Last Wednesday, we held a joint webinar with Percussion Software called Content Marketing: Make it Work. Pawan Deshpande of Curata and Aaron Dun of Percussion walked through real-world examples of organizations that have tackled their content “problem”. A recording of the webinar can be found here: http://www.curata.com/resources/webinars/content-make-it-work/. During the webinar, our attendees posted questions to us. We did not get a chance to answer them in the webinar, so we thought we take the opportunity to do it now.
As a former journalist, I’ve tried news aggregation but suffered poor SEO coupled with copyright concerns. Do news-oriented platforms benefit from content marketing and, if so, how?
(Aaron) There’s a big difference between aggregation and curation. If you’re curating content you’re being selective about the content you’re highlighting and using, instead of acting like a news aggregator and pulling each headline. Content marketing can require marketers to act like publishers, so it’s not far removed from the world of journalism. If you have a strategy in place for the kind of content, rate you’d like to publish, and are selective with the kind of articles you curate and comment on, your SEO and content marketing should greatly improve.
If the original material is copyrighted and use expressly prohibited, are you still allowed to link to it as shown in the previous example?
(Pawan) First off, most content even if there is a copyright, can be linked to. The proposed SOPA legislation last year that caused such an uproar last year would have outlawed linking even to copyrighted content. In most cases, where use of the source material is prohibited, it typically refers to reposting of the source content in full. If that’s the case, it may be okay to post an abstract and link back to the original content to read the full article. If the material expressly prohibits even reposting of an even an abstract, you may be okay just linking to it without an abstract. If the material says it should not be expressly linked to, I would not link to it at all. Lastly, I am not a lawyer, nor your organization’s lawyer, so please consult one for more sage legal advice.
I am already getting inundated with content and I don’t read it. What do I need t o do to cut through the ever growing clutter?
(Pawan) I completely understand. You have to stay on top of your inbox, your twitter stream, your feed reader, your text messages, your voicemails. You are not the only one who is feeling overwhelmed with content, your prospects are too. As a marketer, you can provide a great service to your prospects by curating just the content that they need, and making it accessible and convenient for them. As a result, they will keep coming back to you everyday and over time you become a trusted resource for them.
(Aaron) First of all, let’s take a look at the content you’re inundated with. Is it email subscriptions you’ve signed up for? An over-bearing twitter feed? There are simple ways to feng-shui your twitter feed, with tools like Hootsuite and tweetdeck you can select to see the search terms you want to read and voila: less clutter. Once you know what content you actually care about reading, do some introspection as to why. Does a “top 10 reasons to…” list grab your attention? Or a recently published case study? Take into consideration what, if anything, stands out in the crowd, and then apply that to your own editorial calendar.
What is the general thought about reusing content across different channels? Is this an accepted practice?
(Pawan) Yes, it is good to share the same content across multiple channels to follow. Here are few guidelines and best practices to keep in mind:
- Give people choice. Different people consume content in different ways. Some people live out of their inbox. Others thrive content their receive on Twitter. For yet others, they may prefer to consume content via RSS feeds in a feed reader. And some may prefer to revisit a site everyday in a browser. The point is, we all have different preferences, and its important to give people choice, even if it means syndicating the same content in multiple places.
- Mold your content for the channel. Even if it is the same content on different channels, you should shape the content to fit the channel. If you are posting on Twitter, add hash tags. If you are sharing to a mobile device, resize the content appropriately.
- Have a Mother Ship. You should always have a mother ship for your content to where you can drive people back. Typically this is a website or blog where you can place call-to-actions, and other conversion mechanisms. For example, if you post on Twitter or Facebook, the blog content it links back to should be hosted on your site.
Can you please give us one example of where to look for new content when we feel like the current content is already distributed.
