Online marketers are increasingly using content marketing and curation instead of traditional advertising because it works and it’s cost-effective. Education is the new marketing.
Content curation is simply the act of filtering, organizing and sharing high-quality online content. The use of the term “curation” implies that you’ve sifted through lots of content to uncover the truly excellent material. Of course, curation is a highly subjective activity and not everyone will agree with your opinion about what constitutes great content. Therein lies the power of this approach.
Content curation – applying your personal filter to the universe of web content – is one of the most genuine ways of expressing your personal brand. When you filter information through the lens of what you know well combined with what you really like, the result is your brand fingerprint. This unique stream of information becomes a representation of you.
When you share your unique content stream, there are many advantages that accrue to you:
- People think you’re smart and credible.
- People ascribe to you the virtue of uncovering wisdom and meaning from the sea of information in which we are all drowning.
- People are truly grateful to you for sharing your hard work with them and they look for ways to give back.
- You are perceived as being digitally sophisticated.
- People get a better sense of who you are and what you believe in.
- All this familiarity and intimacy helps people trust you.
- Sharing gives you an opportunity to be top of mind on a regular basis.
If you’re in the business of advising, influencing, counseling, consulting or recommending ANYTHING to ANYONE, then the above list of benefits works in your favour. Big time.
Fine, you’re saying, these are all things I want, but how do I do this thing called content curation? Here are 5 easy steps to get you on your way:
1. Pick a distribution channel. Twitter is the channel of choice today. It’s easy to set up and easy for people to follow you and receive your feed. Google+ is quickly rising. Facebook updates can be an appropriate tool, as can LinkedIn status updates.
2. Define your brand. This is easier said than done. Start with some clear topics of interest such as your professional areas of knowledge or expertise and some of your hobbies or passions. You can also throw in a charitable issue that is near and dear to you. Avoid politics (unless you’re a politician) and religion (unless you’re a member of the clergy or a devout follower). Remember, you’re building a personal brand that will follow you around, so be smart about it. Think like a publicist or brand manager. What do you want people to think of when they think of you?
3. Find great content. At this point in time, it’s a numbers game. The more content you see – blog articles, comments, videos, infographics, reports, news stories, photos, other people’s Twitter feeds, etc. – the more likely you’ll find great stuff. Start with RSS subscriptions to blogs and new sites using Google Reader. Set up some Google Alerts based on key words and have the results emailed to you daily. Go looking for content based on your ideas.
4. Use power tools for sharing. The key to a successful personal branding strategy using content curation is to keep it personal and human. However, time is always a constraint with humanoid resources. Enter automation. Automating the filtering and selection of which content to share can be deadly because it’s never as good as a trained human eye. (If someone is aware of a tool out there that is as good as me at filtering content, please share.) Automating the knowledge contribution – that distinctly human contribution – can convey that you don’t care enough to consume the material yourself and share it. However, automating distribution is something entirely different. I happen to love Buffer – a tool that allows you to schedule tweets in the future then fill those slots with high quality, personally curated content. The Buffer plugin for Chrome and Firefox kick the whole curating process up a notch. There are a few other tools out there (Hootsuite, for one) for scheduling updates to LinkedIn and Facebook, but I’ve not yet found many that maintain the human touch that is so important.
5. Share frequently. On Twitter, you should space out your tweets through the day and night since your followers check in and out at different times and come from all over the world. On Facebook and LinkedIn, go with the flow and post at a frequency that you think your followers, friends and connections will want. Don’t be afraid to over-share a bit. It’s a self-regulating system and if your followers aren’t getting value they can leave. And they will. Don’t take it personally.
Content curation is the wave of the future and it will only increase in importance as a tool for education and branding as the volumes of content grow online.