Optimization, Automation, and Outsourcing

I Published a Book in Less Than Four Months. You Can Too!

So you want to write a book? Super cool. If you closely follow my Optimize, Automate, and Outsource Methodology, I’m pretty sure you’ll have a completed, something you’ll be proud of, project in just a few months.

What follows is how GetMagic, (our VA service) and I published “The Replaceable Founder” (which went to #1 on Amazon on Day One, if that matters to you).

First, what is your raw material? Is it a course? A series of speeches you presented? An anthology of blog posts that all point to the same general theme? What about a collection of podcasts you hosted?

Well, all of these can become the scaffolding for a good book. We are not talking about “To Kill A Mockingbird” or “Outliers”, but if you are interested in using your content for marketing purposes, you can take that raw material and craft it into a book that is eminently readable.

Our inspiration came from our “Genius Model”; the scaffolding for our business’s mission.

In order to become replaceable as a business owner; to find focus, flexibility, and freedom there are three major mindsets that need alteration. We look at Communicating Effectively, Perfect Processes and Managing Projects. All three activities have succinct processes attached to them that enable founders to achieve the sweet spot in the center of our work.

So, we used “The Optimized Operator Online course (now known as The Replaceable Founder) as our beginning. I recorded and presented all nine sessions of the curriculum, so it was easy to upload each of those lessons onto temi.com (the AI-powered transcription service). Once we had the transcripts, eleven separate lessons, we had the general outline for the book.

We discussed the arc of the book and the need to follow the industry standard for non-fiction business books. Introduction, case studies, a thorough explanation of each of the steps explained in the introduction, and a conclusion. A foreward written by a leader in your field is not necessary, but adds an enormous amount of value and marketing possibilities, so it’s good to include if you can.

Finding a competent writer and editor to assist you, is tricky, but not impossible. It’s no good, saying, “Just make it sound like me.” One cannot expect a writer to understand the nuances of how you speak, what your intention is and what impression you want to leave with the reader with vague instruction. Are you funny? Do you use research to support your ideas? Do you speak anecdotally? Are you looking to inspire? Inform? Entertain?

Additionally, do not ask to see a prospective writer’s portfolio. It has little value. You have no idea how long it took the writer to do the work presented, heck you don’t even know if he or she wrote it. So send them a very rough draft of about 500 words with general instructions that answer the questions above and see what the writer comes up with. Be upfront about the project, pay the writer for her time during this process, (No good writer writes for free), and once you find someone you can work with, set a hard deadline for completion and establish how often you want to see chapters, Holding a writer to firm deadlines is imperative. Accountability is everything.

(If you are in the Less Doing Leaders program you have access to our VoicePrint process which will assist you in outsourcing your writing quite easily.)

Next came the hard part. Online courses do not easily translate into the written word, because there are times where the narrator, (me, in this case) says things like, “Now refer to the slide and write down your observations in your workbook.” Well, that doesn’t really mean anything to a reader who has no context. So it’s incredibly valuable that temi.com timestamps its transcriptions, so the writer can refer back to the original audio or video for an explanation.

As you near the deadline, it’s time to begin organizing the book production. Establish a launch date and work back from that to help stay on track. For example, if you want the book to launch on October 1, 2019, give yourself at least a month to work on the production, meaning the manuscript should be in hand by August 31st.

What follows are the tasks my writing partner Amy, assigned to Magic throughout the process. Our VA service proved invaluable in the project, kept everything flowing, and handled hiccups easily. They were invested in the book and their commitment to getting it right was admirable. It was also energizing for them to work on a multi-faceted creative project where they could make independent decisions and judgment calls.

Now that the manuscript was formatted and complete we uploaded it to CreateSpace (Amazon’s self-publishing platform). It underwent a review process and was then made available for sale.

The marketing aspect is obviously crucial, as you are using the book as a tool.

