Content curation on your website can be a very powerful tool. Curation can create brand authority and awareness, all the while connecting your company to outside sources that can help to improve your blog presence. I sat down to chat with Pawan Deshpande of Curata and Bill Flitter of Dlvr.it to talk about curation’s benefits for businesses and the best tools to use to get the most out of your effort.
Arnie: Hello, everyone. I’m Arnie Kuenn, with Vertical Measures. Welcome back to another Google Hangout. Today’s topic is going to be ‘Content Curation for your Website.’ I’ve got 2 great guests with me today; Bill and Pawan. Why don’t you say hello.
Bill: Hello, guys.
Pawan: Hey, everyone.
Arnie: Actually, what I thought I’d just do real quick here is maybe have Bill give a quick introduction of yourself, and then Pawan, and we’ll start off with the questions.
Bill: Perfect. Thanks, Arnie. Thanks for having me. My name is Bill Flitter, I am the Founder and CEO of dlvr.it, dlvr.it is a content syndication engine.
Arnie: Great. Pawan?
Pawan: My name is Pawan Deshpande. I’m from Boston, Massachusetts. I’m also a Founder and CEO, but of Curata, which is a content curation platform.
Arnie: Great. As I mentioned and you just covered as well Pawan, we’re going to talk about content curation. I do have a couple of questions. The very first one, I think I’ll let Bill field this one, is what is curation and what are the benefits for a business?
Bill: What is curation and the benefits for business? I always think about curation as the side dish to your main course; it’s the vegetables to that steak dinner that you’re having. It connects you to outside sources of content that might help you improve your own blog, Twitter feed, or Facebook feed, whatever it might be. It helps you create awareness with customers and prospects, it keeps you top-of-mind. I think of it as that filler between your blog posts on Mondays, and you might curate a few pieces on Tuesday.
It creates awareness with your peers. If you’re looking to connect or network with other people, I might say, “Pawan is the expert in curation. I might want to start following him.” It’s a great validation for Pawan, and I might start bringing in his content and commenting on it. Most people are following where their own content is going. It’s really that little nudge that says, “Pawan, I’m here. Come check me out, too.”
Lastly, thought leadership; what do you want your business to stand for? It just reinforces. It’s another building block you can add to reinforce what you want your brand to stand for.
Arnie: Super. Pawan, I guess maybe you could talk about also . . . I think we have the description, but maybe the benefits to a business. Also just how our clients or businesses can go about and curate content or aggregate content for their website.
Pawan: Sure. Content curation, there’s a lot of definitions floating out there. My favorite one is one by Roje Bargo and it goes something like this; these aren’t the exact words, but he says it’s the process where people are continually finding, organizing, and sharing the best and most relevant content online on the specific topic or issue. I think there’s a few key parts of the definition there that really resonate with me: One is that it’s a person; someone is doing it, it’s not an algorithm, it’s a human who’s going out there and curating the content. Two, is it’s something you continually do. It’s not a one-time thing, but you’re constantly staying on top of the latest and greatest content on your specific topic or issue. The last piece is just that; it’s on a specific topic or issue. You’re not trying to find everything under the sun, but only the best and most relevant content.
In many ways, an easy way to think about this is think about what curators do. Curators in the old world, in museums or art curators, they’re going and finding interesting pieces of art, bringing it together in a gallery, organizing it, adding didactic labels to help you describe what that content is. Then lastly, open up to a larger audience. In the online world, you’re doing a very similar thing; you’re bringing together content, adding your own perspective and value, and then sharing it with a larger audience. You’re adding value not by creating original content or writing blog posts, which you can do independent of curation, but you’re adding value by bringing together other peoples’ content and creating an experience for users.
When we think of benefits of doing that, it’s the same benefits you get for any content marketing program. Content can help with search engine optimization, it can help with thought leadership as Bill mentioned, it can help with brand awareness, it can help with social media, lead generation, driving traffic. You get all the same benefits, but with curation, you get to be more consistent, more regular about it, than creating all the content yourself which can be, frankly, very tedious.
Arnie: Absolutely. Maybe I’ll ask both, I’ll switch back to Bill real quick. Have you found your …. 7 times a week? Once a week?
Bill: Arnie, can you repeat the question? I’m sorry.
Arnie: Did I freeze up a little bit?
Bill: Yeah, you froze up a little bit.
Arnie: Okay. I was just wondering. It was a long question; but I’m just wondering if you saw any best practices from a curation standpoint, whether people post once a week, 3 times a week, 7 times a week, and what the ROI might be if you’ve seen trends along those lines?
