With all of the activity on the Internet, content curation is more important than ever for businesses and individuals. It’s essential that we create relationships with our audiences by sharing relevant information that doesn’t specifically promote our products and services.
The Internet is a stage—our digital opportunity to showcase our talents and creations while revealing who we who we are and where we stand. Even when we do our best to not be transparent, when we share information via the Internet, we’re still, in essence, telling our audience something about us.
If you pay attention to any of the following public figures via social media or blogs, you might discover:
- Mylie Cyrus doesn’t care what we think—or so she wants us to believe.
- George Takei encourages us to find humor in current events—regardless of how unfunny those current events may be.
- T. Harv Ecker helps others work through fears of financial lack, always encouraging a prosperity mindset.
- Jay-Z is discerning when it comes fashion, art and culture, not to mention extremely loyal to his cohort of cultural heroes and friends.
Regardless of where these individuals differ, there’s at least one trait they share in common:
They’re all effective content curators.
Thanks to the digital age, one of many lexicon-shifting terms to float around in recent years is “content curation”—eloquently defined by Beth Kanter as:
“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. A content curator cherry picks the best content that is important and relevant to share with their community. …
“Content curation is not about collecting links or being an information pack rat, it is more about putting them into a context with organization, annotation, and presentation.”
While dictionaries have yet to optimize the definition of “curator” to include online information sharing (I’m still impressed that Merriam-Webster updated its definition of “tweet” as not only “chirping note” but also “a post made on the Twitter online message service”), it’s a concept that once incorporated into our marketing strategies, can lead to powerful impacts in our online brand experience.
We, the Curators
If we tweet, post links on Facebook, blog, pin, share photos on Instagram or Tumblr, share videos on Google+ or anywhere else, we are curators. Once we own our digital curator-ism, the more effectively we can align our online strategies to align with our brand, image, statement and life message.
I love Lorrin L. Lee’s adaption of Mahatma Gandhi’s statement, “My life is my message.” Lee’s reads:
“Your life is your message to the world, make it inspiring.”
As marketers, we don’t merely sell but we inspire our audience to buy our products and services. As I mention in this TMMPDX article, branding is about emotion.
How can your business use content curation to support your marketing goals? If you’re a self-branded individual, how can you engage with your audience by finding, categorizing and sharing images, links and infographics that crystallize your message? Here are 5 simple steps to help you move through the content curation continuum.
Reconnect with your brand. What is your unique selling point and what do you stand for? If you’re a services provider—such as a restaurateur—you may specialize in farm-to-table dishes and organic wines. If you’re an auto dealer, you may take a strong stand for honest pricing, targeting female car owners who lack savvy in auto maintenance and susceptible to getting ripped off. Your marketing plan will help you to answer this question.
Seek out resources that align with your brand. Then share them. If we believe social media is solely about promoting our products and services, we miss opportunities to establish ourselves as thought leaders if we shy away from sharing links that take our audience to other websites.Consider the examples above. If you’re a restaurant owner who offers meals made with farm fresh ingredients, you set your brand apart when you share links about the health benefits of organic vegetables, even if you’re leading others to other websites such as Grit or Food & Wine magazines. The same holds true for the auto mechanic targeting female customers. You can appeal to your target audience by reposting articles from publications like LA Times, reporting on how female customers are more likely to get jipped by unscrupulous competitors in your industry. Your comment can point to your awareness of this problem and why your business is different.
Curate where your audience is. Research on where your target audience hangs out online. Aine Creedon’s article in Nonprofit Quarterly lists the following demographics for each of the “giant” social media networks:
- Facebook: International audience with increased audience in the 45–54 age bracket using Facebook has significantly grown. “Seventy-three percent of people earning over $75,000 annually have a Facebook account, which surpasses any other network by over fifty percent in the highest income bracket.”
- Google+: Active users are mostly male: 70 percent of its users
- Instagram: Mostly women: 68 percent.
- Linkedin: A large, international business crowd—not just for men anymore.
- Pinterest: A favorite among tablet users with 84 percent female users. Also favored by high-income earners: $50,000 to $74,999 income bracket, as well as second most-popular for those making over $75,000 annually.
- Twitter: Favored by millennials with “balanced between income demographics.”
- Tumblr: Dominated by teens.
Power your content with hash tags. Thanks to Jason Stum’s article for Market Punch, I learned about TagBoard.com, which will show you where your hashtag of interest is being used. For a primer on a hashtags, check out this article in Mashable. If you’re already familiar, seek out hashtags that say something about your brand and message then use Tag Board to discover their reach. Another source, hashtags.org, will also show you how many people tweeted a certain hash tag within a given time frame. Also, scanning the social media environment through HootSuite and adding a stream with your desired hash tag will show you posts associated with that content.
Now add your own content. As you continue to build credibility as a content curator—one who authentically cares to share information with your audience about the topics that your brand is most passionate about, regardless of where the links come from—you’re in a sweet position to market your own content. Start adding memes, links to your landing pages and blog articles that promote your products and services and watch how seamlessly they all fit within the content you’ve already been curating.
Who are your favorite curators and why? OK, I’ll start. One of my favorite curators right now is Dr. Harry Henshaw of Enhanced Healing . Dr. Henshaw shares inspirational memes and free samples of affirmations on Facebook, Google+ and YouTube. He also intersperses promotions of his own products, which are MP3 downloads. Your turn.
Please, do share or tweet us up @tmmpdx or @nohasslecontent.