The realization that a meaningful and effective online marketing presence requires large amounts of content can often send small and lean midsize organizations spiraling into despair.
Larger organizations, after all, often have whole teams of writers, video producers, audio engineers and graphic artists churning out high-quality, branded content that they can distribute through their social media channels multiple times per day. There is no way smaller businesses with their available resources can compete. Or can they?
The value of content in online, inbound marketing can’t be understated. To embrace social marketing is to commit to audiences online in a disciplined and consistent way on a long-term basis. In plain English, this means you must post a minimum of five to seven days a week with information valuable to your audiences, with the goal of giving them the confidence they need to purchase from you. But what to post? A broken record of product promotion will likely turn off all but your most loyal of brand advocates; and as noted above, resources make it impossible for most to be able to produce copious amounts of quality content to distribute every day of the week.
The answer is content curation.
Content curation is the process of sifting through the huge amounts news, articles and videos found on the web, finding relevant ones and sharing them with your audiences in context to your own services.
Content curation is a component of any good content strategy. Clearly, you still should create your own content a few times a week, because that’s the content that creates backlinks to your website, boosting your SEO and your perceived expertise. But on the days you simply don’t have the time or resources write another blog post, take another picture, or produce another video, curation’s your answer.
Curation doesn’t mean stealing content and pretending it’s your own; like a curator at an art gallery, you provide share content that originated elsewhere, but add your own commentary and context so that it becomes another valuable piece of information. And it’s not about padding your social media with content for the sole sake of content; good content curation helps you create brand affinity for your organization by vetting the information that helps your audiences make sense of what you offer
Here, let’s do a little experiment. Right now, visit the Facebook or Twitter stream of an organization or business you admire. Make sure it’s a small or midsize one that posts pretty much every day of the week. Click through the links they share and you’ll most likely find that not all the articles go to that organization’s website; some, or maybe even several, have been produced by someone else. That means the content has been curated. For example, here’s a piece of curated content in the form of a graphic that will help you understand curation and content!
Good content curation still requires time, attention and focus. It takes patience to sift through the copious amounts of content out there and find the right pieces that will add value. But a good content curation strategy will help you understand what’s being said in the larger world by the reading you do to find it; and done well, will add value for your online communities.
For some great tips on curation, the Net2 Think Tank has compiled a great list of suggestions. Or, give SocialProse a call and we can advise you or help you execute a strategic content strategy of your own!
Lynn Christiansen Esquer is a principal at SocialProse. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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