Previously on Web.Search.Social:
I wrote an article called “In Which I Discuss Why Content Curation For Marketing Sucks.”
A bunch of people got pissy.
I debated the issue on Content Warfare TV.
I wrote a followup called “What Is The Place Of Content Curation In Marketing? (Part 1)”
I’m scheduled to have a followup beat down on the popular Nuclear Chowder Marketing Podcast.
Here are my final thoughts. (Unless I get fired up again.)
Doesn’t content curation help people get to know my business?
No. No. No.
How about this as an alternative; help people to know your business on the merits of your products, services, customer service, etc.
The idea that the pathway to getting to know your business is through someone else’s content is so preposterous that I almost don’t know what to say about it.
If you own or manage a business and someone comes along and tells you that the best way to help people to know your business is to publish third party content that takes them away from an experience with you and into an experience elsewhere; don’t hire them.
If you do, you are an idiot.
The fatal flaw of social media from a business perspective is that its immediacy creates the illusion of intimacy. Just because someone saw and even shared your curated content doesn’t mean that some transitive magical effect has kicked in making that person like you more. They may convert to a customer, but you have a better chance of converting a higher percentage of people if you let them know you instead of the person or business you are linking to.
Consider this: Less than 1% of the people who have proactively clicked the “like” button on your Facebook business page will ever return to your page. You mean to tell me that if you send them away you’ll have a better chance of retaining or converting them?
This is plain stupidity.
Imagine being on a date with that hot guy/girl you’ve been dying to have a relationship with. Would you tell them to go hang out with your friend so they can get to know you better?
Content curation prevents your social accounts from being a graveyard
Did you catch that word, “graveyard?” It’s not a positive word. That’s by design. Businesses that are silent on social media are usually told that that silence is deadly. It’s a tactic that is inspired by consultants wanting to close the deal fast instead of wanting to strengthen their customers’ marketing.
The biggest failure of social media is not silence but noise. That’s not the fault of platforms, but of users.
Users who decide that there needs to be a constant stream of outgoing content have all but ensured that their messages will be ignored.
With that said, businesses should make sure that they are delivering important targeted messages instead of just delivering messages to maintain the appearance that they are delivering messages.
The “graveyard” paradigm does not help businesses. It only creates unnecessary work that social media baristas can convert into revenue.
The alternatives to content curation
It’s not black and white. Some people think that the spectrum of content consists of either creating original content or performing content curation. There is a lot more grey than that.
Let’s start off by throwing content curation out the door. No more linking to third party content for dumb reasons that don’t propel your business forward.
If you think you don’t have the time to create original content or the budget to have someone to create it on your behalf, let’s explore some options.
Original content doesn’t mean a blog. Most people perceive that “original content” means a 1,000 word blog post. But you can have original content that consists of one sentence. Instead of sharing a throwaway link, come up with meaningful phrases, tips or questions that will activate your audience. They can be be directly about your business, but also tangential. For example, if you run an HVAC business, you may want to prompt your audience to go out and buy new filters and tell them why that’s important. Something like this:
Did you know that after 1 month your filters may not be working at full efficiency? Make yourself a note to change them regularly to keep the air quality in your home optimal.
Need one for Twitter? Here it is.
After 1 month your filters may not work efficiently. Make a note to change them regularly to keep the air quality in your home optimal.
Of course, if you’re smart, you’ll be better served with this:
Filters don’t work efficiently after 1 month. Change them regularly for great air quality at home. Don’t know where to buy? We can help.
Did you know that after 1 month your filters may not be working at full efficiency? Make yourself a note to change them regularly to keep the air quality in your home optimal. You can buy filters at any home improvement store, but if you’re not sure what will work best for your home, reach out to us.
You’ve now given your audience valuable information without sending them somewhere else. You haven’t pretended to be an authority by linking to someone else. You’ve proven you are an authority by being the value. And to boot, you’re encouraging people to reach out to you if they want to.
At the end you can create compelling original content in small chunks by answering the three most important questions that your audience wants answers to:
- What do you do?
- How much does it cost?
- How will this benefit me?
