This blog was originally written in 2015 and updated in October 2019.
This will hardly come as a surprise, but we love content. ❤
Our entire business is built on content, but it goes beyond that – it’s in our blood.
We know that great content is one of the most powerful ways to grow your business, find new leads, and stand out among your competitors.
You don’t have to take our word for it, either, the numbers speak for themselves:
Great content gives your business the attention it deserves, but just publishing without a plan is hardly what we’d call a solid strategy.
What you need is a sustainable, data-driven process, that can help you grow your business and keep giving you positive results over the long term.
You need a content strategy, and that’s where we come in with our expert content strategy services.
4 Highly Recommended Content Strategy Services to Help You Create Winning Content
1. A custom editorial calendar
2. In-depth keyword research
3. Topic planning for your blog and website
4. Expert content strategy consultations
We didn’t select any of these services at random. These are many of the same processes that we used to grow Express Writers to the point where it is today (I’ll talk more about this in a second!). Now that we know what works and why, we’re ready to share these services with you to grow your own business.
Developing the Right Content Strategy Helped Us Grow — and It Should Help You Too
Here’s how I know just how effective a well-planned content strategy can be: it’s how we grew Express Writers to the point where it is today.
It took years to figure out and, more importantly, perfect the entire process, and I didn’t want to settle for anything less than perfection.
Within 2 years of implementing our content strategy, Express Writers boomed to 6 figures and then 7 in annual recurring revenue (ARR).
We weren’t doing all that bad before, but the growth was insane, and I can boil that down to two things:
1. Our content strategy. We’re not really into creating content for content’s sake. Instead, I developed a content strategy process that focuses on high-quality, authority-level content, guided by in-depth SEO research. Once I got clear on the six areas of content strategy we needed to clarify and implement, our real content success began to happen.
(My first foray into content strategy was when I built a simple team-only inner training on content strategy, as far back as 2015. Today, I’ve taken these cores and developed them into a $1,000 course with over 100 enrolled students, and a book that tops the charts on Amazon.)
2. The amazing team we have in place. FACTS: If you want to execute a winning strategy, you need expert, talented help in your corner. 💯
At Express Writers, we’re content experts first, a team secondly — not the other way around. We love what we do, and that has always come first.
We didn’t scramble for our expert hats and then market ourselves. We earned a real status by building real skills, and THEN sold services to our clients in our agency.
Read about our standards here.
I’ve talked extensively about the content strategy we implemented to grow Express Writers. However, if I had to sum it up in a few words, it would be these.
Stop wasting time with low-effort content. Instead, put real effort into high-quality pieces and SEO.
It sounds pretty simple when you put it like that. However, the amount of research, planning, and work that goes into executing a solid content strategy is mindboggling, particularly as your website starts to grow.
Remember how I mentioned it took us years to perfect the process? And that’s coming from people that do this for a living!
4 Ways We Save You Some Serious Time and Trouble with Our Expert Content Strategy Services
You already understand the sheer power of content when it comes to growing an online business, so let’s talk about how we can help you.
1. We Put Together a Custom Editorial Calendar that Fits Your Goals (📌It’s a Must-Have!)
You want your website to rank for as many keywords as possible, which means you need content.
A lot of websites focus on putting out as much content as possible at a breakneck pace, but that’s not a winning strategy. What you need is a plan and, as simple as it may sound, a calendar.
That means a week-by-week plan that outlines the content you’re going to publish. That way, you have a bird’s-eye view of what topics you’re going to target and when.
Here’s how it works: You tell us what your niche is, what your business is about, and what sets you apart. Our crack content strategists do their research, and here’s what you get:
- A two-month editorial calendar, including perfect-fit keywords and topics your audience will love.
- Tentative schedule dates designed to maximize the returns on your content.
- An easy-to-understand report using an Excel template.
Those are the basics, but all our services also include plenty of extras. Our editorial calendars also include lists of influencers we recommend you engage within your niche, BuzzSumo content analysis reports, and an evergreen guide on the metrics we use.
Every single editorial calendar we send is put together by our team of content strategists. We use industry-leading software to help you make smart content decisions, but behind the curtain, it’s all humans.
Here’s a sneak peek at one we built for our clients in the clothing/retail industry.
Two months is the minimum we offer for our editorial calendar services because simply put, it’s the shortest period in which you can start seeing tangible growth. Content marketing is all about the long term, hence the calendar approach!
