Imagine: You spend a year building a relationship with a high-value client. On the day you’re set to close on a huge deal, you walk into the conference room… and start explaining what your company does. They look at you like you’ve got two heads. In real life, no one in his or her right […]Read More
Articles by Pam Neely
The days of easy marketing are over. You can no longer just buy a few ad spots and get results. Customers and clients today expect more. To get in front of them and get them to notice you and get them to act takes a lot of work. You could start with a few print […]Read More
Last editions: #1: The best content marketing tools for the research phase. #2: The best content marketing tools for the creation phase. #3: The best content marketing tools for the optimization phase. #4: The best content marketing tools for the publishing phase. #5: The best content marketing tools for the promotion phase. We mentioned how much content marketing is an opportunity […]Read More
Bloggers write less than they think they do, and they curate more than they realize.
Most of this is due to the nature of blog posts. They tend to be a mishmash of mediums and sources. For example, we’re advised to include an image every 350 words or so. It’s also a good idea to link out to respected sites. And when you link out, usually you’re doing it to reference what someone else has written.
Blog posts that back up what they assert with research also tend to do especially well. That was recently proved by Moz and BuzzSumo in their study, “Content, Shares and Links: What We Learnt From 1m Posts”. As the blog post summarizing the report says,
“There are, however, specific content types that do have a strong positive correlation of shares and links. This includes research backed content and opinion forming journalism. We found these content formats achieve both higher shares and significantly more links.”
Whether it’s a quote, or a reference, or an image or a video, the blog post as a genre has an affinity for curation. In fact, many of the best practices I just mentioned for posts are curation themselves. Photographs are usually curated. Research is almost always curated. And quotes and links are clear examples of curation.
[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="624" caption="This is a screenshot of one our older posts. It’s got several images, links, and two references to other publishers’ information. In other words, it’s almost entirely curated content, plus some copy to weave the whole thing together."][/caption]
Blog posts tend to take another step towards curation when you consider a part of curation that’s too often ignored: the practice of commenting on what you curate.
Many of us – myself included – are a bit lazy with our content curation. We spend the time to find and share good stuff, sure. But when we share the stuff, we don’t add our own commentary. We might tack on a hashtag, but that’s about it. Many of us (again, me included) rarely bother to add a phrase or two of commentary.
[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="624" caption="I should be adding more commentary to the content I curate on social media. Adding hashtags isn’t enough. But I did get in three whole words of commentary in one of these tweets."][/caption]
We should add more commentary. Content that is shared without commentary still has some value, but not nearly as much value as if we added a few words about why it matters. We could even go so far as to say why it matters, and then tie it into a larger theme…
By then, we’d practically be blogging.
The blurry line between blogging and curation.
To understand this better, let’s imagine content curation in different content formats as a spectrum. On one side of, we’ve got blogging. The type of blogging that has a few references to other sources, uses a few graphs and maybe a few images, and has a few quotes. Blogging that’s, say… about 20% curated content.
The remainder of the post includes lots of commentary on all that curated content. There’s also usually some discussion about how all those curated elements fit together to create the theme or topic the post is about.
On the other side of the spectrum, we’ve got the shared content stream (all curated) that people like me put out in our social media accounts. It could be a Twitter feed, or a Facebook page, or a Scoop.It account. That content could be about 80% curated. I say that because for about every five posts I publish, one post promotes my own stuff. This is a common – and recommend – promotion mix. It’s enough of other peoples’ content to create a good feed of industry information and ideas, but just enough of my own content to get some exposure for my own work.
Here’s what we’ve got so far on the spectrum. On one side, a standard, well-researched blog post that’s maybe 20% curated. On the other side, a curated social media account/feed…but without much commentary on the curated content. It’s about 80% curated.
Now, let’s talk about a few types or formats of blog posts that tend to have even more curated information in them. These types of blog posts that tend to be more than 20% curation. These are more like 30-40% curated:
· The list of tools post.
· The list of studies post.
· The case study post… if it draws from someone else’s case study.
These blog post formats take it even further. Some of them are well over 70-80% curated:
· The “list of statistics” post.
· The “round up” post – experts’ opinions.
· The interview post.
You probably saw this coming a few paragraphs ago, but by the time we get to round up and interview posts, we’re looking at content that’s more than 50% curated. That’s content with more curation than a curated social media feed, assuming it’s got some commentary.
