Content marketers: Have you got 47 browser tabs open?

This is your intervention.

TL;DR (Too Long; Didn’t Read)

  • You come across a metric boatload of stuff online, all day, every day.
  • Stuff you want to share with friends, clients, prospects. To curate for your clients and their audiences.
  • When you find yet another Perfect Piece of content, what do you do?
    • Bookmark it?
    • Stop whatthehellever you were doing and copy and paste the link to an Excel spreadsheet?
    • GASP! You don’t leave it and open a new tab, do you? That’s what I used to do.
  • Here’s how I ended years of browser overwhelm, step-by-step, with screenshots.
  • A Heads-Up View for the Honors Students:
    • I save the link to Pocket with a tag based on client or topic.
    • I move on with my life.
    • In the meantime, a recipe in IFTTT saves the link to a Google Drive spreadsheet. When I’m ready to curate, I open my spreadsheet and, Lo!, an archive of amazing.

Pocket through IFTTT to Google Drive

Content marketer, you are a social media presence to be reckoned with.

You create, and cause to be created, assets in-house, like blog posts, videos, photos, screencasts, webinars, podcasts, social updates, long form, short form, free form, etc. etc. etc.
You find and share relevant and worthwhile pieces regularly with your audience and even from your audience. Complementary, not competitive content.
You dangle prepositions with wild abandon.
You wax poetic on the Oxford comma as all things of joy.
You ballyhoo those celebrated thought leaders embraced by your community. If you’re good, very good, you instrument the introduction of new thought leaders to be embraced in turn. (Thought leaders on your payroll. Ringers.)
You trade in the coins of your realm.
You are known as a trusted resource in your space. If you don’t know the answer, you know where to find it.
Snorkel in the Sea of Content

[Image source: Ed2456 from Fort Wayne, Indiana]

The interwebs are awash in friggin’ content.

What we used to call surfing the web, might be better called treading water. Maybe snorkeling?

Content marketers' mantra: It’s not information overload. It’s filter failure. Thank you, @cshirky. Click To Tweet

Fix your filters. Fix your life.

Wooooo. Sounds like a weekend seminar at the downtown Hyatt, don’t it?

You are not awash in content.
You are a swimmer in its sea.
Be a content dolphin.

(That’s just something I’m trying out…)

If you’re like me, you’re in front of a screen all the livelong day.

Checking your email, working in cloud-shared spreadsheets, updating websites, posting blogs, and that’s just your professional work. Which, if you’re like me, happens alongside of and in between your personal work.

We’re very good consumers. Curating it, well…

QUICK STORY: I gave up 20 minutes this morning looking at the UK’s equivalent of BuzzFeed. I got there following a link from Twitter after a search on a client’s keyword. But, all of a sudden, my mind was ravenous to know about the best and worst tattoos of British reality TV celebrities. I mean, c’mon. Inquiring minds, like yours and mine, demand such edification. Er, um, titillation. Sheesh, I don’t even watch American reality TV, much less British. Hell, I don’t even own a TV!

Le sigh.

You can’t help but find stuff: amazing stuff, inane stuff, an inordinate amount of cat stuff. And, if you’re good, the actual stuff you were looking for in the first effing place.

Here’s how you save all that stuff for later.

Easy to use and not a huge heartache to set up.

Pocket
If you don’t have it yet, go Get Pocket.
There’s one piece in the set-up process that is the fulcrum for this whole she-bang – it’s like TS Eliot’s still point upon and around which the rest of the gears all spin – and that’s the very important Save to Pocket browser button. If you don’t it, you can’t curate content with this handy-dandy method. (See, here’s mine, along with a boatload of other buttons. Half of which I regularly use, the other half I’ve forgotten entirely. I should tidy that…)
Pocket button in Chrome browser bar

(Bonus points if you can guess which is the GetPocket button.)

From the Pocket home page, it’s easy enough to create an account. They want your first name, last name, email, and a password. Or you can sign up with your Google account.

Look, they like frou-frou coffee, too. We’ll be the best of buddies!

Pocket new account page
Once you’ve signed up, you’ll get one of those pesky confirmation emails. Deal with that later. They let you keep onboarding without it. A simple, friendly, and intuitive 2-step process. Three, if you include that Very Important Browser Button, or VIBB.

Steps 1 and 2 — Click on the second dot for second step.

Pocket onboarding, first step

Step 3 — VERY Important Browser Button. Get you some.

Pocket Onboarding -- Save the Browser Bar Button

Ooops. I guess there are 4 steps. Save something already. Maybe this post?

Pocket Onboarding -- Save Something

Right on! You’ve got Pocket. Good job! Next up, Google Drive.

Bow to your Google overlords.
I’m not sure how to do this without a Google account.
In fact, I'm no longer sure how to do anything without a Google account. Click To Tweet
You’ll need to set up folder in Google Drive to receive all of these entries. And to do that, you’ll need a Google account. Face it, you’re probably already in their data array anyways. A thousand ways till Sunday.
I’m sure there are other online cloud document storage services for free. There’s probably one on the Dark Internet with Tor or something.
But if you know how do all that fancy interwebby stuff, I honestly don't know what you're doing here… Click To Tweet
Please, please just have a Google account — I ran out of patience with the screenshotting and the back-ending here in WordPress. (And, yes, if you have Google Mail, or GMail, then you’ve got Drive, too.)
Get yourself into your Google Drive. Make yourself a new folder called IFTTT and inside of that, make a new folder called Pocket. Thusly,
My Drive > IFTTT > Pocket
Seriously, if you don’t know how, drop me a line and we’ll get you sorted. It’s about 6-minutes of talking through the click sequence. Most of that is “How do you do” time.)

