Marketers need to publish content to succeed in our online world. This is the basic premise of many recent books on marketing, written by thought leaders such as David Meerman Scott in The New Rules of Marketing & PR, Ann Handley and CC Chapman in Content Rules, and Joe Pulizzi and Newt Barrett in Get Content. Get Customers. To execute a content marketing strategy, you need to put yourself in the mindset of a publisher by writing blog articles, producing podcasts, and authoring e-books and whitepapers. While most marketers understand the need to produce content, there is more that can be done to position your brand as the “go-to” source for your industry.
Before prospects make a decision to buy from you, they will do much more than just look at your content. Prospects tend to make decisions by consulting content from three distinct categories: expert content (analyst reports, industry and expert blogs, trade publications), peer group content (social media chatter, peer blogs, discussion boards), and vendor content (whitepapers, vendor case studies, vendor blogs). When creating content for your brand, you are helping to educate your prospects only through vendor content. Without content from the other two categories, they are left on their own, out of your reach, to find it themselves.
That’s why creating content is no longer enough: It is essential to curate content from other sources, as well. Content curation is the art of finding, organizing, and sharing the best and most relevant online content on a specific topic or issue. Just as a museum curator procures, contextualizes, and shares the most interesting masterpieces in a gallery, a content curator must do the same. As a content curator, a marketer brings together the most relevant content from the experts, from their peers, and from vendors (yes, even competitors), packaged into a single location for prospects to consume. Because content is continually being created by all of these parties, a content curator also must continually perform this task as well.
By curating content on a regular basis, over time, brands can establish themselves as a go-to resource for the industry, enabling them to consolidate, educate, and influence an emerging market. Take CMO.com, as an example. During the past two years, the Adobe site has been able to create the go-to destination for CMOs, garnering more than 100,000 page views per month and 10,000-plus newsletter subscribers, partly by creating compelling original content, but also by curating the best content for this audience on a regular basis. Other content curation examples include Novell, which created the go-to destination for cloud security, and Overture Networks, the go-to destination for carrier Ethernet.
Robert Davis, PJA Advertising’s senior vice president of digital marketing, believes that employing a content-curation strategy--in particular, curating third-party content--is essential for increasing a brand’s influence and position as a thought leader in its space. “Implementing a content curation strategy will almost always drive a higher degree of involvement with third-party content creators in your space,” he said. “You’ll simply spend more time reading and understanding their content and evaluating its relevance for your brand.”
In addition, industry experts and analysts have begun to focus on content curation as a key marketing strategy. “Content curation has emerged as one of the highest potential enterprise tools for B2B marketers to draw and engage specific audiences,” said Susan McKittrick of the Patricia Seybold Group, who has conducted several in-depth reports examining the growth of content curation within the realm of marketing. “It helps marketers find, highlight, build on, and share relevant, timely information of keen interest to an audience. Curated content becomes the source information for lead nurturing, social media engagement, thought leadership positioning, community cultivation, and drawing organic search traffic.”
In February, HiveFire surveyed more than 150 marketing professionals; our data supported McKittrick’s insights: Forty-eight percent of marketers are already employing content curation in some form or another, and 79 percent are using it for thought leadership. Also, 58 percent of those surveyed who are curating content are mixing both original and third-party content, which solidifies the curator’s credibility among its audience.
Content will always be king. Curation can help marketers produce and share better, prospect-engaging content by presenting a broader selection of peer, vendor, and expert sources in the context of a company’s brand. This will ultimately push the brand to the next level and position you as the go-to resource in your industry.