“I always have the articles with me. So anytime I have a moment and I’m inclined to want to read, I will pull up some of the articles I have saved.” – Dennis Shiao in today’s Tip 743
What’s your hobby?
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Scott Ingram: You’re listening to the Daily Sales Tips podcast and I’m your host, Scott Ingram. Today’s tip comes from my friend Dennis Shiao who after sharing this in his own newsletter I asked to share it in audio form here. Dennis is an independent marketing consultant who works with brands on content marketing, product marketing, and social media marketing. Dennis writes a regular marketing column for CMSWire and Content Marketing Institute. Here he is:
Dennis Shiao: I consume a lot of content, gobs of content. Some people will say their hobbies might be fishing, biking, sewing, knitting, bowling. My hobby is reading content. That’s both acquiring that content and reading it. I’m going to talk to you about my process for doing so. A lot of it is based on eliminating distractions. It’s a three-step process and really the last step of the three steps is the actual reading.
Now, let me, before I get into my process, let me describe how some people I know do their reading of content, and that is the car. Besides some time let’s call it 30 minutes, 60 minutes. They might even carve out some time when they’re supposed to be working and maybe they’ll go down a rat hole of getting distracted. But typically it is this at a website or checks social media gasp and get some links to content. And then you open up some tabs in your browser with articles and you actually read the content. Go to tab number 1. Oh, here’s an interesting article. Read the article A, B. You get a little bored and you’ll see, you’ll skip down. Scroll down to the bottom. You won’t read the whole thing, go to tab 2, tab 3, et cetera.
Here’s my process. I never, or very rarely do I read an actual article in my browser tab. Actually, I can’t think of the last time I did that. My process is as follows. Okay. So as I mentioned, the three steps.
Step number one is to acquire that content acquiring for me is based on the old-fashioned method of visiting websites directly. I have a small set of my favorite sites. My interests include marketing technology, business, and sports. So a handful of my favorite sites that I’ll visit just about daily. They include the New York Times, Content Marketing Institute, The Athletic, The Atlantic, and a few others. And what I’ll do is I’ll check the homepage or specific sections and look at the articles that are there. I will then open up a whole bunch of articles for which the title or the headline looks interesting, opening them up in all these tabs. So maybe I’ll have 20 tabs. I’ll skim each article and determine if it’s worthy. Worthy could be the length. I prefer longer articles over short snippets, as well as getting a sense for what the is about. So let’s say out of every 10 articles, I might only say three are worth reading.
My next step in my three-step process is what I call extracting. A lot of times when I try to read something in a browser, a lot of things get in the way, you’ve got the pop-up forms. You’ve got intrusive display ads. You’ve just got lots of stuff happening on the page. What I do is copy the particle page and paste it into a Chrome plugin called simple notepad. If you’re a Windows user, this is the equivalent of the notepad application. It basically takes everything and renders it as plain ASCII text. So this removes any graphics or display ads. I then do a little bit of a little cropping of the text to make sure I remove forms or the website header or footer. So all I’m left with is the article content. I take that and paste it into a Google doc. So at some point, I might have collected, let’s say I’ve collected 20 articles to read. I have 20 separate Google docs in a specific folder.
Then my final step in the three-step process is of course reading. And what I usually do is save pockets of time to read. One pocket of time might be during the pandemic. I’ve gone on one hour, timed walks in a park. So I’ll of course I’ll have my phone with me. And I will use my open up my phone to the google docs app. And I will read some of these articles in the google docs app. If with an hour of time, I can get through a decent amount. There are other times when you will undoubtedly be have some time available. It could be in line at the supermarket. It could be even, I might be watching a sports game, but I’ll have my phone. And maybe I’ll multitask if you will, between watching the game and reading some articles, basically because these articles are on my phone in an easily to access place, meaning on my Google docs app. I always have the articles with me. So anytime I have a moment and I’m inclined to want to read, I will pull up some of the articles I have saved.
Now I mentioned, I read, I consume so much. I’m almost never able to get through my full list. I always have something that I haven’t read yet, but I guess that’s why I get the process that I’m describing gets me to go through so much. And there you have it again. Let me just summarize my three-step process, acquiring meaning going out to sites. I should mention, I don’t just go to visit sites solely. I will try to find interesting articles via social media, via some certain tools like Nuzzle and Flipboard, and Feedly. That’s step one, acquire step two is like a multi-step process of vetting, figuring out which ones I want to read and then extracting meaning taking the content off of the article page and into a Google doc where it’s just stripped down to just the content. And then step three is reading and importantly reading via an app on my phone that’s always accessible. Hope you found this three-step plan useful.
Once you’ve gone and checked that out. Be sure to come back tomorrow for another great sales tip. Thanks for listening!