  • Are you looking to increase your email list? Use the first two chapters as an opt-in on your website.
  • Do you want to increase your social media presence? Create a quick video on either lumen5 or Animoto to announce the book’s publication, as video gets way more engagement than text. Use a CTA like “The Kindle version of my new book is available for the next 24 hours for only 99 cents.
  • Use the publication of the book as a hook for getting on Podcasts.
  • Do Facebook Lives with influencers in your industry space.
  • Buy your own book in bulk at the author’s price on Amazon and use it as a gift at live events you may host.
  • Ask your community to leave five-star reviews on Amazon and then use them for social media postings.

The entire project took about four months.

Hack Your Friendships…

…networking is so 2018.

I have a strategy for keeping my relationships strong with the people I don’t see very often. I guess you could call it networking, but I hate that phrase. I use Trello, but it doesn’t really matter what tool you use for the following friendship hack.

I have about 12–16 key people in my life that I just want to keep in regular contact with; not with any particular purpose. Most of them have given me business or speaking opportunities, but it’s really just that they’re interesting people. I always learn something when I speak to them.

It’s really, really simple in Trello because I just set a due date of, say, 60 days from now on each contact’s card. When we speak, I’ll put notes in there on Trello about what we talked about. It’s also really easy to do follow-ups. I can tag someone on my team and say, “Hey, I talked to this person, please send them a copy of my book.” Then, I have a record of that entire exchange.

As you know, I’m very, very much about the external brain. It’s really easy to get lazy and just keep all of your contacts and conversations in your head. But I think that it’s very helpful and way more effective if you get it out of your head, so you not only know what you and the person talked about, but what action you took afterward.https://upscri.be/6892b4?as_embed=true

With more and more people using calendly or scheduling software in general, I realized that there are a lot of people who feel like that’s not a personal enough touch. But I think calendly is a wonderful gift you can give people. You tell them, “You can book at any time that’s convenient for you.” Of course, when they get in there, they’re going to see the parameters that make sense to you so you’re actually controlling it. I think that this old-school notion that you have to have a secretary like Miss Moneypenny who’s personally going back and forth to set a time with someone is super antiquated.

These days, my contacts send me a calendly link and I started saving them on their cards in Trello. So when the due date comes up, I go to the Trello card. I see what the last conversation was, I pull up the calendly link and I book it, which saves a ton of back and forth. So I have a calendar full of really interesting calls and conversations with people whose counsel I trust and whose company I want to keep invigorated.

I used to talk about how the average meeting takes eight emails to set up and now calendly made it possible to do in one step. Now I can make it zero steps really as I’ve taken control of my regularly scheduled contact with these people. Everybody benefits. So there’s my little relationship management hack that you can all use and set up in about 10 minutes. And I hope you do. Make it an effective week.

Want to Build a Hands-Free Podcast Production Process?

Here’s how…

The process is fairly complex, but not complicated. There are different moving parts, for sure, but my sole involvement is the recording of the content and that’s it! So I make it, then I don’t touch it again.

If you can get out of the way of the process, you will find that your ability to produce quality content increases 10 fold.

It starts with the person booking an interview slot on calendly. I capture their email, mailing address, phone, and social media handles on that form. I have a dedicated podcast “event” there and it kicks off a bunch of different actions. There’s a zap in place that triggers after the booking is logged in Calendly. It’s on an hour delay at which time it sends a voicemail from me using Slybroadcast. It says, “I’m so excited to have you on the podcast. If you haven’t heard my podcast before, here’s a clip so you can see how casual it is and get a feel for it.

The day before the podcast, they get a text message through Toky that reminds them of the interview. After the interview, Magic, our VA service, gets an email saying, “I just interviewed this person, please send them a copy of both books as a gift, take note of their email address and social media handles. Once the episode comes out, we then reach out to the person, thank them for appearing on the podcast and also give a link to subscribe.

We do our interview over Zencastr. Once it’s complete, I save the file to a Dropbox folder, which automatically goes to Libsyn or Simplecast, our product production service. They do the audio editing, put in the intro and outro, do the show notes.

They also pull out a 15-second clip and a one minute clip that is representative of the episode. Magic then sees it and creates the waave files that post on Instagram. They make the image, post it on Instagram, both as a standard post on my personal page and as a story when it goes live. Magic then emails the guest, thank him for being on the show and gives him a link to the published show.

I have repurpose.io set up to take the file from Libsyn and create a Youtube video of it and post it there.

