If you're in advertising or marketing, you might have heard the term "Content Curation" thrown about quite a bit over the last year or so.
For those afraid to ask, content curation is the continual process of finding, reading, contextualizing and sharing of online content for a specific audience. For most marketing professionals, this will include clients (current and potential), colleagues, peers, vendors and those who are interested in the field. For those of us who share links on our Facebook or LinkedIn profiles, retweeting insights via Twitter or pinning images on Pinterest, we are already engaged in content curation. In this case, our friends and associates are our audience, and by sharing content that we believe would resonate and add value to the conversation, in many ways we are defining aspects of our personal brand to them.
Content curation then is an effective tactic and tool for your online marketing efforts and social media strategies but is by no means a magic bullet or quick fix for your online marketing woes. Great content curation takes a lot of hard work and thoughtful consideration of not only your company's brand and culture but also some insights into your client's needs and interests.What's good for the goose is good for the gander. Over the past few years, savvy marketers have learned to integrate content curation as a key component of their online marketing strategy. With the proliferation of online content in recent years (most of it bad or mediocre), people are eager to find ways to cut through the clutter. As such, brands or entities that regularly share insightful and well written content become trusted resources for pertinent and beneficial information and over time acquire a reputation of expertise and influence.
In addition to the traditional route of publishing white papers and articles on trends and industry topics, content curation has become an increasingly important digital strategy for brands to establish a reputation of thought leadership. Effective content curation offers several benefits to a target audience. It cuts through the online clutter and noise of mediocre or irrelevant content.
Below are six tips to help your company or organization implement an effective and low cost content curation strategy that can be tailored for your brand and should only take a couple of hours a week to pull off.
|Organizing your sources is crucial|
1. Read everything related to your industry and your client's business.
Share only what is relevant to your brand and audience. There are about a half-dozen news sites and blogs from which I regularly get my information. LinkedIn actually has a pretty good content curation system in place that customizes to your profile. If you have an iPad or iPhone, news apps like Flipboard, Pulse News and Zite are great ways to get customized feeds that provide great content. Zite by far is the most adaptable in my opinion since it allows me to rate articles and links, refining my feed over time. Twitter is another great platform to see what is being shared and what content is trending.
2. Vouch for the content you are sharing.
If someone shares something online that I come to find out they did not actually bother to read or fact-check. I usually unsubscribe from them since they just wasted my time. Every time you share, you are vouching for the quality of the content you are putting out there. This applies to retweets on Twitter and repins on Pinterest, since by re-sharing that content on those platforms you are making an endorsement.
3. Participate in the sharing ecosystem.
One mistake I see a number of content curators make is to share other people's content without making an effort to generate original content. Mix it up a bit. Post articles to your blog. If you don't have one, start one today. Ask people to contribute to your blog and offer to be a guest contributor to theirs, the cross linkage will become invaluable over time.
Don't be afraid to share resources from your competitors or other industry experts if it merits the attention. Your goal is to be a credible destination for thought leadership and expertise resources. Real recognizes real.
4. Engage on multiple platforms.
It used to be that visitors would come to your corporate website for the latest news and information about your brand. That is rarely the case now, people mostly limit themselves to around a dozen or so online sites nowadays but luckily these sites tend to fall under the following six categories (Search Engine, Wikipedia, News, Blogs, Social Networks, Shopping sites). Wherever your audience is most likely to be, you should have some sort of presence there. Chances are your competition is there already trying to engage with them. Target the popular social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. If you have a decent backlog of videos, commercials and interviews in your corporate archives, create a YouTube channel to get your content to appear there.
One pitfall I advise people to avoid: Don't connect your Twitter to LinkedIn or Facebook or vice versa. Many think this is an expedient time-saver but the three platforms serve very different, although often overlapping purposes. The nuance in etiquette and audience is subtly different for each. Also, each platform has differing best practices in how to engage and share content with your followers or fans. Take the time to investigate each platform on its own merits and tailor your content strategy accordingly.
5. Make it easy to share.
One critical key to your curation strategy is to get your audience to share your content. This helps extend and broaden the conversation with your brand and for resources and articles that are truly invaluable, making it easy to share will expand the reach of your content exponentially. Ways to do this include keeping your recap concise and insightful. If you're uploading videos, using platforms like Youtube and Vimeo to reach a broader audience. If you're developing your own content, making it easy to enable social bookmarking to take advantage of collaborative tagging and folksonomy. By making it easy to share you're helping to make your brand sticky.
6. Attribution is key.
With content curation, the bulk of the content you share with your audience will most likely than not, be content that someone else authored. As such it is critical that your attribution of it is thorough and consistent over time. Be sure to prominently cite your sources, and include link-backs to the original source. Also rather than cutting and pasting the original content in it's entirety, just include a portion of it and include a link back to the original article or blog post.