2. We Tackle Keyword Research for You (Using Industry Leading Software)
Do you want to know the secret behind websites that get dozens of thousands of visitors and shares on every article they publish?
Not a single page or blog goes live that doesn’t have a ton of research behind it.
If you want search engines to give your content the love and attention it deserves, you need to play by their rules. That means figuring out which keywords have the best potential ROI and using that information to drive your content decisions.
There are a lot of tools you can use when it comes to keyword research, and our team of content strategists uses the best software in the industry, including SEMrush and Mangools’ KWFinder. We spend the hours you don’t have to, to find amazing keywords that will help your content go to the next level.
Here’s what our keyword research services for blogs and websites get you:
- Keyword research for blogs: You get a full SEMrush report that includes our top 15 keyword choices that can get you the best results for your blog. On top of that, we also include up to 200 additional keyword opportunities you should explore, as well as up to 3 headline suggestions for potential topics.
- Keyword research for the web: Keyword research isn’t just for blogs, and our keyword research service for websites get you a report on 10 high-ROI keywords you should explore with your copy. You also get up to 200 high-potential keyword suggestions.
For both those content strategy services, you can let us know if you want your content strategists to focus on specific regions or audiences from around the world.
3. We Come Up with (and Plan) Topics for Your Blog and Website
If you like to keep things simple, we can start off by researching the best potential keyword for one (1) piece of content for your blog.
Our goal with this service is to find the keyword with the best potential ROI for your business. Then we come up with a killer content idea built around that keyword, including a headline designed to get attention.
One perfect topic at the right time can have a significant impact on your business. If you want to hire us to come up with multiple topics for your blog and website, we’ll put them together for you using one of our custom editorial calendars. That way, you can see how the whole content strategy comes together over the long term.
4. We Plan and Go Over Your Content Strategy (Via Live Calls)
A big part of a successful content strategy comes down to research and numbers.
We use the best possible tools and services to see where the data leads us, and we use our expertise to help you make the best decisions based on that data.
However, numbers alone often don’t paint a full picture. That’s why we’re also happy to hop on a call via Hangouts or Zoom to answer any questions you might have.
If you’re not sure where to begin, a call is a great place to start. You get to talk with one of our content strategists and ask any questions you might have regarding topic suggestions, concerns about your overall strategy, reviewing your content, and more.
I personally train every single member of our content strategy team, so when you hop on a call with one of them, I know you’re in good hands!
Let’s Implement a Winning Content Strategy Together
Creating and publishing industry-leading content is no small feat.
Now imagine how much work it takes to do it week after week, for years at a time.
It’s a lot of effort, but implementing a well-planned content strategy has the potential to elevate your business to the next level.
All you need is a great team in your corner.
If you’re ready to start planning a long-term content strategy, check out the individual content strategy services we offer, and let’s get the ball rolling!
Did you miss #ContentWritingChat this week or could you use a refresher on all the great tips that were shared? You’re in luck because our recap of Tuesday’s chat on content curation is here! If you’re ready to dive in, grab some paper to take notes and keep on reading!
#ContentWritingChat Recap: The Benefits of Curation in a Content Marketing Strategy with Sasha Laferte from Curata
Our guest host this week was Sasha Laferte. Sasha is the Content Marketing Manager for Curata. She’s also a digital marketer and storyteller. For this week’s chat, she joined us via the Curata account to share her top tips on the benefits of curation in a content marketing strategy.
Q1: What are the benefits of content curation?
To kick off the chat, we asked everyone to share their thoughts on why they felt content curation was beneficial. If you haven’t felt the need to incorporate content curation into your content marketing strategy, these tweets just might convince you! Here’s what some chat participants had to say:
As Sasha said, content curation can help improve SEO, increase lead generation, promote thought leadership, increase your content output, and more. She also shared a link to a helpful article on Curata’s website that’s worth checking out.
Jenn seemed to be on the same page with his answer. She said content curation provides a way to generate more content. It also helps to position you as a thought leader and adds value to your audience.
By curating great content, you’re able to share relevant articles and valuable knowledge with your audience without having to write it yourself. It’s also a great way to learn what others in your industry are saying.
As Angelica said, with content curation there’s less pressure to create all the things. You can have a balance of your unique content, plus content curated from other sources.
Q2: Is content curation plagiarism?
