A Guide to Getting Started

Welcome to ContentGems! You can use ContentGems to discover relevant and comprehensive content on a wide-range of topics. Whether you’re collecting articles for yourself, or for your audience, ContentGems helps you unearth the hidden gems and stay informed. 

Let’s get started. In this guide we’ll take you through the four steps to finding and communicating useful content: brainstorming, collecting, curating, and sharing. By the end, you’ll have a set up that gathers your first batch of articles into a content river that is exactly as you want it.

Table of contents:

Brainstorming

The first step is brainstorming, where you define the topic you want to discover more about. ContentGems indexes millions of articles per week. You take control of the sorting algorithm by choosing the keywords for your topic to see the most important articles as determined by you.

Upon starting your account, ContentGems will ask for a search term to get your first set of results. Let’s walk through a few easy tips for getting great results.

Go from broad to specific

You may already have a topic in mind. Let’s say you want to keep up with trends with independent coffee shops. 

First start with a broad keyword, say, “coffee,” to see the range of articles. ContentGems pulled up 30 articles here from the past week, each about coffee. (You won’t get, for example, the sports update called “Morning Coffee,” that sadly isn’t about athletes and their favourite brews.) You’ll see articles about coffee shops, books about coffee, research on coffee. Interesting, but maybe not exactly what you’re interested in.

Maybe we’re interested in news about coffee shops. Let’s refine our results to reflect that. 

Once we’ve entered our search term, we get taken to the Filters layer, along with our results. At the top, you’ll see our keywords. A key part to ContentGems is building up terms it can use to find meaningful results, so let’s make a list of words related to our topic so we can get a richer set of results. 

“Coffee shop” would definitely be one, but there are many other names for places that serve coffee, so we should also search for those, including “coffee roaster,” “coffee chain,” and “coffee bar.” We’ll also include “coffee roasters,” because although it’s related to “coffee roaster,” we’re asking ContentGems to search for exact phrases, meaning we want to include as many variations as we can think of. (More on that later!) 

An easy way to start is using the Keyword Suggester, a yellow button at the top of the page, which will help you find other potentially related search terms. For our example, for “coffee shop” it will also suggest “coffeehouse” and “cafe” as potential keywords to add. You can then select from the suggestions and include them in your keywords section, and then watch like magic as more articles appear.

Notice we’re using the OR option here, so that as long as any of these phrases shows up in an article, ContentGems will surface it. 

We may want to further narrow our search down by looking for coffee shops that are part of the third-wave of coffee, serving specialty coffee and usually with an emphasis on customer experience. There is then the AND option, which directs ContentGems to sift through the current set of articles and then surfaces only those that also include the phrase “third wave” in them. 

As you can see, sometimes if you are overly specific, then you might not end up with any articles at all. For example, not many articles may highlight that the coffee shop is third wave, and not every article about third-wave coffee will include the phrase “third wave.” The most important thing here is knowing where you are on that dial and trying to find that sweet spot of content.

You’ve probably noticed at this point that ContentGems uses Boolean logic, which is really powerful, and allows you to carefully target your search. 

Here’s a brief refresher on how Boolean works:

  • OR means that it will contain at least one of the terms you entered
  • AND means that it must contain all the terms you entered

You can then chain these commands to create a deeper instruction.

With AND not only can you say, “gimme only results that satisfy these conditions,” but you can also say what you don’t want to see. That’s where Must and Must Not come into play.

  • Must Not means that it will not include that term you entered

For our example, if you see this:

A or B

AND

C or D

AND

Must Not E

It means that the article must include either A or B, as well as either C or D, and it must not include a reference to E.

[ Not familiar with Boolean? Here’s our guide to getting the most out of Boolean]

Why do you want to use Must Not? It can help you pinpoint your topic and reduce ambiguity to produce stronger results. With coffee shops, you could be more interested in the design instead of the business side, so you would exclude articles including “revenue” with the Must Not option. 

You can try different sets of keywords and see what gets fished out of the river. Remember, you can continually tweak your keywords to shape the algorithm to something perfect for you. 

Collecting

The next step after brainstorming our keywords is to discover what ContentGems has found. ContentGems excels at finding articles as they happen, which are shown in the Filters tab in chronological order. 

If you’re curious about where your keywords show up, the handy info icon under the article highlights them within the article. Seeing where keywords are can help unearth related keywords to also search for, and it can also help you refine your content river by discovering keywords you want to exclude from your search. 

For example, let’s say you want to hone in on a specific region, like Europe, but notice a lot of articles coming from Canada. You can do this by using the Must Not option to remove any articles that include those words. 

If you want to remove Canadian results for example you would do:

Must Not Canada

AND

Must Not Canadian

As ContentGems populates your content river, you may think of trying different combinations of keywords to keep digging for shinier gems. There are other ways to affect your results. Under Settings, there are different ways to widen or narrow your content river.

  • Changing the popularity
  • Reduce spam by increasing minimum word counts
  • Exclude certain kinds of content like e-commerce and job postings
  • Remove articles that are very similar in content

Looking at your content river, you may find some sites not applicable, and you can easily block all articles from that website showing up by clicking on the “no symbol” beneath one of the articles that appear. A list of blocked websites can be found under the Sources tab.

You can also refine your results by editing the sources ContentGems pulls from. Let’s talk about the Feeds tab.

