7 Great Excuses for Curating Content
We've all grown up learning that "sharing is caring," and when it comes to content marketing, it's no different. Content curation isn't just a great way to jump-start and maintain relationships with prospects and experts in your industry, it can also save you time and find new inspiration. There's no question that publishing original content is the ideal way to start building a distinct voice for your brand's personality. However, curating content can serve to supplement those efforts and solidify the identity that you're working to create.
The list of benefits is endless, but there are a few key advantages which highlight why curation should be a fundamental part of your marketing strategy. It's an excellent way to keep your finger on the pulse and stay up to date with industry news, forge connections with people in your sector, and reach out to potential relevant customers. It might take a short while to get used to, but once you've started integrating content curation into your daily list of tasks, it will quickly become a natural habit that you'll find to be essential to your morning routines.
Here are 7 reasons why content curation should play a role in your marketing approach:
1. Take Some Pressure off Your Content Creation
Just because you've created an editorial content calendar, doesn't mean it's easy to stick to. Although it's a great idea to determine, ahead of time, how many blog posts you should publish a week, there are often more urgent things that require your attention, and leave that goal wanting. Content creation is one way to overcome the pressure of churning out high-quality and valuale content on a daily basis, while helping you preserve some of your creative thinking for another week. This doesn't mean that marketers should stop writing original content, or give up trying to reach the weekly quota, just that it's a good way to supplement your content marketing activities.
The ideal approach is to set aside a block of time every morning, ideally between 30-60 minutes, to read through and curate the latest articles. One tired and true recommendation for media monitoring industry news and trends is Google Alerts. This is a free service which lets you define certain keywords, and receive e-mails with a full list of news and blog clips every time they are mentioned. These types of alerts can ensure you stay on track of brand mentions, competitors, news stories, and learn more about what's happening in your industry. Regardless of the tool you use, devoting a short amount of time in the morning to going over the latest developments in your industry should be a crucial part of your to-do list and is the best way to always stay informed.
Once you've gone through your alerts, start narrowing it down to the specific items you'd like to share. The frequency of curation - and the content itself - should always be tailored to each social network. For example, sharing at least 5 (or more) times a day is acceptable on Twitter, but it's probably ideal to share 1-2 times on your Facebook Page. Leveraging a social media management tool such as Oktopost, which has a built in content recommendation engine, can enable you to find and share content in minimal time, as well as track the actual performance of your curated articles.
2. Get Inspiration for Your Next Blog Post or Infographic
Speaking of the pressure involved in creating original content, coming up with fresh and interesting ideas every day is a challenging and exhausting task. Browsing through relevant, targeted content can help get your creative juices flowing and give your inspiration for your next blog post. Any time you read an article on a topic you find valuable or educational, bookmark it in a blog ideas folder or keep a running list, and refer back to it later. Once you reach a point where you're out of ideas, you can look through the list you've compiled and chances are, something will jump out at you.
Just remember that in this context, the point of curation is not to copy articles, but to see what topics are being discussed most in your community, elaborate on certain arguments by providing your brand's distinct perspective, or to pull relevant data or stats that you can later build on. Use the content you read as a guide to what people other marketers in your field are writing about. If possible, you can also check the social media share buttons in the article to see what kind of engagement the content has driven so far, and determine whether it successfully resonated with the audience.
If you're constantly on the go, and don't always have time to read everything in one sitting, Instapaper is a neat app that lets you save any article, video or other kind of content you encounter while browsing, and then read and manage all of the content on any device - even if you're offline. Instapaper also lets you highlight text within the article, so you can refer specifically to the quote, statistic or idea that captured your attention - without having to reread the entire article.
3. Discover Potential Business Opportunities
As mentioned above, content curation doesn't just supplement your content marketing strategy, it can also be leveraged to bring in new business. In this case, one recommended strategy is to identify the author of the article and do a bit of research on that person and the company they work for. Once you've read about the author, his or her position, and what the company does, try to figure out whether they could benefit from your product or service - and moreover, if they're currently using a similar product offered by your competitors.