Let’s circle back to my social media feed example. You know, where I was sharing curated posts about 80% of the time. It was only 80% curated because some of my own content gets sprinkled in, about one piece of my content for every four pieces of other content. And unfortunately (because I am lazy), I was not adding much commentary to those shares, aside from a couple of hashtags.
But let’s say I started to do a better job with my curation, like Dr. Merz does in the example below. And let’s assume I was not limited to Twitter’s 140 characters. If I was building my curation stream / social media feed on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest or Scoop.it, I could have more room, and add a few sentences. On ScoopIt, I could even add a few paragraphs.
That would take my social media feed from being 80% “pure” curation to more like 50% or less of pure curation. If I did a really thorough job of the commentary, and grouped the curated content into tight categories, I’d have the rudiments of a blog post.
In other words, after I start commenting on my curation in that social feed, suddenly there’s not much difference in the ratio of “content” to “curation” between the blog posts and the social media feed. And when you start counting the commentary on the curated content as curation, too, suddenly the blog posts are almost entirely curation. The social media feed is too.
When it’s hard to tell the difference between content and curation.
Maybe this all feels like I’m bending the definitions of blogging and content curation too much. Maybe all we’ve got now is a tangled knot of stretched out definitions. But perhaps we’re not recognizing how much curation goes on in blog posts. And perhaps we should try to bring in more context and commentary to our social feeds and pure “curation” streams.
While I’m talking about definitions, consider this definition of content marketing from The Content Marketing Institute:
Content marketing’s purpose is to attract and retain customers by consistently creating and curating relevant and valuable content with the intention of changing or enhancing consumer behavior. It is an ongoing process that is best integrated into your overall marketing strategy, and it focuses on owning media, not renting it.
Did you see it? “Curating” is included in CMI’s definition of content marketing. And I’ve just added another piece of curated content to this post.
What do you think?
Are blog posts mostly curated content? Or does that really only apply to blogs in certain industries and by certain authors? Should blog posts have more, or less, curation in them?
And are we slacking off by not adding more commentary to our curated social media posts? Are there enough benefits to that to make it worth our time?
We’d love your thoughts on this, pro or con. Tell us what you think in the comments.
And if you’d like to know how you can start blogging consistently in 30 minutes a day or less, read our eBook!
Image by Sonny Abesamis.Read More
Last editions: #1: The best content marketing tools for the research phase. #2: The best content marketing tools for the creation phase. #3: The best content marketing tools for the optimization phase. #4: The best content marketing tools for the publishing phase. We mentioned how much content marketing is an opportunity to build an audience in an authentic way, if […]Read More
Last editions: #1: The best content marketing tools for the research phase. #2: The best content marketing tools for the creation phase. #3: The best content marketing tools for the optimization phase. We mentioned how much content marketing is an opportunity to build an audience in an authentic way, if you’re willing to invest the time to do things […]Read More
Last editions: The best content marketing tools for the research phase. The best content marketing tools for the creation phase. We mentioned how much content marketing is an opportunity to build an audience in an authentic way, if you’re willing to invest the time to do things right. Want to understand more about each phase of […]Read More
Your content has a lot of competition. That’s a big challenge, but there’s a hidden opportunity there, too. With just a little bit of research you can find out how any piece of content performed. Then you can apply that knowledge to your own content creation and curation efforts. That ocean of other people’s’ content […]Read More
Last week we listed the best content marketing tools for the research phase, first phase of your content marketing cycle.
We mentioned how much content marketing is an opportunity to build an audience in an authentic way, if you’re willing to invest the time to do things right.
Some carefully chosen content marketing software definitely help. To give you the specifics on how it could help and which pieces of software might help, we’ve put together this series of walk-throughs of all the basic functions and tasks required for content marketing, plus which pieces of software to use for each function.
This doesn’t include every piece of software you could use. But it does include the heavy hitters and the most popular tools.
I hope it gives you some ideas for how to better use software in your content marketing. Excel and whiteboards and notepads are all great tools, but we probably shouldn’t be running an entire content marketing department with them.
