Curating Quality Content for Results
Theodor Seuss Geisel was true to his word. Those familiar with his children’s books will know that his word count was low, his messages strong. His legacy is enduring ― his children’s books and quotes of wisdom, continue to be relevant.
A content marketer of his time, he saw through the Great Depression by drawing advertising campaigns for companies like General Electric, to drawing political cartoons, to making animated training films with the Signal Corps during WWII.
The key to his life-long career success was that he kept reinventing his work to be relevant as social and political environments evolved. Relevance is a theme I’m about to repeat many times...
From crass to rich
For a moment in time, the online pipeline went hysterical with publishing words, infographics, videos, memes and images. Content saturation was rife, inboxes were overflowing and people were drowning in the sticky density of it. Social media users were proclaiming periods of self-imposed bans, such was the magnitude of contagion of content oozing from every pixel of every screen.
‘Top 10 tips’ were detonating from desktops. Much of it was generic twaddle that is thankfully, slowly collapsing into the heap it should never have risen from in the first place.
Fortunately, in amongst all the noise, is rich, informative and relevant content that will endure. Poor quality content will continue to self-destruct as it has a very short shelf life when it comes to measurable results.
Curating quality content
Developing content that will help raise awareness of your brand, or engage and persuade your target market is simply not a task for the uninitiated. Professional communicators and journalists spend years of study and dedicated practice in developing persuasive key messages that align with marketing goals.
Understanding the analytics behind social media requires constant monitoring and staying up to date on emerging trends and industry changes. Success is not measured by Facebook likes or the number of LinkedIn connections, alone. Social media platforms have quickly evolved to paid advertising models, and being prepared to set aside social media marketing budgets is now a reality.
If you’re running a business, or a department, you may not have the time, budget or expertise to develop and implement a content strategy that involves generating fresh, relevant, quality content regularly.
The good news is, there is a lot of high quality, engaging content that has already been produced by professional communicators, journalists and marketers. Sharing this content, in my industry is referred to as ‘curating content’. Provided you attribute your information source clearly, and link directly to the online content source, in its entirety, you are not infringing copyright.
Many media outlets and content generators want you to do exactly that ― share their content by linking directly to it.
What is quality content?
I am a creator of written content, its what I love to do, but creating content can be time consuming and not practical for those not so inclined. From my experience and many lessons learned, I will only curate content that is:
“… topical and directly relevant to my target audience. It is sourced from a reputable media outlet, research institution or renowned thought leader, and is engaging in tone. The tone is aligned with the brand, and speaks to that brand’s audience. The content is supported by research, professional experience or reputation and, or, data that can be substantiated back to a reliable source. It is concise, articulate and written in plain language, or is an image or video that clearly articulates the intended messages.”
Relevance is key. For example a Melbourne audience of over 60s will be more likely to read an article on financing their retirement from The Age, the Herald Sun, or David Koch than they might from The Guardian UK. Importantly, social media and search engine algorithms respond more favourably to an alignment in the link being shared, with the audience’s demographics.
How do I find quality content?
There is some homework involved first. Before you even start looking for content to curate, you need to have a well-defined, formal content strategy. You need to be clear on what your brand is. You need to know exactly who your audience is, and what problem you’re helping them solve, or opportunity you are presenting to them. You need to know what topics they may be looking for online, and what will interest them. You need to know the online and social media channels they are most likely to be engaging in. And you need to know how frequently you need to engage them.
Investing time upfront in developing a three month online blog and social media publishing plan, will make your day to day online publishing tasks so much easier. The plan should be refreshed fortnightly, with the aim of keeping it three months ahead. The refresh should always consider analysis of audience engagement statistics – it will require consistent tweaking to improve your online results, and to keep on top of online marketing industry changes that can affect whether you are reaching your audience.
Then you can start your search for quality content to curate!
So…how do I find quality content?
Journalists have a lot to contribute to inspiring topical conversations. My number one source of finding topical, quality content to share and engage my audiences is using online news filters, like Google News.
Online news filters allow me to select a range of key words and topics that are relevant to my clients, and their audiences. Every morning, I check in to my personalised Google News homepage. The most current media articles from media publications I have chosen to source news from, all appear on the one page, sectioned into the topics I’ve chosen. It is very satisfying to comment on and post a relevant media article on a topic that is less than an hour or a day old, and then look at the engagement results!
When curating quality content to share on your blog or social media platforms, always accompany the link with a reflection on why the content is relevant to your audience. Show them that you understand them. Never publish an article that you haven’t read, or understood yourself. You need to demonstrate the relevance of the content you are sharing to what your business does, your credibility is part of your brand!