If you want to take it a step further, it’s possible to post a transcription of the entire episode on SlideShare. Repurpose.io sends the audio to temi.com who does the transcription. It then goes to Dropbox, where Zapier sees it and sends it on to Magic who posts to SlideShare because you can’t post automatically …. Yet.

Slideshare is owned by Linkedin. It’s been around a long time and has been a place for people to post mostly slides; duh, like powerpoint presentations. But a lot of people use it to post content that is not video or audio: documents, infographics, beautiful.ai presentations. I don’t know why, but SlideShare seems to get the best SEO juice, so it’s an interesting add-on to the process.

You don’t need a CRM

As a productivity expert, the question I get most often is…

What is the best CRM?

To which I always respond…

Why do you need a CRM?

I’ve never been a fan of the all-in-one CRM tools that have tons of features you’ll pay for but never use and fulfill 80% of your needs and still don’t move the needle for your business. Most people say they need a CRM because all of their competitors have one, because their sales team is overwhelmed, or because they heard a sales pitch about a tool that was going to 10x their business (who doesn’t want their business to be multiplied by 10?)

So, why do you need a CRM? You want to increase sales, make customers happier, and make things easier for your team, right? I want to show you how you can build your own super-powered CRM that will serve your needs and no one else’s, will cost next to nothing, and work the way you work.

I’ve built a system that works so well that people often question whether or not they are talking to a human being. Yes, you read that correctly. it’s not that the bot is so good they think it’s human, it’s that the human is so good they think it’s a machine.

When I personally communicate with someone over email or SMS, they will often say “Is this really Ari, or is it a bot or a virtual assistant?” I see this as a massive compliment because we are able to communicate with people as if we have supercomputers in an earpiece, coaching us on exactly what to say next in a way that a mere human never could. When I tell them it’s really me and give proof (such as telling them the time and weather where I am and what I’m doing) the conversation is taken to an entirely new level and more often than not, leads to long-term relationship (what some might refer to as a “close” but the transaction is less important to me than the experience)

The components of a CRM

This incredible clip art from a Wikipedia article on Customer Relationship Management software lays it out pretty clearly. We’re taking the sum of all interactions we have with leads (customers who don’t know they will be your customer yet) and customers (customers who know that they are customers). Don’t take my parenthetical sarcasm to mean I’m not serious. It’s important to consider the emotional state of the individual in your CRM ecosphere as you communicate with someone. If someone is a lead you need to create context and relevance around the conversations you have with them in order to move them closer and closer to the point of trusting you enough to transfer your feelings to them.

As Zig Ziglar said, sales is just a transfer of feelings. You are excited about your product and service and you want them to feel that too so they become a customer. Someone who has become a customer has completely different expectations around the interaction they want to have with you.

For a lead/customer, the CRM needs to make them feel understood. My friend Joe Polish often says “People don’t buy from you because they understand you, they buy from you because they feel understood.” For a customer, a CRM should make them feel like they are your only customer.

For your team, a CRM should be Anne Hathaway in The Devil Wears Prada, whispering in her bosses ear as each person at the cocktail party approaches her “That’s the daughter of the Prime Minister of France, Coco, that last time you saw her was at the Vogue Christmas Party two years ago, she had just gotten back from a vacation in St. Barths and was writing a novel” at which point the boss gives Coco and air kiss and asks how her book turned out. This creates instant connection and context for further conversation.

So let’s break down the complements of the perfect CRM into each piece you need, but first…

We interrupt this broadcast for an important message about all-in-one software tools

I’ve written before about the Rube Goldberg setup I prefer to have in my business and the businesses of those I coach because it enables me to see the components when they work, and more importantly when they don’t. I’m able to swap out the email marketing component of my setup because I’ve found a cheaper, better alternative without the massive headache of completely switching systems, dealing with my data being held hostage by a proprietary system, or fighting with the mental fallacy of the gamblers dilemma, thinking that the expensive system will work if I just keep paying for it.

At the end of the day, I know I can build a better mousetrap, and so can you.

Thank you for observing this important announcement


So the three main phases of the CRM cycle are communications, data processing/analysis, and enriching the knowledge of team members.