This week, we’ll go over the best content marketing tools to help you in your creation phase.Read More
Content marketing has a lot going for it. It’s 63% less expensive than traditional advertising. It’s an opportunity to build an audience in an authentic way. But it does require quite a bit of work and management if you want to see results.
These are the 6 phases of content marketing:
This week, we’ll go over the best content marketing tools to help you in your research phase.Read More
We are visual creatures. Our brains process images 60,000 times faster than text. And while we retain only 10% of what we hear and 20% of what we read, we remember 80% of what we see. For social media marketers, this means one thing: If you want more engagement, use more images. We tested this […]Read More
Small business owners aren’t usually on social media to share cat videos and indulge in celebrity gossip. They’re on social media for business. They do social media to gain exposure, but ultimately the goal is to get more business. Getting more business usually means getting more leads.
Unfortunately, getting leads from social media is not so easy. If you’re doing well at it, pat yourself on the back. Most marketers struggle with getting social media to work well for lead generation.
7 ways for small businesses to generate leads with social media
That’s what Ascend2 discovered when they tallied up the results of a lead generation survey of 300 marketers last month. Only 26% of the marketers they surveyed marked social media as among their more effective lead generation tactics.Read More
“There is nothing new under the sun.”
What do you think of that quote? Is it depressing? Dismissive?
True or not, that quote evokes a dilemma every content creator struggles with. We have a lot of content to create, and in one way or another, it’s all been created before.
Before you get on the defensive, let me explain what I mean by that.
Why we tend to create similar content
Our job is to create content that both serves our audience and meets business goals. To do that efficiently, we use proven formats (blog posts, white papers, tweets, etc). We answer common questions. We do this in ways that are familiar to our audience and easy for them to understand.
If we get too creative and too cutting-edge, we become hard to understand. As soon as our audience doesn’t understand us, they’re gone. The rest of the Internet – the easy-to-understand and endlessly diverting Internet – is only a click away.Read More
Want to try one of the best marketing time savers… just in time for the lazy days of August? We’ve got just the thing. If you’ve been curating content on social media but haven’t taken the leap into putting curated content into your email updates, it’s time to try. This post will show you how […]Read More
Lack of time came in as the #1 challenge for both B2B and B2C marketers in the Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs 2014 Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends surveys.
If you’re not sure you’re using your time well enough, or if you’d like a checklist of content marketing areas to emphasize, the following list may be helpful. Each item of this list is a sign you’re wasting time on content marketing. Or – on the brighter side – an opportunity to boost your productivity.
There are so many content curation pros that it can seem too good to be true, especially if you struggle to create your own content. The idea that you can to attract and engage an audience, meet business goals and improve your ROI with other people’s content seems too easy. Surely there’s something else going […]Read More
Sharing is caring. It’s cliché, but oh so true. While share counts may not be directly tied to your social media and content marketing ROI, many brand publishers measure the success of a piece of content by how many shares it gets.
In earlier posts we’ve talked about the psychological motivations behind what makes people want to share. We’ve also covered how to get in your audience’s head to find out what they want you to share (in other words – what they’re most interested in). For this installment of the sharing series, we’re focused on helping you make content easy to share by formatting it. These are all the tips and tricks of formatting and timing that have been shown to make a difference.Read More
Are you embarrassed by the social sharing counts on your blog posts? Do you hit publish… only to hear crickets?
If you’re not getting many – or any – shares for your content, there is one bright spot: You’re not alone. I’ve seen hundreds of good, even great blog posts with single digit share counts. On any given day, thousands of unshared updates stream through my social media accounts.
As you know, there’s a tremendous amount of content getting published. If you’re not getting any sharing love, consider what you’re up against. This infographic from Domo outlines the situation well. It shows how much content is published every minute. And it doesn’t even count the 2 million blog posts published every day.Read More
The success or failure of a piece of content is often measured by how many shares it gets. Hopefully, those shares are also part of a content strategy that’s driven by ROI. But whether they are or not, there’s almost always a push for more shares.
Social sharing and psychology are linked: if you want to get more shares from your content, it helps to take a look at the psychological drivers behind why content gets shared. These are the motivations behind sharing that are deeper than the typical techniques to get more shares. They go beyond tricks like including an image, choosing the right time to share, and crafting a click-worthy headline.Read More
If you don’t know how to promote content on social media, putting all the pieces together can feel like quite a challenge. There are so many options, so many technologies, and so many tips and tricks all clamoring for your attention.
