Content marketers are always trying to build a following, but it seems that so few manage to do so successfully.
There are tons of brands that should have a growing following – ones that are creating great content. Often, though, they are missing a key ingredient to their crowd-building strategy: Content curation.
There are so, so many organizations that don’t curate content and it is a shame. It’s not that hard. It’s not expensive. All it takes is a little time.
Break yourself out of the cycle of making content and sharing. You have to give your audience a little variety – and that is done through content curation.
Nobody Likes a Stuttering Stream
Having content that comes out in spurts is like watching a television show. You get really excited looking forward to the next season. But when that next season doesn’t come that excitement fades.
That’s what happens when you don’t put out content on a regular schedule.
Part of what makes a content strategy work is consistency. You need a constant and consistent stream of content to keep your audience entertained. And, unless you’re part of a content-making machine, it is typically not easy (or, in some cases, possible) to continuously create and distribute quality content.
Curated content fills those gaps in the stream, while you are working to create new and better content.
You Can’t Always Make It in Time
Along those same lines, there are times when news breaks and it’s not possible for you to create original content quickly enough. Timeliness matters in content, and if you want to build your content, simply getting the information out there quick is better than taking too much time and missing the moment.
If, after the heat of the moment has died down, you still want to write a piece of content about it, then do so (just ensure the content won’t be outdated by the time you write it).
It Gathers Your Audience
While your original content might be amazing, a little diversity goes a long way. You might choose to share a piece of content that’s relevant to your audience, but you didn’t personally have the knowledge to write. You might just need the variety. Either way your audience gains value from your curation.
Having your links go somewhere besides your own website will also go a long way. Remember that with your content strategy, you are trying to make yourself valuable to your customers and create relationships with them.
Curating content helps you start that relationship. It’s like you’re recommending reading to a friend or student of yours. You’re saving them time by recommending them reading and they know that yu’re reliable because you are checking other sources.
You’ll Make New Friends
By sharing the content of others, you not only get to create a relationship with your audience, but you can also create relationships with the content creators and the brands they represent.
Everyone likes to see their work shared; it builds their reputation while also helping you.
On social, be sure to tag the author or the brand (or both). Link to them if you are featuring them on your website or in an email. The promotion could do wonders for your brand’s relationship with that particular influencer or brand.
Convinced yet? Yeah? Okay, so how do you make good content curation happen?
1. Find Your Target Audience
Determine the type of people who should be following you; those who would want to follow you, but aren’t.
Without a clear idea of who your target audience is, it will be that much harder to select content for your audience. Think about who they are and what their motivations are. Think about the things that scare them about the industry and the things that awe them.
Section off your audience, remember they aren’t all the same. Once you’ve created an accurate picture of your audience, figure out the unique ways you solve their problems.
Now move forward to pick the right content.
2. Find Underground Content (Make Sure It’s Good)
The point of content curation is to share content that might not necessarily be in the “mainstream” of your industry.
That means you want to limit sharing from the brands that everyone shares from.
A good rule of thumb is to share content from places that are relevant to your audience about 10 to 20% of the time. Since the amount that they are relevant is smaller, it means that you target audience is less likely to find them.
That’s where you come in. Curating content is like your artist friend sharing the work of awesome artists you’ve never heard of. Or getting recommended an indy band, rather than a major label. Your prospects can find the mainstream content, but you need to show them the hidden gems. That’s what makes content curation effective.
3. Play With the Wording
It’s easy to hit the share button and just let the tweet remain as the authors created. Or you may be tempted to just put the title as the whole your tweet, accompanied with the shortened link.
Don’t do either.
The generic tweet combinations with title and link are so uninteresting, especially when you and three other content curators all share an identical tweet within minutes of each other.
Switch it up, make the title better than the original if you can. That’s how content curation is made more effective.
4. Add Your Own Commentary
On that note, feel free to completely switch up the wording of a tweet. Add your own commentary, share your opinion.
Give the piece a little context. Don’t just copy context from the body of the text either. Add original commentary.
Explain why you are sharing this tweet. It feels more like that recommendation from a friend, compared to a strategy by a brand.
5. Have the Right Blend of Content
Hootsuite recommends a “Rule of Thirds” when it comes to social media. That means:
1/3 of your social content promotes your business
1/3 of your social content should reveal and share content from thought-leaders or like-minded businesses
1/3 of your social content should be personal. Interact with those interacting with your content and it will help your brand.
This is a decent way to balance all of your marketing efforts. Having a blend similar to this across all campaigns will build your audience and your brand.
Curated content can be the difference between hundreds of followers and thousands of followers. Remember this powerful weapon in your content marketing arsenal.
Is your brand curating content? Why or why not? What results have you seen? Let us know in the comments section.
Acadia Otlowski is the editor and copywriter at HiP. She handles writing subject lines and email copy as well as contributing weekly to the blog. Acadia is a journalism major turned marketing enthusiast with a heavy background in research and writing. Outside of work, she is an avid reader and storyteller, as well as a fire performer.