Bill: Yeah. It’s something that I recently have looked at quite a bit, because we do a lot of curation on our own blog and our social media streams. I find that if I have a steady stream of content, be that my own or from third-parties, our traffic to our website stays very constant, even signups. Even if I’m pulling in third-party content, let’s say from Pawan, and I want to do something on curation, what I’ve noticed is signups for our service delivering increased. When I don’t do that, they drop down. We’re seeing on any given day, 100 new signups if I keep it steady.
Again, I write some original content, that steak I talked about, then I’m pulling in the vegetables, those side dishes here and there. If I can keep a steady rhythm of that, we personally are seeing a definite increase in our traffic to our website, but also signups to our service.
Arnie: Wow. That’s some great insights. Pawan, what would you say would be best practices from a frequency standpoint?
Pawan: Frequency, it really depends on the channel. If its email newsletters, a lot of our customers curate content everyday; they’re putting out email newsletters out there, which is unheard of for a lot of email marketers, they think they’ll burn the list. With curation, because it’s third-party content, it’s very informational. People actually want to get that content every day and the open rates tend to be very high, so it’s a different form of email. Social media, it’s more than once a day, but it’s not all at once. It’s not like you go curate it and push it all at once. It’s sequencing it throughout the day. Then your website, you want to update that incrementally, as well.
Normally, what I’ve seen is people maybe do a dozen curated articles a day, and then drip that out throughout the day so it’s roughly maybe once an hour. Then they write maybe 2 or 3 original pieces of content a week. Then every day they have a daily email news aggregate which is a digest of those dozen or so articles that they’ve put together. That seems to work well.
Arnie: Great. Then I have one last question. This one might be a little unfair for Pawan, we’ll start with you, but what tools would you recommend from a content curation standpoint? Did I freeze
Bill: No, you’re good.
Arnie: I was sending that question to Pawan.
Pawan: I would say if you want to start curating, I say walk, jog, then run. If you want to walk, get comfortable sharing third-party content; you don’t need tools for this. If you already have a Twitter account, a lot of people just Tweet about themselves, a status update, or maybe a link to a blog post that they wrote. Start getting comfortable sharing out content that goes through third-parties. That’s the walk.
Next, if you want to jog, get a little bit more third-party content in your content marketing mix. Maybe if you have a blog, do a weekly best industry blog post roundup once a week. Find good third-party content, piece it together, make a digest, publish it out. Then if you want to run, that’s when you start to have to use dedicated content curation tools and that’s where out plug-in, our own product Curata here; that’s really when you want to do curation on a very consistent basis, and it really becomes a main part of your content marketing mix.
Bill: What we use, I use a series of tools. I go to Google Alerts, so I’ve created a word cloud of all the things that I want to be associated with, what I want my brand to be associated with. What I do is then put those into . . . or create Google Alerts from those. Then obviously, it’s scanning the web looking for content that matches those keywords and keyphrases. I bring those into our deliverate tool, and then that allows me to go one-by-one looking at those headlines to see, “That’s great. Yeah, I want to write about that.” I read through the article once I see that alert, or delete it if it doesn’t make any sense.
Then I also use . . . I follow hashtags on Twitter. I might look at #contentmarketing or #curation. I follow that on Twitter, looking through relevant content that people might add, and then easily just retweeting it through Hoots Tweet or whatever other tool I might be using at the time. Curata, great tool. Some people use Storify or PaperLead to assemble all the curated pieces and create a dedicated website for that.
I know Curata has a few plug-ins. I’m testing a few WordPress plug-ins. I haven’t found the ideal one just yet so I can’t make a recommendation there, but if someone does have a recommendation for a great WordPress plug-in to pull some of that content, then I am all ears.
Arnie: Remember, they can leave it in the comments below this blog post.
Arnie: Super. Listen; that is all the time we have. I want to thank both Bill and Pawan very much for your time. Some really, really rock-solid information there. I appreciate it. Stay tuned, we’ll have another Hangout next month. I don’t know yet what the topic will be, but I’m sure it’ll be a good one. Thanks guys for helping out. Appreciate it.
Bill: Thanks, Arnie.
Bill Flitter is serial entrepreneur with years of experience in online advertising. Bill’s newest venture, Dlvr.it, helps bloggers, brands and publishers syndicate their content and broaden their reach across the social web. He is also the creator of the Content Marketing Strategies Conference, a yearly event that fosters conversation around content marketing.
Pawan Deshpande is the founder and CEO of Curata. Pawan is responsible for the company’s vision, management and advanced development initiatives. Pawan has held software engineering positions at Microsoft, Google and other startups where he was awarded patents in social networking and machine transliteration areas.