I started work a while back on trying to curate articles from a platform I use (Flipboard) and bringing them into WordPress. I started with a plugin called Feedzy, an RSS aggregator, but that had limitations. I documented those here in the first of a series of posts called SenseMaking from the web. This post is about an alternative which I am much happier with, using Power Automate from Microsoft. And a big shout out to a colleague who helped me achieve this: Amit Chug.
First, what is the purpose of curating content and who is this for?
Although I could always point people to Flipboard to the collection of articles I save in my magazine there, I wanted to be a little more intentional and bring them into this site and blog in separate posts, each taking a snapshot of recent articles I collected.
- Curating good articles and content from other sites around the web is a discerning process and takes time, effort and requires insights into what is good versus what isn’t. Automating the process is also very helpful.
- Curated content adds value to originally created content and recognises the wealth of other information and talent that exists out there on the web.
- It’s good for staying fresh with new content, which in return helps improve content marketing, boosts your SEO, increases audience engagement, and if that’s what you are in it for, it probably earns you more money.
- You become good by association if the articles you share are good.
- Who this is for: Anyone publishing their own content on a blog like this one or for people in companies responsible for content marketing or managing their company’s blog/s and want to achieve some of the aims above.
How to use Power Automate to do this
The above is the flow in brief, without each of the sections expanded or explained in detail aside from below:
- The first step is to create a recurring trigger that schedules the task weekly.
- The second step focuses on the feed source and details necessary to fetch articles.
- The filter array in the third step and the fourth step specifies further the tasks related to time period and items being fetched.
- The final step with multiple steps in it in the left branch, set up the formatting of the output and form it should take, namely a WordPress post containing all feed items from the last seven days should be created in draft form.
- Once the draft is created, I can perform some simple checks in WordPress before publishing. I have also automated the use of a featured image using another plugin called Quick Featured Images which creates a featured image based on the tag I assigned in the final step.
At this stage, I have just managed to get the automation to work but I have more work to do trying to improve the formatting of the output. If you compare the output of the Feedzy posts captured here versus the first version I achieved here using Power Automate, there is a gap I need to fill.
As I progress, I will update this post with more detail of how I improve things and how the automation works will become clearer.
In the meantime, if you are interested, I can share an exported version of the current automation if you contact me.