By Nate Warren
How many of your competitors promote themselves with every post on every channel?
They don’t — and nor should you. This is where curated content comes in. When you consistently share thoughtful third-party content, you’re elevating your industry, being generous, and — this makes a lot of successful content marketing plans go vroom — you’re showing decision-makers cool tricks and valuable insights without being transactional about every little thing.
Most people understand this in the abstract, but it can be thorny in execution: Somebody in a VP chair at your company might have an issue with a post because it’s linked to a publication they don’t like for some reason. Maybe your CEO nitpicks an article because the journalist once wrote something she didn’t agree with. Perhaps someone in your sales team wants to pull down a link to a roundup article that also happens to mention a competitor.
Then the process starts to bog down because your content curator stops looking for the best stuff and spends a bunch of extra time guessing what won’t get them in trouble with leadership at the top of the food chain.
On top of that, prestige business publications — if they’re writing about something relevant to your business — will often paywall that content if it’s good. Outside the gate? More paid content than ever before, including sophisticated whole-cloth publications entirely owned by a big consultancy or other tier one interest — advertorial in journalistic clothing.
It all adds up to more time hunting for high-quality articles to include in the curated feed — and usually less time being happy together as leaders and employees. Even somebody who’s been on the payroll for months and can field strip your brand values statement blindfolded in the rain is going to pick something that makes somebody else nervous.
Sure, we could share the same thing the HR people on LinkedIn are sharing and never be in any danger, but are we trying to be differentiated here or what?
Incorrect Approach A testy email to your boss saying, “Can you tell Big Shot to paste their browsing history into a doc, edit out the furry URLs, and just show me what they like to read?” This was composed in a low blood sugar moment, reflected upon, and deleted unsent.
• Formally harvest reading lists in advance: “What is the leadership team reading and why? Who are your go-to bloggers? SMEs you admire?” Armed with four or five of these, you can massively cut the gear slippage on the front end.
• Create a company-wide whitelist: Get your internal stakeholders to share the sources of industry content they trust — analysts, influential bloggers, thought leaders, firebrands, journalists — and create a shared spreadsheet. Then have someone at the top go through it and eliminate problematic outlets. • Elevate your partners: When in doubt, share articles and other content published about or by your brand’s strategic partners, customers, and vendors. This should check the “industry relevance” box and have obvious value, demonstrating that your company is a good official industry homie that shares the love with your own audiences.
The process of curation — especially for terminally online community managers who have waded through every pool of content to find worthy articles that’ll pass muster upstairs — can be volatile, unpredictable, and oddly personal. (There is no greater tragedy than the unlistened-to personalized mixtape.)
How does the WideFoc.us team fine-tune our antennae so we get consistent overlap of the Things That Are Good and Things The Client Likes circles in the Venn diagram? In coming installments, my teammates will show you tips like:
• How WideFoc.us shares curated content on marketing and social media trends • When our curation game changes because of shifts in platform algorithms, policy, or product focus • The way we amplify partner networks, capture the attention of thought leaders who may connect clients to buyers, and more
This is part of a series that will include perspectives on content curation from across the WideFoc.us team.