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.