4 Ways to Optimize your Brand’s Content Curation Process
Blog Post written by Brad Halasz
We’ve talked a lot recently about marketers starting thinking like publishers. We’ve outlined three key phases of the publishing cycle: planning, sourcing, and governing.
To dive deeper, let’s take a look at sourcing content. After your team of go-getter content strategists have planned for the type of content that is required to meet business, brand and consumer needs — the type of content that’s going to inspire, resonate and promote engagement through relationship building — you are now tasked with the question: Where’s all this awesome content going to come from?
Creating content from scratch is expensive and time consuming. Chances are you already have plenty of usable content at your disposal. If you’re a major corporation, chances are you have too much.
This is where the emerging concept of content curation can help. Content curation is “defined as a highly proactive and selective approach to finding, collecting, presenting and displaying digital content around predefined sets of criteria and subject matter,” according to Rebecca Lieb, Vice President, North America at Econsultancy.
Content curation is more than just a Google search of your company name, though. Curating good content takes time and good editorial judgment. Here are 4 things to think about when curating content.
1. Rage against the machine
The singularity may be near, but robots don’t have feelings just yet (exceptions: R2D2 and the Speak ‘n’ Spell of my youth).
It’s important to note the distinction between content curation and content aggregation. Aggregation uses algorithms to find and link content, Google being the most obvious example. Content curation is a practice done by a human to filter and organize relevant content.
While some may get lost in the debate of the ethics of aggregation versus curation, the new term “Media Curation” harmonizes the two so we can exploit the benefits of aggregation as well as curation and get back to work.
Media Curation Defined: “Media Curation is the emerging trend toward integrating and pondering media content using a mix of machine and human resources. The practice includes Aggregation (gathering) and Curation (sorting, categorizing, art directing, and presenting) such that material from multiple sources creates a unique editorial experience for readers/visitors.”
For our purposes, let’s look at human curation and who exactly is qualified to do the job.
2. Leverage your journalists; they understand transparency creates trust
Chances are your agency or media department is swimming with people who have a background in journalism and editing. Use these people. They are natural born curators. They have experience pulling relevant stories from the wire, or even relevant quotes from their notes. They understand ethics. They get that proper curation also involves proper citation. And although marketing ethics and journalism ethics can greatly differ at times, journalists know that trust is number one in gaining and keeping readers. In the marketing world this has become increasingly true for brands to attract and keep customers.
3. Curate content from your customers
In his book Curation Nation: why the future of content is context, Steven Rosenbaum argues that it is futile for a brand to try and control its story outright. Brands have lost some of their power to consumer advocacy in the form of watchdog groups and forum conversations. This is a powerful transition that can help or hinder a company. He states, “curation is the future of consumer conversations.”
Take a look at the Ideas blogs written by Post-it customers or the Home Depot forums to get a good sense of how curated content from consumers can help drive the story and success of a brand.
4. Curate content people want and give it away for free
Starbucks has been in the curation business for some time, selecting and promoting music that their customers are interested in. But they have upped the curation game since introducing free Wi-Fi in their stores nationwide. By partnering with content providers such as Apple and the New York Times, Starbucks is able to offer hand-picked content that otherwise costs to access but is free to in-store Wi-Fi users.
The providers of the content offer it free to Starbucks, who offers it free to its users. They are content-first thinkers who are using scarcity (exclusive, only at Starbucks) to bring customers into their store and are keeping them there by providing relevant content for free. This, in turn, reinforces Starbucks culture and strengthens the customer relationship.
In reality, we are all curators. We all post links on Facebook or re-tweet relevant information on Twitter. So, as your brand starts acting like a publisher — curating useful, reliable, portable, personable and unique content — you can expect your customer base to grow and help guide your content to a place that separates your brand from the rest.