tool to get a sneak-peek into the minds of your audience. The Q&A website has now grown to become the 140th highest volume website in the world.

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You can find questions on the platform on most subjects.

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You can write high-quality and useful answers to the questions in demand in your niche. This is a great way to establish yourself as an authority or one of the influential people in your industry. For deciding on the questions that deserve your attention, look at the “Question Stats” in the right sidebar.

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You can also drive traffic back to your blog, by sharing links to the relevant posts in your answers.

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Brian Dean used Quora for finding a keyword (discovering the language of his audience) that he should target for his post. And, he ended up at the top spot for this query in Google.

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If you want tips for generating long-tail keywords from Quora, then read this article. I’ve also written about how you can drive thousands of visitors to your website from Q&A websites.

6. Flipboard

Want to organize your content marketing plan from various sources in a single place and get it in magazine reader-friendly format?

Then, you’ll love Flipboard.

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It will show you content (news, photos, videos) in a social magazine format. You can quickly scan through the headline/excerpts (fast page swiping) and focus on what you want to read. With its minimalist design, articles are convenient to read on smaller screens.

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You can also add your Twitter account, Facebook, Tumblr and Instagram accounts and get updates from your friends in your feed. And, if you want to comment or perform any other social media site interaction, then it goes right back to the social network.

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The mobile bookmarklet allows you to flip on the go. You can also easily save articles and videos from around the web by using the Chrome extension.

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If your audience hangs out on Flipboard, then you can add a “Flip” button in your sharing bar and let them add your content to their magazine collection.

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If you’re just getting started with Flipboard, then they share 10 useful tips here to develop your profile.

7. Brand24

Even with the best content marketing plan, you’re bound to fail, unless you socialize and connect with your audience. Social media listening ensures that your brand is associated with positive sentiments.

Brand24 delivers real-time conversations happening around your brand and your competitors on social media platforms. You can take action on sales opportunities and drives more business at the click of a button.

You can also export your data, analyze it and understand customer attitudes to fix any issues.

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For example, here is Brand24’s analysis of the Uber Ice Cream campaign launched last year. It increased Uber’s social media reach and resulted in 7% more weekly trips per user.

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8. Pocket

What do you do when you take that Uber to your office?

The first thing most people do is take out their smartphones and open an app.

If you’re into binge reading and want to make productive use of your transit time, then I recommend you to download Pocket.

It’s an eye-pleasing app that can save content for you from the internet to read or watch later. It declutters your content, so that you can read in a focused manner.

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Pocket can integrate with 1,500 apps and across devices. So, if you want to save an article for the long-term, then Pocket can send it to Evernote (with the help of the next tool we’ll talk about). It also allows you to mark the links that you’ve read to avoid confusion.

It can also save the links from the latest tweets that you favored from your twitter account. Flipboard magazine articles can also be sent to Pocket.

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The best part is that once content is inside the Pocket app, you can read it without an internet connection (on your phone, tablet or computer). Just make sure that you don’t close the app before the complete article is downloaded (wait for the overlay saying ‘Page Saved’).

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So, what kind of articles do Pocket users generally save to read later?

Nope, not news and shorter articles…

The average article length of a saved article was found to be 3,190 words (15-minute read). Long live long-form content!

9. IFTTT

Suppose you discovered insightful content to read.

But, you want to catch up on it later. Maybe you also want to send it your social media followers and get engagement on your profile.

You’ll probably think of performing the task of sending content to your Buffer queue and inside your reading list in Pocket manually.

How would it make you feel, if an app could do these tedious tasks for you?

Productive?

Then, meet IFTTT (If This, Then That).

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It’s compatible across 300 “channels,” to complement your reading and marketing efforts.

You can use the app to create recipes that trigger actions based on another action that you perform.

So, for example, you might want to casually browse the internet and discover new content your Twitter account, Feedly and a few blogs. Then, you might want to send the interesting content to Pocket so you can read it later. Finally, you might also want to preserve the highest-quality content on Evernote.

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Here’s an article detailing the steps to automatically do the same thing.

You can even send social media updates, directly from your Feedly account.

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I would recommend that you explore a few IFTTT recipes here and add the ones you find interesting to your account.

Conclusion

I believe the Pareto principle holds true, even while consuming content. 20% of the meaty content you read will add 80% of the value and make a difference in your content marketing efforts.

Don’t adopt all of the 9 tools from the list above and become a reading and curation machine constantly hashing out tweets from your Twitter account and other media sites. Instead, find the 2-3 tools that work the best for your niche and stay productive, while staying abreast with your industry.

Are there any other tools you use to find updates about your industry? Let me know in the comments.

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