Dec 24, 2018
Curation is a secret weapon that every content marketer and digital seller should use. It can help to demonstrate authority and trust, and build connections and pipelines. Curating content takes less effort than creating it. But what exactly does ‘content curation’ mean, why does it matter, and how can marketers and sellers get started?
Rohit Bhargava defines a content curator as “someone who continually finds, groups, organizes and shares the best and most relevant content on a specific issue online. The most important component of this job is the word ‘continually’.”
To expand on this, content curation means:
● Finding the best content from multiple sources in your niche – not just your own content
● Filtering content, so only the most relevant and highest quality content remains
● Adding value to that content with commentary and questions
● Sharing it with the right audiences, at the right time, in the right places
● Continuously repeating this process to build ongoing engagement and credibility
Content curation might seem counterintuitive to some sales and marketing professionals. In essence, it’s about sharing OPC – Other People’s Content. Why would you consider doing that, when you have your own blog posts and marketing assets to share with your clients and prospects?
Here are five reasons why you should look beyond your own blog, and add curation to your content marketing and social selling mix:
Content curation supports your content marketing goals in five key ways:
Digital (or social) selling is changing how B2B builds pipelines and relationships. LinkedIn defines it as “leveraging your social network to find the right prospects, build trusted relationships, and ultimately, achieve your sales goals”.
LinkedIn breaks digital selling down into four components:
This is a very different approach to the traditional lead generation and sales prospecting processes, such as cold calling. It starts with building relationships and trust using social networks. A key part of this approach is engaging your prospects and clients with insights.
Your role as a social seller (or content marketer) is to find and share insights with your clients and prospects. The more insights you share with them, the more valuable and trusted an advisor you become.
As Anthony Iannarino puts it: “To be a trusted advisor, which is what all sales professionals should be aiming for, you need to do two things: build trust and share advice. You don’t need to create content to do either. You need to be aware of what’s happening in your sector, curate it (as a team), and share insights with the right people.”
Finding those insights isn’t easy. But by building a curation habit, supported by tools and methods that work, you can efficiently stay on top of what matters to your clients. Let’s look at how to do this in practice.
Curation can be broken down into three core steps: seek, sense and share. Let’s look at each of these steps in turn.
Seek (as you might have guessed) is about looking for content that’s worthy of your time, and your clients’ and networks’ time. You’re looking for high quality, recent, authoritative content that’s relevant to your audience.
Tip: Don’t seek manually – let tools do it for you.
You could attempt to manually seek content. Let’s say you’re trying to keep on top of trends in big data to share with your network. You could:
Let’s be realistic though. You have targets to hit and other things to do. Manually seeking content like this is not efficient or scalable.
You can use tools to make this task easier. Tools like Anders Pink, BuzzSumo, Feedly, Curata will help you apply filters to the content you are seeking, and some will bring you automated updates. Experiment with a range of tools to find the one that best meets your needs. In this way, you can avoid building a curation habit that requires you to spend hours manually seeking content from multiple sites and sources every day.
Seeking and aggregating content is vital if you want to surface insights that are worth sharing with your audience. But anyone can retweet or share a link to an article (and often, people do this without even reading the article in question – don’t be one of those people). Effective curation means going a step further – making sense of the content yourself, and then adding your own insights to create value. This does not have to take long – assume 30 seconds of effort for every piece of content you read.
To add value when curating, follow these tips:
Of course, all of your curation efforts will only matter if you are sharing content with the right people. Coming back to LinkedIn’s definition of social selling – it’s about building the right relationships and engaging with insights.
LinkedIn is the key network for B2B marketers and social sellers. The tips below are focused on effective curation on LinkedIn, but you should also consider the other social networks your audience engages with.
Share Curated Content
When you find relevant content to share, write a quick update and share it. You can choose to share publicly, or, if you’d prefer only your connections to see the content, you can choose that option too.
Always include the link to the original article. It’s good practice to @mention the original author. Include a comment to add value and personalize your update. Say why you thought the content was helpful, along with your key insight or take-away. What question does the content answer for you, what questions does it raise?
As well as @mentioning the original authors, you can @mention other people in your LinkedIn updates. This can be helpful if there’s a wider group of prospects whose attention you’d like to grab with an update. It can also be an effective way of starting a conversation on a topic.
By sharing in this way, your whole network will see the update, and the people you’ve mentioned will receive a notification that draws their attention to it.
Connect With People
On LinkedIn, your goal is to connect with people who may become buyers over time, and to add value to the conversations you have with them. But connecting with someone you don’t know can feel a little daunting. How can you avoid making it feel like a cold call?
Seek, sense and share content every day to build a momentum. Seek out three new pieces of content every morning. Take 30 seconds to add your comments and insights, and share them with the right prospects on your social networks.
Building this habit should build your own authority, trust, and ultimately your pipeline. And let’s not forget – it increases your own knowledge too. And we all need to get a little smarter every day – for ourselves, as well as our clients.
Find out more about how curation can support social selling and content marketing here.