4 Ways Dump Files Can Streamline Your Content Production


Maintaining an engaging, energetic online presence can feel like a full-time job. Unless you want to spend all day tethered to Twitter, and countless hours on your blog, you’re going to need some coping mechanisms.

I’ve outlined some simple work-arounds below, all based around the idea of dump files (not even sorry) – files and folders into which you throw whatever is floating around your head at the time, and save it for later use.

Below, you’ll find four of my most-used dump files, along with five-minute fixes you can use to streamline your own social media activity. So check it out!

The Promo Tweet File

The clue to a successful social media presence is right there in the name: you’ve got to be social. But schmoozing online takes time, and the last thing you want is to be spending all day chatting.

I spend an hour or so on Buffer every week, scheduling my “baseline” tweets – this includes promotional content from my site – blog posts, content about my services, and episodes of my freelance writing podcast.

I keep pre-drafted promotional tweets in a file that I add to (and sometimes remove from) on an ongoing basis. That means I’ve got a stock of well-written updates to pick from, helping me to 1) save time and 2) generate discussions that I can then participate in ‘in person’.

Five-minute fix: Spend five minutes creating some promo tweets for your business. Bear in mind that including an image eats up 22 characters, and adding an image and a link to that will eat up a total of 44 characters, leaving you 95 characters to play with, including any relevant hashtags you want to include.

The Photo Folder

We all know tweets with images get better engagement, but just how much better was a surprise to me. Hat-tip to digital media expert Amy White for this information – tests carried out by Buffer show that:

  • Tweets with images received 89% more favourites
  • Tweets with images received 18% more clicks than those without
  • Tweets with images received 150% more retweets

In short, images offer a big boost to your tweets, so they’re well worth including.

Five-minute fix: Get yourself on Creative Commons Search and hunt out some interesting and inspiring images that are free to use. Beautiful landscapes, busy cafe scenes, people working and mingling – choose a diverse range and save them to a folder to pep up your future tweets. If you’ve got extra time, use a site like PicMonkey to add text – it’s all extra space to promote your services!

The Link File

If you share the same old content over and over, people are going to get bored.

I spend the first part of Monday morning having a coffee and scheduling my baseline social media updates. In the seven days between one session and another, I do plenty of reading; any interesting links get dropped into my link file ready to be re-read and scheduled next week and beyond.

Five-minute fix: Spend five minutes going through:

  • Your Facebook pages feed
  • Your email newsletters
  • Your Twitter timeline and any lists you’ve got on there (more info on using Twitter lists here!)
  • The social media accounts of people you follow and find interesting

Save the URLs of articles that really catch your attention in a link file, ready for including in your baseline tweets for the next week. Make sure you read them, though – don’t just glance at the title!

The Editorial File

Blogging needs to be a regular thing to have any traction. But if you’re expecting to sit down at the same time every week, come Hell or high water, and have inspiration just rain down on you, you’ve got another thing coming.

Preparing your subjects in advance – and having a stock of topics to choose from – can be a total life-saver. Seen an article that inspired you? Grab the link, stick in in your editorial file. Do this every time you spot a topic you think you could add something valuable to – soon enough, you’ll have a pot of ideas to dip into when inspiration is running low.

Five-minute fix: Google some of the topics you like to blog about. Grab links to articles that inspire you and paste them in your editorial file. Under each URL, jot down a few ideas of how you could make the topic your own – don’t be tempted to plagiarise; use the content to spark your own unique ideas.

Summing up

Social media, if done right, can be a great way to generate discussion, build your network and encourage inbound enquiries. But why make more work for yourself when you can use simple techniques like dump filing to streamline your activity?

By opening up some dump files and throwing information into them whenever you get a spare five minutes here or there, you’re not only building up a stock of content to use in future, you’re clearing precious headspace and saving time – two things we all need more of!

Do you use dump files as part of your content production strategy? Is there a dump file you use that I’ve not mentioned here? Let me know in the comments or come and chat on Twitter 😉 I’m @LorrieHartshorn.


Image sourced on CC Search, amended in PicMonkey; original here

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