#AdvisorHack no. 1: How To Create Great Content – Free

I don’t have time to write

Sure, we’ve told you that you really ought to be writing (blogging, whatever), and we even gave you reasons, guides and other tips to get you started. But the truth is, writing takes time. Quite possibly more time than you’ve got to give.

Conceiving ideas? Verifying that those ideas are rational? Turning those ideas into a 500-1000 word blog post with links, photos and a pithy title!?

NOT. SO. EASY.

Creating great content effortlessly

Secret #1: Most of the benefits you get from writing original content – the exposure, the thought leadership, the lead generation – you can get WITHOUT WRITING ANYTHING AT ALL.

Ok that’s actually an overstatement. You can get those benefits without writing much of anything at all.

What’s the answer? Curation. Specifically, careful curation.

[Wikipedia] Digital Curation is the selection, preservation, maintenance, collection and archiving of digital assets.

Paper.li, Storify and other “online newspapers” are easy ways to curate – the kind where you flag all the best links and resources from the web, and put them in one place under your name. Another way to curate would be to gather all of the best links and strategically share them across your social networks – pictures and videos to Facebook, resources and guides to LinkedIn and the rest to Twitter. These are both solid methods of curation.

Secret #2: The key to getting the most out of your curation efforts, no matter which method you choose, is to select only the best content – that’s what distinguishes a careful curator from a run of the mill curator.

Here are a few tips to get the best, most interesting, most relevant content available:

  • Kill it on Twitter
  • Rock Google Alerts
  • Go crazy with RSS
  • Crush it with Read it Later

Not too hard, right!? Right. It really isn’t. Set up a few programs and spend an hour or so a day checking and updating and you’re good.

(dark) Secret #3: Dishing out other people’s content looks cheap when it’s the only thing you’re doing. Even if you’re getting the best content, eventually, people with think you are a thoughtless robot.

The ultimate content hacks

Secret (#4): Curate and ADD YOUR OPINION. Take all that great content you’re finding, give it a real home (like a website or blog) and re-post it with your own footnotes, prefaces and conclusions. Answer questions the post might raise. Offer alternatives. Disagree with the article and back yourself up.

While you may not have time to craft original ideas into full-fledged posts, as a thoughtful advisor you should have gut reactions to the things you read. Why not post them along with the article and take credit for your opinions?

Secret (#5): Leverage your email. You answer client questions and get into email discussions all the time. Some of that is your best writing. Post it! Yes, change the names and anything identifying a client and post it. Here’s an example our CEO posted in response to an email question: Letter to a Young Entrepreneur. It’s been viewed over 20,000 times and is still cited all the time. It was about 10 minutes of effort beyond the email.

Secret (#6): Leverage another persons inbox. No we’re not suggesting that kind of hacking. Send an email to someone you respect on a topic and ask them a few questions. Perhaps you get into a dialogue. Clean that up, ask permission of the other person and post it! Not only is this super easy to do but the other person will usually help promote it too!

Secret’s out! Stay tuned for more:

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DJ DJ is a freelance writer, hopeful photographer, and social media has-been. He writes to financial advisors about lifehacks, science, technology, business and marketing for Blueleaf, a software that helps create dramatically simpler, more scalable financial advisory businesses. You can find DJ across the web (about.me/djswitz) or you can just follow him on Twitter (@djswitz)!
  • Great post DJ! Have you checked out Instapaper for a read later app? It works great, especially for sharing your favorite reads with your team members and close friends. The Flipboard iPad and iPhone app is one of my favorite ways to interact with ‘killing it on Twitter, rocking Google alerts, and going crazy with RSS.” ^tim

    • Yup! I’m a loyal Instapaper user. Just started using the folders for sharing with the team – great stuff. And I’ve used flipboard, never got hooked on it, though it does make for nice bathroom reading!

      • TMI – j/k, that’s a perfect description of Flipboard. I use Flipboard as a way to screen what I want to Instapaper, since it has the “Read Later” option on everything. It definitely makes facebook a lot more interesting. ^tim

        • As for the sharing with Instapaper question, that depends on what you mean by share. I usually just give friends and colleagues my credentials and let them poke around. I think they made some updates in Instapaper 3.0 to make sharing (like, with a link) easier, but I only glanced over the updates.

          Regarding Flipboard – I’m not sure there’s much of anything that interests me on Facebook anymore…

      • Are you able to share everything in a folder with specific people, or do you have to “like” them all for sharing purposes?

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