Many question whether or not content curation is considered plagiarism since you’re sharing content from another source. Here are some of the responses we received during the chat:
Sasha doesn’t think content curation is plagiarism. She said to make sure you add a new title, body paragraph, and credit the original article. This will ensure you’re in the clear!
Sarah has the right idea! If you’re sharing someone else’s content, you should always credit the original source. It’s always a good idea to add your own spin on the content to give it a fresh perspective for your audience.
Odds are, people will love when you share their content. It’s a great way to start building a relationship with someone as long as you curate the right way. They’ll appreciate that you thought highly enough of their work to share it.
If you publish a piece of content as your own when it’s not, that’s definitely plagiarism. Avoid any trouble by respecting the original creators, as Mike said, by giving them credit.
A simple copy and paste is a no-no! Tony said to give credit to the source and change it up a bit when you republish to give it a unique take.
In case we haven’t made our point clear, make sure you give credit! Also, how appropriate is this GIF Jamie shared?
Q3: How much content should I curate?
Now that you’re sold on why it’s important to add content curation to your content marketing strategy, you need to know how much content you should be curating. Here’s some advice straight from Tuesday’s chat:
Sasha shared some pretty interesting statistics with us. According to Curata’s data, 65% of your content should be created internally. 25% of your content should be curated and 10% should be syndicated. Do you agree with these results?
Mike is spot-on with his answer! He recommends only curating as much content as you think is valuable. Don’t curate just for the sake of publishing content. Everything you share with your audience should be relevant and add value.
Great answer from Jenn! She said to share content that will define you as a thought leader, as well as provide value to your customers.
Julia feels the amount of content curation you do will depend on how much unique content you’re producing. If you produce plenty of content, curate less. If you don’t, curate more.
Brittany said it’s difficult to position yourself as a thought leader in your industry if you’re only sharing thoughts from others. Balance your curation with original content. When you do curate, add your own take on it to provide your own unique thoughts and ideas.
As Jacob said, make sure you’re curating quality content. Share information that is relevant and valuable to your audience.
In the end, it’s going to depend on your strategy. What works for one brand might not be what works well for you. One key thing to remember is to make sure you’re producing original content as well.
You should also make sure you read through content before sharing it. Make sure it actually fits with the goals and vision for your brand.
Q4: Does curation have a negative impact on SEO?
So, does content curation have a negative impact on SEO? Check out some of these responses from the chat to find out the true answer:
Sasha said curated content can actually improve SEO. She advises to avoid reposting full text or repeatedly doing so from a single source. Read the article from Curata she shared for more tips!
Both Sarah and Sara said you can still rank in the search engines if you add your own viewpoint to the content you curate.
As Jacob said, make sure you aren’t duplicating what’s already out there. That’s a big no-no when it comes to SEO.
Q5: Where should I curate content from?
There are a ton of sources out there on the web that you can curate content from, so where should you turn? Check out these ideas fresh from the chat:
Sasha suggests turning to a variety of sources to find great content. Check out trade publications, blogs, news outlets, and more to discover valuable content.
Right on, Lauren! A key thing to remember when curating content is to stick to sources that are both trusted and respected. You can count on them to provide accurate information that adds value to readers.
Lexie said to use reliable sources that share valuable content. She also recommends being 100% sure about the content before you share it with your audience. If you aren’t, pass on sharing it.
Jamie said to turn to reliable sources such as websites, blogs, and thought leaders that your audience trusts.
Turn to the thought leaders in your industry to see what they’re sharing. Curate content from them when you can. It’s a great way to start building a relationship with them.
Erika suggests turning to some uncommon sources that are still of interest to your audience. You never know what gems you might uncover! She uses Feedly as a way to discover new content.
It’s a great idea to have a selection of sites that are trusted sources you can turn to any time. Read them on a regular basis to stay updated with what they’re sharing.
Just make sure you don’t share content from the same source over and over. It’s good to have a little diversity!
Q6: Should I have a dedicated site for content curation?
Do you really need a separate site to collect curated content? Check out these responses from the chat and decide for yourself:
Sasha weighed the pros and cons of having a dedicated site for content curation. One one hand, she said it’s great for SEO, experience, and establishing you as a go-to resource. However, there’s also a big time commitment that comes along with that.
Sarah doesn’t see the point in having a separate website. She feels it’s better to keep everything on the same site, especially for SEO purposes.
