According to a recent study, 89 percent of brands report success with their content marketing strategies.
The most effective formats? Articles / case studies (54%), videos (46%), infographics (43%), and research / white papers (36%). Unfortunately, companies also mention that creating visual content is quite challenging.
There is good news, though. Creation is not required 100% of the time to build trust and authority. You can help your customers via curation as well.
This is exactly what we discussed during two of our recent #BizHeroes chats: “Content: The Benefits of Original and Curated to Your Business with Deana Goldaisch” and “Building Conversations and Community with Video with Lorrie Guerrieri.” In this article, I’d like to share the best tips from them.
1. Understand the Benefits of Using Creation and Curation Together
For those who are still unfamiliar with the word “curation,” here is an excellent definition from Beth Kanter.
“Content curation is the process of sorting through the vast amounts of content on the web and presenting it in a meaningful and organized way around a specific theme. The work involves sifting, sorting, arranging, and publishing information.”
Curation is not a one-size-fits-all process. I always say that there are as many ways to curate as there are curators!
As you can see, creation is different from curation, which, in turn, differs from aggregation. If your head is spinning right now, the definitions below should help:
- @goldasich – “In a nutshell: Creation=Original. Curation=Recommended. Aggregated=Collected.”
- @manishw2gi – “Creation- Made by you, Curation- Valued by you, Aggregation- Collected by you.”
- @goldasich – “Often aggregation is automated — like in the case of @paper_li!”
Creation allows you tell your unique stories. With curation, you bridge the gap in your knowledge while continuing to serve your audience:
- “Curated shows that u are well-informed & staying on top of ur areas of expertise. Original displays ur situational knowledge” (@rachelloumiller)
- “Creation shows you’re active, curation shows your listening.” (@ThinkSEM)
- Original content expresses your own voice. Curated content celebrates the voice of others. The right balance builds a community! (@MadisonJonesHR)
- “Curated content is great for repurposing & amplification. Original content allows you to show expertise.” (@JacFreedman)
- “Don’t forget that curated content brings its own following. Make the most of the new connections, seek to cross-mkt w guest poster.” (@LoisMarketing)
Great brands are not just great publishers. They are run by people who listen to their communities; know that they don’t know everything; and are willing to shine a light on other sources for the sake of their audiences. After all, as @ThinkMoncur says, “it’s not all about you and your brand, but your community’s too!” It is the best way to show thought leadership.
In a nutshell, the success of any content strategy depends on a brand’s willingness to give and share equally.
Balance is key. Respect your audience by both giving and sharing, but -always- add your own voice. Don’t just throw content down. #BizHeroes
— Madison Jones (@MadisonJonesHR) January 20, 2015
As such, no need to worry about the 80/20 rule. Instead of obsessing over numbers, Experiment and ask for feedback as a starter.
And remember that you can use curation to fuel your creativity and build transparency.
Go with the flow. Share great content when you find it. Share your own when you’re proud of it. 20/80 works, but it’s fluid! #BizHeroes — Madison Jones (@MadisonJonesHR) January 20, 2015
2. Understand the Ethics Behind Creation and Curation
In this world of non-stop publishing, there is no room for fluffy content. There is only room for value, relevancy, consistency, and meaningfulness — anything that will answer your customers’ needs.
A4 “Stand out” content is not “look at me” content. Help the customer understand. Help them decide. Become a hero. #BizHeroes
— Deana Goldasich (@goldasich) January 20, 2015
A4: For content to stand out among the thundering herd, it should simultaneously challenge extant thinking, emotion & beliefs. #bizheroes
— Fred Aubin (@FM_Aubin) January 20, 2015
So, it means that you must be on your A game: a niche, plan, willingness to experiment, and an attention to details are prerequisites to build a content strategy that will wow your community.
But that’s not all. There are some important rules to follow as well. For example:
- Give credit where credit is due – “Credit sources for stats, images, quotes. Plus, link to those sources. It takes time but it’s ethical.” (@goldasich)
- Tag authors – “Credit authors properly and give some link love! Who doesn’t love link love?!” (@ThinkSEM)
- Ask for permission when unsure – “Don’t hesitate to just ASK for permission. No need to walk on eggshells. Then honor with proper credit and links.” (@LoisMarketing) This is especially important when it comes to images!
