Add Flavor and Variety but Focus on Context and Quality
I got a phone call from a client, the marketing head of a mid-sized technology company here in Canada. She picked up on my blog post from last week about “Top 5 CMO Resolutions for 2013”.
Now this CMO also happens to be an art collector and during the course of our conversation, she asked if I had heard of John Elderfield. I had not, so she enlightened me that Elderfield was once the Chief Curator of painting and sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMa) New York. In 2005, he was among Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People. That aside, the reason my client said she thought of Elderfield was because of this quote:
“For a curator, the two great thrills are, first, finding and acquiring real monuments of art. The other part is being able to hang them.”
It is the second part—being able to hang them—that my client said she struggled with as an avid art collector. It’s also the task she sees as a challenge when it comes to ongoing content curation. Her anxiety is not unfounded. She went on to discuss what I wrote in my post last week, that valuable, meaningful content does not all have to be produced in-house—it can be outsourced, curated and compiled. “Curation” caught her attention. “That sounds like it should be easy, but I don’t think it is. Do you recommend any good content curation tools or software we can consider?” That took us straight into another half hour or more of getting to the bottom of digital content curation as an effective B2B marketing strategy and understanding what it really means.
Our conversation gave me enough material to write a series of 3 blog posts which I plan to cover as follows:
- What content curation is or isn’t
- What makes content curation similar to wine tasting—this one will including tips from my sommelier nephew in South Africa, a young man with more than a few titles and awards under his belt
- Content curation tools for B2B marketers
I am sharing in my post today what my client and I discussed at the outset of our phone conversation. I believe it will help clear some confusion on one of the most rapidly increasing content marketing trends. We started with clearing up some myths and misinterpretations.
What Content Curation Should NOT Be:
- Really Stupid Syndication (RSS): Sharing content with an RSS feed (okay, the actual expansion of the acronym is Really Simple Syndication) is the easiest thing to do but it needs to be much more than that. Remember that your target audience is not coming to a garage sale; they don’t have the time. And the more you waste any precious seconds of their time with mindless automation tools for content sharing, the further away you push them.
- Spray and Pray: Link spraying is mistakenly understood as a form of content curation that enables consistent sharing. Remember that there are enough free tools out there and more than enough intelligence among buyers to be able to discern on their own what type of content, how often and in what form they want to receive it. Simply sending out links that you think will be interesting can do more damage than good because you will end up flooding your readers with what they have already seen all over the web.
- Repetition: Repeating what others say is highly appreciated…sure, when it comes from a parrot! Repeating what better known authorities in the field are saying without putting things in context and bringing in your own perspective or unique approach is meaningless.
What Content Curation Really OUGHT to Be:
- For Human Beings: Not for the (search engine) spiders and not to make the walls look good. Art hung in a museum is meant to delight both art connoisseurs and every day visitors. The best pieces are the ones that create a unique experience for every individual exposed to them; often because of the way in which they are displayed and the introduction by the guide or curator. A caveat here that your target audience, while composed of a mix of individuals and organizations, is still within the defined space of B2B; so keep that in mind when selecting the type of content you curate.
- Selectively Handpicked: Choose carefully, taste for yourself, package it well, stylize to make it unique and share with segmented lists of your target audience. A global online community such as CustomerThink shares the finest content from various thought leaders and despite the expanse and quality of this site, I was very pleased to note that their editorial team manually reviews every blog post of their regular contributors and top authors before posting on their own site. Definitely a best practice I recommend for others to imbibe and follow in the content curation world.
- Synchronized with Your Brand: What does your brand positioning and brand strategy seek to communicate to your target audience? What is the “voice” your company is associated with and recognized for? Make sure your content curation initiatives are in synch with these. In your excitement to share unique, quirky or anecdotal content, it is easy to get carried away and send mixed messages to your target audience.
- On Schedule: Now don’t confuse this for an automated feed. What I mean here is that it helps to have some form of schedule for topics, a content blueprint, or an editorial calendar in place. Finding the right content to share is easier when you know what you are looking for. You may or may not stick to a specific publishing or sharing schedule—that is entirely dependent on what your target audience prefers or expects and what resources you have in order to meet those requirements.
Just like with social media, the craving for frequency and volume rather than quality and context seems to be an overriding trend in content curation. But as I’ve said in a previous post, there is more to be gained from engagement than there is from mere distribution.
Next week I promise to bring you some great wine tasting tips, drawing parallels to content curation in the B2B marketing space. Please email or call me, Louis Foong, at (905) 709-3827 if you have questions or any experiences to share about content curation.
Until then, CHEERS…