Ask yourself the questions Lex suggested. Would your audience use it? Do they need it? Considering you need your audience to be interested in it, you want to consider their needs before moving forward.
Q7: What are your thoughts on curated newsletters?
What do you think about curated newsletters? Do you enjoy them or do they automatically get deleted when they land in your inbox? Check out some of the responses we received during the chat below. Here’s a spoiler: If you enjoy creating a curated newsletter, give it a try and see how your audience responds. If they love it, keep going! If not, try something else.
Sasha said curated newsletters are great for educating your audience, but they’re not indexed or in real-time.
Becky says no thanks! She prefers to turn to Twitter to discover a curated list of topics, as opposed to her inbox.
Mike balances his newsletter by making them half original content and half curated content.
Over at Digital Natives, they feel a newsletter is better suited to provide an inside look at your own company. And it sounds like Robyn feels the same way! She thinks newsletters should tell a brand’s story to subscribers, instead of sharing content from others.
Jenn’s advice is to avoid fully curating your newsletter. She said to add your own content as well.
As Debi said, just make sure the curated content you add provides value to your reader.
Q8: How can I measure content curation success?
Now that you’re ready to dive into the world of content curation, you need to make sure your efforts are working for you. Here’s how to measure your success:
Sasha said to track page views, visitor growth, subscriber growth, and click-through rate.
Jenn recommends tracking engagement. Make sure your audience is interacting with your content in some way to find out if it’s resonating with them.
Don’t forget to measure those conversions!
You also want to see how much your reach has grown and whether or not your audience is engaged.
Make sure you set goals for your content first so you know exactly what you hope to achieve with everything you share.
We look forward to seeing you at the next #ContentWritingChat! Mark your calendars weekly for Tuesday at 10 AM Central Time for great chats centered around content writing and marketing. Follow @ExpWriters to stay updated on our new topics and guests!
Did you miss #ContentWritingChat this week? Get caught up with our recap and learn all about data-driven content curation!
#ContentWritingChat Recap: How to Build Data-Driven Content Curation with Ross Quintana
Our guest host this week was Ross Quintana. Ross is a growth hacker and also the founder of SocialMagnets.net.
Q1: What are the benefits of data-driven content curation?
What are the benefits of data-driven content curation? Find out what some of the people in Tuesday’s chat had to say:
As Ross said, data-driven content curation ensures the work you’re doing is targeted and driving your business goals. That’s a must! When you utilize the data and analytics that are available to you, you can maximize your results with less time and money.
Sarah knows that it allows you to see what’s working and offers proof. You can align your goals accordingly.
Edanry, our Senior Editor, said it helps you to gain more traffic, more feedback, more authority, and can help you rank higher on SERPs.
Data can help build your authority and credibility through the content you share. Ultimately, it can encourage others to view you as a thought leader in your industry.
As Shannon said, data-driven content is based on analytics, metrics, and ROI.
Data can help you determine the kinds of content your readers are most interested in, which helps you produce better content.
Our CEO, Julia, said that you’ll get firm proof and knowledge of whether or not your content is working when you tie your curation strategy to data.
Q2: Can’t people just share whatever content they find or like?
Can’t you just share anything that you like? Check out this advice from the chat:
Ross is spot-on with his answer! Sharing random content just because you like it doesn’t necessarily make sense for your business. It won’t help you achieve your goals and can lead to attracting the wrong audience.
He also said it’s hard to drive consistent results with random efforts, so it’s important to be strategic about the content you’re sharing.
Kristen knows you should think about your audience with everything you share online. Your content should be useful to your audience and you should like it as well.
As Andy said, there isn’t much point in sharing just for sharing’s sake. The content you share online should serve a purpose.
Here’s some great advice to keep in mind: make sure a piece is worth sharing.
Q3: Is there a formula for building data-driven content curation?
Is there a specific formula you should follow? Here’s what we found out during Tuesday’s chat:
Ross said it’s all about research, strategy, planning, analytics, and optimization.
Sarah’s advice is to know your audience, know what makes them convert, and then curate the content that works.
Cheryl believes the formula is all about identifying your audience, knowing what they’re looking for online, and finding a way to make yourself interesting.
Erika doesn’t believe there is a set formula, but recommends creating a process to help you use your time more effectively.
Kristen said everyone has a different formula. Do what works for you and utilize your own analytics and experience to create content that works.
Q4: How do I research the best content to share?
