These days when we’re all marketers, we’re constantly being assaulted with clever, new ways to engage our audiences. But content marketing in all of its manifestations—blogs, videos, infographics, etc.—is labor-intensive. It takes time to come up with good topics, time to fully develop them into well-written articles, time to come up with attention-grabbing headers and it takes time to find really good images that will enhance your blogposts. But let’s face it, you’re taking care of your family, your team and your clients and sometimes you just plain run out of time.
Let someone else engage your audience
If the goal is an engaged audience, why not let someone else’s efforts help you engage your audience? We hear a lot about content curation these days, and it’s an effective way to augment your own great content with quality industry articles and excerpts that can provide another perspective and offer value. Content curation is the act of discovering, compiling, and sharing existing content with your online followers. Something to think about: A full 68% of us rely directly on curated content as part of our overall content marketing effort.
Content curation can:
Help you establish yourself as a trusted source for quality industry information. You may now be recognized as someone who always generates great content—expand your reach a little and be known as someone who also finds great content.
Build your own list of blog topics, speeding up your writing by providing more great blogs.
Make reporting on earned media mentions much easier.
Content curation is still dependent on great content
You should be reading industry journals, subscribing to newsletters and publications to stay on top of trends and new technology. Read the articles that your favorite industry writers are publishing, then repurpose them to your own website. Be sure to source them and link back to the site. I like to personalize this—add an intro and a conclusion so you’re contributing something of yourself to the effort. Tell why you this article or excerpt caught your attention; explain why you follow this particular author, etc. Big publishers like HubSpot and Buzzsumo offer content curation services, but these come with a price tag; there are other tools that make it easy to do this yourself.
Content curation: Getting started
Start clipping or saving articles that you like or that inspire you. Choose a post that is relevant, and ask yourself how you can add something of value to the conversation. I found a really great tool that is making it easy to clip articles that I like—Evernote. Just create a profile, then download their little clipping tool that you use to clip articles into the application. You can add images and notes so that when you’re ready to use one of your curated articles, you can scroll through the displayed items, select one and copy and paste it into your blog. I’ve been copying and pasting articles, quotes, and links that I might want to use at a later date into a word doc, but it’s a total mess, making it difficult to really see what I have curated. With Evernote, every article is individually displayed, with notes as separate items. This is a huge productivity enhancer.
So what should curated content look like
On a page from a tech blog, Slashdot. Note the way they identify the longtime reader, Esther Schindler and link to her website. The two indented paragraphs are taken directly from Esther. Below that the author adds a brief commentary or summary.
Curated content: coming up with good content is still a challenge, but sharing it is easier!
Using curated content is still a great way to raise your SEO value and enhance your website with quality content. When you’re busy, curated content can be a huge time-saver. But keep in mind that, just as with your own blogs, coming up with well-written content that meets the needs of your audience can still be a challenge, but sharing it has gotten easier!
When it seems like the whole world has dummied down, when we’ve had our fill of mindless ads, Procter & Gamble, a big, big brand with deep, deep pockets, a company that spends lavishly on advertising, releases an ad that is creative and smart with a message that has important social implications.
P&G steps up for women and gender equality
In celebration of International Women’s Day on March 8, P&G released its latest gender equality initiative along with the #WeSeeEqual ad. This ad is a series of scenes showing men, women and children in everyday situations, interspersed with text, such as “Hugs don’t care who give them,” and “Equations don’t care who solve them.” It finishes with a woman telling a younger co-worker “Do it,” with the line “Equal pay doesn’t care who demands it.”
P&G launched its first annual citizenship report in 2016, outlining its aspirations to build “a world free from gender bias,” including initiatives such as “Share the Load” for its Ariel laundry brand in India, where it claims that 70% of men think household chores are women’s work.
At last year’s International Women’s Day, P&G hosted a panel discussion on unconscious bias, where chief brand officer Marc Pritchard stated: “What you have to do is make it conscious. We can’t gloss over it. You’ve got to dig a little deeper if you’re going to address it.”
