I personally curate about 100 pieces of content every week. I do this for myself, my company Novus Asia and its various social channels. I do it for the Asia Content Marketing Association Twitter handle @AcmaAsia, and I do it for some big global companies.
Collectively, the content I curate gives creators exposure to hundreds of thousands of voices. People like me exist all over the word, but we are faceless when we are doing it for a brand. Even though we are faceless, we are here and we are helping you. So let me help you more.
Content curation is one of the most important tactics in your content marketing strategy. I recommend to my clients that 80 percent of the content they share on social channels be external content that is aligned to the story they are telling. This content can come from customers, partners, the media, analysts, influencers, solo bloggers, authors or speakers. The ‘net, as they say, is your oyster.
The benefit of curation is two-fold. Firstly, you are giving the creators amazing exposure for their stories (which they will appreciate). Secondly, you are building your brand as a one-stop-shop for relevant content on the topic you have defined for your customer. In the world of information overload, being a single source of relevant information should be your goal. But it can’t just be your own content that achieves this. It’s not a balanced view if it’s just your view.
Equally, the other reality is that very few brands have enough budget to create the copious amounts of content needed to feed their hungry social channels, unless they adopt a content curation strategy.
You can, of course, work with companies like Newscred, or pay direct to the publishers, such as The Economist or Forbes, for the right to publish their content on your site. But for most companies, curating content is the most cost-effective thing to do to build your profile and the loyalty of your customers, because you’re feeding them content that is improving their lives.
It works both ways, though. For the content you create, you must make it easy for curators to share it and give you accolades. I have been at this game for a few years now, and boy, some businesses and individuals make it hard for me to help them.
So rather than moan about it, let me tell you the biggest mistakes I’ve uncovered. Hopefully you can learn from this and make a few changes:
Lessons from a Content Curator for Content Creators
1. Always, always, always include a photo with your content. If I am sharing content on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Google+ or Pinterest, then it must have an image in the body of the text. If there is no image, I either do not share your content, or I take the additional step of finding an image and attach it to the post. However, the content needs to be really excellent for me to take this extra step. So please, find a photo site (I use fotalia.com) and include images. Here’s some stats to back this up:
Facebook posts that feature photos account for 87% of interactions on the site (eMarketer). Tweets with images receive 18% more clicks, 89% more favorites, and 150% more retweets than those without (Buffer). The stats are clear: don’t miss out on building your brand because you’re missing this simple step.
2. Be smart about images. One global brand I work with automatically populates its visuals with social sharing buttons as an image. I learnt this mistake the hard way. When boosting a post on Facebook, Facebook rejected my boost because it included the Facebook logo. So make sure the image connected to your content avoids your social sharing buttons.
3. Twitter. Okay, so here’s the thing. If you are creating content, you must be on Twitter. Why? Well it is the easiest way curators can acknowledge you as the creator of the content. Also, the majority of people curating content are scheduling it into social management tools, such as Hootsuite.
On Hootsuite you can include someone’s Twitter handle, but you cannot link them into other social channels —such as LinkedIn, Facebook pages, and so on. You need to be on those sites to do draw a person or business into a post. Therefore Twitter is critical if you want to elevate your brand. But the curator needs to be able to find your Twitter handle easily — and for those who don’t know, a Twitter handle is your address on Twitter (my handle is @AndreaTEdwards).
Once you’re on Twitter, make sure your handle is easy to find. In 90 percent of cases, I have to work very hard to find your Twitter handle to promote you. Don’t make me work hard. I actually put my handle as the title of my blog now because of my curation experiences. Can you do the same? Some tips:
- If you click on the Tweet button of your post and your Twitter handle is not in the automated content, put it in.
- If you are blogging on LinkedIn, make sure your Twitter address is included in your LinkedIn profile set up.
- Do not put your social address all the way down at the bottom of your page. Put it at the top. Make it easy to find.
- If you do not currently have your social channels featured around your blog content, get them featured today.
4. Make copying your headline easy. In the majority of cases, especially when sharing your content on Twitter, a curator is only looking to copy and paste your headline. Then they will add your handle, the link and two or three hashtags. But uh-oh: some sites do not allow cutting and pasting of the headline! That must stop or you’ll never get your content shared. Check your site now. For deeper content sharing (LinkedIn, Facebook, and others), an excellent curator will not copy the headline. Instead they will summarise the key reasons the audience should read your content.
5. Learn from existing websites. Like Jeffbullas.com, which makes life even easier for a curation professional. When you copy and paste the title of the blog post, the link to the post automatically populates too (like this: 7 Deadly Sins of Blog Post Writing — Read more at http://www.jeffbullas.com/2015/11/11/7-deadly-sins-blog-post-writing/#EH7fDrsQgzwth2d7.99). I love sites that do that. It makes my task so much easier.
6. Look at your blog design. I often have to reject blog content, even when it’s awesome content, because the site looks too juvenile. Thanks to Wordpress and other great platforms, having a professional site is not hard to achieve. Really take a look at your site, then look at the sites of the people most successful in your industry. How can you improve it and ensure it looks more professional? Believe it or not, people need to be told: this is super important.
7. Optimise the length of article title. As above, for Twitter, a curator is looking to copy and paste your headline. If your headline is too long or too short, then the curator needs to adapt it. A good guide is a title with no more than 60 to 70 characters. This ensures there’s space in a Tweet for hashtags and the link to the content.
Of course the most important thing of all is creating compelling content that is focused on solving a specific audience challenge. Your content needs to be about helping your customer, and if that customer is aligned to the customer I’m trying to reach, then I’ll help boost your audience for you. It’s really as simple as that. Too many people are writing promotional content — for themselves or their brands. There is no value for me to share that. So read your own content with a laser-like eye. Are you too self-promoting?
I really do want to make you a star, and if you’re creating content that is awesome and of value to the communities I am targeting, even more so. But you’ve got to help me. Go onto your content site now and experience the journey of someone like me, who’s looking to bring your story to thousands of people. Have you made my life easy? If not, it’s time to get it sorted. Curators work hard for you, but don’t make them work any harder than they have to.
Fellow curators, have I missed anything here? Let me know.
And please, if you like this, I’d love a comment, a like or a virtual hug. Of course, please feel free to share with your communities if you think they'll value it. It's the giving economy, right? If you like my style and what I talk about, feel free to follow me here, on Twitter or on Facebook. I've got lots of other blogs here on LinkedIn, as well as on my original blog www.andreatedwards.com, which I've been writing for a number of years. Thanks for reading.