(Aaron) Talk to your sales staff about what their clients and contacts are saying. The sales team hears first-hand the trends and pains facing customers, and they may know of topics you’re missing an opportunity to discuss. Additionally, don’t be scared to throw in some fun, slightly off topic content once in awhile, if it fits with your typical style and voice, why not make it fun and timely? Keep in mind, you may be bored with a certain topic, but that doesn’t mean your audience will be. Look at the content you’ve already produced and review the metrics on the most successful pages. You may see patterns in what kind of content achieves the most traffic and engagement.
Do companies usually have a dedicated content manager to pull this together or whose job is it? How is the content brought together across the organization – weekly content meetings?
(Aaron) Companies are structured in varying ways: some have a dedicated person whose role it is to create and push content, others have content created from a number of roles. The best bet is to have your content coming from all levels of your organization and different departments, while having a project manager to oversee the strategy and execution of the content. The team meetings can be effective, but setting an editorial calendar and strategy ahead of time should remedy the need for constant meetings. If structuring your team is difficult, keep in mind these few key roles:
- A content manager: acts as the editor, handles scheduling, publishing etc…should be familiar with SEO/
- Content creators: your writers, or contributors from your organization willing to write and develop material for your site.
Can you please address details about SEO, quickly share strategies about keywords, do you rewrite an article with “inflated keywords”?
(Pawan) With regards to SEO for curation, I do encourage the rewriting of articles. My rule of thumb is that if you are going to publish an extract from someone else’s content, your commentary around it should be at least longer than the extract. In addition, I recommend retitling the article as well so you can add your own spin. This is useful for SEO because you can incorporate other keywords, and have novel content on your site. It’s also useful from a marketing perspective because it gives you space to express your brand’s point-of-view.
What do you use for measurement? Affordable measurement options for small companies?
(Pawan) It depends what you are trying to track. If it’s simple website traffic, Google Analytics should be sufficient. If it’s sharing metrics, you can query Twitter, Facebook, and your email service provider to track retweets, likes and forwards respectively. If it’s lead metrics, you should be able to count leads. If it’s sales, you can get that from your CRM. If you want to tie it all together, and track interaction from top to bottom of the funnel, that is where Marketing Automation systems come into play.
(Aaron) In order to measure simple things, like the amount of content visiting your website, Google Analytics is a great place to start. Tools like bit.ly also enable you to track clicks and views to a specific link. Beyond using measuring tools, be sure to develop a clear strategy of actionable goals to measure your successes against.
Can you recommend any books for further reading about content marketing?
- Content Rules by Ann Handley.
- Content Marketing by Rebecca Lieb
- Get Content, Get Customers by Joe Pulizzi & Newt Barrett
- Curation Nation by Steve Rosenbaum
Can you talk a little bit about new and cool communication channels that are a little different? Not FB, Twitter…
(Pawan) There’s Google+ which is emerging. The interesting thing here is that Google is coupling activity here directly into their search engine rankings. Also there are meta-channels, like Buffer, which allow you to schedule posting of content to all the various channels.
Why did you compare the website with a dessert in the Distributing Content Challenge? Isn’t the website supposed to deliver the most content? Somehow I associate dessert with something small, not big.
(Aaron) Even if your desert is small, it doesn’t mean it can’t leave an impression. Dessert is usually something to look forward to, indulge in and enjoy – which is what your customers should think of when they come to your website! In the grand scheme of things, your social media presence is an appetizer, a sampling of what you have to offer in bite size amounts. The meal, following the appetizer, may be a hearty blog post or white paper with the exact ingredients you were seeking at the time. The remaining information on your website should be an added bonus; easy to access, consistently updated, streamlined, and deliciously satisfying. When the entire meal comes together, including the perfectly paired wine and the restaurant’s ambiance (your overall marketing presence), guests will want to share their experience with Yelp, friends and family.
If you have any other questions for us, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to hear from you. Also, we referenced a lot of materials during the webinar. Here’s a link to our resources page to help with your curation: http://www.curata.com/resources/ We look forward to hosting you again soon. If you’d like to learn how content curation can work for your organization, we’d love to chat with you. Sign-up for a demo.