To help distill the process down to it’s basic elements, we’ve created two imaginary business owners: Marisa, who owns a retail store, and Ted, who owns a professional services firm. This post will outline their businesses needs and their content promotion goals. Then it will lay out a detailed weekly content promotion plan and schedule for each of them.
Each promotion plan is a little different, because the businesses are different. Your business will be different than these plans too, of course. But after reading this you’ll know The basic elements of a promotion plan, how they should change with different business priorities and how to decide which options are best for you.Read More
Ever had a piece of content go viral? It’s a heady experience. Maybe it took off immediately and you watched the share count go up like a rocket ship. Or maybe it was a slow burn, but week after week, you kept shaking your head at how unbelievably well that one piece of content did.
Any time this happens the most powerful response (after “That did AWESOME! I rock!”) is to try to do it again. Ad agencies get irked when clients tell them “we want it go viral” because they’ve gotten this request so many times. Everybody wants their stuff to go viral. Who would say, “we’d like this to go largely unnoticed.”
Odds are you don’t know how to make things go viral every time. Hey, neither do I. But I do know how to increase the chances of it happening. I’m about to show you how to increase the chances of going viral for your stuff, too. Not just viral wildfire once – and maybe not every time – but often enough to make your competition jealous and to leave your audience enthralled.Read More
Want more leads? You’re not alone. According to IDG Enterprise’s 2015 B2B Content Marketing Spotlight Report, lead generation is the #1 priority for content marketers.
But while everybody says they want more leads, in the very next breathe they’ll add that they want better leads, too. That’s why you’ll see lead nurturing come in as priority #4 on this same graph. Lead nurturing is basically lead generation 2.0. First you get the leads, then you warm them up.
Everybody loves an underdog. David versus Goliath… Your local bookstore versus Amazon… Marty’s Fish, Milk & Bait versus WalMart. All these battles, famous or not, tug at our heart strings. Trouble is, if you’re a small business owner, you know you need to do more than just tug at heart strings to make your business work. You need to actually get people in the door. You need to get them to buy things. Then you need them to come back.
Social media has long been hailed as a marketing equalizer. In many ways, it is. It’s free to create an account and free to post and to build your following (Facebook changes aside). But it’s time to get more specific about how to use social as a marketing equalizer. So here are 9 techniques SMBs can use to beat big corporations on social media.Read More
Do you read online? Come on… be honest. Because if you’re like most people, you don’t read online. You scan. According to usability specialist Jakob Nielsen, on average readers actually read only about 28% of words on the page. Nielsen wrote an entire study about how web users read the web. He estimates that while […]Read More
To calculate content curation ROI, all you need to do is to tally up what it took to do the marketing, and then what you got out of it. The first part of that is to figure out how long it took you to do your work.Read More
What looks like negative ROI for content marketing can often be turned around. And if your content really is not pulling its weight, there are several easy fixes.Read More
Most of us who practice content marketing rely on at least some kind of content marketing software. We’re software people by nature, so it’s only natural we’ve got a thing for digital tools. Of course, it is possible to stay on top of your content marketing work with just Excel and Google calendar. But at a certain point you’ll want to graduate to something more robust.Read More
Who doesn’t want more website traffic? Like money or good looks, it seems like it’s just not possible to have too much traffic to your blog.
Trouble is, traffic is tricky. You can buy it, sure. But if you don’t convert that traffic into dollars, you’re losing money. And to actually see ROI, you have to not just make back the money you’ve spent on advertising. You’ll also have to cover the overhead for your business and the time you spent managing it all.
If you go the other way and build up free traffic, you’ll have to get enough results to justify your time. Anybody can spend an afternoon building traffic to their blog. But did they get enough traffic from those efforts to justify the time spent and the opportunity lost?
It is, of course, possible to get an ROI on your blog traffic work. I’m about to give you specific ideas for exactly how to do that.Read More
Is social media the biggest business opportunity of our generation – or a complex scheme devised to take up all your time?
I’ll admit it can feel like the latter, but productive, efficient social media activity is possible. It happens every day. You can cover all your bases on the major social networks in just minutes.
I’ll give you the play-by-play tips to manage social media in 30 minutes below.Read More