Taking time out to take a stand
P&G, the company that owns huge consumer brands like Tide and Crest, reaches millions of people all over the world. But P&G just took a timeout from new product launches and merchandise plugs to take a stand on an important social issue, showing that there can be an altruistic side to advertising. P&G has taken on gender equality in the workplace, and they’ve created an ad that has now been viewed more than 50,000 times. This is a powerful ad that will likely receive thousands more views in its endless life on the web.
Not the first time P&G has supported women’s issues
But this isn’t the first time P&G has taken a stand for women’s rights. I wrote another blog about P&G’s #LikeAGirl campaign. The company did a brilliant job of harnessing the Olympic momentum and celebrating women athletes. Unfortunately, a lot of young girls drop out of athletics because they become self-conscience about their bodies or lose their confidence, and it’s a tragedy. Kids who are involved in sports form strong relationships that can last for a lifetime. They learn important life skills—how to be part a team, how to compete, how to win and lose. And of course, as P&G points out, sports help instill confidence in these young female athletes—something they’re going to desperately need as they get older and deal with the world we’re leaving them.
A video of young girls playing nontraditional women’s sports
The video interviews young girls playing sports—particularly those sports that have been traditionally considered suitable for men—weightlifting, boxing and rugby. These young girls clearly think that girls should not only be able to play rugby—a very rough sport—but also be captain of the team!
P&G calls for Olympic athletes and organizing committees to inspire a world where “every girl truly feels that she can play sports and will Keep Playing #LikeAGirl.” Of course this is a plug for Always feminine products, but the message is heartfelt and timely, and it’s never been more relevant.
I remember the first-generation websites that we all had a lifetime ago. They were clunky and slow and had way too much poorly written content, bad navigation bit-mapped images. They also invariably had FAQs because we really didn’t know what else to include. I’ve hated FAQs ever since—I’ve always associated them with those crappy websites.
But I’m seeing a lot of FAQs these days and I like them because they’re complete workhorses. They can be repurposed, they can improve organic search rankings, and they can even be used in your AdWords campaigns. I just used these very effectively on a recent project, and they were the perfect solution—consolidating potential questions about key company services on a single page.
Key benefits of FAQs
1.FAQs can be repurposed for e-newsletters, blogs and social media
What I love most: FAQs are easy to create. They’re cost-effective content for small businesses—the crisp format means they can easily be created by in-house teams without extensive review and approval cycles. Best of all, FAQs fill a need. I love the way they can ask a question and answer it. At their best, FAQs are problem solvers, crisp, quick and succinct.
What I like even more, since I want to get as much mileage as possible out of everything I write, is that FAQs can be repurposed.
E-newsletters.Extract a few of the FAQs and feature them in your monthly newsletter. Ask the question, provide a brief answer, then link to your website with a Read more methodology where your audience can find out more information.
Social media.This is really a no-brainer. Repurpose a single question/answer on your social media sites. Be wary of lengthy posts—people are much more likely to read short and accessible posts. Edit the text or think about Asking the question and providing a link to your site with the answer.
Print collateral/data sheets.If you share pdf files about your services, a nicely formatted, branded pdf file of FAQs is a great addition. Selected items from your FAQs are great additions to brochures or other print collateral.
2. FAQ pages can help with organic search rankings
FAQs are workhorses when it comes to Google organic search. By using keywords in each Q&A, then linking to their corresponding product pages where you more fully develop the description, the FAQ model nearly automatically optimize themselves for search. And because they offer useful information, they can help build links over time.
A page of thoughtful FAQs becomes a hardworking asset
FAQ pages are the unsung workhorses of content and search marketing. While any company can create and benefit from FAQ pages, they’re particularly beneficial for small manufacturers or other small companies looking for a way to quickly and easily explain what they do and answer potential questions about their operations. Easy to create and repurpose, they provide a lot of bang for your marketing buck.