How do you communicate, in general? Email, email marketing (newsletters, etc…), SMS, live chat, direct mail, online and offline ads, and phone calls should cover it for most of you. We should see our outbound communication as a means to get someone to raise their hand. That’s all I want, just raise your hand so I can see you in the crowd. Every time I give a talk somewhere, I like to ask questions and get people to raise their hands. The question means nothing, nor does that answer, what matters is that they raise their hands. You’ll never get the whole room to raise their hand, it doesn’t happen. You could have Tony Robbins in a room and he could ask “How many of you are humans?” And you’ll still only get a portion of the room raising their hands. The point of getting people to raise their hands is to elevate certain people in the crowd from a “No Star” prospect to a “One Star Prospect.” Dean Jackson teaches that a “Five Star Prospect” is someone who is:

  • Willing to Engage
  • Friendly and Cooperative
  • Knows What They Want
  • Knows When They Want It
  • Knows They Want It From You

So if we can get people to raise their hand we have immediately begun to segment people and once we do that, the conversation can evolve. All of our communications to “No Star Prospects” should contain a question. If you visit our website, the live chat will popup and ask “Are you interested in becoming more replaceable?” I’ve only seen someone actually say no once (and if you are reading this article, I have to meet you so you can be studied and cloned). Usually someone answers yes and now they are at level one. If I write back and they say someone that shows a genuine struggle with overwhelm and an openness to share information, now they are a “Two Star Prospect” and the conversation evolves further. I never consider any of these conversations a “sales conversation” until we’ve gotten to four stars because up until that point, it’s just a conversation, an education, hopefully for both parties.

In every communication channel, I simply want to learn more about the person so that if we do get to the point if discussing working together, I can deliver information in way that is efficient and relevant.

You can use any email provider you want for the outgoing stuff, Mailchimp, ConvertKit, MailJet, etc….I don’t care, because all those do is get people to raise their hands. Once they do, it definitely helps to have a tool that can not only consolidate communications but also spread the load across your team so no one, including the boss, can become a bottleneck in the sales process. My favorite tool for this is Intercom.io which can combine multiple business email address (think support@company.com or help@company or raiseyourhand@company.com), live chat on your website, Facebook messenger for your business page, Twitter DM, and even text messages and phone calls (this requires an add on called Toky).

Intercom immediately starts to build a profile on the person based on their location, their email address or phone number (if they input it), and can pull relevant history on them including past conversations with team members, the last page on your website that they visited, their last charge through Stripe if they are already a customer, even the last time they booked a call with you through Calendly, or attended a webinar through Crowdcast for example. This shows up on the right hand side of the screen as your communicating with them. This information is shared with any team member that engages that person and can even inform automated bots if you really need to ramp up communications quickly. In addition Intercom can automate messages based on someone meeting one or several criteria. So if someone visits your site from Germany and they haven’t been to your site in two months, you could have a pop up informing them that you now have team members who speak German. If someone is a customer and they have been with you for 6 months you can automatically text them to thank them for the loyalty. Both scenarios merely open the door to another possible conversation, further evolving the relationship. Every interaction, in every channel, is captured and “paper clipped” to the persons dossier to provide that context later on.

Data Processing and Analysis

The communications system is kind of like a magician’s hat. Sometimes you flip it over and there’s nothing in it. You tap on the top, spin it around a couple times and you’re met with…absolutely nothing. Other times you reach in and pull out a bunny. If you’re really good, you reach in again and pull out a second bunny and maybe a third. But how do we keep track of the bunnies when they aren’t in the hat, since they obviously still exist. That’s where the data holding tank comes into play.

My choice for this phase of your CRM mastery is Trello. Trello is amazing for 90% of cases. If you’ve got massive amounts of leads and customers (I’m talking hundreds or thousands) then you would want something better at handling structured data, and my pick for that would be Airtable .

