How to do Content Marketing “Without” Content – Be a Curator!

By , April 16th, 2012 in Content Marketing | 25 comments

Fact #1: You don’t need to be a content producer to market with content.
Fact #2: Not all curators work in museums and have elbow patches.

Thanks to the lovely internet, there’s a lot of s**t coming at you 24/7 – so sometimes it helps if someone hands it to you in a nicely organized basket, or an easy-to-drink-from cup… (Image source)

Now, before you fire up the rotten tomatoes, let me explain. As a writer and blogger I value content creation, but I’m the first to admit that you can get the benefits of content marketing without creating all the content yourself. In fact, sometimes you don’t need to create any content at all.

Why You Should Market with Content

Before I prove my case, let’s have a quick recap of some of the benefits of content marketing [Infographic].

  • Content marketing creates brand awareness, wins customers and fosters customer loyalty by sharing information and research. (Mashable)
  • Content marketing generates leads, improves search engine rankings and enhances your competitive advantage. (Fresh Perspective)
  • Content marketing brings customers to you and helps you make a personal connection with them, which results in more business. (George Passwater)
  • Content marketing builds trust. (Business2Community)

None of this is probably a surprise to you, but nowhere does it say that you have to be the one to generate all the content yourself. If you happen to be in the business of research, then you may have an endless stream of statistics at your disposal (like Hubspot seems to), but if you’re not, you can still create authority and gain all the benefits listed above by using content other people have generated. I’m talking about content curation – here are some ideas.

Twitter and Facebook Curation Tools

Marketers with a strong presence on Twitter already know how this works. There are dozens of Twitter curation tools out there, which you can use as a platform for making your Twitter profile and by extension your website and business, a destination and magnet for potential customers. Examples include Summify (scheduled for retirement but still working for existing users), News.Me, Feedera – the list goes on.

Most of these allow you to create summaries from your tweets, your favourited tweets, from Twitter lists or particular users you follow. These are then available both by email and via a public page which you can use in your marketing. The secret to doing this well is no secret: share good stuff and tell people about it.

Twylah and Paper.li

My recommendation for curating Twitter content, though, is Twylah, because it works with your tweets only and creates an attractive Twitter landing page, complete with images and video. This is divided into the 10 topics you tweet about most and you can manage what is displayed on the backend of the Website. Because it also allows corporate branding and has been rolling out analytics, using this to enhance the authority of your Twitter stream is a no brainer. Link to it from your site, include it in your mailouts and you have an authoritative content source that’s ready to go from an activity that you’re already doing anyway.

The Brian Solis Paper.li curation has more than 7,000 readers

If you’re more of a Facebook marketer, then the best tool for you to use is Paper.li. Set up a “newspaper,” link it to your Facebook profile and target particular keywords and Paper.li will begin to produce an attractive daily or weekly newspaper that you can share on your site and via social media channels. Some papers have thousands of readers, so don’t write this off as a weak gimmick. Here’s a guide from Paper.li on making a great paper. If you are already active on Facebook, using Paper.li gives people one more reason to treat you as a resource and your site as a destination.

Content Curation Using Multiple Sources

But what if you want to build your authority even more? One option some people are using is creating an information digest from multiple sources using Scoop.it. Not only does this tool allow you to collate information from virtually anywhere on the web as you go, but it also allows you to share it simultaneously (and selectively) to multiple social media channels. If you’re already browsing the most useful and relevant sites for your niche, then this can make your job much easier.

And by giving your digest the same branding as your site, you create brand awareness and build trust when you share the digest as a whole.

Visual Content Curation with Pinterest

Pinterest

Marketing a retail business? Then you need to be on Pinterest. Like most social sites, Pinterest is about showing your personality in the boards you create, the items you pin and the comments you make, but you can also use the products and services you offer to create pinnable boards that people will want to follow. If your business is online marketing, then pin some infographics; if it’s home decor, then great room layouts are bound to find favor with other pinners. It only takes a little imagination to begin content marketing with Pinterest, so get it while it’s hot!

Hiring the Content You Need

As you can see, it’s just as easy to curate and comment on others’ content as to create it yourself. To get even more from the strategy, a little bit of originality won’t hurt, but it doesn’t have to be yours. Spend a bit of time playing with these free infographic tools to create something memorable and shareable or pick out some interesting facts and get your graphic design team to jazz them up. Even better, outsource content creation tasks to designers and ghostwriters who will create attractive infographics, white papers and blog posts that you can use to market your business without lifting a finger.

As I said at the start, you don’t need to create content yourself to market with it. Instead, you can be like a magazine editor or publisher: collating the information that’s out there, distilling it, commenting on it and putting it all together in an easily accessible and digestible form. That’s how your online presence will build authority and trust and that’s why readers will keep coming to you.

6 Useful Resources

Ready to get started with content curation? These 6 articles will help you take the next step:

  1. 98 Content Marketing Articles to Make You an Insomniac
  2. Meet Twylah, Brand Pages for Twitter
  3. Paper.li: Be a publisher… daily
  4. Scoop This: A Comprehensive Guide to Scoop.it for Content Curation
  5. How to use curation analytics to improve your documentation
  6. Content Curation Guide for SEO – What, How, Why

– Sharon Hurley Hall

This is a guest post, all opinions are those of the author.

Sharon Hurley Hall is a professional web copywriter and blogger. Her career has also included stints as a journalist, academic writer and ghost writer.

