As a small business, I’m sure you are finding that having a strong presence on the web is becoming ever more important. Especially with the rise of mobile phone technology, customers can look for your service or product when they are ready to make a purchase. If they don’t find you in their search, or hear about you in their social networks, you lose the sale.
One of the best and safest ways to get your small business website noticed by search engines is to provide regular, quality content on your site. Above and beyond your product or service descriptions and white papers, this also means a variety of news and information that are relevant to your customers. This is called Content Marketing, and it is becoming the key focus of marketing for businesses big and small. Content curation is a key part of this effort, and focuses on finding articles and information related to your business that provide value to your clients.
Why Content Marketing?
While you can write about your products and services, how they can help your customers and discuss use cases and tips, you also need to come up with content that is not just about you. This content could include news about your industry, trends in your city, news and ideas about items related to your product or service, maybe new technology that may impact your products or services in the future. This has several advantages.
- You build authority by discussing and reviewing overall trends in your industry or niche.
- You are providing new content that your customers value, and they’ll come back to your site to read it.
- Search engines see a wider range of content and keywords that makes your site look deeper and authoritative
- Search engines see regular, new content showing up on your site, and they love active sites.
Finding this related content is what Content Curation is all about. There are people already writing about your industry or niche, many of them great writers with a large following. Finding the best of these sources and articles and bringing them to your site for your clients is the focus of content curation. Some examples of how small businesses might use curation include:
- A real estate agency that posts interesting articles on the local community
- A local fashion retailer bringing the latest trends to their site
- A law firm highlighting articles on how new tax laws may affect their clients
- A valve company keeping up with trends in their main niche of water treatment plants
To make this effective, you need to add your comments and opinions about the articles and news you post – and always provide an attribution link to the original article. Start with a paragraph about why you think this is valuable for your clients. As you get in a routine, you can start to expand your writing. Maybe you write a longer discussion of how this trend will affect your clients business. You could also post quotes from several articles and discuss the difference between their viewpoints.
The more you personalize and write your own discussions, the more effective content curation will become for your site. It is your voice that not only builds authority and engagement with your clients and prospects, it is what also creates ‘valuable’ content in the eyes of the search engines.
Content Curation Tools make it Easier
To help make this more efficient, or speed it up, it helps to have some curation tools. Sites such as Scoop.it or Storify can help you organize your curation. They make it easy to get started as well as plug you into a network of other curators. If you want to focus your curation and later creation efforts on your blog or marketing site, you might use a tool such as the MyCurator content curation plugin for WordPress blogs. These tools can help bring an efficient, repeatable process to your curation efforts.
Most tools provide the most support to the discovery process. They search the web for content relevant to your niche or business. With MyCurator for example, the articles found are automatically created with an excerpt, image if found, title and attribution to the original source in a private section on your blog. You can update the quote or excerpt by just clicking on relevant paragraphs of the full article text available in the WordPress editor. Similarly images that are included in the article can be added to your curated post with a click.
Of course, it will now be up to you to start writing a short discussion of why you think this article or post is important – no tool will make that easier! Start small though, and focus on getting an article curated once or twice a week. After a few weeks, you can start expanding your writing and discussion.
To help you with longer curated discussions and even writing your own content, you may want to save several articles found by your tool for later. If your curation tool doesn’t have that feature, a product like Evernote can be a great way to save material. MyCurator has a Notebook feature built in that lets you save important articles found by MyCurator for later use. You may then easily add the full text of all the articles in your Notebook into your editor as you create a post. From their you can easily click to copy quotes, images and attribution into your new piece.
Curated Resources for Further Learning
After getting a few curated posts under your belt, you may want to dive a little deeper into the how and why of curation. I’ve gathered some of my favorites for further research, but you will find there is a wealth of writing out there on this topic.
The first post to read is the most referenced discussion of content curation by Beth Kanter:
Content curation is the process of sorting through the vast amounts of content on the web and presenting it in a meaningful and organized way around a specific theme. The work involves sifting, sorting, arranging, and publishing information. A content curator cherry picks the best content that is important and relevant to share with their community. It isn’t unlike what a museum curator does to produce an exhibition: They identify the theme, they provide the context, they decide which paintings to hang on the wall, how they should be annotated, and how they should be displayed for the public.
As mentioned in this article, curation is just one aspect of producing content for your site. This article has 5 tips on building content for small businesses:
Just because you don’t have the marketing budget of Nike or an army of copywriters at your disposal, however, doesn’t mean you can’t produce enough content for your small business. While you’re competitors scramble to blast out content at the expense of important business matters, you can produce enough content for your audience without having to sleep under your desk at night and/or write blog posts in the shower.
This is a great list of ideas for content curation, from where to find articles to what type of content to curate:
Curation is not an opt-out or quick fix. It happens over time. When a brand does a good job of defining what it stands for, demonstrating a commitment to an editorial calendar that remains on-topic will play a powerful part in building consumer trust online. Of course it cannot exist in isolation, being active in relevant social networks, industry events and of course originating your own content play a part. Curation can play the central role in creating awareness and credibility when it’s well integrated. It could be that as much as 80% of your content can be curated too, it’d depend on your marketing objectives and strategy.
View Original at www.smartinsights.com
Finally, a great discussion of why curation expands your approach to prospects from just sales to offering solutions to their problems:
Brands need to look beyond themselves because in order to integrate their company and content into the lives of their target audience, they have to answer a need or want. Their is an expectation that digital content goes far beyond marketing messages; you can thank all the savvy marketers before you for that. Now, many brands are quite adept at generating their own unique content that connects back to the business in a more tangential way. However, there is an additional way to widen your content scope to complement your original content and become known for more than simply provider of product XYZ – content curation.
This article was originally published on www.target-info.net