Follow the golden rule. Would you want your hard work ripped off or uncredited? Nobody likes a thief, and you WILL be found out. #BizHeroes
— Madison Jones (@MadisonJonesHR) January 20, 2015
When it comes to curation, here are some additional golden:
- Read everything you curate
- Take the time introduce the content and add your two cents
- Rewrite titles if you can.
- Only quote short extracts.
- Curate with a platform-specific approach.
- Take advantage of your blog.
- Offer variety in terms of sources and content.
- Leverage your community
3. Don’t Be Afraid of Competition
As a professional curator, people keep asking me if sharing content from others has driven prospects away. The short answer is no.
When you curate, you don’t just pull in outside content. You package it with your thoughts. You add to the conversation.
A3. Being unafraid to “curate” smart thinking of (possible) competitors show you are comfortable in your thought leadership skin. #bizheroes
— Judy Gombita (@jgombita) January 20, 2015
With curation, you can show that you:
- Care about your community
- Want to add value for your prospects
- Respect the work of your peers
- Want to build relationships with them
- Are willing to share the space
- Listen to the pulse of your industry
A6. Our social authority is good as our content. Curating is a way to show we value opinions of others as well. #BizHeroes
— Iva Ignjatovic (@IvaIgnjatovic) January 20, 2015
People may remember an author. But they will also be impacted by a consistent source of information.
4. Experiment with Video Content
Do you know that 90% of the information transmitted to the brain is visual? Also 70% of all sensory receptors are in the eyes; and 50% of the brain is used in visual processing. By 2017, online video will make up 70% of consumer Internet traffic!
Video has become the king of all content for several reasons. First, it allows viewers to experience and connect with your brand more humanly.
A3 When you see/hear words coming directly out of someone’s mouth, there’s an extra level of authenticity. #BizHeroes
— Martin Lieberman (@martinlieberman) February 24, 2015
Video content is also more digestible. You can deliver more information and tell multi-faceted stories in a condensed manner. That’s why Vine is so successful with Millennials, for example. This generation has a shorter attention span.
So, how can you make videos work for your brand?
- Understand what your community is looking for – “100 Million peeps watch video online daily. A lot watch the cute kittens, but many look for advice, howtos &product info.” (@KDHungerford)
- Leverage marketing personas – “Millenials live in video based society. They are all about images/video. If you want to reach them then get with the program!” (@nancyrubin)
- Build Transparency – “If a business is smart, they should use video to show the behind the scenes of how they run a business.” (@chevd80)
- Offer a variety of formats – “Video can be used for internal communication / collaboration across ALL dept, OR in #custserv, education for clients, etc.” (@movystream)
- Let your team shine – “The businesses should allow their employees to be the stars of the video.” (@chevd80)
- Show off your expertise – “KNOW your stuff. Be passionate about it. This will resonate through your expressions and voice. Video thrives on human intensity.” (@MadisonJonesHR)
- Choose the right platforms to promote your videos – “The learning and sharing of knowledge is incredible. I go to YouTube first, then google for help 2nd.” (@KDHungerford)
- Leverage user-generated content – “Follow the lead of #IceBucketChallenge: Get your audience to pass along and continue the story on their own.” (@martinlieberman)
- Encourage conversations – “Ask Qs that connect w/ people’s emotions. Get them excited. Be relatable and curious. Lots on @movystream getting this right.” (@ChristinKardos)
- Be consistent – “Consistently showing up. Conversations don’t happen on their own you have to get in there!” (@ChristinKardos)
- Don’t obsess over views – “Using video to build community is an opportunity. It’s not just the nr of people watching videos that’s impressive, it’s why!” (@KDHungerford)
5. Some Best Practices for Video Production
Do you remember the Taylor Swift video that I shared on the blog two months ago? I love it because the signer delivers a simple message: “I care about my fans and I’m willing to prove it.”