If you answer one or more of those questions, you’ll never need third party support.
How do I know what to say?
So you’re stuck? Don’t know what to say or ask on social?
This is where people get frustrated and consider heading down the content curation path. The answer, however, is not elusive. It’s right in front of you and it’s free.
Write down every question your customers ask you.
Your potential customers have many of the same questions on their minds. Answer them proactively before they can be asked and you’ll start converting people into customers and building relationships before you can even mutter those evil words, “content curation.”
Of course, this takes more time and effort and yes, it may cost you more than blindly curating, but you will reap much more from these seeds than you ever will with content curation.
Join the discussion 19 Comments
“Less than 1% of the people who have proactively clicked the “like”
button on your Facebook business page will ever return to your page. ” — source of this stat? (I am not disputing the truth of this, in fact it is probably optimistic)
Great question! And I’m glad you asked it.
On April 13, 2011, Mari Smith published an article called “How to Measure Your Facebook Engagement”. It she says:
“Some studies show that a whopping 90% of Facebook users don’t return to a fan page once they click the Like button. They only see and interact with your content in their news feed.”
While I know that this is not evidence nor does she cite the claim, I do find her material to be credible. From what i have read, Facebook itself has cite a diminished rate of return that is intrinsically tied to EdgeRank.
There was a 2012 study by the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute that found that just over %1 of global brands had engagement beyond the first click that illustrated a return visit. I can’t find that study now.
Incidentally, a lot of people who I talk to or read about, don’t find this to be a bad metric because in the world of Facebook (or at least the way it used to work) is that people expected to like a business page and have that business content streamed in their timeline. They did not have the expectation of having to return.
So this is admittedly a fuzzy area.
Great article, although I largely disagree.
What I agree with is that nothing beats creating original content, and you should as much as you can.
Yet, content curation can play an important role in your inbound marketing strategy (provided that you curate content on your own site) in that you’re able to put your business into a greater context.
E.g. let’s say you’re a green-tech business: Why shouldn’t customers trust that your site is the place to catch up on the latest news and trends that affect their business? Would you rather have them go elsewhere to make sense of this complex topic? By filtering the signal from the noise, and point customers to information that matters, rather than pushing your product all the time, you’re offering customers a valuable service while establishing yourself as a trusted authority in the field.
Done right, thoughtful content curation can be a valuable, additive content marketing tactic that makes it easy for a business to stay as fresh as the current newscycle.
I don’t know what this means:
“Yet, content curation can play an important role in your inbound marketing strategy (provided that you curate content on your own site) in that you’re able to put your business into a greater context.”
Explicit in content curation is that you are linking to third party content – not your own. Can you elaborate on this?
>>>>> E.g. let’s say you’re a green-tech business:
>>>>> Why shouldn’t customers trust that your site
>>>>> is the place to catch up on the latest news
>>>>> and trends that affect their business? Would
>>>>> you rather have them go elsewhere to make
>>>>> sense of this complex topic?
I know a green tech business that went from $0 to $1Million in four years partially based on a marketing program heavily weighted towards Facebook. They did not ever curate a piece of content.
If a green tech company asked me for content curation, i’d ask them why their own products, services and braintrust could not suffice.
Also, if the core mission of the green-tech business is to provide information, then this might be fine, but if it’s mission is to install panels wouldn’t producing their own content be stronger than being a source of third party information? Being a provider of external information may imply that that company is not a leader and needs to rely on the information generated by others. While practically that is true for everyone, the company that projects leadership will eat that company’s lunch.
Like I said, content curation is great way for a brand to go beyond the (challenge) of creating original content all the time. Being an editorial filter of industry information is an opportunity that a brand can embrace or pass onto somebody else (like a competitor…). Simple as that.
Some examples of content curation that happens on the company’s site, yet often links to 3rd party content are brainpickings.org (on the heavy editorialized side,), iq.intel.com (where curation takes the form of re-blogging), capgemini.com/expert-connect (where they have turned to their employees to do the curation and thereby showcasing their expertise). A notable company that tries, but fails is IBM, e.g. ibm.com/voices (they are not creating content specifically for curation purposes and is thus missing an editorial voice – which is bad as IBM is not lacking subject matter experts who could add their 2 cents).
