Content curation in 13 minutes a day

Ian Lurie

Steady, smart content curation can grow your audience on lots of social media outlets. It’s list building, social media-style: You help folks find and filter other people’s good stuff. In exchange, they start paying more attention to your good stuff.

Just the facts, folks: This is a step-by-step look at how I do my daily content curation. Nothing fancy:

The setup

I did all of these things once, to get my toolset in order:

  1. Get a account.
  2. Install the Timely bookmarklet in my favorite browser.
  3. Sign up for Hootsuite
  4. Set up Hootsuite to use your Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter accounts.
  5. Sign up for Pro. You can use the free version, but Pro has slightly better analytics and lets me use a custom URL shortener domain.
  6. Get set up with Google+
  7. Set up in both Hootsuite and Timely.
  8. Set up Google Reader.
  9. Add my favorite blogs, news feeds and Google Alerts (I have a free ebook on using Reader as a monitoring tool here).

All done. This took all of 45 minutes, by the way. One time. Divided over 2 years, that’s about 3.7 seconds per day. I spend more time burping.

10 minutes, every morning

  1. Review my Google Reader list.
  2. If a headline looks interesting, I read the story.
  3. If I think my audience will find it useful, I open the story in a separate browser window. The reason: You probably first read the post in Google Reader. You need to view the article on the publishing web site for the next step.
  4. Click the bookmarklet. You’ll see something like this:
  5. Shorten the Tweet as much as you can, and add a comment of your own. You need to add some analysis/opinion/entertainment value:
  6. Click ‘Add to Queue’.

Repeat this process until you’ve got 10 or so posts lined up for the day. Timely will spread them out through the entire day, sending them out at the best times. You can check your queue at any time on


Total time: 10 minutes, tops.

Side benefit: You stay informed and might even learn something new.

3 minutes every afternoon

Go to and review how your tweets have done. If one really stands out—getting a lot of clicks and/or retweets—send it to LinkedIn and Facebook via Hootsuite. And repost them to Google+.

Yo, Google: When will you have an API for Google+? I want my account in Hootsuite!

My thinking on this: Twitter is a place folks seem to expect a fairly steady stream of posts. In my testing, 10-15 tweets per day is very reasonable. On Facebook and LinkedIn, I usually see a steep decline in response after 2-3 posts. So I do most of my work on Twitter and push the stuff that gets a big response to my other accounts.

If you have more than one item suitable for Facebook/LinkedIn, schedule it using Hootsuite’s scheduling tool:


Google+ is tougher – you have to do it by hand right now. Again: Google, API? Soon? Ish?

Total time: 3 minutes.

Side benefit: You learn the ebb and flow of user attention during the day. Then you can say stuff to clients like “Well, my testing shows that we get the best response at 11:15 AM on Tuesdays.” It makes you look very authoritative.

13 minutes a day – that’s all

See? 13 minutes. You can find the time to do this. Spend 15 minutes less on Facebook. Take one less smoke break. The time’s there. Make use of it. It’ll pay off.

Other stuff

Ian Lurie

Ian Lurie is the founder of Portent. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (that's more than 25 years, if you're counting). Ian's recorded training for, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Smashing Magazine, and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, Seattle Interactive Conference and ad:Tech. He has published several books about business and marketing: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle, The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and Conversation Marketing. Ian is now an independent consultant and continues to work with the Portent team, training the agency group on all things digital. You can find him at

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  1. Ian, thank you, Thank you, Thank You! – this is the kind of step-by-step instructions someone like me needs (screenshots sure are a bonus too).
    Question: some time ago, an unnamed “internet marketing guru” was suggesting using as *the place* to import/setup (whatever the proper term should be) all your feeds from e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e (your blog, Twitter, you name it) to turn into one “master” feed which you then could turn around and put back into those other places (that’s the part I never quite wrapped my brain around, so sorry for the lack of clarity on that last part).
    So my (relatively fuzzy) question is, do you see the “creating a master feed” in FF as having value or even possibly being a “step” in the process?
    Thanks Ian – I still say you’re THE go-to person for quality SEO info, notwithstanding larger-companies-in-town! 😉

  2. @David It can’t hurt to have all your feeds in one place. But I don’t necessarily think it’s that critical. I have a FriendFeed account, and occasionally people find their way to Conversation Marketing from there. So something’s working.
    But I don’t see it as critical to the strategy.
    Thanks, and glad you like the blog!