If the author at hand is in fact a qualified target, use a tool such as Rapportive to figure out their e-mail. More often than not, the author's first name alone followed by the company's domain will be correct, though you can always try out a few first and last name combinations, or even a short search on Google if the latter doesn't work. When reaching out to writers, make sure to first tell them how valuable and engaging you found their content - and cite specific parts of the article you agreed with, enjoyed most, or could relate to.
Afterwards, provide a sentence or two on why you think their company can benefit from your offering, and the key unique value propositions. At the end of the e-mail, don't forget to include a simple call-to-action, such as request to schedule a call in the near future, demo or to send more information if they're interested.
Identifying e-mails and reaching out can be time consuming, so build a template in advance that you can easily modify to fit the specific author; don't forget to change the contact's name, the article you're referring to and which parts resonated with you, as well as the specific product or service you offer that best fits the company's needs.
4. Connect to and Interview Thought Leaders
Following the logic of the last benefit, apart from directly pinpointing new business opportunities, content curation can also help you connect with thought leaders. The most effective (and flattering way) to reach out is to schedule an interview. After reading an article, do a quick Google search to find out how well known the individual is in your industry. See if he or she has previously been a guest lecturer, how many Twitter followers they have, if they're ever published a book or manage a successful blog, and what's being said about them online. If you determine that the person is indeed knowledgeable on the subject matter, the next step is to e-mail them about a potential interview.
In the e-mail, refer to the original article where you found them, and explain why an interview with them would be a great addition to your company's blog. For example, you can show them similar interviews you've conducted with other thought leaders in your sector or original blog posts that relate to their field of expertise. Once they accept your offer, come up with a list of about 10-12 questions in advanced, based on your research of their work and company, and ask if they'd like to review them before the interview.
Record the interview so that you can turn it into a Podcast or SoundCloud file, or transcribe it and turn it into a blog post. In addition, once you form a relationship with the individual, you can ask if they'd like to learn more about your platform, become an affiliate, guest post for your blog, or host a webinar with you in the future. This is just one example of how many amazing connections you can build from investing just 30 minutes a day in curating content!
5. Stay on Top of Industry News and Trends
No matter what industry you're part of, staying in the know should always be your top priority. Whether there's a new trend is emerging, your top competitor just launched a new feature, or a groundbreaking merger recently occurred - you should know. Beyond reading the articles for your own knowledge and to show clients how well-informed you are, always share these types of articles with your social audience. This will build your credibility as a source for breaking news in the industry and prove to clients that your interests lie beyond solely promoting your own content, and actually making sure they are aware of the latest updates and developments as well.
One helpful tool for this is Feedly, a free online service which basically aggregates news clips from all of your top media sites in one place. With Feedly, you can either choose a particular sector, such as business, marketing or fashion, and then add the top recommended sources for each one, or manually add sites your frequent to your reading list. When you open the site, you can easily browse articles from all of the different publications - in the same location, and even view recommendations for other sources based on the ones you've already added.
6. Show Love to Thy Neighbor
Do you have brand ambassadors, power users or companies that you're on great terms with? Give them a virtual pat on the back by sharing content they generate (as long as it's relevant) with their social audience from time to time. This is a great way to show them that you're interested in what the company has to say, and think it's valuable enough to also share with your community. The easiest way to curate content from people you collaborate with is to track their company blog, or follow them on Twitter and simply retweet their content (and make sure to change the message that goes along with it).
If you're tweeting a piece of their content that you found online, remember to tag the specific person or company to bring their attention to your good deed. This is an excellent strategy for building positive relations with others and hopefully will motivate them to share your content as well. Reciprocation is the key to growing favorable ties, both online and offline, and curating content published by a customer or other partner is a good way to show you care about their success and helping them expand.
7. Establish Your Brand's Credibility
When you start developing a curation strategy, and people like the content that you're sharing, they'll come to regard you as a credible source they can rely on for great information. Beyond sharing your own content - which should always contain valuable and actionable advice - try to share articles that you know can help your audience improve at their specific jobs, and that they'll remember you for.
Eventually, people will turn to you and actively see what you're sharing, because they know that you carefully read the content before posting, and make sure to determine that the article is worth the time it takes to read it.
Photo Credit: Curating Content/shutterstock
Follow Valerie Levin on Twitter