Content marketing often plays a big role in reaching prospects today, often replacing--or greatly diminishing--the role that direct mail, advertising, and trade shows once played in helping businesses cozy up to potential customers.
According to the Content Marketing Institute, 90% of B2C companies are now using content marketing. For most companies, that means focusing on developing white papers, webinars, blog content, and other types of branded content to spotlight their brands' capabilities and promote themselves as industry leaders.
Content curation—in which you promote an assortment of relevant industry content from other experts on your social media platforms, blogs, and email newsletters—may not seem like such a natural fit with that marketing mix. After all, why should you bother spending time promoting other people’s content instead of your own?
These days, prospective customers are taking longer than ever to make a purchasing decision—and they’re educating themselves rather than immediately reaching out to a sales representative. Forrester Research indicates that B2B buyers may be as much as 95% of the way through their buying journey before opting to reach out to the sales team. That makes it critical for your marketing team to develop relationships with prospects early in the game—before one of your competitors has won them over.
By bringing curation into your content marketing mix, you can build the same levels of engagement and brand trust as you would with a content generation-focused approach, with minimal time or financial investment. And even for companies with substantial resources, partnering content development with curation can help them deepen their engagement levels with prospects, customers, and industry influencers.
So why should you consider curating content from other publishers as part of your content marketing approach? Plenty of reasons:
1. It gives your customers what they want: One of the key goals of any content marketing approach is to provide genuine value so that your prospects will come to see you as a trustworthy resource that they can continually engage with--and buy from, when the time is right. By helping your followers and customers find informative, relevant content based around what’s important to them, you’re providing them with a valuable free service.
2. It engages with your prospects: Creating original, high-quality content can be time-consuming and expensive. As a result, many companies only create a few pieces of original content each quarter—and promoting these content resources too frequently risks alienating your followers. Content curation can help you continually nurture your relationship with your fans and followers, keeping your brand top of mind and increasing their loyalty to your company.
3. It showcases your expertise: Even if you don’t have the time to write about a topic in depth, curating compelling, relevant industry news and opinion pieces can help you demonstrate your own thought leadership—particularly if you add your own analysis to each piece of content that you share.
4. It gains the attention of influencers: By frequently promoting the work of influential writers and businesses within industries related to your own, you’ll be able to get your company onto these influencers’ radar in turn. That means you’ll be more likely to get their help with promoting your own content across their social media platforms and possibly even gain access to some of their valuable contacts for business deals.
5. It takes advantage of a minimal budget: If you don’t have the funds to hire dedicated staff to focus on developing content marketing collateral, focusing primarily on content curation requires minimal time and financial investment. It can help you increase your communication frequency and engagement level with prospects without the need to invest heavily in original content development.
Many successful brands and entrepreneurs, including the Content Marketing Institute’s founder, Joe Pulizzi, follow something called the “4-1-1 rule” on social media platforms such as Twitter. That means that for every link to your brand’s original content you post, you should share one relevant update from another organization and, more importantly, curate four pieces of content to share with your followers.
Even for those leading the pack in the content marketing industry, content curation is an essential tool for building your brand. Content curation is an affordable, sustainable strategy that can help your business achieve tangible results, both in the form of higher engagement levels and increased profitability. If you want to make the biggest impact from your content marketing program, it’s time to get started with content curation.