Content Curation: The first step to building influencer relationships for your content strategy
As companies develop their content marketing successfully, a common question is: how can I get my content more largely distributed? Of course, content marketing usually starts by growing organically. By publishing content relevant to your audience’s needs, by understanding the most often asked questions of your buyers and by delivering useful answers, you’ll generate organic traffic from Google and social networks. Those are the basic steps.
But how do you go beyond that and scale the distribution of your content?
The value of influencer amplification for content marketers
Earlier this year, we decided to work on our next eBook for Scoop.it by doing things differently than in the past. We had done eBooks and white papers in the past and we were proud of the value they delivered: good data, survey results, analysis, etc… But we did them on our own. This time, on top of delivering great content, we did one thing differently: we asked influencers to participate to its content.
Close to 2x more downloads of our latest eBook and 3x more shares of the blog post introducing it vs our previous ones. Plus a lot more mentions on top industry blogs such as Lee Odden’s TopRank. Nice influencer amplification, wouldn’t you agree?
There are many reasons why influencer amplification works. As Traackr’s Pierre Assayag puts it: rising above the noise is hard – even for established brands – so you need the help of credible, trusted, influential people in your industry.
So the question is:
What is an easy way to get started with building influencer relationships?
Influencers typically don’t respond to cold calls. The agencies who believe that email campaigns to people with a Klout score above XX to promote content to share – they’ll finish to die soon if they’re not already extinct. For influencers to amplify your content, you need to build relationships with them.
There are several ways to build relationships with influencers but like any relationship building, you have to give before you get.
Curating and sharing their content is the perfect opportunity to do exactly that. Why? Because you will:
- bring them traffic
- bring them SEO juice
- bring them social media followers
- add to the discussions they’re creating and make them more impacting
- and generally contribute to build their authority online
If you do that well, trust me: they’ll notice. You will get in their radars fast which will mean they’ll respond to your emails or meet you at the next industry conference you’re both attending. And down the road, they’ll see the value of participating to your content, share it or mention it.
What are the best practices for curating influencers’ content?
- Don’t just identify your industry’s influencers: identify their blogs
Of course, it all starts by understanding who your industry’s influencers are, but as you’re reading this on the Traackr blog, you already know what the best tool to do that is. Traackr lets you easily find who the top influencers are and monitor their social media activity plus archive your own conversations with them.
We love to use it at Scoop.it and we went a step further by realizing one thing: influencers usually understand very well that social media is a “give-and-get” game so they share a lot of other people’s content too. What we really wanted though is to promote their own content – not necessarily the content they retweeted. So to really be efficient with curating influencer content, we needed to build a list of all their blogs and find an efficient way to monitor them.
- Listen to what they publish
To perform that listening efficiently without having to keep 200 tabs open in our browsers, we used our own tool. We created a Scoop.it topic (a specific monitoring search query if you’re not familiar with Scoop.it) where we imported all the RSS feeds of all the blogs of our influencers. By adding keyword filtering, we were able to have real-time content suggestions of posts from (A) our influencers’ blogs (B) matching the keywords our audience is interested in. So, if tomorrow, Neil Patel publishes a blog post on content curation or B2B content marketing, it will appear there and we’ll be able to act.
- Don’t just retweet: created curated posts by adding your own insight
Now that you have a way to detect it, an easy thing you can do is retweet their content. But in our experience it’s far from enough. Sure, you bring them a bit of traffic (but how many clicks does a single retweet get?), and they might see you in their notifications (that’s if they didn’t have 56 people retweeting them…). Though it doesn’t hurt, this has limited impact.
More importantly, it doesn’t do one critical thing: retweets don’t let you add value. Over time, you might sound like a parrot who just repeats influencers, which will do no good to your audience nor to the perception they have of you.
The most efficient thing to do at this stage is add value by turning this link to their blog post into a curated post of your own by adding your own insight and posting it to your own blog.
Here’s a couple of examples of what I mean by that:
- This is a curated post from an original slideshare by Mark Schaefer, where I expand on his main argument by mentioning social content hubs as one of the solutions to the problem he describes.
- In this other post, I do the opposite: I cut down a very researched and long list of 50 best practices by Heidi Cohen to what I think are the 5 most important ones in my experience.
Sure, I often comment on their blogs too. But by turning this into a curated post, I brought a lot more added value than I could as a blog comment: I spoke with my own voice, adding the expertise (that any experienced professional has) to the conversation. I also created a backlink to their own blog, positioning it as an industry’s reference and bringing them SEO juice. And last but not least, I generated content for my own blog and helped my traffic and SEO.
- Augment their audience by distributing these curated posts as (or even more than) if they were yours
Now that you’ve decided to give, be generous and don’t stop halfway by being concerned of giving it too much exposure. You’ve added your own insight to the post: it’s legitimate to promote it. Not only that but it might be the best thing you do for your credibility, as third-party content is 4x to 7x more trusted than your own.
Share that content multiple times on your social channels (as you should do for any of your posts), and mention its author in the social post as well.
- Repurpose and reshare to augment the lifetime of this curated content
As you start to curate influencers’ content, you will soon have a nice collection of your industry’s best content. It’s the perfect opportunity to repurpose it as topic-based resources and give a second life, more distribution and more love to your industry’s influencers. Take 4 posts on a given topic, mix it with one of yours and create a list of 5 must-read blog posts to read on that given topic. Here’s how we did that to curate 5 must-reads on SEO for Content Marketers with content from Neil Patel, Jayson DeMers, Julia McCoy and Drew Hendricks.
By doing posts like this, you can of course reshare and redistribute it with a new angle, but you’re also building your blog or website as a great resource for prospects in your industry. That’s what HubSpot has been great at doing by compiling the ultimate list of marketing statistics from various sources, a page I never end to land on as I research data to create content.
What results can you expect from curating influencer content?
It takes time to build a relationship. But if you’re consistent curating influencer content in the right way, you’ll see it’s an efficient way to get started and you’ll also see some unexpected short-term benefits.
I mentioned the SlideShare I curated from Mark. What were the results?
For Mark, about 20,000 views across our blog and the Scoop.it site which means close to ⅓ of this SlideShare visibility.
But the great news is that we got a lot out of this: a (curated) blog post that generated 2x the amount of shares we usually had back then.
And when I met Mark for the first time at SxSW, the first thing he told me was “Oh yes, I know Scoop.it: I keep receiving traffic from Scoop.it.” It felt like meeting an old friend. Mark then shared a number of our blog posts and contributed to our content, including the eBook I mentioned above (to which he also contributed).
Win-win enough, right?