Curated content. A quick way to start content marketing.
Does all my content need to be original?
Does the thought of continuously churning out original, fresh and relevant content for your blog seem daunting? Well, we’ll let you in on a little secret: it doesnʼt have to be ‘all original, all the time’. If your blogging strategy is working, you’ll have built up a following that is aligned to your point of view (or possibly enjoys being in opposition to you). They value your insights and will gladly adopt your opinion on subjects as their own.
Become a trusted source of information
Of course, your followers are interested in your original information, but they also value your expertise in recommending good sources and valuable content. Your followers will happily consume relevant content, resources, ideas and guidance you have ‘selected’ from other sources and value your authority for having presented the information in an easy to digest format. This is called ‘curated content’.
Curate the best content
Curated content allows you to keep providing fresh information to your followers, but dramatically reduces your workload. By presenting other resources in this way, you are saving your followers’ time as well as your own, and possibly broadening their knowledge on new topics. The best part of curated content is that followers may recognise your blog as a depository of good information and are more likely to come to you when researching rather than use a search engine or have to evaluate other content resources for themselves.
Curated content should follow the same rules as your created content. It should ideally be entertaining, educational, easy to engage with and easy to share.
Here are some examples of curated content:
1: The directory / A directory is a great way to establish authority on a subject whilst also providing a service to informational searchers.
For example: 10 online shops selling hang gliding equipment.
2: Ranked lists / A ranked list is a nice way to structure information and present your opinions on a topic in a way that is very simple to understand. Ranked lists are also easy to navigate if the reader wants to skip ahead, for example: 5 tips on… top ten… 5 worst… 10 greatest…
3: The epic / Why do a top 10 list when you can do a top 100 or 1,000? Much more effort goes into this content type, but viewers will hopefully get more value from it.
For example: 50 must-have Firefox add-ons
4: The #1 of the year / Skip the ranked list and go straight to number 1 – a featured article on the best subject is great for readers who want more information. For example: App of the Month, Best Industry Site of 2016, Blog of the Year.
5: The expert/celebrity / Sometimes your opinion on a subject isnʼt worth much (in digital marketing terms, of course). But people are always interested in hearing the opinion of ʻexpertsʼ or ʻcelebritiesʼ, however niche they are. For example: ‘What is Leonardo Dicaprio’s view on Jaffa Cakes?’.
Let’s look at creating your curated post:
Step 1: The basics / Start by getting your ducks in a row and identifying:
- Who are you targeting?
- What is the most important message a reader should take away after reading the blog post?
- What type of content are you going to create?
Step 2: The structure / Before you get into the detail, take a little time just to sketch out your blog post. Donʼt go overboard with copywriting, just jot down your ideas to give yourself some structure. Yes, there are variations on the theme, but you can get to this when you have been writing them for a while. Actually, most blog posts follow a similar basic structure: For example:
- A working title / Have a working title that will hook readers into reading your post. Scribble some down and pick a favourite. Donʼt labour over it, you can always change it later.
- Intro / This will be a general introduction to the topic, explaining what you will be talking about and giving a hint as to your conclusion.
- Body text / This is where your curated content will appear, ie lists, links etc. Really good curated content will also include some personal insight or explanation.
- Conclusion / A summary of the main points of the post and an affirmation of the key messages.
Step 3: Cite your sources / Credit where credit is due. Providing references or additional resources is a great way to build authority into your posts. Itʼs even better if you can avoid loss of traffic by linking to these resources on your own website. Some outbound links are important. Offering additional resources for your audience to confirm the facts of your posts increases your credibility… the better the authority of the linked website, the stronger your own authority will be.
Step 4: Images / Content with images gets 94% more views than without. In the modern web 2.0 era, sites that utilise imagery such as Tumblr or Pinterest have shown the highest amount of growth ever online. Need help creating brand boosting VISUALS?
Step 5: The finishing line / Time to dot the i-s and cross the t-s
- The killer title / Now you have written your blog post, you might need to revisit your working title. While using keywords is important, a title needs to be written with humans in mind. You need to make the reader curious enough to click, so be funny, outrageous, sexy or shout a warning. Whatever the case, it must draw people in.
- What is your ‘call to action’ / If your blog post is written right, your audience should be willing to take some form of action after reading it. This could simply be sharing the post socially, or it could be a more direct action like a sale, a download or a willingness to enter their personal information into your database.
- Promote conversation / This could be in the content comments section or social media. Ask a question or be provocative to encourage your audience into action. Everyone likes expressing their opinion, all you have to do is ask.
Step 6: Publishing / Good to go… or are you? So now is the stage when you put all your hard work into action. But before you actually publish, it’s wise to collate the information into one document, then spell check it. There’s nothing like a badly spelled blog post to destroy your credibility online (even though we all make mistakes!). Once thatʼs done, go through the post yourself and proof read it out loud, looking out for bad grammar and punctuation – and double checking stuff like the infamous ‘your’ and ‘youʼre’ which readers love to call you on. Once you have made any changes, you can ask someone else to read it and make some suggestions. Possibly another pair of eyes will spot complexity or inaccuracy in your writing that you can sharpen up.
Do you have any examples of really great curated content?