What are some research tips for finding the best content? We received great advice from our chat participants! Check it out:
Ross recommends using tools that do the work for you with algorithms, targeting, and filtering. It makes content curation much easier! You can also learn a lot from the influencers in your industry. See what they’re sharing and how people are responding to it.
Twitter lists can be a great way to find valuable and relevant content to share online. Create a list with your favorite sources and check it whenever you’re looking for amazing content.
Annaliese also recommends using Twitter lists, but she also suggested turning to email subscriptions and Feedly. Feedly is a great way to easily keep up with posts on your favorite websites.
Here at Express Writers, we’re also big fans of BuzzSumo. You can use this tool to see which posts are getting the most shares on content in your industry. It gives you a good idea of what your audience is interested in. Google Alerts is another great tool as well!
Amalia’s advice is to read a lot of blogs, look for trends, and check out what the influencers are creating and sharing.
Ask yourself if you personally love a specific piece of content. Julia knows it’s important that what you share resonates with you as well. You can then align it to your audience and analyze the results you get.
Q5: How can I use data in the sharing aspect of content curation?
Are you unsure how to use data when sharing content online? Check out these tips:
Ross recommends using data to find the best times to post for the platforms you use and for your audience. This will help you maximize your results when sharing.
You can also turn to data to see which types of content your audience is truly interested in. What are they responding to? What are they not enjoying so much? Use this information to craft posts accordingly.
Edanry suggested using data to figure out what is trending on specific social media platforms. You can use this to your advantage when creating content.
Q6: How do I use analytics for data-driven curation?
How can you use analytics to maximize your results? Find out:
Ross knows that your analytics will give you a ton of valuable information. You just need to be able to undersand those metrics and know how to use them.
Sarah likes to measure conversions. How many people are actually converting from your content? What works and what doesn’t? It’s important to figure this out so you can create more of the content that’s working for you and your audience.
Keep in mind that conversions can mean different things. It isn’t always about making a sale. As Sarah said, you need to know the goals of your content so you can create and measure appropriately.
Ask yourself what is in it for your audience. Make sure the content you share provides value to them in some way.
Erika said you can identify what types of content and which topics are working for you and adjust your plan accordingly.
Your analytics can help you discover patterns and insights you wouldn’t have thought to explore otherwise.
Q7: What role do adjustments and testing have in content curation?
What exactly will adjustments and testing do for you? Here’s what we found out during Tuesday’s chat:
As Ross said, testing and adjustments are the difference between trying and succeeding. You need to tune into your audience first if you want to be successful. Once you’ve done this, Ross said you can move and grow with them.
Jenn knows that you aren’t maximizing your potential if you aren’t constantly testing and optimizing your content.
When you test and analyze your results, you can adapt your plan based on what you find out. As Andy said, you should continue to test as well. You can always learn something and create a better strategy.
Explore your data! Edanry knows you can refine your strategy and maximize your results when you make adjustments and continue to test.
It’s just important! Brittany said it will help you see which content is working for your audience. When you know what they like, you can deliver more of the same.
You can continue to improve your content and your strategies with consistent testing.
Very important advice, Julia! You need to be fluid and ready to adapt to an ever-evolving market.
Q8: How will I know if my data-driven content curation is successful?
So, how will you know if you’ve been successful? Here’s what you need to know:
If you’re growing at a fast rate, it’s a good sign you’re on the right track. You need to keep in mind that success on social media won’t happen all at once though. As Ross said, it comes in phases and gains momentum. You just have to remain consistent.
Having a smart, agile strategy will set you up for great results. You need to make sure you’re staying relevant and growing alongside a digital world that’s constantly changing.
Check the number of views something received, amount of visitors, and growth in reference points. You need to keep an eye on your analytics.
Track open rates, shares, comments, conversations, followers, and subscribers. These stats will give you a good idea of how you’re progressing.
Are people clicking on your links? Are they sharing your content? Are they following you?
Christie likes to track engagement on her posts. Are people liking, retweeting, and sharing what you’re posting? If not, you might want to revisit your strategy and the types of content you’re sharing online.
It all goes back to setting goals for your content. If you meet or exceed those goals, you’re heading in the right direction.
We look forward to seeing you at the next #ContentWritingChat! Mark your calendars weekly for Tuesday at 10 AM CDT for great chats centered around content writing and marketing. Follow @ExpWriters to stay updated on our new topics and guests!
