Before we begin let’s just say that we could genuinely write a book on all you need to know about curating and creating content. It’s a huge area and something that we dedicate a significant amount of time to on our courses. What we aim to do in this blog is give you some key pointers about the strategy around content plus some tools to make your content a cut above.
Why good content is so important
If you think about it, content is the main reason most people are on social in the first place. If you are providing quality content, then it's a win-win and you’re bound to increase both your engagement and followers.
Great content gets people to trust you - research shows 80% of people prefer to get company information from articles rather than from adverts. Then there is the all important traffic to your website, not to mention your search engine rankings. Finally if you can encourage user generated content (more on this in a minute) then you can engage your audience like never before.
Ultimately we say that whatever you are going to share online make sure it ticks at least some of these boxes; informative, topical, cutting edge, funny (obviously industry dependent) and beautiful.
And before you even begin curating or creating anything make sure you have a clear content strategy in place. Go back to your user personas and consider what content is most likely to appeal to them.
Be realistic - there’s no point creating a blogging content strategy if you don’t have the time for it.
What will work best? Text? Photos? Videos?
Is short punchy content going to work best? Or will your followers value longer, detailed and well researched content?
Are people going to appreciate humorous content or do they want more serious, professional content?
The answers to some of the above might depend on the time of day. Perhaps people appreciate longer text based content in the evening but during the day want quick, consumable content. Also some types of content need consistency. People expect newsletters, podcasts and blogs to come out regularly for example.
Content curation versus content creation
These are essentially the main types of gathering and creating content.
Why use content curation
Content curation means pulling together useful and valued content on the internet and sharing it across your channels. To get ahead on social media you need to add value to your audience without the hard sell. Data shows links to third party sites generate 33% more click throughs than posts linking to your own website.
Why use content creation
Content creation on the other hand is when you make the content yourself - this could be blogs, photos, videos, podcasts. As you’d expect created content is likely to drive more traffic to your website and therefore conversions (providing it is quality!)
So this isn’t an either/or, you need BOTH to be successful and it’s about getting the balance right. Research suggests the optimal mix is around 25% created content and the rest curated.
Your guide to content curation
So how exactly do you find the best content to share with your audiences? Well there are a ton of ways and third party tools and what works is down to personal choice. We suggest if one doesn’t reward you with useful content within 10 minutes give up and move on to the next one.
Google your industry and find top blogs and magazines right there. Also set up google alerts of key words/phrases so you are alerted when new content goes online.
Better for some businesses than others but being the first to share relevant hot news is sure to get you noticed. Get your favourite news app and then tailor it to your preferences and simply check every morning.
Use those twitter lists of influencers we talked about in Week 7 and find great content to share. Pinterest is also particularly brilliant if you’re B2C and very visual. For B2B check out LinkedIn Pulse for blogs from industry experts.
These third party tools aggregate a whole bunch of content into one place making it easy to then publish across your social media platforms. Netvibes, with it’s free ready-made feeds and widgets, is one of the best. It’s also worth checking out Symbaloo and Individurls.
Content Discovery Tools
These are different third party tools which allow you to search and pull together great content based on keywords. There are a plethora of options out there but here at Digital Mums we are big fans of Buzzsumo as it shows you content that has been shared the most through social media (a great indicator that the content is good). Also worth checking out are Right Relevance, Klout, Scoop.it, Swayy, Iflow.com and ContentGems.
Your guide to Content Creation
When it comes to making your own content the possibilities are endless. Once again think back to your user personas and also your original campaign strategy. Remember that users on social media are always looking for something extra - so think about behind the scenes info and also anything which tells the story of your business.
Use all content creation as an opportunity to tell your story. Think about Q&As, case studies, and the behind the scenes stories of your company. If you put people at the centre of what you are writing then you can't go far wrong. Test out different types of content and you'll get a clear idea about what works best for your audience. Also look at graphic design platforms like Canva where you can easily create beautiful designs for your content.
Using images is an excellent way to add colour to your content. Of course the more visual you are as a business the easier it will be to capture great content. But don't worry if you're short on your own images - there are plenty online you can use. First up look for free-to-use images on Google Images. Also check out photo sharing sites like Pixabay and Can Stock Photo. For tools to create really engaging images with text overlaid we love Pablo by Buffer. Canva is also great for this.
Video is absolutely essential in any content creation strategy. Think about mixing up traditional blogging with vlogging and see how your audience reacts. And don't panic you don't need loads of technical equipment - if you have a smart phone you can join in on the act. They all have great tutorials and within hours you can learn how to create end to end professional pieces.
When producing video think about three things; how will you create your content, where will it be stored online, and how will you share it to get maximum exposure. From You Tube, to Facebook and Instagram, the possibilities are endless.
User Generated Content
Finally, no blog on content would be complete without a nod to user generated content. Ultimately it's trusted and more noticed than professionally produced content from brands.
Consider how you could rope your audience in - it's an effort for people to create content and upload images so perhaps a competition prize would be a good hook. Or tap into deeper motivations, just like the #nomakeupselfie did. If you get it right people may just do it anyway - like with our #RealMumMoments campaign which went viral. Check out this blog for your ultimate guide to User Generated Content. And as with everything on social media test your ideas out on people you know to get a sense of what might work best. And then rope them in to the campaign to get things started.
See you next week for the last in our #SocialDoneRight series where we talk about the importance of Test, Measure, Reflect and Refine.