On first blush, The New York Times and Buzzfeed couldn’t be any less similar. One is a flagship of ethical and investigative journalism, almost synonymous with the notion of journalistic authority itself. The other will give you 19 amazing cat pictures you can’t believe aren’t photoshopped.
But look closer and you’ll see both media giants have evolved in recent days to deliver content in a very similar and compelling way. And the take away for marketers about how these guys are changing their game will make all the difference to your content strategy.
Curation and Creation: Your readers want both
In a recent Digiday article, Ricardo Bilton writes that the Times and Buzzfeed are starting to enter a new age of content curation. Rather than simply publishing their own stuff, they are starting to see the value – or necessity – to start assembling, collecting and giving readers an editorial snapshot of other stuff that is out there.
“It’s pretty odd at this point to imagine a reader only wants stories from any one news organization,” said Ben Smith, editor-in-chief of BuzzFeed.
The curation-meets-original content approach is an important shift from how most publishers have approached their app strategies so far.
It’s this exact topic we’ve been hearing so much about directly from our customers in recent months. Except in this case, we’re talking about marketers and how they can build better, more powerful relationships around their content marketing efforts.
Fatigue around 100% owned content experiences
- Hard to produce enough great content: Being forced to create enough great original content on a regular basis is a daunting task for the most capable of content teams.
- Lacks an authentic and complete conversation: Your audience wants to be informed and/or entertained. The more complete and fuller the content destination you can create the better. We recently spoke with a well respected company lauded for their amazing content initiatives. During a recent focus group, their audience revealed that while they love their content around relevant industry topics – it still felt lacking due to it being only their own view point.
Empowering content throughout the company
Creating thought leadership visibility
You have them listening. Now what?
Drive business results
Or: A Day in the Life of a Content Curator
The idea for this post started out as a list for all the great content tools out there to help you find the stuff that you – a content curator – should be curating.
It started that way. But in a matter of minutes, I’d already dug up a list about 100 long. It was obvious this list wasn’t going to actually ever be read by anyone.
Many people claiming to be a curator, seem to think of their job as simply throwing huge lists your way. Big, unmanageable, indigestible lists… But since the whole point of content curation is to actually make people’s lives easier, to make some sense out of all the noise out there, these lists sometimes defeat the purpose, when done badly. They are simply laziness.
What I decided would be more useful is to highlight how I actually find the stuff I curate, and share that very specific, limited process with you. As a result, hopefully I’d give something tangible to chew on.
1. You do need tools, but you don’t need all the tools
As I continue this journey to figure out the best practices of content curation, I’ve stumbled across dozens of useful tools to dig up material seemingly relevant to my readers. I am sure a lot of them are great, and just as many are terrible. Unfortunately, the day is only 24 hours long, and I can’t simply spend it clicking tabs and bookmarks to all these services, hoping they’ll serve me something new.
My job after all is not just about re-sharing links. It’s about putting them together meaningfully. So even though there’s a million ways to find content and even more actual good pieces of content out there, it’s meaningless unless I actually carve out some time to make sense of it all, like I am doing right now.
So, what I suggest is you find a few services that seem to do the job, and stick with those. If they aren’t working for you, switch it up, tweak the settings, keep at it. But I highly doubt you’ll have any issues finding content. The tools are all very similar, many of them free, and they’ll all do an admirable job of what they’re supposed to do.
Personally, I rely on a few things for discovery. I have TweetDeck set up with curated twitter lists of the influencers in any given topic, for instance, this list of CMO’s for out CMOhub. And I have narrowed that one down even further by filtering for engagement – I only want to see the stuff getting retweeted.
I also have the same filters set up on key hastags, like #iOT for our hub all about marketing in the age of the internet of things, as well as this hub, our content curation best practices collection.
Finally, I’ve landed on a few good aggregation services that I have been going back to regularly. These are free and easy and serve up tons of stuff I am not finding on TweetDeck: BuzzSumo, Feedly, ContentGems. I haven’t yet picked the winner, and eventually I might pick another service. But these are great, for now.
2. Be a journalist, not just a news reader
Part of your job is reading all these articles. But an even more important aspect is to dig deeper, follow hunches, write down angles, and keep track of all these little magical thoughts that bubble up while you’re consuming the primary sources.
I use Evernote for this. Whenever an idea for a story pops up, I’ll give it a tag and start saving those pieces to Evernote. This might be a list of the people in the article, and eventually I’ll interview them to generate some new, fresh content, that you can’t find anywhere else. Or it might be a list of the companies that keep popping up in all the news articles – what are the main players in IOT? And what can I learn by following them directly, that I’d otherwise miss if I was just reading what surfaced on Mashable?
However you choose to order this, the point is to let your mind freely associate new story ideas as you’re exploring the content mountains. It’s this creativity that will inherently bring value to your readers, and it’s exactly what we need to see more of in our content curators. I think it’s probably the only way the pros ever think up something more original than mere list bait.
3. Present it meaningfully, and beautifully
It’s funny, but a majority of the focus of curation tips seems to be about where to find what you are sharing, and very little thought is spent on how to present it in a way that will be more useful to your audience. I think if you’re simply re-tweeting, or rounding up stuff on your WordPress, you’re doing your readers a disservice. Formal elements, and the way content is consumed is equally as important as what is being served up.
The reason is pretty simple, and it goes directly back to the allusion of the art curator. What would be the point of picking the very best paintings and works of art, if your gallery was impossible to walk through, or if the lights were turned off? Similarly, if you’re doing the hard work of curating content, you better make sure you provide your readers an enjoyable, cross-platform, engaging experience. This serves their enjoyment but it also leads to better conversion and higher returns on your efforts, as a marketer. Curation, after all, is often being done by brands and businesses, so it would be a shame to do all that hard work, for it not to pay off.