Welcome to Episode 9 in The Write Podcast! I’m thrilled you’ve joined me for another episode. This episode is a good one: Guillaume Decugis, one of my favorite marketers in the content curation niche, joined me as a guest expert to share insights on just how marketers can do online content curation correctly. Guillaume is an expert online and his insights are fantastic. Prior to co-founding Scoop.it, which is a pioneer in the content curation platform space and has over 2 million users today, Guillaume built a company to success from scratch and sold it to Microsoft. I like what he says so much, I’ve invited Guillaume to be a guest expert on #ContentWritingChat, and had a Google Hangout with him a way back.
In this episode, Guillaume discusses Scoop.it, how they’re doing great new things, and how content curation as a whole fits into content marketing–plus a whole lot more good things. Enjoy!
In Episode 9 of The Write Podcast, Guillaume shares insights on:
- How Scoop.it is fulfilling on a mission to help marketers find and re-share great content
- How the methodology in content marketing isn’t clear, how many marketers don’t know yet how to create great content; and how content curation helps marketers
- How Guillaume is an engineer-turned-content-marketer and how that helps him reverse engineer content marketing (a reason I seriously love listening to him!)
- How you’re not a parrot if you re-share your content (you’re just getting more visibility)
- How we’re about to see a lot more SMBs embrace content marketing – not just big box brands
- Why measuring ROI in content marketing matters
- ….& more!
If you like what you hear, please leave me an honest rating and review on iTunes by clicking here. It will help the show and it’s ranking in iTunes immensely. I appreciate it! Enjoy the show!
Transcript: How to Fit Content Curation into Your Content Marketing Strategy Successfully with Guillaume Decugis
Julia: Hello and welcome to The Write Podcast. This is your host Julia McCoy. And today my guest is Guillaume, the founder and CEO of Scoop.it, which is a content discovery and curation platform. I love their home page tagline: you are the content you publish.
Guillaume, welcome to the show, and thanks for being here.
Guillaume: Hi everyone, and super excited to be here, hi Julia.
Julia: Great to have you here. So I wanted to go into a little bit about what Scoop.it does for content curation, and just how content curation ties into content marketing, for those who maybe haven’t heard of Scoop.it before aren’t familiar with it.
Guillaume: Yeah, so we’ve been around for four years now, we turned four in November which is entering old age for a start up.
And so we are very proud we made it so far, lots of exciting things to do, and I think it’s just the beginning. And so we started with this realization four or five years ago, and that’s why we like this claim that you are the content you publish. And what we mean by that is that online visibility has shifted over the last five years, from traditional techniques like SEO completely changed, it used to be technical, SEO techniques, used to be SEM, it used to be display adds, and it really changed to content.
Now if you wanna be visible online you have to publish great content. This is what Google tells you, this is what social networks tell you. So that’s what we wanted to help professionals in general, and marketers in particular, achieve is how to transition from the old style marketing to accountant based marketing.
And so we started with a first idea, we tried to think about what is the difficulty here. And we found a lot of marketers were not actually trained to create great content. They didn’t think in terms of their company as media, they thought about campaigns, they thought about a lot of digital marketing things, and even today in schools there are very few curriculums in marketing classes which really focus on content.
So we felt, okay, our mission is gonna be to help marketers be good at content. And so the first thing we noticed is that it was really hard for them to create content at scale, and that content curation was a great way to help them with that, to help them discover content to curate and share to their social channels, which is the basic curation that everybody does or everybody should do. Share somebody else’s content to engage our community. But there’s a lot more to curation to that. There’s the idea that you can use that curated content for your blog, for your newsletters, and we can touch into that.
So what we realized over time is that, we’ve been known for our curation service which is a free tool that anybody can use at Scoop.it, but the novelty that we’ve launched earlier this year is Scoop.it’s Content Director, where we encapsulated that curation technology with all sorts of different features to really create a complete integrated content marketing framework that helps.
A software that helps marketers with all of the content marketing cycle, and then curation is an important way we helped, but we’re strong believers that content marketing is a cycle that needs to be optimized in the same way that CRM was optimized, that lead nurturing was optimized, so there’s a lot to see on that.
Julia: So thinking about the future and 2016, it’s crazy for me to think about how much content will probably be out there, and it will be like a sea of content, it will be crazy. So how do you see content curation as helping navigate all of that content?