But, it’s not the only reason why the video has gathered 16.7 million views on YouTube. It is the perfect example of this basic rule: “There are no rules. Video is art. Play. have fun. Be aware of the audience & how they will be receiving content,” says @Realized. In other words, “don’t make it too complicated – Brevity is the soul of wit.” (@mne90)
Videos don’t have to be expensive to be effective. But there are some key elements that must be included:
- Make it look natural – “Don’t commit to a script. The natural, raw and real nature of #video is what makes it so relatable (@movystream)
- Focus on viewers – “Talk to the camera, not the screen so you are really looking into the person’s digital eyeballs!” (@movystream)
- Personalize the connection – “Use the person’s name who you are talking to as much as possible. It creates a deeper connection, shows you care.” (@movystream)
- Tell us what to do next – “Include a Call to Action! It keeps the conversation going, gets people involved! Stirs up discussions, fuels future content.” (@movystream)
- Go with the flow – “Don’t over complicate things! And video doesn’t have to be grand scale, it’s the human element we love!” (@movystream)
- Plan your content if need be – “If you are going to improvise, improvise. But if you are telling a certain story, prepare, make a storyboard, test your idea.” (@Laerkespenner)
- “Forget” the sales – “Don’t just try to sell something. Tell a story which includes the needs of your target group.” (@PipelinerCRM)
- Keep your word – “I think that the best practice is to always deliver what you promise your client when making a video.” (@chevd80)
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help – “Tech novice in video? Hire pros to get wheels moving. Why climb the learning curve when you can take the gondola to the top.” (@_Realized)
Remember that the most fancy tools cannot create great videos. Only you (and your content) can. So, stay focused on what your audience wants (explainer videos, anyone?) and a good pre-production process. You could save a lot money and time!
For more tips to create a powerful video, check out this excellent case study on how a company learnt from its mistakes and raised $5 million with its Kickstarter campaign.
Need additional recommendations? Here are some from @chevd80, @aroru26, and @kdhungerford:
A8. Can I mention #PatricSleightholm and #PhilConnor delivers for @SamHoustonState with video production?https://t.co/mLKC2y7qj3 #bizheroes
— Cheval John (@chevd80) February 24, 2015
My fav is Greenpeace. Two video examples: http://t.co/9e1nxXPrNk and http://t.co/Nb7ijaNAbY #BizHeroes — Alicia Rodríguez (@aroru26) February 24, 2015
I love what @timwasher @iSocialFanz @TeriMKojetin @ChristinKardos & @movystream are doing with video. Connect to the heart #bizheroes
— Kelly Hungerford (@KDHungerford) February 24, 2015
6. Some Tools for Creation and Curation
Who has time to scour the Internet to find great content to curate or fuel creativity? Not me!
Thankfully, there are many tools and services that can help make our lives easier. Here is a list of recommendations from the #BizHeroes community:
- @goldasich – “Trendspottr is one our favorites. We use @trendspottr alongside @hootsuite to spot sources we may not find on our own.”
- @chevd80 – “I think @Hootsuite, @Storify, @Buffer, @MovyStream, are the social media tools to discover lesser known websites.”
- @TeriMKojetin – “Listening via Hubspot, email notifications from people I follow who write & LinkedIn Pulse, Flipboard.”
- @jacobhenenberg – “I like using PopURLS to find interesting trending content. Some of those URLS are linked to lesser-known sites.”
- @chevd80 – “I think the best tip is to ask your network to discover new content because word of mouth is always important.”
- @jgombita – “@paper_li (ours & others), @getswayy, @medium, @stumbleupon, @newscred, @Upworthy, hashtags (#PR), @Google @Talkwalker alerts.”
- @hunterboyle – “Great roundup emails, like @hitenshah‘s SaaS update, @cspenn‘s weekly email, @wbw_jeff.”
- @SeeDepthInc – “newsletters, believe it or not, still work. And, Quora.”
More tools from @kmullett:
A8: Here are a few #curation tools to test for your needs and workflow. (see img) #BizHeroes pic.twitter.com/e3E07LNEGv
— Kevin Mullett (@kmullett) January 20, 2015
A8b: Here are some tools that are not direct curation, but can be used for it. (see img) #BizHeroes pic.twitter.com/E3sqfHivXU
— Kevin Mullett (@kmullett) January 20, 2015
Now, it’s your turn to speak. What other tips would you add to this list?
And don’t forget to join us on Tuesday, March 24, for the next #BizHeroes chat.
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