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5 Steps to Source Blog Material on Social Media

Every prolific blogger knows the struggle of writer’s block. Coming up with new blog ideas day after day after day is no easy task! Thanks to social media bloggers now have new outlets to peruse for blog topics, or at the very least, spark creativity.

Here are a few suggestions for mining social media channels for blog subjects and how to properly source the material once you find it:

Step 1: Find out where your readers are

The key to any successful blog is information. You should be regularly tracking your blog’s analytics data to find out where your traffic’s coming from and also where people tend to share your posts.

Knowing whether your most loyal audience uses Facebook, Twitter, or even their own blogs to share your posts is vital in sourcing new material.

Step 2: Become a fly on the wall

When it comes to social media you can either observe or engage; the choice is yours as a blogger. If your goal is truly just to find out what people are talking about, consider observing, so you won’t inadvertently influence the discussion.

Some social networks make this easier than others: Facebook is difficult to sift through unless you’re “friends”, whereas Twitter feeds and trends can be seen by anyone, on Twitter or not.

Step 3: Gather information

At this point, pick a method for observation. You can either follow certain people (such as industry influencers) or you can search specific terms or ideas to see how much interest is already percolating.

For example, if you’re a food blogger, head to Twitter and search different hashtags like #foodtrucks or #vegan. Conversely, you can use tracking software specially designed to find out what’s trending on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and even Pinterest so you can find out where the traffic is.

Think of it as analytics for the data of social.

Step 4: Craft a blog post

The important thing here is to pick a point of view. Sure, it’s great to know that people are talking about rescue animals on social media, but simply regurgitating news reports and popular photos isn’t going to get you shared.

Your job as a blogger is to have an opinion and offer something new it’s the difference between a “More People Adopting Rescues” article and a “7 Reasons Rescue Dogs are Better With Kids” article. Sharability is key.

Step 5: Make sure you source correctly

It is crucial to cite the information you find on social media just like you would anything else. Though laws are still fuzzy on digital intellectual property, it’s always better safe than sorry when using social.

If you find a photo, a graphic, or even a quotation you want to use in your blog post, be sure to link back to the original poster’s page or handle. Often times people will post things on social they find somewhere else, so do your best to trace the image or words to their original source for bonus points when it comes to thoroughness.

Using social media as a blogger isn’t just a good idea, it’s a must, particularly if you’re blogging regularly.

Social is where the online conversation is happening and you owe it to your blog to be part of the chatter!

Image Credit: imagerymajestic

Guest Post by Ryan Currie
Ryan Currie is a product manager at BizShark.com, with 5 years experience in online marketing and product development. In addition to web related businesses, he also enjoys the latest news and information on emerging technologies and open source projects. You can reach him at his email.
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Comments

  1. Wan Qing says:

    Social Media is a great resource to come up with something to write about. I usually pick up the pieces from what’s happening and blog my opinions about it.

    Great post by the way! Cheers!