How to Automate Blogging Workflow with #IFTTT

Thursday, August 20, 20154:52 PM

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been using a lot of If This Then That. It was a little tricky at first, but now I’m kind of addicted, and have often combined recipes to make my workflow easier. IFTTT is a service that creates logical recipes--think of them like programs or commands--that connect different apps.

An easy one is this recipe: Blogger to Facebook. If I publish a new post on Blogger, automatically post it on my Facebook feed. For each recipe, I can see how many times it’s run to double check my work, can turn it on or off, or check the activity log as necessary. 

I like to think of it like a variation on app smashing, and with some trial-and-error and creativity, you can make a lot of cool things happen. Here are some easy recipes I use and why you might want to try them out, too.

Blogger to Facebook

I’m enjoying Blogging and want to grow my audience. An easy way to this is to promote my posts more on social media. This recipe will automatically share my Blogger posts on my Facebook stream. I can customize the post itself (title, text, link, etc.) and it does the rest. Find similar recipes to post to Twitter, Instagram, etc., or pretty much from any social media site to another.
One simple recipe is to create a Twitter list based on a hashtag. For example, I want to see who posts using the #edcampMVille to see what Twitter traffic is generated for our upcoming event. This recipe will add anyone who tweets with the hashtag to a Twitter list so I can see who is engaging with us on social media. There are similar recipes to favorite and retweet, too.

Twitter to Google Sheet

I love organizing data on Google sheets. In addition to creating a Twitter list in the example above, I can track users and Tweets based on a specific hashtag to a Google Sheet (and many other similar options--evernote, pocket, etc.). I wanted to reach anyone who Tweeted with #nyedchat to share information about #edcampMVille; this recipe allowed me to track those users so I knew who to reach out to and tag in my posts. With some creative work in Sheets and another IFTTT recipe (see the next bullet!), I was able to automatically Tweet at users to invite them pretty easily, raising awareness for our event. Apply this to any event, hashtag, or target audience you want to reach and you’re good to know.

GMail to Twitter

This one is really cool and involves my new favorite pasttime: app smashing. By combining this recipe with the Google Sheets add-on, Form Mule, I can automate my Tweeting based on certain conditions. For example, when someone adds an event to #EdTechCalNYNJ, I wanted to automatically thank them. 

To do this, I successfully smashed the recipe above with Form Mule. When someone adds to the calendar via a Google Form, Form Mule automatically sends a mail merge to a GMail account with the following subject line: 

Thanks <<Name>> <<Twitter Handle>> for adding <<Event Name>> in <<Location>> on <<Date>> to #EdTechCalNYNJ

Form Mule is triggered whenever the form is submitted and the <<Tags>> above are replaced with the actual information. 

Then, the #IFTTT recipe above does the rest. The recipe is programmed so that whenever my e-mail address sends an e-mail to a secondary address, then Tweet out the subject line. Voila! The key here is to have a secondary e-mail just for the recipe’s automatic Tweeting.

This last example is my favorite. Combining add-ons with #IFTTT leads to some really powerful results and a lot of fun customization on my end. I encourage you to give it a shot.

I’m going to follow up this post soon with a more advanced look on responsive Tweeting with #IFFTT, like the example above. How do you use #IFTTT?

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