The Ultimate Science-Backed Method for Creating Content That Readers Love
Want to make readers love your content? There’s a formula for that. Discover how readability tests make a difference – Content Marketing Institute
Let’s be honest … in the world of online marketing, the problem for you and your audience is not lack of content.
It isn’t even lack of great content.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
On the B2B front alone, 88% of marketers used content marketing in 2015 and 76% plan to create even more content in 2016.
As your audience faces this sea of information, what they’re looking for isn’t more.
Instead, they’re looking for trusted and knowledgeable guides who can navigate them through the stormy, unorganized mess.
In other words, to stand out as genuine thought leaders, your primary focus shouldn’t be to add content … it should be to curate content.
As Ross Simmonds recently pointed out in The Content Curation Guide That Every Marketer Should See, content curation produces at least four key benefits: (1) establishing “relationships with influencers,” (2) increasing your “web traffic (organic and direct),” (3) growing your “social network following,” and (4) establishing “brand awareness and topic authority.”
And here’s the really wonderful news …
Everyday, people throughout out your organization are discovering a wealth of shareable, relevant, and click-worthy content … all of it, ripe for curation.
This happens automatically: a never-ending source of content everyone from research to customer service to sales to finance naturally unearths, digests … and then discards.
While they may use it internally, as far as marketing goes … nearly all that content simply goes to waste.
That’s why we at Pressly have put together this simple, three-step process for not just curating content, but using curation to position your entire organization as thought leaders:
Since the first step of curation is collecting great content. This means setting up a structure so that nothing your team or company comes across falls by the wayside.
Content collecting runs on two distinct roles:
As the curation coordinator, your mission is to determine what your audience cares about. What makes them tick? What are their pain points? Their passions?
This doesn’t have to be complicated.
A topical list of key areas is a great starting point.
Once you’ve outlined that list, share it with everyone in your organization -- i.e., your contributors -- so that they can help fill your content curation pipeline by submitting the content they naturally find.
However, do not send out a single email blast. Reach out individually or to specific teams and departments and only share the topics they naturally bump into in their everyday jobs.
Contributors aren’t just the people on your content team.
They’re everyone in your organization. And the more cross disciplined they are, the more content you’ll harvest.
So how do you enlist an army of content contributors?
To gain the cooperation of contributors, go after them through one-on-one conversations. If that’s too much to ask, try communicating with small teams so that they understand their specific role in the initiative.
The point is to encourage ownership of content curation so that employees are more likely to stick with it.
You also need the right tools.
Naturally, Buffer is on every major list of the best social media management tools. And for good reason.
Both on mobile and desktop, Buffer makes collecting -- essentially queuing -- any piece of content as simple as two clicks. Their analytics and optimized scheduling tool make it easy to find out exactly the kinds of topics and times that resonate most with your audience.
But, there are a couple major limitations when it comes to team content curation with Buffer.
First, it queues automatically -- meaning that you can’t separate the collection stage from the actual curation stage (adding elements like hashtags, mentions, questions, and especially insightful comments etc).
Second, it only works for social media.
And -- despite what you may have heard -- content curation goes way beyond that. Great curation also includes epic roundup posts, email newsletters, original infographics, and more.
For now, here are three tools that will work for collecting curatable content beyond social media.
A solid approach to organizing your contributors’ submissions is to make a Social Media Collaboration Board, which you can organize in two ways.
First, group by content type:
Second, by topics:
To avoid overloading your email’s inbox, you can easily use an internal communication tool like Slack to collect. Making topic specific channels like #sales, #engineering, #agile, or #fun and inviting specific contributors to fill those channels will help the collection process immensely.
In the third step -- “Curating” -- we’ll walk through how to publish the content you collect. Naturally, Pressly’s custom hubs are a phenomenal way to do that. Even better, if you decide to use Slack as your collection repository, Pressly’s plug-in lets you post directly from those topic-specific channels to the outside world.
Memit combines the collecting and clipping abilities of Pocket and Evernote, with multiple user, and personalized commenting. It also integrates directly with your cloud platform so all the content your contributors add automatically gets stored for use down the road. From there, the coordinator can share content to social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter as well as track metrics.
Naturally, time is a limited resource when it comes to curating.
So much so that there are going to come certain projects when you need to complement your team approach.
Simply put, you’re going to need more content, especially focused content.
For instance, if you’ve identified “customer churn” as one of your topics with the goal of generating a curated top-ten resources list … your contributions may only supply you with 5-7 resources that ultimately make the cut.
So, where should you turn?
The next three tools will help you save loads of time curating while simultaneously packing your curation pipeline with quality.
