The Scoop on Scoop.it [Review]
Content curation tools are all the rage, but how do you decide which one to use? One of the tools I’ve been enjoying recently that I think is great for writers and bloggers looking to extend their audience is Scoop.it. Scoop.it allows you to collect shareable content and put it together in an attractive online magazine.
Here’s how it works.
Getting Started with Scoop.it
Signup is simple and once you’re in you can start creating your first magazine. Give it a title and then edit the description, language and keywords using the on-screen tools. You can also set up comment moderation in the edit window. Take a couple of minutes and add your social media accounts too; you will need these later.
The section where you need to spend the most time is in the Manage Sources window, where you can choose the sources you will use for curation. By default, Scoop.it will suggest some sources based on the keywords you input in the initial setup phase, but I found that these needed tweaking. So your first move should be to go through the suggested sources and either add them to your list of preferred sources or delete them.
If you want to customize even further, hit the advanced options tab to choose an RSS feed, Twitter user, list or search, Google news, blogs or video search, Facebook page or OPML import. Once you have chosen sources, they appear in the right hand screen and then you can customize further by specifying how recently posts should have been published to be considered. I set mine to the minimum period of one month so I could be sure I’d be curating only recent content.
Next, you can customize your topic icon and background (additional customizations are a Pro feature, for which you will have to shell out $12.99 a month ($79 a month if you’re in business). Here’s how mine looks after about 10 minutes of setup time.
Curating Content with Scoop.it
The easiest way to keep your topic up to date is with the Scoop.it bookmarklet which you can drag to your browser window. Whenever you visit an article you want to add to your digest, click the button to grab a title, description and image (most of the time, at least). This comes up in a sidebar window. You can edit the text if you need to, though you can’t format it without a pro account. Don’t worry; it’s not essential. Then you can post the content to your digest.
But that’s not all. Before you post, you have the option to post the content to your linked social media accounts as well. That means that with a single click you can update LinkedIn, Twitter and your Facebook page (as well as WordPress, your Facebook profile and your Tumblr account). Here’s where the web app is clever. Each little box has the right kind of content for the platform it is being shared on. So the Twitter box will give you a short link to @scoopit, while the Facebook and LinkedIn boxes will grab the image and description. The site prompts you to add more text where needed.
The Social Side
You can also use Scoop.it to follow content digests on topics that interest you. There’s a daily email with a digest of this content, or you can visit the dashboard and see the latest. You then have the option to rescoop them, comment on them or give them a thumbs up to let the topic curator know that you appreciated the info. Another advantage of following digests is that your Scoop.it bookmarklet also lets you suggest content to them and you get virtual brownie points (or at least a notification or thank you) if the curators use your suggestion. People can comment on-site on the information you share, too, so there’s always the possibility of getting a conversation going.
Other Ways to Showcase Content
Scoop.it allows you to showcase your magazine via a blog widget or a custom RSS feed, as well as the topic page. With the widget you can adjust the number of posts, and whether they appear with description or not, as well as what kind of slider is used and the interval between posts. Scoop.it is also available as an iPhone app.
What’s Missing From Scoop.it?
The only thing missing from the free version (it’s a Pro feature) is robust analytics, though you can see some top line stats on views and a chart showing audience increase in your dashboard. My one wishlist item would be a way to post to Google+ but until there’s an open API for that site, that’s not going to happen.
In the meantime, I’m continuing to use and enjoy Scoop.it. It seems an excellent way of sharing relevant content and providing context. If you take the time to put your own stamp on it by adding comments, questions and more, it’s an excellent way for bloggers to engage more with their audience.
Have you tried Scoop.it? What did you think?
Sharon Hurley Hall has almost 25 years of experience writing professionally – as a journalist, an academic writer, a blogger, a ghost writer and an online copy writer. She has been running Get Paid To Write Online since 2005 to help other writers improve and build sustainable and successful writing careers.
Post Tags: bloggers, bookmarklet, content sharing, social media