Guillaume: What really sounds super useful is that, so first of all the fact that everybody starts to embrace content marketing now means that you really have to be good at it in order to be efficient.
So you need to step up your game, you need to be having the right methodology, the right framework to do that. There was a benchmark by the Content Marketing Institute that really showed something interesting. They do their yearly benchmark, and this one went out about months ago.
More than 50%, I think 56% of marketers don’t know if their content marketing is efficient. So there’s really a lack of methodology, a lot of marketers don’t know really what they’re doing, what’s content marketing, and that’s not their fault. The methodology is not clear yet, and so we think that’s our mission, and that’s what we’re doing with our own content, but also putting rules in our product to help marketers with that.
So the first consequence of having everybody in content marketing is you really have to be professional at it. The second thing is, everybody publishes a lot of content, you have to keep track of what’s being published out there. And so the first thing you learn with content curation is you discover what content is published on your topic of expertise, on what’s interesting for your audience.
The third thing is that because a lot of content is produced, you don’t have to produce entirely from scratch, and so you both have to publish more content, but there’s already a lot of great content out there that you could relate to, that you could curate, and make your own by adding a commentary, an insight, and transform a piece of third party content into what we call a curated post, which really means quoting that piece of content linking back to it, being super ethical and transparent about it, but adding your own insight, as we call it, to turn that into a blog post.
And that’s been a great way to not only publish more content, we have an e-book on there that just show that compared to writing from scratch a piece of content during a curated post, takes maybe four to eight times faster. But it is also a great way to work with your community and to be really be lean about your content marketing.
And I think about it based in terms of, think about recycling, we all wanna recycle, we wanna be healthy with the time and everything. Well when you recycle content from somebody else you’re doing some magic here because you’re giving love and traffic to that author, but you’re also adding your own value and your own context, and you’re getting more content on your blog, and you can distribute that on your social channel as well.
So that’s really how content curation can help. So I think, as we’re seeing more content, I think curation plays more and more in a role.
Julia: Yes. I agree, that’s a really good nutshell of how it works for marketers I think, and going forth in 2016, we’ll probably see more use of platforms like yours and Scoop.it, and tell me a little bit about how you’ve seen it grown, I mean, you started it, how long ago?
Guillaume: Four years ago, November, 2011.
Julia: So how much have you seen it grown since then, and more so in this year?
Guillaume: Yeah, we’ve been seeing a ton of acceleration, so the reason for that, I think is as we’ve explained, content curation becomes more important, and becomes more important to discover content more easily, and be able to publish easily contents on social channels, on your blog, on your newsletters.
We have about two and half million users of the free version now, so that’s been really fantastic to see people embrace it. But the thing which to me is really something we’re proud of, is not just to have users, it’s the fact that those users collectively, ever since we started, attracted about 300 million people, and they were able to publish 100 million pieces of content.
So think about what we said earlier, our mission is, we said, you are the content you publish, and our mission is to help people publish content to get visibility. That was our starting point, publishing content is the way to get visibility, have you solve that? Well, content curation helps.
It makes it easier, and so our validation is we help a lot of people publish a lot of content, to attract even more visitors to their pages, either their Scoop.it pages, we have a light CMS platform you can create easily, Scoop.it pages, topic pages on Scoop.it, or you can integrate with your blog. So that’s really valuable traffic that the platform has been able to help our community of users build so it’s very satisfying for us to see that variation. And so now we keep growing, and we built this B2B version which is Scoop.it Content Director, and we already have a lot of companies using it, and the results have been fantastic as well.
We’ve seen people go from blogging one time a month to blogging twice a week, and they’ve seen the results in terms of how much SEO and traffic they generated. And I think the other niche we’re very happy about, is we’ve done a lot of work around how do you prove the ROI of content marketing? How do you generate leads? And we’re seeing now content marketing as something that is becoming essential as part of lead generation, demand generation, and I think that’s gonna also be a very important change next year. I think we’re gonna have a lot more ways to prove and improve the way of content marketing.
Julia: I totally agree, it’s amazing whenever you connect to your audience, and you find people in your audience who are sharing your content, and connecting to them back, and directly relates to our lives.
Like you said we’ll probably see refining of those types of tactics next year.
Guillaume: Yeah and I think we’ve done a lot of work ourselves on what is the ROI of Content? And we wanted to answer that question in general, but also for ourselves. We used content marketing, that’s our number one marketing strategy, and we experiment a lot with some of the ideas we have or what we see people blogging about.
