Dec 24, 2018

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Content Curation: Why Does It Matter to Marketers and Sellers?

Content Curation: Why Does It Matter to Marketers and Sellers?

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?

What Is Content Curation?

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

Why Does Curation Matter?

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:

  1. Talking about yourself is not a way to build relationships. To build trust and to help your audience, you need to share content from a range of independent sources. Content curation allows you to show independence and a wider understanding of your sector.
  2. You do not have a monopoly on good ideas. There are many interesting developments taking place outside of your own organization. Your network expects you to keep them informed about these developments and to be a trusted advisor. That means surfacing insights to them – what some people have called being a ‘content concierge’. If you bring a great insight to your audience’s attention, you will get the credit – even if it’s not your content.
  3. You need to keep yourself informed. Effective sales and marketing professionals need to be on top of the latest trends and developments in their sector, which means reading widely. So if you are keeping yourself updated, why not curate and share your knowledge with your audience? This can build trust, credibility, and a pipeline.
  4. Curating content is more efficient and cost-effective than just creating it. Unless you have an army of content marketers at your disposal, you are unlikely to have the resources to create all the content you need in order to regularly share fresh insights with your audience. A balance of curation and creation enables you cover a lot more ground, and engage with your audience better.
  5. Content curation helps your customers. Fundamentally, your aim is to help your customers be successful. Finding and sharing useful and insightful content with them is a key way of doing this. The more you help them, the better your relationships will be.

How Does Curation Support Content Marketing?

Content curation supports your content marketing goals in five key ways:

  1. It supplements the creation of original content and enables you to provide a wider perspective on developments in your industry.
  2. It enhances your position as a Thought Leader. Curated content from high-quality third-party sources, along with your own original content, helps position you as a trusted site and as an impartial authority.
  3. It adds to your SEO efforts. Curated content is additional content that is indexed by search engines and provides more ways for people to find your site.
  4. It supports lead-generation efforts. Curated content can be used as part of your newsletters, emails, and slides to support lead-generation and nurturing activities.
  5. It complements your social media activity. It supplements your social media sharing schedule and helps encourage social media conversations. Remember, it’s important to look beyond your own content.

How Does Curation Support Digital Selling?

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:

  1. Build a professional brand
  2. Connect with the right people
  3. Engage with insights
  4. Build relationships

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.

Three Steps to Effective Curation

Curation can be broken down into three core steps: seek, sense and share. Let’s look at each of these steps in turn.

Seek
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:

  • Create a Twitter list that includes key influencers on big data and monitor it for relevant content (bear in mind that you’ll see everything those influencers share, not just content about big data, so it will be a noisy list)
  • Do a Google Search for the latest content (though Google has indexed 3.4 billion articles on big data, and this number is increasing)
  • Create Google Alerts for key terms and check those daily
  • Monitor RSS feeds from key industry blogs and publications using an RSS Reader
  • Do a daily check of your preferred websites
  • Check influencers on LinkedIn and find relevant posts

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.

 

Sense
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:

  • Include a personal comment. Say why you thought the content was helpful, along with your key insight. What question does it answer for you, what questions does it raise?
  • Start a discussion or debate. Maybe you disagree with one aspect of the content you are sharing. Say so, and engage others in the discussion. Marissa Burdet, Growth Manager for UpContent, stresses the importance of engagement when it comes to content curation. She recommends that you use curation as a springboard for discussions with your audience. If you share content, ask questions and provoke a discussion around the content. Also, jump into relevant conversations. Good curation is a conversation, not just a broadcast.
  • Ask a question. What do others think of the viewpoint expressed in the content? How is it relevant to your sector, and to your clients’ and prospects’ businesses?

 

Share
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.

Tips for Sharing Effectively on LinkedIn

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?

 

Get Attention
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?

  • Share something useful. If you’re reaching out to an individual, it’s presumably because you’ve done some research and decided that he or she is an important person for you to connect with. So you should be able to share some content that such people will find useful: an industry report they may not yet have seen, an insight about a competitor’s activities, a comment on something their business is doing – make a good first impression by making it something of value to the person you are sharing with.
  • Add a personalized message. Say why you’re sharing the content, and what you thought was useful about it.  Ask a question – you are trying to build engagement and start a conversation. Ask permission to connect, and to share more relevant content as you find it. You are absolutely not selling here. You are trying to build a relationship, so don’t mention your products or services. Your prospect can find that information in your profile and do their own research.

Make Curation a Daily Habit

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.


Stephen Walsh
Stephen Walsh

Stephen has over 20 years of experience in sales, marketing, learning and technology. He co-founded Kineo in the UK which grew to be a global leader in learning technology, and is also a co-founder of Anders Pink, a content curation tool that helps social selling and marketing professionals curate content on any topic. He is a co-founder of BuzzSumo, a leading content marketing platform acquired by Brandwatch in 2017, and an advisor to multiple technology companies. He can be reached on Twitter @stephentwalsh.

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