In Trello I create a dead simple pipeline with just a few phase:

  • New Opportunity
  • Engaging and Qualifying
  • Closing
  • Closed
  • Cold

Every new opportunity gets added as a card to the first list. This can happen manually or through an automation. If I meet someone at an event and they give me their card, I’ll take a picture and make a card in the first list. If our machine learning algorithm (more about that here) picks someone out of the crowd or they book a free info call through Calendly, a card is automatically created. When a card is created, it will automatically include the source and any other information we can pull either from their existing profile in Intercom or from publicly available sources like Clearbit and will automatically add a due date for three days later to make sure someone follows up.

Then we reach out through the most appropriate means, given our initial contact. If it’s in person I like to go with SMS. If it’s email we stick to email. I strongly dislike when companies force you to “switch channels” in order to communicate. If you ever email a company to cancel a service and they tell you that you have to schedule a phone call to discuss closing your account (RingCentral shamefully does this and it’s why I will never use or recommend them) just call your credit company and deny any further charges.

If they respond, I just ask more questions about their business and their challenge. I’m genuinely interested, because it’s one of the ways I learn, improve and am more able to help people.

The questions you ask are more important than anything you will ever tell the person. Questions show that you are listening, that you understand them, and that you understand the problem. When you are able to articulate someones problem better than they can, the human brain will automatically associate you with the solution.

Once their is a two way dialogue, their Trello card gets moved to the Engaging and Qualifying list and a due date gets added for one week later, unless the person requested a specific date for follow up, then we enter it manually. All the while, our interactions continue to be appended to the card and their Intercom profile. If I have an interaction outside our normal systems, such as personal SMSto my phone, I will literally screenshot the conversation and add it to the card.

Once they have said that they want to be part of one of our programs, they move to Closing and follow up is set for a day later.

Once the Stripe card comes through, that triggers another Zapier automation to find the card and move them to Closed.

I keep a Cold list for people who are unresponsive or not interested and that adds a 45 day follow up, just in case we want to give one more try down the line. If the lead magically revives we move the card back to the second list.

Informing the Team

Each list is sorted by due date so and Trello has a calendar view which syncs with our team Google calendar so on any given day, any member of our team knows exactly who to contact, which channel to do it through, and what to say. The Trello integration with Intercom means the persons history is right there on the card for anyone to see.

We have a metric at Less Doing called “Time to Departure” which is the number of day’s notice you would have to give your team before you could go on vacation. For many companies the number is as high as 60 days. At Less Doing, it’s zero. I could start a conversation with someone about our Replaceable Founder Course, put their card in the second list, and walk out the door to a totally disconnected vacation. Two days later, someone on my team would see the follow up in the calendar, check the card and see that there was a few texts back and forth with the person, or maybe a recording of a call we had through Toky. That team member can get the context and reach out to the person, with the simple goal of furthering the conversation.

Choose your own adventure

I always think about the customer journey in my own company and others with whom I interact. You can always improve it, make it more personal, and answer questions before people even knew they had them.

We do something unique in our coaching business, we don’t offer a contract. We don’t lock people into a year or even a quarter. I always tell people that they should remain a part of our program for as long as they find it valuable. It doesn’t lock either of us into a relationship that’s not serving both of us, and keeps my team and me on our toes to continue to provide unquestionable value, month after month. We believe in what we do so strongly that I want to remind people of their option to cancel, BEFORE we bill them each month. There are plenty of ways to email someone when they make a purchase but preempting one requires some thought. Stripe won’t email someone to let them know they will be charged, nor will your email marketing tool.

So I tried to visualize who the person is that should get that email. They should be part of one of our programs, they should have been billed 25 days prior, and as of today their status should be consider active. These are all parameters I was able to set in Intercom and within a few minutes I had built the thing I wanted without contacting my CRM technician or buying some expensive add on software.

Our CRM includes about 15 different tools, all tied together through various automations (I didn’t even mention the automated text messages, voicemails, postcards, and gifts that we can integrate) and whether or not you copy what we do (you’re encouraged to!), my hope is that you can see how you can have the exact system you want, and achieve the results you need, with a little bit of tinkering, noodling, and obsessing.

How to Create One Month of Content in One Minute

I’ve written before about the importance of content creation to differentiate yourself in your market. It’s hard enough to plan ahead to create content (though we’ve got a process for that too) but when you add in all the possible platforms you could share your content too, the problem gets compounded.