You can create Collections in three ways: through RSS feeds, through your Twitter timeline, or through an OPML import. 

This is an easy way to collect all the sources for content you already go to. For our coffee shop example, there are many sites about design that we can bring into one stream. 

The Twitter Home Timeline option is there to help save you time. You carefully choose the thought leaders and influencers to follow, and rather than trying to skim your entire Twitter timeline, ContentGems can surface all the articles being shared by accounts you follow. It’s a great way to also keep track of what your community is sharing.

Please note, Collections cannot be blended together: so, you cannot combine RSS feeds and articles from your Twitter timeline. In addition, retweeted articles will not show up in your Feed.

Now that we’ve amassed our content, it’s time to curate before we share it.

Curating

Now you can take your content river and pick the gems you’d like to share. Curating happens in the Workflow tab, and while you could always use ContentGems to read your most relevant articles, it’s also easy to consume content through other channels. A Workflow helps you manage the level of automation, and the Setup Wizard gets you started. Let’s go through an example of getting daily updates of coffee shop-related content. 

First, let’s schedule how often the workflow should run. The default is to run daily at 7:00AM in your specified time zone. (You can set your time zone in the Profile option)  You can change the frequency instead to run weekly, only on weekdays, monthly, or even yearly—whatever fits your publishing schedule.

Now, let’s attach our “Coffee” Filter to the Workflow so we can receive articles. In addition to adding existing Filters, you can also create a new Filter, or use an existing Workflow. ( Linking Workflows is a great way to draw from one Workflow and serve multiple audiences) If you choose a new Filter, you will create the name and then after you finish the Setup you can finish your Filter, and then your new Workflow will be done.

ContentGems will send a preview of all recommended articles to your email. Next you can automate in ContentGems when actions should occur. You can choose manually, with a 3 hour delay, or automatically without hold or delay. The default is to put actions on hold until you continue manually to ensure that nothing gets shared without your eyes on it first. The other options come in handy if, for example, the articles are going to an internal audience where it isn’t as necessary that everything gets curated ahead of time.

Finally, you have the option to share curated articles to a Destination, including channels like email, Twitter, Slack, or to a newsletter. We’ll discuss more about this in the next step.

We’ve finished the Setup Wizard, and all of the options are changeable, so you can always return to fine-tune the settings. With our new Workflow, now the fun begins! You will see the results for articles, and you can now curate and edit the results into your collection. 

Returning to our example around coffee shops, let’s start by removing articles that aren’t relevant to our interests. We do this by using the archive button. You can either archive as you go along by clicking on the icon on the article, or you can select multiple articles and archive them simultaneously using the toolbar above. Archiving does not mean deleting, instead it moves to your Archives tab. You can always unarchive articles as well, if you change your mind.

You can also manually add any interesting articles you came across and want to include in your collection. For example, you saw a Wallpaper article on well-designed coffee shops. It’s three years old, but you still think it’s relevant to share. Simply use the “Add Article” button to paste the URL, or use the custom provided link that allows you to quickly add articles you’re reading to the Workflow right from your browser.

Sometimes articles need a bit of touching up. The headline might be awkwardly cut off, or the image could be more relevant. No problem. You can easily edit articles once they are in your Workflow. The title, featured image, and body are all changeable, including being able to add or remove images. This ensures that the articles go out fine-tuned for your audience.

Once you’ve completed curating and editing the articles, it’s time to share the collection through Destinations.

Sharing

Alright, you’ve chosen your keywords, got results, carefully curated and edited them, now it’s time to share far and wide! There are currently 14 types of Destinations in ContentGems:

  • Email address 
  • Twitter 
  • RSS Feed 
  • Website Widget
  • Buffer Queue 
  • Campaign Monitor Newsletter 
  • HootSuite RSS 
  • IFTTT 
  • Mailchimp Newsletter 
  • Sendible 
  • Slack 
  • Website Widget (WordPress) 
  • WordPress Blog 
  • Zapier

Through these Destinations, you can distribute to almost any channel that you’ve built for reaching your target audiences. For instance, if you want to share to Facebook or LinkedIn, you can use HootSuite or Buffer to do so. Setting up a Destination usually only takes a minute or two. 

We can now set up our curated content on coffee for multiple Destinations to meet our marketing needs. 

First, by setting up the email Destination, we can automatically have a daily digest of articles sent to a team email address. We’ve found some unique articles that we think our social audience will find relevant, so we can set up the Buffer Destination, where we can schedule spaced-out posts of our content. We could add articles also onto our website as part of a News section, and also populate the next edition of our popular newsletter. 

ContentGems is very flexible in helping you share the content you’ve curated. There may be times when you choose to share a single article or a handful of articles. 

Sharing a single article

Sharing a single article is as easy as hitting the share icon on the article in either the Filters or Workflows tabs. A list of Destinations will pop up in a window, and you can send the article immediately.

Sharing multiple articles

Sharing multiple articles at once is done by selecting the articles in either the Filters or Workflows tab, and then choosing the share selected articles option at the toolbar above the articles. A list of Destinations will pop up in a window, and you can send the articles immediately.

Now you’re all set up! 

There’s a lot that you can already do with this initial guide, but there’s also lots to still discover. What’s next? Check out the additional resources at the bottom to enrich your ContentGems experience. 

Contact us

If you have additional questions about ContentGems, would like to provide feedback, or report a bug, please email us at support@contentgems.com.

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