Content is king when it comes to user engagement and SEO purposes. Both your prospective users and Google are looking for high level content all the time and today most companies and professionals know they cannot afford not to blog on their website.
With that being said, there is a lot of “noise” on the internet. By “noise” I mean poorly written, unfounded data which is more often spam than real information. Unfortunately, these types of articles are abundant as many site operators do not acknowledge the need for original, quality content. Most of the readers of today are much smarter and less naive. They can sniff out a good article from a bad one a mile away and will not return to a website that has proven to be unuseful.
On the other hand, if a site provides quality content that is relevant and well executed on a continual basis users will not only return to it but also recommend it to others. When done correctly, content could be the key to make users flock to your website as they will find it reliable, trustworthy, educational, and practical for their needs.
Many overlook the attractive power of good content and focus marketing efforts on promotions and ads. This strategy is less effective as, just like low level content, readers tend to spot them right away and disregard them completely. The expression “banner fatigue” was coined for a reason and has been around for a while now. This should serve as a glowing reminder to anyone looking to promote their site or presence on the web- listen to what the audience wants and give it to them. It’s hard to imagine any audience wanting banners and blunt promotions.
How to approach content curation
There are 3 basic approaches to content curation:
1. Curate content of others- this is considered by some to be the most effective way to build a good data base as it means no original content needs to be written. This approach saves time and money. By others, and for the same reason, it is considered to be the lazy and cheap approach. Some will go as far as to claim it is plagiarized content that is cynically used by unauthorized people that unlawfully gain from it (as much as you can claim that nowadays in the internet era).If you want to curate content created by others but do not want to lose the respect of your readers there is a way to have both.
First, be respectful of other people’s work- give credit where credit is due and note if changes were made to the original. If you really want to be upfront about it you can contact the author and tell him you want to curate his/hers article and link to the original. Explain that you want to curate the best articles on a relevant subject and find his/hers to be at that level.
Giving the content of others additional value could be a nice touch. For example, taking the information and data from an article and creating an infographic to bundle with it is a great way to both respect the original piece while adding value of your own in the form of visuals.
If you are straightforward and honest about your curation efforts both readers and authors will view it as what it is- the curation of the best articles on a certain topic in one place and not an attempt to steal other people’s work and gain from it. Of course, it’s essential to keep in mind that your ultimate goal for your content is to drive engagement with YOUR brand, product, or site, so using other’s content only works to build your reputation as an expert in the field if it’s focused on a specific topic.
2. Curate your own content- It is more time and energy consuming to research and write your own content there is no doubt about it. However, the content itself should come rather easily, after all- who knows your content and audience better than you? The demands are higher but so is the reward you get out of it. If you wish to become a major thought leader and influencer in your field writing authoritative content to promote your goal is an absolute requirement. Much like the case of the tree that falls in the forest with no one around- you can have all the knowledge in the world but if you don’t share it with the audience it will not exist, as far as your audience is concerned.
Curating your own content drives more engagement with your brand and helps to build up your SEO, share count, credibility, etc. Whenever possible, you should try to curate your own content to the best of your abilities.
3. Combine the two- There is nothing in the rule book saying you have to choose one or the other. You can add your own original content to an existing database of articles written by others to further support your authority and dismiss claims of “piggy backing” on other people’s work. You can also curate articles by other authors as a supplement to your original insight when you find yourself in a time or budget constraint.
When curating content you can showcase your knowledge in 2 ways. If you wish to become a guru in your field and have many followers it will be next to impossible without original content that engages your audience and makes them come back to you for information. However, you can also demonstrate knowledge by having an eye for really high quality content and curating in a respectful manner. Picking the best of the best and concentrating it all in one place can provide a one-stop-shop for your readers and their information needs. Today, your users are on the prowl for high quality content-what approaches are you going to use to feed it to them?
Image Credit: Flickr/Jayson Lorenzen