BuzzSumo is the gold standard in measuring the social popularity of content by author, domain, or keyword. In fact, I use BuzzSumo throughout my idea generation and research process (especially when I’m targeting or pitching a specific publication or reaching out to a specific influencers). This overlap makes it the perfect go-to tool for gathering the best, prequalified content created by other people.
With a free subscription, you can use ClearVoice’s Content Studio to find not just popular content, but quality content selected from some of the biggest names in online marketing. You can either create your own collections on ClearVoice or simply add the URLs to any of the tools listed in step one.
This one is personal.
For years, my queue was never empty. All my team and I had to do was add a few custom posts here and there and let Buffer’s Suggestions Feature take care of the rest. Then, in July of last year, Buffer closed down the pipeline and I was heart-broken.
Until I discovered Quuu.
Quuu is a “hand curated content suggestion” tool made directly for Buffer uses. Instead of relying on algorithms and automation, Quuu’s growing repository of topical content is entered by real humans. This means, not only is the content quality checked by both the Quuu community as well as Quuu themselves, it also includes human elements that I’ll discuss in the next.
It may sound strange to have the third and final step in a post on “How to Curate” … be “Curate.”
But this is intentional.
Because this is precisely where the real work of curation comes in.
In fact, actually curating all the content you’ve collected and complemented is what separates the genuine thought leaders from the curation wannabes.
It’s the difference between just slapping a bunch of links into a post or sharing them on social media and guiding your audience into what’s best.
Without real curation, there’s no insight, no organization, no pros and cons, no takeaways, no commentary … no value.
Kevan Lee stresses this point to no end in The Busy Person’s Guide to Content Curation: A 3-Step Process for Your Blog, Newsletter, or Timeline:
Content curation is sorting through a large amount of web content to find the best, most meaningful bits and presenting these in an organized, valuable way.
The human element of curation is a huge source of its value.
Aggregation is algorithmic. Curation is handpicked.
To show you what this looks like in real life, let’s take a look and three types of curated content and two examples of each.
The Skimm is a daily newsletter with a collection of six of the most relevant pieces of news and events from around the world. What’s made this newsletter amass such a cult following is the commentary that accompanies each story. Often, they even managed to convert dry content into short and clever stories that remain unforgettable.
Political journalist Dave Pell has built an equally massive following through his curated email newsletter The Next Draft. Again, what makes Pell stand out is his running commentary (and unique stand) on the topical events of the day. Pell goes far beyond mere links to guide his readers with wit and insight.
Curated blog posts are among some of the best performing content on the internet.
Over the last two years, KlientBoost has positioned themselves as experts in conversion rate optimization and PPC advertising not only by creating original content, but through round up posts like their enormous CRO Tools: The Complete List [105 Tools Reviewed]. They present brief but detailed research on each and always explain the how and why.
Similar to KlientBoost’s tools review, Kissmetic’s resources for CRO writing is divided topically and includes easy to digest summaries -- one to three sentences each -- of the best copywriting eBooks, infographics, articles, guides, courses, websites, videos, and more.
You’ve heard the phrase, “two heads are better than one.”
Research proves it to be true. But the thing is, heads need a place to collaborate.
This is where the power of a curated hub lies -- in building a centralized location that allows people to meet, socialize, share, organize, or otherwise collaborate together.
Pressly exists to do just that.
What’s more, Pressly allows you to implement all three steps in one.
First, by inviting company-wide contributors, everyone can post the content they find to one place. This streamlines the collection process and (most notably) positions each individual as a thought leader by attributing their curated content directly to the individual who posted it.
Second, because Pressly’s hubs are both internal and external facing, your content is immediately available to your market.
Third, you can even use Pressly to create weekly newsletters automatically.
For example, Pressly’s own Content Marketing Bible -- a name I wish I’d come up with -- does this masterfully. With nine in-house collaborators from the worlds of marketing, programming, and design, the Content Marketing Bible is constantly updated with fresh resources.
Even more notable is Deloitte’s Exponentials hub: “Curated content to educate, inspire, and help leaders harness exponentials to improve the way we live and work.”
Deloitte’s curation success (it exceeded initial engagement goals by over 300%) hinges on two factors: (1) bringing the voices of subject matter experts to the forefront and (2) allowing their own 50+ contributors to share and comment with authenticity. This combination means Exponentials is more than just a go-to sources for content about artificial intelligence; it's a community of people across Deloitte’s organization that are themselves knowledgeable and passionate about these topics.
In other words, Exponentials showcases Deloitte’s thought leaders, adding value to their readers and credibility to their entire organization.
Everybody can lead …
Today, the path to thought leadership runs directly through curating content.
And creating your own structure comes down to three basic steps:
When followed, it’s easy to see how you can quickly position not just yourself but your entire organization as a thought leaders.How are you measuring up?