So you know you need to get serious about your content. It’s what your customers want. It’s what Google wants. And you’re seeing other B2B companies getting some pretty impressive results. But then there's the whole time thing.
Let’s face it, there just aren’t enough hours in the day. Once you’ve done the day job, the day's over (often the evening is over too but let’s not go there). How can you be expected to create compelling, valuable content when you’ve barely got enough time to grab a few hours sleep?
Is content curation the answer?
Just when you were losing hope, over the hill comes your knight in shining armour: content curation. What a great idea, you think. My customers want to know stuff. If I can’t tell them stuff or at least I can become the place they can go to find it. And look, there is even a bunch of services that will do pretty much the whole job for me. Job done.
Except of course it’s not. While the argument is certainly seductive, it misses out a few critical facts:
- Your customers know how to use Google too
- On it’s own, a link has limited value
- Quantity does not always equal quality
Simply sending customers somewhere else – do not pass go, do not collect £200 – is largely self-defeating. Yet this is exactly what too many would-be curators do with their ‘158 must-see sites for taxidermists’ posts. Sure, you may register a quick hit on your site metrics but it’ll be largely worthless in terms of any kind of uplift in your business or brand.
So what is the answer?
4 ways to get B2B content curation right
Before you begin any content marketing programme, there are some key questions you should be asking yourself:
- What is the most useful thing I can provide my customers and prospects?
- How can I help them get stuff done?
- And how can I do it in a way that has relevance for both their business and mine?
Content curation is no different. In fact, for B2B, content curation these questions are arguably more relevant and more important because we are in a market where the right information is intrinsically more valuable. However, it is your job to add even more value into the mix.
How? Glad you asked:
the right topics
First off, as with any campaign, listen. Spend time learning what your customers are asking about. Look at search volumes. Ask your sales people and resellers. Pay particular attention to questions that start ‘How do I…?’ or ‘Why can’t I…?’ These will give you the beginnings of a set of curation categories.
like a real curator
Look at any successful museum exhibition or gallery show and you’ll see that the curator has not only brought everything together under a unifying theme but also has a clear point they want to make. They have an opinion on what they’re curating that goes beyond the ‘ooo that’s interesting’ or ‘what a pretty picture’. It’s the same with B2B content curation. You should be bringing your chosen content together around the big themes your customers think are really important.
Everyone can use Google. If they put in your topic, give or take, they’ll get the same first 10 hits you did. You need to go further. Begin cultivating your own sources of information. Look at academic sites and the latest research. Check out the likes of Alltop.com. Chase down links to go to the source. This is where you will begin to stand out and save customers valuable time and effort. It’s also where you’ll unearth the most interesting content.
As you’ll have probably gathered by now, it’s vital that you tell your audience why you chose the resources you did, what’s interesting about them, even where you disagree with them. It’s here that you’ll build your own reputation and brand as an intelligent curator (and someone a customer might want to talk to about their own real life challenges.
Ultimately, content curation is a valuable addition to your B2B content marketing activity. However, it isn’t a short-cut and should be approached with the same care and attention that you’d use with your other material. Sorry.
Image by HeyIt'sWilliam