Not only does it take time to operate within the various platforms like email, social media, live streaming video, etc… but you also have to strategize around which platform will perform best for each type of message.

What if you could just do what you do best, create the content, and then create a machine to do the rest?

The beauty of this system is that the “trigger” can be whatever kind of content is most convenient for you. If you like writing, kick it off with a blog post. If you prefer the off-the-cuff, “raw” feeling of a live streaming video, start with a Facebook Live. Still, if you like to sit in a quiet room and record an audio podcast, that works too.

Using a series of tools, automation, and potentially some outsourcing, you’re content can live on in every other medium (even Medium.com) there is for weeks or even months. For this example, I’ll start the process with Facebook Live and walk you through what happens next but remember that this process is completely customizable to your preferences.

Step 1 — Facebook Live

When I record my Facebook Live its usually based on a simple schedule we have in place for Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays based on the week of the month. So for example, the first Wednesday of every month might be a “backstage” post where I talk about some new process we are working on. The third Friday of every month could be a post about a Battle or Small Victory, very rough prompts to get my creative juices flowing. I can set up this content machine to take every single Facebook Live I do as a trigger or I can specify that it only does it when the post includes a specific hashtag, like #contentdominator for example. In addition, you can use a web app called LiveLeap to simultaneously broadcast a Facebook Live to as many Facebook Groups, Pages, and Profiles as you want.

Step 2 — Repurpose.io

The next part of the process is a wonderful tool called Repurpose.io created by fellow techpreneur Hani Mourra. Repurpose creates workflows between several of the most popular content platforms.

Step 3 — Podcast

The first thing we’ll do is create three podcasts. Two of them will be audio podcasts and one will be a video podcast, of the audio podcast…see the recirculation starting to happen? At each step, you have some choices. If you want to take the raw audio and make a podcast, Repurpose can automatically add an intro and an outro that you’ve pre-recorded and then publish it to Libsyn and Soundcloud. Libsyn will get your podcast into iTunes and most podcast players while Soundcloud has more of a community around it that shares and comments on clips. In addition, Repurpose can take the audio, add a waveform image and publish to Youtube. You can add different automated intros and outros for each platform and the argument for putting it on these various platforms is simply wider reach. You could have someone who never listens to podcasts but they have Youtube playing in the background all day while they are at work and conversely you could have that person who never looks at Youtube or Facebook videos but they listen to hours of podcasts while driving in their car. If you want to have a fully produced podcast that goes to an audio engineer and then to a show notes writer, etc… you would simply have the Facebook Live video converted to audio through Repurpose and then shared with a company like Podfly or Fullcast.

Step 4— Blog Post

Now we come back to the written word and again we have some options. If you want to just keep it raw, then you can take the video, have Repurpose strip the audio and save it to a Dropbox folder. Then you create an automation through Zapier to take that file and send it to Temi to be transcribed. At this point, you could take the raw transcript and then publish it to platforms like Medium and Slideshare or you could send it to a service like ContentFly which gives you access to on-demand writers to take your work and create an original, SEO enhanced article to post on Medium.

Step 5 — Social Videos

Now we can take the RSS feed from your new Medium article and feed that into a tool like Lumen5 which will create those catchy social media videos with the impactful images and text overlay. It will use machine learning to pick images and important points to make a video that then guests posted back on any of your social media outlets.

Step 6 — Another podcast

Using a Medium add-on called Play.ht any article that gets posted on your Medium account will be automatically turned into a spoken word podcast which will post on the article itself but also as a standalone podcast.

Step 7 — Social Media

MissingLettr sees the RSS feed from your new Medium articles and extracts salient points, adds images and schedules up to a year of social media posts for Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Using Zapier you can expand that to other platforms like Instagram and Yammer.