Obviously, I use Pressly to curate content in beautiful and engaging way. And so do many other major brands and publishers. Once I’ve rounded up my list of good articles to share, I use the boomarklet and then it’s sent right to the hub I want. From there I can customize, feature and edit that article to be even more useful and engaging on my hub.
I hope this snapshot of the day to day life of a curator helped you out. If you have any amazing services that you can’t live without, or any extra pro tips from your experience, please share in the comments.
As Pressly gains more traction as a place for brands to create engaging destination featuring content they create, curate or get from social media, we’re excited about a new tool that makes the platform even easier to use.
The Pressly bookmarklet will let Pressly users add content to a hub whenever they see an interesting story on the Web. In seconds, your hub can be updated with fresh content.
When you click on the link, this box will appear:
Then, drag the bookmarklet to your browser’s bookmarks bar. When you come across an interesting piece of content (your own or curated from a third-party), click on the bookmarklet.
You will now the option to share the content on a specific collection and hub using the dropdowns. You can also edit the description before clicking on publish.
The bookmarklet is one of the many features we’re working on to make Pressly an even more powerful and useful platform to share engaging great content from across the Web.
For brands looking for a new way to get more value from the content they share, Pressly makes it easy to leverage a platform that offers compelling ROI.
Helping brands harness the world’s content
Toronto, May 6, 2014 – Pressly announced today it has been selected as a partner application for Radian6 Buddy Media Social Studio, the collaborative social content marketing, engagement, publishing and analytics solution from the Salesforce ExactTarget Marketing Cloud.
Pressly helps brands harness the world’s content to create beautiful destinations that engage audiences everywhere. By making it easy to curate great content from any source and share on websites, social, mobile and email, Pressly helps brands drive more conversions and leads.
The integration will let Social Studio customers seamlessly build a branded destination while sharing content through the new Salesforce product.
“We’re excited Salesforce.com selected us as a Social Studio partner,” said Jeff Brenner’s Pressly’s co-founder and CEO. “It reflects the work we’ve been doing to create a platform that lets brands centralize their original content alongside third-party and social content to deliver relevant topics and conversations to engage their audiences.”
“Marketers realize that to be successful, they need to scale social content marketing, engagement, publishing and analytics between employees and teams,” said Marcel LeBrun, SVP, Salesforce ExactTarget Marketing Cloud. “Having Pressly as a Radian6 Buddy Media Social Studio launch partner will help companies achieve social marketing success.”
- A beautiful, engaging destination where companies share content they have created or curated, or from social networks.
- Embedded calls-to-action and advertising to power business metrics such as newsletter signups, leads and sales.
- Insight and analytics to see how content and campaigns are performing to drive content optimization
- For more information on the Salesforce ExactTarget Marketing Cloud, visit www.exacttarget.com
- For more information on Pressly, visit www.pressly.com
- Watch the Radian6 Buddy Media Social Studio demo video.
- Like Salesforce ExactTarget Marketing Cloud on Facebook
- Follow @salesforce, @exacttarget and @marketingcloud on Twitter
Pressly helps brands harness the world’s content to engage audiences everywhere.
We make it easy for brands to create beautiful destinations driven by content they create and curate.
By sharing great content, brands can drive conversions and leads using the Pressly Call to Action Hub.
We deliver valuable insight and analytics and integrate into the world’s leading marketing automation platforms so brands can make smarter, more informed content decisions.
The ExactTarget and Salesforce names and logos are the exclusive property of salesforce.com.”
We’ve been hard at work since launching in March to make Pressly an even more powerful way for you to create and publish the world’s most immersive mobile reading experiences. With an updated interface, an incredible analytics widget, improved social sharing and even a seamless desktop reading mode, Pressly is proud to unveil our latest upgrades.
Cleaner, more beautiful dashboard design, making Pressly more intuitive than ever
We have re-organized and refined the look and feel of our dashboard to make it easier to navigate and build your apps as intuitively as possible. From a cleaner, flatter look, right down to unifying the settings pane to give you one spot to control everything.
An all new analytics section
Pressly now pulls together your user behaviour into a beautiful, visual analytics section to give you quick and customizable reports on how your users are interacting with your content. Subscribe to check it out!
Enhanced social sharing, with Pinterest, Google+ and LinkedIn
We’ve added a new social sharing box on all Pressly properties, so your readers can now share your content to their Pinterest, G+ and LinkedIn accounts, as well as Twitter and Facebook, all in one tap.
Desktop reading mode!
This is especially useful if you’re using Pressly to create a stand-alone, brand new property. Now when your readers visit a Pressly URL from a desktop computer, they will still be given a beautiful, elegant reading experience. No more sending them to an error page.
You can now add a cover page to your Pressly properties. This is the first page your visitors will see; think of it as the front page of a magazine. It’s an awesome way to highlight your brand and it also gives you an exciting new sponsorship opportunity.
Easy new way to place your ads, just cut-and-paste ad tags
In addition to specifying a URL pointing to your ad unit, you now have the ability to copy and paste your ad tags right into the Pressly dashboard.
New Ad formats for smartphone and tablet
We’ve also enabled new, larger ad formats for smartphone, including a full-screen interstitial.
Soundcloud and Brightcove content support
We’ve also added more content formats to our supported list, including audio streams from Soundcloud and the enterprise video service Brightcove. (For custom Brightcove integrations or help, please get in touch.)
And much more, including:
Windows Phone 8 and Surface support, ability to customize a Bookmark icon for homescreen, and the ability to put 3 external links in navigation bar.
What new features would you like to see? Leave a comment and let us know