HootSuite is social media management software for managing social channels. Photo via fb.com
Surely, we all know by now the importance of content for your website, content for your social media, content for your internal employee communications and content for your customers; so it’s no secret that sometimes pushing all of this content can feel a bit redundant. Frankly, you're probably anxious about “running out of content.”
As more and more direct methods of communication avail themselves via the Internet, there are many channels demanding new, more and better stuff to read or view. The pressure is on to be interesting not only in person anymore, but also online. How in the world can you come up with all that content? Strategic content curation is your answer.
Content curation is not just for librarians and museum archivists anymore. We are all content curators to a degree in an information-vast society where an answer is available at the click of a mouse or clack of a few keys on your digital device.
We keep track of hundreds of industry resources at 834 Design & Marketing, which results in a pool of thousands of industry-related articles weekly for each client, so that we have a healthy mix of direct promotion of the client, education on industry trends or relevant industry news and sharable or fun, fluffy, feel-good items from community organizations, groups, nonprofits, etc.
Rule of thirds
In our industry, we refer to this concept as the rule of thirds, a concept stolen by social media folks from the photography industry, where you strategically set out to create a more flattering and deliberate design for your communications in order to appeal to your targeted audience.
The goal of this is to deviate from being a fountain of self-promotion where people are more likely to “turn you off” and, instead, become a well-rounded resource and leader within the community that you serve, fostering interest and engagement in your people, brand, product or service.
Content curation best practices
In an effort to organize and streamline the masses of data that we pour through daily at our firm, we have researched and developed a few best practices that aid in our contention curation strategies and then tactical execution for our clients.
1. Plan out your content in a strategic manner. Use a calendar, spreadsheet, Word doc or whatever you need to properly organize yourself. HubSpot has great templates available on its website free of charge, as well as a great idea for using Google calendars to manage that workload.
2. Employ a deliberate mix of scheduled and impromptu content activities.
3. No set-it-and-forget-it activities. Be ready to talk about it, respond, refer and further educate your audience when they choose to engage with you.
4. Content can come from anywhere; how you use it is important. Always draw the connection for the audience.
5. Vary the sources of content. While you will have your favorites, please mix it up. Heck, don’t be afraid to use a competitor’s blog or feed for inspiration, you may even find sharable content or a collaborative opportunity. No, this doesn’t mean your clients will jump ship and go to them, it shows you know and respect your competition. If you are scared to do this, then you probably have deeper problems within your company you should address.
6. When sharing or re-packaging content for your own, use proper attribution. That could be anything from an @ mention on Twitter to a backlink on a blog post, but be sure to give a proper hat tip where appropriate. Attribution can also be an opportunity to engage and connect with other people and organizations for even more serendipitous interactions (which lead to more content — a virtuous circle).
7. Mix it up. Use videos and photos, links, text, mentions, tags, etc. to create an interesting combination of mediums for your public to play with.
So what are you waiting for? To the Interwebs! You have content to curate.