Interview with Kevan Lee from Buffer
A few weeks back I wrote a blog post about social media in which I interviewed Chris from Spokal and Saul from Ritetag. I asked each of them 5 questions relating to social media, to which they provided their insightful and muost valued replies, which you can read here. I didn’t mention it at the time, but I sent the same questions to Kevan Lee at Buffer.
If you don’t already know, Buffer is a social media scheduling tool which makes content curation a dream. Kevan is the guy behind their popular blog.
Albeit a little later than the others, Kevan was good enough to get back to me a few days after theoriginal post was published and I can now share with you his replies:
1. I recently heard Seth Godin say the reason there’s so much mediocre content on the internet is that no-one wants to take responsibility for an original idea (in case it backfires) so we end up simply repeating what everyone else is doing. What’s your thoughts on this?
Makes a lot of sense! I think it’s definitely easier to stick with topics that are known because a) they’re good for SEO, it’s easier to rank for terms that people are familiar with than ones that they don’t know to search for, b) ideas are easier to come by when they already exist, and c) Godin’s thing! New stuff is scary to write about. I’ve struggled with this personally in terms of impostor syndrome, where I don’t think I’m expert enough to be writing about original ideas, and also with fear of being really wrong and having smarter people tell me all the things I got wrong. Yikes, it’s a bit scary to admit that even!
2. How important do you think Digital Content Curation is?
One thing that curation was super helpful with for us is that it showed us what kind of content was out there and gave us a blueprint for how to be original and stand out. I think this might be one of the biggest benefits of curation – this high-level knowledge of what exists (as opposed to the on-the-ground benefit of learning the things you’re curating about).
3. Can you name someone you believe to be doing outstanding work in the social media space right now?
Super interesting one, I was on a chat with Brian Fanzo last week, and he was running the Blab (my first one!) plus a Periscope plus a Twitter chat, all at the same time. Brian’s got the new media stuff down pat, always on the cutting edge of things like engagement, livestreaming, video, and more. I learn a ton from him.
4. Other than Buffer, what tools do you use?
I’m a huge fan of Pocket – it’s how I do pretty much all my reading online and how I help structure my day to allow for more focused time getting work done. I use a Nuzzel hack to keep up on the articles that my close friends and teammates are sharing. And I’ve got some fun blogs set up in Feedly (the more serious, work stuff I get via newsletters with Unroll.me).
5. What’s your top tip for a small business who wants to get more value from social media?
Seems like the most traction to be gained, especially early on with small biz, is to post consistently on social media (and probably at a greater frequency than they’re currently doing). Tools like Buffer make a big difference here as you’re able to plan all this in one big batch, rather than doing it ad-hoc and making time for it throughout the day.
Thanks Kevan, I’m really glad we got to hear your thoughts. I love the modesty of your 1st answer and I agree, it can be really intimidating to write a blog post if you overthink who’s going to read it when you hit publish. Plus, this idea of playing it safe for SEO reasons, that’s really interesting. It’s absolutely true that we’re still hung up on targeting keywords in blog posts even though Google has been telling us for years we don’t have to do it. I wonder if the SEO experience of writing blog posts will change to include more storytelling in the future?
I like your position on question 2, that content curation is useful in finding your own topics and titles. It’s a practice I use myself, if someone has written about x, and someone else has written about y, but there’s yet to be a post written about x+y=z, then that’s something to write about, right? However, I’d be careful not to meandering into the question 1 zone, which would be to write about something that’s already been covered.
I’m not gonna mention question 3, other than to say I didn’t know about Brian Fanzo until today, now I look forward to learning more about him.
I find it interesting how your answer to question 4 seems to revolve around time management and organisation. Tech obviously has a huge role to play in helping us get things done and it looks like this is how you like to use it. Perhaps, I’ll do a future blog post about the tech and gadgets we use to make our day pass more fluently.
I totally agree with your answer to question 5 and I’d add that the value of posting more frequently is to improve visibility. This ties in neatly with something Saul said in the last post which was that as a small business you want to get mentioned as much as possible; you want as many people as possible to see you.