  3. Why not use Hootsuite for everything? It has:
    – Bookmarklet
    – Scheduled posting
    – URL shortener with stats
    Although I love Google Reader, you could probably get creative and monitor your RSS feeds directly from Hootsuite too.

  4. I can not Thank you enough for this post. I knew how to set up Google Reader, I knew the whole thing but bringing it all together into a simple process like this I didn’t know. I was going about it not necessarily the wrong way just the long way. 🙁
    I did want to let you know in your wonderful “free ebook on using Reader as a monitoring tool” I tried the Twitter Rss feed but could not find the button “Feed for this Query”. After researching a little it seems that button appears for some and not for others. Just wanted to give you a heads up just in case someone ask you about it.
    Once again Thank you so much Ian.

  5. Thanks for writing this, Ian! I love discovering and sharing great content. Only recently did I know that there was a term for it, “content creation.”
    I already use Google Reader and HootSuite, I’ll have to check out Timely as well.
    If I’m not mistaken, Pro costs about $1,000 a month? I’ll have to postpone that until I start getting really high traffic to my sites.
    Great writing, as always!

  6. Hi Ian – great post; simple yet effective. Can you outline some of the performance analytics you look at when measuring the success of your content? How thorough is Timely for providing feedback?
    Many thanks.
    Renée Mellow, Thoora

  7. Awesome post! I’ve already started in on the set up. This might be an amateur question.. but how do you set up in Hootsuite (step 7)? I’m having a tough time figuring this one out (and I have to use the free version for now). Thanks again for a great resource!

  8. @Rachel if you’re not using HootSuite or pro, then the best solution is to generate the URL using manually, and then post it via HootSuite.

  9. Great tips Ian, thanks. I actually simply use Hootsuite to schedule my tweets out. Is there any added benefit of using

  10. I suppose the purist in me thinks it all seems a bit disingenuous to just automate tweets like that rather than doing it manually. However, I probably have to concede that there’s not much difference at the end of the day 😛

  11. @Gordon I’m a pretty extreme purist, too, but if I’m picking the tweets, and writing them, and just using scheduling so I don’t sandblast people with a barrage of tweets, I think it’s legit.

  12. Hey Ian, thank you for this. I always do my browsing in the morning but don’t want to bombard everyone with links all at once, so I end up just avoiding Twitter. The Timely boomarklet has solved this and I’ve been using Twitter consistently for the past few days.
    Do you have any advice on personal tweets (how often to send them out compared to links, what content to aim for, etc)?
    Maybe it’s just common sense, but with how much thought you’ve put into this, I figure you must have some ground rules for personal posts as well.

  13. Ian, you may just have the most practical internet marketing blog on the internet.
    Is anyone else having trouble connecting with timely? I get this message when I try to use as my url shortener from the timely settings screen: {“status_code”: 500, “data”: null, “status_txt”: “REDIRECT_URI_DOES_NOT_MATCH_APPLICATION”}

  14. I got your article from SEOmoz and it couldn’t have come at a better time. I was having a hard time figuring out how to send out tweets at certain time and was about to give up until I read this. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!

  15. Sorry if this has been asked, but is there is a way to use bitly in Hootsuite? (step #5 of “the setup”)? Or are you manually copying everything from bitly? I can’t seem to find this setting in Hootsuite. Thanks!

  16. Ian,
    Brilliant! I’ve been using timely for a year now. Awesome tool. I also like that I can use my personal twitter and business twitter accounts in timely. It makes it easy to push content through both easily. I love the idea of using the analytics to then republish articles to other social accounts.

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