Archive | April, 2013

Content Curation: The Age of Discovery

23 Apr

We live in a world in which social technologies are being used to establish networks and communities that quickly define their own set of social behaviours, customs and dialects.

Once the foundation is created, a set of norms is established and adopted with relative ease before entering our social and cultural fabric with very little resistance.

Consider Twitter as a case study in which a dialect and set of social customs has been established enabling people to use a mash-up of characters (@, RT, MT, #, FF, via) and behaviours (thanks for the RT, thanks for the share, thanks for the follow, welcome @) that are widely adopted and universally expected in a few short years.

In most cases, these networks grow so quickly and become successful because they solve a specific pain-point, or deliver value that enriches our lives or simplifies a difficult task.

LinkedIn, for example, makes it easier for people to network and build business relationships. Twitter delivers access to information and news faster than ever before. Facebook is the quintessential digitization of a traditional community where people share stories about their lives, while Pinterest is a highly creative and visual vehicle to deliver opinion, taste and interest in an aesthetic context.

At Atomic Reach, we work at the nexus of discovery/curation and community. Much like the examples above, discovery/curation has its own set of customs, behaviours and dialects being established in near real-time.  The role of search, which was once the gatekeeper to content, must now work hand-in-hand with discovery to deliver an information experience that is valuable, efficient, reliable and social.

In the age of information discovery, we rely on our trusted networks of peers, sources, feeds, experts and friends to share and help us discover the opinions, news and stories we want to consume each day.

Without these information gatekeepers or curators, the information systems we used to rely on would be much less effective.  The sheer volume of content that exists and the rate at which new content is being produced makes it nearly impossible for people to co-exist with information in any other context.

Our curators discover, filter and share, their actions establish a level of trust, credibility and inherent interest in the content they are promoting.

Curators are the connectors between the content we want to consume and the people who are producing this content on our behalf.  Curators often include their own thoughts and opinions, which provides a level of deeper analysis and context, which we often find informative, entertaining and educational.

While search engines and algorithms continue to play a pivotal role on how information is indexed, we would be drowning in a dearth of content irrelevance without curators helping to filter, discover and share.

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How to create brand engagement with new audiences using content curation and the right editorial approach: Intel IQ

23 Apr

Intel recently announced the launch of a new digital magazine titled, IQ Curated By Intel.

The company is using a combination of original content written by staff, news from the Web, and curated content selected by Intel employees.

Leveraging dynamic tile based design, integrated social share features and high-energy colour themes, the company is using the platform to connect the Intel brand to “younger demographics”.   What we find most interesting about the strategy is the editorial focus of the site is not Intel or its products, but rather, technology related stories that are interesting, informative, educational and engaging to the audience Intel is hoping to reach. Intel’s strategy is perfectly aligned with the advice we give our clients when embarking on a content curation and community development program at Atomic Reach.

Inspired by the sensational Websites and contributor communities that our clients are building and by Intel IQ, we decided to share the Atomic Reach process we use to help our clients reach success:

Set goals

Not every content curation program has the same set of goals, which means not every content curation program will be measured by the same set of metrics to assess ROI.  For our clients, goals can range from:

  • Lead generation
  • Search engine page rank improvements
  • Thought leadership
  • Audience engagement
  • Brand awareness

In each case, there is a clearly articulated program objective with a set of KPIs used to assess, adjust and measure against.

Segment

Content is not homogenous.  If you look at Intel IQ as a case study, there is an article called “High Tech Bridges Marry Function and Beauty”, and a second called, “Toshiba’s New 21:9 Widescreen Ultrabook Is All About Entertainment”.  Both are technology related, but the first is about the marriage between technology, architectural engineering and design, while the second is about functionality and performance in a thin and light laptop for entertainment.

Both articles are about the marriage between technology, design, form and function, but will likely appeal to two different audiences.  In a successful content curation program, you need to segment your target audiences to maximize engagement and performance.

Define Topics

Once you understand who is being targeted and why (goal setting), the next step is setting a clear editorial agenda.  Topic repetition is an important method to establish consistency, familiarity and thought-leadership.

Establish An Editorial Style

Each author has a unique style and their relationship to a topic influences how they write and what they say.  A journalist reporting on an issue will write from a very different viewpoint than a blogger who is passionately engaged or in the midst of an experience related to that topic.  When you establish a community of contributors or curators, a clear editorial goal is essential to stand out from the crowd and create a point of consistency and differentiation.

Develop Community

Selecting articles from other Websites and using algorithms to help you find articles will definitely provide a steam of content. But finding authors whose content you like and having them participate directly within the content strategy as active content contributors, yields a mutually beneficial outcome that is far more rewarding and engaging.

Curate

Once your segments are defined, topics selected, editorial style established and community developed, you are ready to start selecting articles or curating.  It is important to curate regularly and select only articles that match the policies and guidelines that have been created.

Employee are great curators

Employees make for great curators.  They are often up to speed on the latest trends in your industry and follow your topics out of genuine interest.  If there are clear editorial policies, employees can be a great asset to assist in identifying and curating engaging content.

Contextualize

Curated content works best when it is supported with great content.  When using a platform such as Atomic Reach (plug, plug), curation takes minutes a day, which will keep your content stream fresh, interesting and engaging.  Creating original content is mission critical but it is more time-consuming, difficult and expensive.  With an effective curation program, you will be less reliant on producing original content, deliver fresh content on a daily basis, and have community members promoting your brand. That said, the more original content created, the better the program will perform.

Share

Share content from your contributors across all your social media channels and make sure to always give credit to the originating author.  The more you share, the more the community will push your articles, drive traffic to your site and promote your brand.  Additionally, an increase in organic links, references and traffic will drive better search engine PageRank value.

Get Help With Content Discovery

Open up your content curation universe to the public.  Your customers, personal network and business community are a great resource to leverage, and they will help to build your content repository if you give them the tools that make it easy for them to share content with you.

Analyze

Not all topics work but those that do will drive performance and ROI.  Analyze on a regular basis, and adapt based on the results.

There you have it.  Atomic Reach content curation 101 and the recipe we use to help make our clients’ content curation programs successful.