IF This, Then That (IFTTT)
The tagline over at IFTTT is Put the internet to work for you because, until they arrived on the scene, we were all just sitting here and looking purty.

No really, it’s pretty sweet and it’s coding lite. You can totally do this. Sign up here, if you haven’t already, IF This, Then That.

Follow your nose through the account creation process. Name, rank, serial number, all of that. Their onboarding process is so interactive, it’s almost animatronic, but here’s more screenshots, in case you’re into that sort of thing…

IFTTT Onboarding — Click the pretty THIS.

IFTTT Start Page

Keep following the bouncing ball…

IFTTT Start Page 2
IFTTT Start Page 3
After you’ve confirmed your account from the email they sent to you, you’ll get a few recommended recipes that you might like to try. When you’re ready, click on the “My Recipes” in the upper right menu bar and you’ll get the screen with a “Create Recipe” blue button. Click that.

The blue pill…

IFTTT Create a Recipe
From here on out, it’s just like the whizz bang tutorial they gave you when you first signed in. Weeeee.

So, click this to get started.

IFTTT Create Recipe by Clicking This

Your trigger channel is Pocket.

IFTTT Choose Trigger Channel
Why is Pocket your trigger channel? Because the action of “pocketing” some site with the such-and-thus tag triggers this cascade of events resulting in a new row in your curation spreadsheet.

Scroll through the available trigger channels and find Pocket. (They’re alphabetized, if that helps.)

Choose the Pocket icon.

IFTTT Choose Trigger Channel = Pocket

Go ahead. Click Activate. You know you wanna.

IFTTT Activate Pocket Channel

That will open a new window, like so.

IFTTT Activate Pocket Pop-Up Window
After you Activate Pocket, which lets them know that you’re you, both here and there, you’ll get to Step 2 of 7, which we know is really Step Nth of X, but whatever, who’s counting.
Because I curate for both my clients and myself, I use tags as a trigger and a filing system. Any time I Pocket a page with a tag, that page saves to su aproprio worksheet.

Trigger Warning — new item tagged.

IFTTT Choose a Trigger

Figure out how you’ll tag your finds, as you find them. Only one word, could be an acronym.

Let’s call it TopicA for this demo.

IFTTT Complete Trigger Fields

Keep on keeping on. Click THAT.

IFTTT Keep on creating THAT recipe

Choose your Action Channel. Scroll for Google Drive.

IFTTT Choose Action Channel
IFTTT Choose Action Channel = Google Drive

Choose the action “Add row to spreadsheet.”

IFTTT Choose Action = Add Row to Spreadsheet
This “Step 6 of 7” screen is all kindsa cluttered compared to that sleek styling you’ve gotten used to.

Don’t get scared. Stay with me here.

IFTTT Complete Action Fields
Even I have to fall back to my crib sheet, and I’m the one writing the post!

Let’s all copy that successful formula.

IFTTT Complete Action Fields -- cribsheet
I suggest that you name your spreadsheet the same as the tag or you could get fancy and name it “TopicA proposed curation” or “The Wellspring of Interweb Knowledge with regards to TopicA.” Whatever you like, dude.

As for the Formatted Row, I don’t need to save anything but the link, the title of the content at that link. I find it’s handy to have the date that I found that link, too. So, I delete all of the other signifiers, “Excerpt,” “Image,” and “Tags.” I also delete the “pipes” that go with them. Pipes are dividers, they’re the ones that live over the backwards slash on your keyboard. |||

Also, just so you know, and you don’t freak out, when you click in the Formatted Row box to edit it, the text in there will suddenly and inexplicably change to include brackets. God only knows why. Just be cool and pretend it didn’t throw you for a loop. Basically ignore them.

Leave the Drive/Folder Path as is. It’s cool like that.

Click Create Action.

Step 7 of 7 is a place to double-check your work. Read the pretty pictures like you would a sentence. If “new item tagged TopicA” in program Pocket, then “add row to spreadsheet in ……@gmail.com’s Google Drive.”
IFTTT Create and Activate -- Step 7 of 7
You can leave the recipe title as is or change it something more fitting, like “My Content Client’s Secret Sauce” or whatever.
And, folks, there you have it. Your very own content curation recipe.
Now it’s time to test it. You can use this page for practice.
In my experience, it takes about 15-20 minutes for the recipe to cook, let’s say, or for the trigger to propagate through the system, before you achieve your result. It’s like karma. Go take a nature break, refill your tea, do some cross brain stretches (crossing the vertical plane of your body) and then come back and check your Google spreadsheet.
And, lemme know how it goes, hey?
Like I asked at the outset — how do you do this? Do you have an easier way that doesn’t involve 47 open browser tabs? I’d love to know. Tell me in the comments, yah?