Content is fundamental to the social Web. Companies must maintain a consistent presence on the social Web or they stand the risk of losing their audience’s attention. Curation allows businesses to continually update their presence without relying solely on their own original content. With more and more content accessible each day, you do not need to create all original content. Approximately 50% of your content should be interesting, relevant content that you have curated from credible sources.
Why Curation Matters
Repurposed content is the currency of the social web. Approximately 25% of tweets contain links to outside content, but 56% of retweets contain links. Social media dwellers in general, and Twitter users in particular, love to be the one to share news and pass on links to great content they’ve discovered. Twitter streams that are consistently out front with hot news and relevant links build large followings. It’s clear that frequency is crucial to success in social media.
However, more than 90% of retweets happen within the first hour after the original tweet was posted. Blink, and the Twitterverse is on to the next thing. You have to be a consistent presence or attention drifts elsewhere. Maintaining that presence with a constant flow of new, relevant, high-interest content is challenging, to say the least. When you rely only on self-created content, your social media output quickly becomes unsustainable in terms of time, human resources, and inspiration. Content curation is a way to lighten that load. Curation allows you to continually update your web presence without relying solely on your own output.
With that consistent, high-quality content flow comes higher visibility for your brand, as well as increased authority with customers and potential customers. When you link from your social channels to each new post, you drive traffic to your site. And even if they come for the curated content, what they get is exposure to your brand. What you get is another chance to make a sale, turn a potential client into an actual client, and solidify relationships with existing customers.
Even if you’re sold on the benefits of content curation for your business, it’s easy to lose your direction when it comes time to implement it.
We’ve identified 12 steps that will keep you on track with best practices and practical advice for implementing curation in your business. Let’s take a look at the first 2.
1. Define Your Brand
Branding is the reduction of purchase risk. When a potential customer for your product or service can choose between a known entity and an unfamiliar brand, the customer is likely to take the safe bet—“go with what you know,” right? Which means you have to get known. And not just known, but trusted.
Use your social channels, and the content that populates them, to clearly define what you do. This allows you to reduce the perceived risk associated with purchasing your product. You become a known quantity through your social media identity before you’ve even made a sale or sealed a deal with a potential customer.
Content marketing allows you to interact with and prove yourself to potential customers. If they discover a brand they deem trustworthy or that aligns with their values, they share that information with others in their social networks. Visibility legitimizes your brand.
Your social presence also provides a sense of transparency. Through blog posts, tweets, and Facebook updates, your customers can see the real people behind the brand, instead of a faceless corporate “identity” pushing a standard marketing message. If you commit to maintaining a responsive social presence—for instance, by cultivating a lively and interactive comments community—they can even interact with you and with other customers. Transparency breeds trust, and further strengthens relationships with customers who feel they know what you’re about.
Today’s brand managers must be outstanding curators of brand values and identity. Every interaction is an opportunity to define your brand. A focused, savvy social web presence creates these opportunities on a scale that’s not possible any other way.
2. Build a Team
When you get serious about content curation, ideally you’ll need to create a team to oversee your efforts. As you build the team, think about the qualities that make a great curator. You want people who are:
- Knowledgeable about your market and your target audience
- Confident in their judgment, taste, and intuition
- Discerning, with high quality standards
- Intellectually curious
- Able to spot—and shape—trends
If you don’t have the resources to dedicate a team to content marketing and curation, you can still use these qualities to assess whose skill set is the best match for the job. Although a team approach allows you to spread the workload and cull the most suitable personnel for the job, just one person with the interest, motivation, and drive can get the job done just as well, and gives you greater flexibility than a team approach.
The team’s first task should be to build a document that details your policy guidelines. If you haven’t already, you and your team must define your focus in terms of curation. Keep it narrow and specific. Consider both your company’s goals and what will interest your customers, find the intersection, and plant your flag there. State your focus clearly in your guidelines, so everyone’s on the same page.
Meet every two weeks to discuss recent posts and their strengths and weaknesses. Discuss relevant trends you’d like to focus on. Examine data to learn what’s generating strong responses and what’s getting ignored. Ongoing analysis of results will help you continually sharpen your focus and pinpoint what resonates with your target audience. Be flexible and able to respond quickly. Don’t let your audience drift away while you’re debating strategy.
Social channels provide instant feedback from users, whether in the form of retweets or other sharing, or directly as comments, replies to tweets, and posts to your Facebook page. Take advantage of this to gauge your efforts, and fine-tune as needed.
And There’s More
Brand visibility, thought leadership and deeper audience engagement are all the result of content curation done right. Companies across all industries need to put a concerted effort into finding and sharing relevant, credible content and posting it to their website and social channels. By using technology such as content marketing platforms, companies are experiencing tangible results including increased brand awareness and improved sales.