Comments

  1. Nicole Fende says:

    Sharon this is brilliant. It’s not hard and it can truly add value There is so much online, and half the time my search engine results are useless. When I find curators who get it, I follow them religiously!

    • Sharon Hurley Hall says:

      A great curator is a tremendous asset, Nicole. I’m following a few of those myself. :)

  2. Jon says:

    Sharon – very good article. But what concerns me about this point of view is that curating content is only half the battle. Whether organizations like or not, they have to create their own content too. They can’t rely simply on curation techniques and tools to build a loyal following. Companies need to be proactive (seed their own conversations with content creation) and reactive (participate in conversations others have started). Again, I see curation as one element of a content marketing strategy. But relying solely on it is not content marketing…it’s just content sharing.

    • Sharon Hurley Hall says:

      Good point, Jon, though I believe that putting things together and forming a narrative that links them and that ties into your business lifts the process beyond simple sharing. I do mention, though, that adding original content is a good idea and that’s one of the reasons I like Scoop. it. It allows both for collection of relevant material and the insertion of original posts.

      • Thanks for the great post, Sharon! Guillaume here, one of the founders of Scoop.it.

        Jon – totally agreeing with you and Sharon’s comment and to build on that, we see curation and creation not as opposite actions but as a continuum everyone needs to find a balance for.

        As Sharon pointed out, we like it when our users insert their own posts or even create one directly on Scoop.it. But the other thing that is maybe specific to us is that we have a full layer of expression (not just 140 char) around each and every content that is published on a Scoop.it page: whenever you curate an article, a video or a blog post, you can elaborate on it, add commentary, say how you agree or disagree with it or cross-link to other related material.

        In a nutshell, we view Curation as a means and not an end: a means of expression that nicely completes content creation.

        • Sharon Hurley Hall says:

          Thanks for the clarification, Guillaume. I also like the ability to share with multiple sources simultaneously while customizing each individual update.

    • Oli Gardner says:

      I’d also add that you don’t have to do one or the other! If you can create, do so, if not then curation is a great option. Personally, I would recommend doing both. Write great content, and then further your stance as an authority by curating the very best content in your space, it’s very simple in concept but don’t ever think that curation is an easy thing. If you want to be good at it, it’s more than just collating links. You need to show an opinion on everything you gather to make your piece worth reading.

  3. I find your article most helpful to me since I’m relatively new in social media. I don’t even know that what I’m doing is “curating.” For us who want to help people but do not find it easy to create “content”, your article is brilliant and timely especially with all the links you have provided.

  4. [...] Sharon Hurley Hall discusses content curation with “How to do Content Marketing ‘Without” Content – Be a Curator!” at unbounce. [...]

  5. Definitely a good starting point for those not ready to produce their own content. However it’s always a good idea to keep producing proprietary content as an end goal if possible.

  6. John says:

    Great idea there – Lol! Yes – a curator can create an interesting piece of material and go for the “VIRAL” aspect of marketing. :p

    • Sharon Hurley Hall says:

      And that’s totally possible, John. I’ve had content I’ve shared get a wide audience when someone well connected reshared it.

  7. Chamois says:

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge. Change happens so quickly in social media it’s great you’ve laid out a clear picture of options to curate appealing content.

    Like Jon and Oli, I agree, business will always need new and original content to compliment curation, but the “social media-challenged” can appreciate the comprehensive breakdown of ideas.

    It’s vital we understand what’s available for our own business purposes, or to offer valuable marketing choices to clients.

    Thanks again.

    • Sharon Hurley Hall says:

      Yes, these are definitely complementary strategies, Chamois, and it’s good to have options if you’re just getting into content marketing.

  8. Geoff Reid says:

    Yes, curation does work if done properly and you can figure out what people want to read. A1Social.com has been up since Oct 2011 and now gets over 3 million impressions/month and 60,000 unique visits/month.
    It is hard work but worth it!

  9. [...] curation is getting some airplay recently. Unbounce talk about the value of bringing together information from other sources. I suppose the bad reaction [...]

  10. Wow, it was really a great post on content marketing without content. i would just try doing it.

  11. [...] une section………..pour d’autres idées de section me consulter ! Je vous renvoie volontiers vers cet excellent article sur le sujet de la curation. [...]

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  14. Ben S says:

    Found this to be an extremely interesting article. The trend I have noticed as of late seems to be that links are somewhat being devalued unless they truly are organic and genuine. There are some black hat tactics that seem to get temporary boosts but only are utilized for churn and burn sites. Glad to see content marketing tactics being described in detail because I think that is where the future lies.

  15. Federico says:

    Timely advice in your article. As I read through it I can immediately
    see the “marathon” approach. If a runner starts running as quickly
    as he can run, they soon burn out. However, when you develop a “rhythm” and
    maintain a sustainable speed, you can continue to run.

    The way that bloggers can figure out a strategy for putting together thoughtful content is to just set aside time to be influenced by
    other writers. Using this method makes it much
    less stressful to start writing as an alternative to
    forcing new topics to break through your writer’s block. What do you think about this strategy? And before I go, thanks so much for the coffee break! :-)

    • Sharon Hurley Hall says:

      Having a strategy and rhythm can help make the process of curating and sharing easier, Federico. And, yes, like all writers, bloggers need to know what else is going on out there – reading is the only way to do that. :)

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