Your brand needs “content”. Everyone says so. "Your marketing will not succeed without great content", say the experts. I agree.
Many small businesses don’t have the cash to spend on full-time content marketing infrastructure. The average freelancer copywriter’s day rate is £342, while a freelance videographer for the day can cost an average of £1,000 for shooting and editing. Building an in-house content team is an on-going financial commitment.
You certainly can’t afford the time to do it yourself or get other staff members to take it on – you’ve got a business to run.
Content curation can be your saviour! Through a well laid out content curation strategy, harnessing the power of third-party content, you can add your voice to the conversation, position yourself, and your brand, as an authority on a subject and drive people to your work. Sounds good right?
As we’ve explored before, both content creation and content curation have their own distinct benefits. With both, you need a plan, in this case, a killer content curation strategy.
Without an effective content curation strategy, you'll simply be sharing content into the digital void. It's was a waste of time, effort and positive outcomes.
Just because you’re not creating it yourself doesn’t mean your approach can be unstructured and sporadic – a quality content curation strategy is so much more than simply sharing great content as and when you find it. It comes with goals, schedules and targets.
Sounds complicated? Not necessarily, you can easily create a content curation plan that sees you win big with your content marketing.
Follow this advice on creating a robust content curation strategy and help your brand cut through the noise:
Define your audience and put them first
An effective content curation strategy rests on defining the right content to share. First, you need to define who you are targeting.
Who are they, what are their goals and what will provide value to them? Content curation is so much more than sharing what you find interesting, it is a tool to connect directly with the values of the people you are trying to influence or sell to.
There are many useful tools to help define your target audience. Google Analytics ‘Audience’ tab, for example, will unlock a plethora of useful data based on visitors to your website such as age, gender and location.
The ‘Affinity’ stats will allow you to explore their values further, through lifestyle segments they belong to such as dog lovers or indie music fans. Additionally, the ‘in-market’ list will uncover their product-purchase interests.
Say you are an electronics retailer looking to target customers, the ‘Affinity’ tab will give show you the groups who have high traffic and low bounce rates (they leave immediately) on your website, such as ‘TV lovers’. It will also show you groups of people who you never expected to target, say ‘amateur radio fans’.
The In-Market will lay out what your website visitors have clicked on in terms of adverts and how they have converted. If 50% of your audience has been looking at a new television lately, you’ll be able to find that information out.
This simple tool can help paint a robust picture of your audience. For more information on building customer personas for content marketing to better understand your customers, read our previous blog on the subject.
Set your own goals
Now that you know ‘who’ to target it is important to examine ‘why’ you are doing it. What do you want to achieve with your content curation strategy?
Do you want to be seen as an authority in one specific area? Promote your business? Gain more followers and likes on social media?
Answering these questions will further help you decide on what the right content to curate is and what platforms will be best for your activity.
Identify only the best and most relevant content
This is the real heart of a successful content curation strategy and is in many ways the most important part.
According to Nielson Company, the average person spends 10 hours a day in front of a screen with over 18s spend an average of over 5 hours a week simply scrolling through social feeds alone.
Getting organised and having a process for identifying the most relevant content for your audience is essential.
It is so easy to drown in the tsunami of content on the internet every day and even for the most specialist if niches it can be too much to manage.
It's simpler than you think
It’s simpler than you think to cut through the noise and find the best content.
Start by identifying a list of websites and blogs that regularly publish content that will be of interest to your target audience. Subscribe to their email lists to receive their best content to your inbox. Use an RSS reader such as Feedly and add those sites to it. This will collect all the relevant content into one easy to manage feed.
Some useful tools
Pocket is a tool to help make all your hours of scrolling productive. During your time online you’ll no doubt find several pieces of content that fit your content curation needs. Some might get bookmarked and others fall off the radar completely.
As a browser extension Pocket allows you to easily save content to read and share later. You can even organise into topics to make keeping on top of the best content.
Google Alerts is also a good tool to keep updated on content around specific topics. Using this service, you can set up email alerts around certain topics.
