Nowadays, there are countless ways for you to reach new customers and engage with them. An often overlooked method in the rush to conquer pay per click, email marketing and social media is good ol’ content curation.
Content curation is a powerful weapon in your inbound marketing arsenal. Done well, it can grow your social media following, increase your website traffic and ultimately, lead to more sales.
What is content curation?
The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (UK) defines content curation as “the process of analysing and sorting web content and presenting it in a meaningful and organising way around a specific theme”.
In practice, it means finding great content that’s been written by someone (not you) who knows what they’re talking about. Content can include:
- News articles
- Opinion pieces
Whatever you share, it should appeal to your followers (i.e. your target market), and provide them with something useful. People love reading about stuff they’re interested in, so why not indulge them?
For example, let's imagine you sell solar panels and heat pumps. You can share articles about the exciting things that are happening in the renewable energy industry. Or, if you run a fitness studio, you can share workout videos and diet plans from other fitness experts that’ll help your followers lead a healthier lifestyle.
The idea behind content curation is that it’s not all about you!
As Daljit Bhurji describes it in CIPR’s Share This: A Social Media Handbook for Professionals (one of my favourite marketing books):
Content curation is about being the part of the conversation, while not constantly demanding to be the centre of attention. Tweet This!
What are the benefits of content curation?
Looking for good content and sharing it with your followers has a myriad of benefits. Ask any marketing professional worth their salt, and they’ll tell you that posting lots of content is good for business. In fact, 57% say that you should be posting as many as 10 links a day.
This sounds like a lot (and it is), but it can have a significant impact on social media engagement, and the growth of your audience. From a basic sales point of view, a bigger audience means more people in your buying cycle, which (hopefully) means more sales.
- Content curation helps you build authority as a thought leader amongst your target audience. People are more willing to buy from those they trust and, if you are providing good information that helps them, you’re more likely to be trusted.
- It helps you move away from the typical ego-centric policy of pushing your own products. This is achieved by adding other voices and views to the mix, which adds value to your business. In other words, you create a richer environment for your followers.
- You can build brand awareness and add your own point of view to quality content you find from other industry leaders.
When you’re curating the right content and sharing it with your followers, you’re far more likely to attract those who are interested in buying what you’re selling.
How can you start curating content?
It’s not just about throwing out any old content, of course.
First off, you really need to know your demographics. You need to know who your followers are, what they’re interested in, and the kind of information they’re like to share.
Here are a few quick ways to find this out:
- Next time someone on retweets you on Twitter, have a look at their profile and see what sort of content they’re sharing and engaging with.
- Go through your list of followers and do the same. Take note of any common hashtags you see.
Secondly, you need a good strategy and some tools to find the content to share with your followers.
This means finding fresh, engaging content that engages your audience, rather than simply reposting useless content that’s been around for a while and shared to death. You should aim to strike a balance between topical and evergreen content.
Tools for content curation
Here are a few tools that you can use to make finding and sharing content a breeze:
- Feedly – an RSS feed aggregator for content. You can create categories, or ‘feeds’ to organise different sites and publishers for quick content discovery.
- Flipboard – similar to Feedly, but acts as more of a magazine. You can create boards and add publishers who regularly write content that your audience will want to read.
- Buffer – a social media planning tool. You can schedule posts in advance, and see which posts work well (i.e. get clicked, retweeted etc) with their built-in analytics suite.
- Hootsuite – similar to Buffer, but positions itself as a dashboard for all your social accounts. (I personally find their interface a bit overwhelming, and their post scheduling tool isn’t as smooth as Buffer’s.)
Finding enough content to pass onto your followers can seem like a big undertaking, but curation doesn’t have to be time consuming or expensive.
Put the right strategy in place and use it consistently, and you’ll soon see your audience growing and your sales conversions improving.