Sharing our thoughts and best practices.


Monthly Archives: August 2016

Time-saving tools help find, curate content for social media

Now your boss wants you to tweet three times a day, every day.

Something about building the newsroom’s brand and encouraging engagement with your audience.

Who has time for that these days? You’re already juggling three beats, taking your own photos and trying to learn the basics of smartphone video. Maybe, if there’s time, you can actually interview sources and put together a story.

Feeding the social media monster has replaced the newspaper challenge of yesteryear: filling the voluminous newshole. (To have “problems” like that again…)

Thankfully, several free and low-cost tools can help journalists find useful content to share on their social media channels. Investing a little time up front to set up a few search and curation services pays off every day — saving precious time to focus on reporting, writing and producing stories.

This chart summarizes tools that can help you find content, schedule posts and even automate some tasks. Descriptions follow of several key tools.


Tools and services can help feed the social media beast. Dollar signs represent services that have a free component as well as premium, paid features.

At the Kiplinger Program, we’ve been experimenting for several months with tools to help us provide a steady stream of useful social media posts on our Twitter and Facebook pages.


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Turbocharge your social media skills with Kiplinger at Excellence in Journalism 2016


Journalists will learn how to reboot and expand their social media skills during a special Kiplinger Program hands-on workshop Sept. 17 in New Orleans.

The half-day session is one of several deep-dive workshops offered at the national Excellence in Journalism conference in New Orleans. Register online for the convention, which runs Sept. 17-20. The conference is a joint program of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) and the Native American Journalists Association (NAJA).

The Kiplinger workshop will feature hands-on training on three tools: If This Then That (IFTTT), Google Forms and Twitter analytics.

With IFTTT, you can track hashtags or key phrases on social channels and download results automatically, with no programming skills required. IFTTT also can help you monitor tweets from a specific place (e.g. the statehouse) and download them automatically to a spreadsheet.

Google Forms puts the power of crowdsourcing to work for free. No more copying and pasting from dozens or hundreds of emailed responses from readers and viewers. Design and build an easy form to gather information. Embed the form on your website or blog. All results feed into an underlying spreadsheet for easy use.

The third tool, Twitter analytics, lets you track the effectiveness of your tweets with real-time metrics. Learn how to activate analytics on your own Twitter account and make sense of the results. You also will explore several free third-party apps to assess your own Twitter account, look for experts and trends, and analyze anyone’s public Twitter feed.


Trainers for the workshop are Kiplinger Director Doug Haddix and deputy director Kevin Z. Smith.


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