Step 8 — Email Newsletter

Most of the major email platforms like ConvertKit or Mailchimp can create email newsletters to your list based on an RSS feed. You simply set up a template and then when a new article is published on Medium it can email that to your audience as a “weekly digest” to make sure that you cover all possible bases. You can also use ReLike to create a newsletter from the posts on your Facebook Page

Step 9 — The Vortex

Now keep in mind that at any point you can jump in and get more hands-on, either yourself or through outsourcing. If you want a writer to polish up your articles, or a graphic designer to keep images on brand, you just need to plug and play and swap in and out resources where needed. You can continue recirculating the content as well since each iteration will have a somewhat different bend to it. Lastly, you can build in delays to any part of this process to spread out the content, literally giving you months of activity from a few minutes of your time.

How will you use this type of content machine in your marketing efforts?

Automate Your Content Once and For All

I believe that content is king when it comes to most businesses these days. Odds are there are six other people in the world who do exactly what you do, or more like six hundred. I know I’m not the only productivity guy around. I know that other people can teach you how to get to Inbox Zero or how to make yourself more replaceable in your business. However, nobody can do it the way that I do it and what makes me unique for the most part is my content. My perspectives and experiences will always add a unique flavor and texture to the particular productivity dish I serve.

So at the end of the day, it’s your content that will differentiate you from all the other “others” out there. The problem most of us have is we rarely take the time to plan our content in advance and we just end up reacting to something we hear or read, or some event of the day. More often than not, most people just throw up their hands, decide they have more important things to focus on and convince themselves that they’ll get to it next time. Sure they will….

Can I show you the easiest way to ever to pre-load content that will automatically post when and where you want it?

I’m going to go step by step so you can build out your own automated content machine. Now before we start you’ll need a Google Docs account, Zapier, and an idea of where you want the content to go. Do you want to post Slack messages to your team? Would you like to share things with a specific Facebook group? Do you use Voxer to do asynchronous voice communication with your team and want it to show up there? Maybe you just want it to show up on your Medium account. Your imagination is the limit.

If you’re wondering why you wouldn’t use one of the off the shelf tools out there like Buffer or Hootsuite it’s because those platforms won’t do things like posting to a Slack team, a Voxer group, a private WordPress blog, etc…so if you like to share your content beyond traditional social media, stay with me.https://upscri.be/6892b4?as_embed=true

Step 1 — Setup the place to load your content

I think Google Sheets is the easiest way to do this and most people are familiar with the way a spreadsheet looks and works. It also works easily on mobile devices. So I created a sheet with three very basic headers:

  • Content — The text or links for what you want to share
  • Date to Post — When you want to share it
  • Image url — the direct link to an image you want to natively post so it shows up nice and big

That’s all it takes, now you can fill in some content items, along with the date and time you want it to post (you can set that column to automatically format as a date/time) and the image URL, if you have one. Maybe you want to post the same kind of thing every Monday and Friday, easy. If you want to use a post and it does really well so you want to post it again in a month or a year, great, go ahead and change the date on it. Stupid easy right?

Step 2 — Create the automation

Next, we have to crank up Zapier and create the automation razzmatazz that makes this all possible. Basically, you are going to create a Zap that looks for that lovely new content, understands the date, and then posts it wherever you want. Three beautiful steps….

Step 2.1 — Trigger the Zap

Tell it which spreadsheet, then which worksheet, and then let ANY COLUMN Trigger the Zap. That way, new content, as well as changing a date will start the automation.

Step 2.2 — Tell it to wait until the date you choose

You’re now going to the Delay by Zapier option to tell the automation to standby until the DATE TO POST, and then continue with the magic.

Step 2.3 — Post the content

Now you just have to decide where it’s going to go, in this example, I’ll make it go to Slack. You can have it go to as many destinations as you want.

And that’s all she wrote, or rather all you wrote

Congratulations you’ve just setup you’re very own preloaded, automated, content machine!

Want to be even cooler?

  • You can create a nifty little form through Google Forms or any other form builder and then you can use that to add entries to the spreadsheet so you just get one simple clean interface to work with and never have to interact with the actual spreadsheet
  • You can add a column for “Medium” and then you can choose on the fly that you want one post to go to a Facebook group, and the next one goes to Slack, and the one after that goes to Yammer. You’ll have to create a Zap with branching so it can do something different based on the different choices.
  • How about you stop creating the content entirely and let a Machine Learning algorithm do it for you? I KNOW RIGHT!!! But I’m serious, that’s something we can do.