Last week I began a series of posts on content curation, a type of content marketing where you select, organize and add value to content created by others. In doing that, you are playing a role similar to that of a newspaper editor or museum curator. You are plucking gems from the rushing river of content that appears online every day and presenting the best of it as a service to your clients.
There are bonuses for you in content curation too. First, by monitoring content topics and choosing the best pieces, you automatically keep current with developments and new ideas in your field. Also, content curation takes less time than content creation (after you become experienced at it, that is) so you have more time to run your business each day. Finally, because you’re up to date with the latest and greatest, everyone’s impressed and you burnish your reputation as the go-to pro in your field.
Defining Your Content Curation Scope
So what, exactly, should you curate? The answer to this begins and ends with your customers, and not necessarily your current customers only. They’re important, but you also want to attract new customers and audience segments that are beneficial for your business. Here are three questions to ask yourself that will help you delineate your content curation turf.
- What kinds of topics relevant to my business are my current customers likely to find useful or interesting?
- How would I describe the prospective customers that I most want to attract and what will capture their interest?
- How can I organize or frame those topics to inform, entertain or challenge my prospects and customers?
Content Curation Prep Steps
You already have some good information that will help you identify the interests of current customers, and you’ll find it in your sales receipts. What products or services have sold especially well lately? Are there any backorders or items that just seem to fly out the door? Or anything that is sitting on the shelf, gathering dust? Consider also the analytics from your website. Anecdotal information is useful too, so ask your sales people.
Think about the customers you would love to attract to your business. Where do they live? What work do they do? How do they dress? Do they have kids? Are they into sports? Birdwatching? Your curation topics should be relevant to the audience you hope to engage.
This one is a bit tricky. There are boatloads of content in all formats created, curated, churned and channeled all day, every day. To offer a relevant, fresh perspective, you need to connect the interests of your audience(s) to pop culture, current and trending events.
Let’s say, for instance, that you run a chain of regional hardware stores located along the Gulf Coast. Rather than curating a hodgepodge of home decor and do-it-yourself projects, consider focusing on projects that customers can do to enhance their living space while also helping the Gulf recover from the BP oil spill. Highlight content about shore restoration projects and gardening for wildlife. Curate a series on sustainable home design.
The primary concern in defining your area of content curation is to keep it focused and not take on more than you can handle. A topic that is too broad quickly becomes overwhelming and it’s far easier to expand your search for curate-able content than it is to dig yourself out from under a pile of 500 Google Alerts. I’ll write more about this in the weeks to come and will also suggest some tools to help you manage the content curation process.