If you are arguing that content curation is good because they are presented in the links above, that’s not going to sway me. Also, I’m not sure what any of the links above have to do with Content Curation in the context that I present in. The scenarios you’ve presented are not related. Unless I’m missing something the sites you list are sites with guest posts. That’s not related to this discussion.
Not looking to sway you – just add some nuance to the narrowly defined context that you have presented curation in. Content curation is the process of packaging (and when done right, editorializing) 3rd party content. There are countless ways of doing so both on your own site and via 3rd party sites. I’m just challenging the notion that anything that is not 100% homegrown is content is a waste. Your strategy should dictate whether this tactic has a place.
It’s absolutely an interesting point of view. And the way you write it down makes it a pleasure to read it. I think that for your story as well for the comments below is a lot to say. For a large part it depends on the business you’re in, I think. Content curation about filters wouldn’t add much value I guess, but when you are a consulting firm and you use researches and articles of others to give your own opinion on that, you absolutely will add value for your buyer persona’s and position your company as thought leader in that field. In fact, I think companies like that do not want to be seen as navel gazing parties. They want to show that they know what’s going on in the rest of the world (in their field) and they have their opinion on that.
So thank you for your refreshening point of view, but you didn’t get me on your side :-).
>>>>> and position your company as thought leader in that field
The way people communicate electronically has evolved past that. Netizens have become too savvy and aware that just because someone posts something funny, that does not imply that the poster is inherently funny. I could publish all of Shakespeare’s works on this blog. That does not make me a good writer nor would anyone perceive me as such. Content consumers aren’t so blind that they believe that by publishing someone else’s content a business is leading. They are following. And worst, reciting. Steve Jobs never content curated Bill Gates. That’s because he is a leader. Reciting the wisdom of others does not a thought leader make.
Hi Ralph M. Rivera : I saw in the comments you were looking for studies/data/facts on how content curation helps. I’m also a data-driven guy (once an engineer, always an engineer…) and we regularly publish some ROI analysis and data on the Scoop.it blog: http://blog.scoop.it (I’m one of the founders).
Here’s one post on curation as a source of traffic: http://blog.scoop.it/2014/03/06/where-content-curation-traffic-comes-from-and-4-ways-to-increase-yours/ for instance. One note though: while some people call curation the simple fact of tweeting or sharing links, we’re not fans of that (here’s why: http://blog.scoop.it/2014/06/18/social-media-publishing-is-dead-as-we-know-it/). And of course, that’s not the way we organize it on Scoop.it where all the content you curate is hosted on your content hub where you redirect your social and search audience and generate leads (http://blog.scoop.it/2014/05/20/3-ways-to-generate-leads-through-content-curation/). Perhaps that’s the first kind of curation you’re criticizing and not the way we make it work for Scoop.it users and customers?
With millions using Scoop.it and 150M+ unique visits generated to our users pages and sites, we feel we have some good data points for this fascinating debate. But we don’t stop at our own data and we often survey professionals on what they think about curation and what impact it has. Here’s a recent white paper we published on that: http://blog.scoop.it/2014/04/10/report-76-of-professionals-using-curation-saw-an-impact-on-business-goals/
Sorry for the prominent linking in a comment but as you said no one answered with solid data points and evidence, I wanted to make sure you had a chance to review the above. Happy to exchange more over this thread or by email (guillaume at scoop.it).
Hi Guillaume. This comment got marked as spam because of the links, but I approved it. I took a brief look and there’s some good stuff in here. I’m going to take a deeper look and comment back. I’m going to be on another podcast discussing this topic and I want to read your data before then.
Thanks for the fast reply and publishing the comment (or dare I say curating it from the spam?). Happy to keep the discussion open so don’t hesitate if you have questions or comments on the above.
Hey, before I forget, let’s connect on LinkedIn. Would like to talk to you offline.
content uniqueness is very big challange for writer and thanks for the data.