Content marketing – creating and sharing your own blog entries, videos, infographics and more to attract customer attention and drive sales – is a great strategy to promote your small business. However, great doesn’t mean easy.
Many small business owners have discovered that consistently creating, sharing and promoting original, high quality content is a difficult, time-consuming task. Things become more complicated when you realize that to be an effective content marketer, you don’t just need good content, you need a lot of good content.
What Is Content Curation?
That’s where content curation comes in. Content curation involves gathering, organizing and sharing online content that you think your customers will really appreciate. This content doesn’t have to be directly tied to your products or services, but instead speak to topics you know your customers are interested in.
For example, a wedding planner could collect all kinds of content about wedding dresses, fresh flower arrangements, cake design, etiquette and more. Even though the wedding planner doesn’t provide any of these services, they’re obviously topics of interest to their clients.
Today’s customers are perpetually hungry for information. You don’t have to do the work of creating this information yourself – but by providing organized access to it, you enjoy the benefit of having a reason for your customers to engage with your brand, often directly on your website.
Content Curation sites such as paper.li, Rebel Mouse, and Storify automate the content curation process to some extent. These sites make it easier to find content that will be interesting to your customers by searching websites and social media for the keywords and topics you indicate are most relevant. Some sites also offer the ability to include content recommended by other users.
Free or Low-Cost Content Curation Tools
Create a daily, weekly or monthly customizable newspaper delivered directly to your subscribers’ inbox. Easy to use newsroom allows you to automatically draw content from the sites and social media platforms more relevant to your customers. Make sure to take advantage of the editor’s note feature that allows you to speak directly to your readership.
Organize and display all of the content from your social media presence in one central, visually compelling location. If you’re like the typical small business owner, a significant amount of the content on your social media site is not material you created yourself, and is instead items you shared from other sources.
Rebel Mouse allows you to make the most of your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, and LinkedIn content. RebelMouse can be embedded in your company’s website, adding a valuable element of dynamic content for SEO (search engine optimization) purposes. Strategic use of the Event functionality can help you maximize the return from any events your business attends, participates in or hosts.
Combine your own content with content you’ve found online or had recommended to you by other Scoop.it users on Topic Pages. Slightly more labor-intensive than Paper.li, Scoop.it allows business owners to send out a monthly newsletter at the free level; weekly newsletter functionality becomes available at the paid level.
Collect content from across the Web and publish what you’ve found on Storify’s platform, which can be embedded in your own website. Easily shared content is a great way to connect with your customers. At the paid level, Storify offers privacy settings which make it an ideal tool for internal communications regarding market research and other online inquiries.
Smart Digital Marketing: Clarity and Commitment Count
Content curation can be a valuable tool to add to your marketing mix. Before you move forward, however, take the time to think through what you’re going to accomplish with your content curation efforts.
It helps to think of a content curation platform as a custom newspaper or magazine that you’re creating for your customers. You want to be very clear about what type of content you want to feature. What topics are you going to discuss? What type of tone do you want your publication to have?
Creating parameters for the content you want to feature will make the selection process easier. It’s much better to be organized and systematic than it is to try to fly by the seat of your pants.
Commitment is the other consideration to take into account. Content curation platforms allow you to connect with your customers often – sometimes even daily. However, you need to objectively analyze whether that level of engagement is sustainable for your business. Just because content curation is less work than creating original content, it doesn’t mean it’s no work at all.
Focus on quality. It’s much better to create a good newsletter or magazine that’s updated weekly or even monthly than it is to put something of lesser quality out more frequently. Smart integration of content curation platforms into your digital marketing toolbox can make the process relatively easy – and even a little fun.
Content Curation Concept Photo via Shutterstock