In a world seemingly dominated by live blog videos, YouTube content and a focus on no-filter Instagram posts, it can be easy to overlook the humble blog as one of the most useful tools for a business to engage with customers, prospects and clients. Blog automation can help provide content ideas and turn a single post into a multi-faceted campaign.
Blog posts are still a vital part of many business outreach efforts. They can provide quick takes on changing events (ideal during and beyond COVID), or help create a platform for discussion among clients, customers and others in your market. Whatever the need, many business operators have that feeling of dread when it comes to writing a post. However, there is a range of tools on hand to help create fresh content, generate ideas and broaden any discussion.
Any blog is likely a part of most company’s efforts to engage, yet apart from sharing posts, few businesses do much more. That wastes a lot of the value of a post and can discourage the business creators from spending more time on them. Yet, with a little social media curation and content creation automation, it can help any blog post become a vibrant part of an organisation’s expressive output.
Whatever the business need, COVID has shown the value of automation and tools that any business can use are growing in profile as companies look to rationalise and streamline as we get back to work. Companies are asking what can we automate, while creators are wondering how they can automate blog posting.
Blog automation tools to boost the value of posts
There is a range of popular tools available to help with various parts of the blog/media process, from scheduling posts in WordPress or whatever platform you use. The best way to think of blog posts is as part of the content workflow. And then start using workflow management tools like Zapier to smarten up your approach to posting.
Zapier is a service that connects to WordPress, Blogger and other content platforms, using triggers and actions to automate processes. Having a clear process for blog posting and an automated way to post and share them removes the boring stuff, saving valuable time and allowing creators to focus on fun and engaging posts.
The automation can help share fresh content across social media, from LinkedIn, Facebook, Discord and Twitter or others. And automation tools can also help with update software tools and security patches on services – anything that helps a business stay more secure.
Microsoft Power Automate (formerly Flow) is the Office company’s efforts to help businesses automate any process. They are investing with recent acquisitions to add robotic process automation tools to make it more comprehensive, and while a lot of the focus is on enterprise hyperautomation, there’s something for everyone in their fleet of codeless automation tools.
For bloggers and creators, Power Automate offers templates and a huge range of connectors to link data and business processes, from automated blog post notifications to approval processes if various roles need to edit a post before publishing, ideal if you have a Microsoft-heavy platform or stack.
When it comes to blog post interaction, many companies find no comments ever on their posts or they can be subject to spam and abuse. A more innovative and automated way of handling interactions is to integrate chatbots into posts to drive a discussion and gather data. Tools like the free SnatchBot, allow anyone to create simple (or complex) bot discussions that can help discover:
- The value readers got from a post
- What more they would like to see on the subject
- Submit details for more information
All in a more-direct and directed manner than the open space of a comment reply, and providing data the business can use to help choose the direction of future posts and content themes.
Claiming to the glue of the internet, Integromat, looks to have the power to help small businesses or sole operators create useful processes for their posts. For example. If you want to track posts, it can add a line to a spreadsheet whenever a post goes life, you can keep any metadata, links and metrics in that sheet without having to manually add all the info.
Another popular tool is Sendible, helping manage social media posts, which can link to your blog posts and help track interest and collaboration when it comes to publishing posts. Helping gathers your social conversations into a unified inbox and scheduling posts and turning them into themed collections are just some of its tricks, helping keep content evergreen and monitoring new keyword trends.
Tips and tricks for automation
Finally, you don’t need special tools for some automation tasks. RSS (really simple syndication) is a legacy feature of most blogging tools that still has great power. It can be used to create an automated campaign to send your content to subscribers or contacts. Being able to automate how you measure things and link the data together will help, and there are plenty of little individual tips and tricks from experts on most platforms to make things work, if you don’t want to invest in a full platform.
Whatever tools you use, the best way to measure success is through tracking key performance indicators, something that applies to chatbots, blog posts, marketing and other output. As marketers, content creators and companies mix more types of content, YouTube videos, Pinterest images and other social media, building a picture of the overall web of content can help decide what is valuable or needs work. Automation can help in many of these tasks.
Many aspects of business, technology and manufacturing are ripe for automation, or greater autonomy with AI-based decision making in the coming years. Content is no exception and any busy organisation should look at what can be simplified now to help improve how content is created and measured.
Chris Knight writes about where technology will take us next, from the power of neural networks, artificial intelligence and chatbots, to the endless worlds promised by augmented and virtual reality. From the latest in gadgets and hardware to how digital businesses can use technology to grow, Chris makes the future clear and understandable to all.