On Twitter, creating Twitter lists of relevant topics and influencers in the field you are covering is a good what to stay on top of the big topics of discussion on social media.
Deciding the relevancy of content will come down to human decision-making and will rest on your understanding of the above planning around audience and goals.
Make a calendar
Spend a little time to find the relevant industry days and events that you can piggy-back off of to be part of a wider conversation. In particular, social media “days” can be a quick and easy win if planned in advance.
Define the best content type for your curation
This will again stem from a real understanding of your target audience. What platforms do they use the most and how often?
Will a weekly email newsletter hit the mark? Is LinkedIn best for your professional audience or does your audience mainly use Twitter? Is the content best repurposed for your own blog?
Define the best ways to reach your customers before you start, and you’ll reap the rewards. It is a myth that to be successful in content marketing you need to hit every channel all the time. This is not the case, focus on where you can add the most value to your audience and your own brand.
Make your content curation strategy a multi-channel experience
That being said, you should aim to make your content curation strategy a multi-channel experience to hit the widest audience. If a person misses one post, they might see another so always increase your chances of connection.
You might share the same piece of content on Instagram, Twitter and then via a weekly newsletter to your subscribers (a perfect way to get all of your weekly content curation activity out in one blast to those who want it).
Using software like MailChimp or SendinBlue you can easily create subscriber lists and brilliant looking email blasts to send out each week. Initially, this will take some time and work but in the long run, there will be huge benefits.
Managing several different social media channels can be a headache – who has the time to be logging in and out of all these different places? Take control of everything from one place using a platform like Hootsuite which allows you to manage posts across different social media platforms from one place, including scheduling. This is perfect for keeping on top of social media days and industry events.
Analyse and adapt
Content curation is not just sharing! Stick to the mantra “analyse and adapt”.
Don’t simply click share on a social media post and be done with it. Read the content and add some new perspective and your thoughts to what the content is about. Display the fact that you understand the market and have something to say.
For your own blog, building seemingly original content around third-party content is a brilliant way to bring yourself into a conversation with authority.
This is a common practice even amongst the biggest content platforms in the world. A good daily example of this is political interviews. Media outlets regularly use interviews (video and written) as the basis of their content, such as this in the Mirror, in this case, the original producers, radio station LBC even used their own interview to produce further content, using the opportunity to post additional old video footage to illustrate the point.
With very little effort these websites produce authoritative content that will connect with their own audience, adapting the focus to push their own agenda. This is no different in marketing and how these outlets repurpose content, be it reports, interviews or infographics provides some great pointers to doing it yourself.
Additionally, you can repurpose a single piece of content for things like infographics, different social media posts and your own blog posts. Think about how you can get the most mileage out of what you are sharing.
LBC are masters at getting the most out of their content after it airs. Once a show had broadcast (it is live in video and radio), snippets appear on social media quickly, extending the reach and value of that content. Although, you’re producing your own content, think about how to get the most mileage from the content you curate.
Can it appear in your blog, social media, a newsletter? Increase your impact for as little work as possible by making the content and the platforms work for you.
Create a process for using the content as widely as possible. For content curation activity, I often create a form and checklist to fill in to make sure all the angles are covered.
Bring other thought leaders into the discussion
Force yourself into the discussion of industry thought-leaders and bring them into your own discussions. They will bring credibility and a willing audience with them.
Identifying influencers can be a big job in itself but, at its basic level, can be as simple as having a Twitter list of the top publications and voices in your field.
If you want to get serious about identifying influencers there are many in-depth tools such as Traackr are great for finding exactly the right people who have a prominent voice in your field.
When you use reports or views from organisations or individuals that will amplify your voice make sure you tag them into the post.
Give credit where it is due, especially if it will benefit your brand by doing so.
All this will give you a great starting point to create a successful content curation strategy that will elevate your brand and make you the centre of the discussions you need to be in.
Need to know more about how content curation strategy can work for your business? Book your free 30 minutes consultation today.