Every day, another opinion. Somebody else wants to throw their hat into the ring and claim they have the answer to “the problem.” Yet newcomers fail as everybody is trying to make themselves heard by claiming their own piece of the puzzle. This is content marketing as it has evolved.
Described like this, you couldn’t say it was an efficient marketing strategy, or worthwhile pursuing at all. Yet so many companies and individuals approach this valuable strategy this way.
What’s the better angle to take?
Owning the Signal
To be effective at spreading your message and getting people to pay attention, you need to own the “signal” in the marketplace. What is the signal? It’s the heartbeat of your market message and involves a large variety of individual strategies, opinions, facts, figures, projections and observations. It’s a mix of your particular message (with its definitive value angle) and the best of the rest.
Why Listen to You?
To be authentic in your field and to make your content count, be someone worth listening to. Ability and experience, as valuable as they are, will not get you past that post by themselves. Make sure experts, clients and prospects notice you and don’t be on the periphery.
Why does this matter so much? Because there’s so much noise in the marketplace. Everyone wants attention, many don’t deserve it and some can’t get their valid message through.
Unique Content Is Only Part of the Picture
For this strategy to work, the organization or individual has to have a concerted and comprehensive content marketing plan, and your own, individual and unique content is only a part. The strategy needs to include a way of reaching out and connecting with other key influencers in their niche, and in other industries.
Curation, the Wrong Way
Content “curation” has become a buzzword in the industry over the past years, but remember that the aim here is mastery and not volume. You can become a veritable firehose of data, related to your niche by dint of a long tail keyword or two, but all you’re doing is contributing to the noise even more.
It’s possible to use automation tools to give you the raw material, but it’s very important to sift through everything to decide what’s of value. For example, one of your peers may have created a great angle you may not have considered. Who’s come up with something that’s groundbreaking?
Give credit where credit is due at all costs. If you are focusing on somebody’s innovative new idea, then by all means contribute your expert opinion and analysis, but always link to the original and credit the author. At the same time as you do this, reach out to the creator, no matter if you know them. It’s important to make that connection, through a Hashtag or profile mention, or even a comment on their blog post. This is a crucial part of claiming the “signal” in your marketplace.
Cutting through the Weeds
Content curation is not about copying and pasting. It is about gathering potential, highlighting value and adding your own contribution. It’s about cutting through the weeds until you find that value and then enhancing it.
Many experts in the arena still advocate it’s okay to just distribute this curated content with just a cursory glance at what it includes. This strategy is a remnant of the bad old days when mass content distribution and article marketing was the way to establish yourself. This was the way to chase that coveted number one spot in Google, back then.
Being a Thought Leader
Content marketers can establish themselves as valuable contributors when they slash the content created by others into usable, bight-sized snippets of information. They can establish themselves as thought leaders by adding their own angles and enhancing what’s already there. Nobody wants to sit through hundreds, or thousands of words to glean the valuable information. They would far rather get a precise analysis from someone why not make that person you?
Content curation should be a valuable service. When you provide that service, you show you are a thought leader and have your finger on the pulse. You understand the signal emanating in your market; you can contribute and you’re not seen as just being on the periphery, an expert in just a specific area. Not only will your prospects and customers come to realize this, however, but peers in your industry and adjoining niches will too. When you have these three areas covered–core original content, meaningful and valuable curation and influence–then you have a solid and comprehensive marketing strategy.
Bridging the Gap
One final tip to remember. Content curation should always aim to embrace bridging. The content should never be about the hard sell but it should also recognize that the prospect has many other issues and problems in fields tangential to yours. Your customer avatar may be in the insurance industry, but there are so many external factors that influence their operations. They will be interested in content related to potential legislation on Capitol Hill, major weather events and so on. Look for material that’s not related to insurance, but may be impactful down the road.
The Last Piece of the Puzzle
One way or the other, prospects are looking for a solution to their pain. They are looking for focused, usable, practical and verifiable solutions. Sometimes, many people have got part of the answer to that problem, but who do you trust and how do you catch all these pieces of the jigsaw puzzle? This is where somebody who owns the signal in their marketplace comes to the fore.