Startups are always seeking any advantage they can find. And sometimes this requires creativity and out-of-the-box thinking. On the marketing front, many find that a content curation strategy is helpful in scaling up without requiring a ton of additional resources. Could it help your business, too? Read on to learn more.
The Benefits of Content Curation for Startups
Content curation is basically the act of collecting high-quality content that already exists and disseminating it to a new audience and in a slightly different format. It’s not plagiarism or copy-and-pasting. It’s about using other content as inspiration and sharing it in a way that benefits the original creator and serves your readers. (BuzzFeed and Good News Network are great examples.)
Content curation is valuable for any business in any industry, but it’s an especially powerful weapon when wielded by startups. Here are a few reasons why it’s so beneficial:
- Resourcefulness. Let’s be real – you don’t have an unlimited supply of time or money. Whether you’re bootstrapping your startup or you have a small cash investment, you have to be as resourceful as you possibly can. Content curation allows you to share content with your audience without spending thousands of dollars.
- Thought leadership. Curation is a fantastic way to establish your startup as a thought leader in the industry, even if you don’t have much of a reputation to begin with. It’ll take time, but the more you put yourself in close proximity to good content, the more people will see you as a resource.
- Industry hub. If your startup is in a small niche or industry where there isn’t already a go-to source for high-quality information, your commitment to curating the best of what’s around could help you become that industry hub. This leads to more traffic, better brand recognition, and ultimately, organic business growth.
- Relevancy. The best thing for your startup is to be seen as relevant. In other words, you want your audience to feel as if you’re living and breathing the industry. Tactful content curation positions you in this light.
- Consistency. There’s something about consistency that breeds results. You might not feel as if much is happening when you first implement your content curation strategy. But after weeks and months of disciplined effort, your steady drip of high-quality content will leave an impression. Stick with it long enough and you’ll build a pretty solid reputation.
- Networking. Content curation also helps from a networking perspective. Other bloggers, entrepreneurs, and businesses will notice that you’re sharing their content and driving traffic back to their pages. Naturally, this gives you an opportunity to build positive relationships over time.
Content curation is more effective than most realize. It’s not just a placeholder for when you don’t have original content to share. It’s a powerful method of growing your brand, connecting with people, and adding value to those around you. For startups, the ROI is unlimited.
4 Tips for a High-Powered Content Curation Strategy
There’s a right and wrong way to go about content curation. The wrong approach involves randomly choosing content based on convenience or proximity. (In other words, you go out and find the easiest piece of content to share and immediately send it to your audience.) The right approach commands planning and forethought.
Here are a few tips to help you develop a high-powered content curation strategy for your startup:
- Select the Right Taps
Think of content curation like a collection of taps at your favorite bar. The best bars in the world have dozens (if not hundreds) of taps. And each one of these taps is connected to a different keg of beer. Content curation works in much the same way. The more taps you have, the more content you can potentially deliver to your readers or customers.
The key to content curation is to select the right taps. In other words, you want taps that are relevant to your audience – powered by content that they’re interested in. If you choose the wrong taps, your strategy will be flawed from the start.
Here are a couple ideas for taps:
- Scoop.it. The Scoop.it advanced content engine monitors thousands of global sources of content and intuitively curates the highest quality content that your audience will find valuable. Simply select the options you like and the platform distributes the right content to the right people via your blog, social media profiles, email newsletter, etc.
- Aggregate sites. If you’re comfortable doing some of your own digging, try making a list of aggregate sites that you like. By referencing these sites, you let them do the tough work of finding the best content, then you refine even further by choosing the best of the best. Some good content aggregators include Feedly, Panda, The Morning News, and Pocket.
- Use Specific Filters
In addition to the right taps, you need to establish a set of filters that allow you to serve only the purest and most relevant content to your audience. You might call these editorial guidelines or content standards.
Your filters are basically a set of rules that dictate what you will and won’t share. It should address subject matter, style, source, etc. Examples include:
- Never share content about politics and/or anything that comes from X, Y, and Z competitors.
- Never share a piece of content unless it’s first been read in full by a member of your team.
- Always search these five websites first.
Having rules like these might seem restrictive at first, but they ultimately provide freedom. They ensure that, if followed, the content is going to be “up to snuff.”
- Choose the Right Parts
Successful content curation is about picking and pulling the right pieces. For example, you can’t copy and paste a 2,000-word blog post and share it with your audience. Instead, you might pull out one or two quotes, jot down a few of your own thoughts, and then direct readers back to the original piece via a hyperlink. The key to being successful with this is to select the right quotes. (Or if it’s a video, it’s about identifying the segments that add the most value to your audience.)
When selecting parts to curate, you want to focus on the most credible or technical parts. Leverage the original author/creator’s expertise and then provide your analysis. So, for example, you could curate a 100-page industry report in the form of an article on your website and accompanying social media posts. This might look like writing your own introduction, grabbing your favorite 25 statistics from the report, finding quotes that support each data point, and then writing your own original conclusion.
Content curation is almost always effective. But it’s most effective when it’s used in conjunction with original content curation. As your startup grows, begin increasing the amount of content you create. Ultimately, curated content should become complementary to the content you’re developing in-house. That’s when you’ll begin realizing its full potential.
One general rule of thumb is to share 40 percent original content and 60 percent curated content. In other words, if you’re pushing out five pieces of content, two should be original and three can be curated. That’s a rough estimate, but it gives you a target.
Ready, Set, Grow
Content remains king. But just because you’re low on time and resources, doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the benefits of a high-returning content strategy. With careful curation, you can grow your visibility, engage the right people, and add value to their lives. In turn, this will add value to your growing business.