Businesses without an agency or agencies working on their social media strategy might be wondering how to create content, and whether they should just curate content instead. Curating content is when you post the work of others instead of your own. There are pros and cons to both approaches.
Why creating your own content makes sense
When you create your own content, you can become the expert in your space, you can give content your unique and consistent voice, and you can ensure the content is tailored to your audience. Creating your own content also allows you to create pieces that meet your specific marketing goals, ensures content is there when you need it, and gives you exclusive rights to that story. The downside to creating your content is that it takes time to create good content, and it can sometimes seem taxing to be thinking up new ideas all the time.
Why curating content makes sense
Curating content can seem like a godsend to a busy professional because someone else has already done the work. The downside is that the content isn’t exclusive to you, it doesn’t establish you as an expert, and it isn’t necessarily targeted to your audience or marketing goals. Also you have to be careful that the content you’re sharing is both authoritative and not from a competing organization.
Finding the middle ground
A good way to start a content strategy could be to try a mix of creating and curating at a ratio of 60 percent creating, 30 percent curating, and 10 percent promoting.
You can find good ideas for your own content in sources like:
- Use case studies of customers to create interesting videos, podcasts, or writeups.
- Takes statistics from studies you have done and show your customers and prospects why they are interesting and relevant to them..
- Create How-to pieces showing what you excel at. Do you sell jewelry? Show people how to pick the perfect pair of earrings for work, evening, and play. Do you sell motorcycle apparel? Make a how-to video for dressing for the weather and safety.
- Create interviews with experts at your business or in your field covering topics of interest (not your products).
- Report information coming out of events in your industry, especially if you go to them yourself. Talk about the important topics that were discussed or the ideas of an interesting speaker.
If you curate, you can follow some basic guidelines for success:
- Find authoritative articles to reference from experts in your field who aren’t tied to a competitor.
- Look for interesting ideas related to your industry that someone has put forth and comment on them. Agree with them or disagree with them and explain why.
- Look for sound statistics or studies in your field and find something interesting about them. Create a piece of content with the statistics as a basis.
- Follow industry experts and discuss what they are saying about your industry. Add your own two cents to help establish your own credibility as an expert in the space.
- Scan the news for tips and trends in your industry and share them with your audience.
And about promotion
While I certainly don’t advocate creating content that is all about you, I also wouldn’t recommend forgetting why your there. It’s OK once in a while to talk about yourself and encourage people to visit you, either in person or online. About one time in 10, go ahead and promote a sale or a great product you have, explaining why it’s going to improve the life of your target audience. Remember that even when promoting yourself, it’s still all about your customer and what’s in it for them.
Of course, no matter where your ideas come from, you need to create a content calendar outlining story ideas, when pieces are needed, the format (written story, picture, video, etc.), and where they are being used (Facebook, Twitter, etc.). Staying organized is key. On your calendar, even mark out time to research and create pieces.
These are just a few ideas to help you think about content creation. For more information about the “create or curate” debate, see this article from Social Media Today.
This infographic has some great information about content creation. The accompanying article, both posted on SEOMoz, is interesting, as well, so check it out.
Posted on SEOMoz