And so a lot of the framework and the methodology we built for content marketing that is reflected in our products, is something that we’ve experimented with, and on which we have feedback. And so on ROI we’ve really thought about what does it mean to get ROI from content.
[clickToTweet tweet=”‘We don’t get paid in likes and visitors. We get paid in revenue.’ @gdecugis on @writepodcast:” quote=”And I think a lot of people still struggle with, okay I know I can get more content out there, I can measure traffic increase with maybe Google Analytics, but we don’t get paid in likes and Google Analytics visitors. We get paid in getting revenue up.”]
And so there was an interesting piece I curated recently about at times you get marketers on the quarter just like sales people. And I think that’s a very interesting idea because now there’s a bunch of tools like ours and others that really helps you.
For instance, one of the things we’re super happy with is that on Content Director you can go piece of content by piece of content, and see how many leads you’ve generated with that piece of content for your company. And for all of you who are B2B marketers, who are tasked with driving demand, generating leads, nurturing leads, really proved okay, let’s take a look at the blog post I published, the tweet I made, every piece of content I did over last one month, two months, three months, here’s how many leads each of this individual pieces generated.
That’s a fantastic tool to have because now you get a very different seat at the table when you’re discussing with your C-level, with your direct reporting, with your boss. Whether in a small or mid-size companies, that gives you a lot more credibility. And it’s also a way to scale content marketing because the minute you can prove that by blogging, by tweeting more content, by curating more content, by distributing more content you can generate more leads.
Then the next question you have is okay, tell me what you need to generate more. So I think we’ll see a lot of that trend in 2016.
Julia: That’s great. It sounds like you have already provided so much of an answer to find the ROI, what type of content converts and the numbers, and that’s definitely something not a lot of other platforms offer. So that’s really neat.
Guillaume: Yeah, but I think it’s really the beginning. We have a lot of interesting things in the road map. We’re building integrations with steel arm tools. I think, I’m an engineer turned marketer, so first I like to build stuff, but when we started to work on that content opportunity, and how to structure things, I wanted to reverse engineer content marketing.
I really wanted to understand and try to really build a solid methodology for other people to use. And I don’t want to do that as the consultants. I have a ton of respect for consultants, but I’m a product builder so we wanted, as a team, to build software to help people do that.
And when we think about everything we can do to help, if you think of all the posts you’ve read about how to do content marketing, how to be better, and there’s a lot on all blogs, there’s a lot on great other blogs, you write a lot of great contents on this as well. What’s really striking to me is as a community of people who write on content marketing we start to establish some patterns.
There are some rules, there are some methodology that everybody agrees upon, but it hasn’t been productized yet. And that’s where road map is bad. It’s taking those roles, things that everybody agrees upon, and making them easy for people to do. Like reassuring your content multiple times, re-purposing your content.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Publishing prey: people that publish a blog and think their work is done. -@gdecugis on @writepodcast” quote=”A lot of people still are, what I call, publishing prey. They publish a blog post, and they think their work is done, when maybe half of your job actually starts at that moment.”]
Julia: Right exactly.
Guillaume: So we’ve built work flows where you can say I want this blog post to be re-shared ten times over the next six weeks.
Things like re-sharing your old content, the content that transformed the most. So you need to have first this data, why don’t I blog posts which have the higher conversion rate. And how do I then, re-share them over and over again in a very easy way? So those are things software can help you do, and we’re really passionate about that, and we have tons of idea.
Julia: That’s awesome. Sounds like next year will be exciting for you because by now the need for content marketing has been so much established, and now it’s just like well, how do we bring numbers to our bosses that the content’s working? And how do we do it a better way. So, sounds like next year will be exciting?
Guillaume: Yeah. I think we’re going to see, my vision for this is that if you look at sales and marketing software in general, it all started with CRM 15 years ago, and sales force is the big player in that field.
I’m gonna date myself, but I was around when SalesForce, [LAUGH] started to gain traction, and there was a lot of people who were doing sales at the time in a very different way.
It wasn’t really so much process to run it, there was a large dimension which still exists, a great sales guy, is still a great sales guy, but a great sales guy with sales force is much a more efficient salesperson. And I think we’re gonna see the same in this marketing, there’s a cycle to optimize.
The CRM is about optimizing the cycle which is, you wanna do a certain number of tasks in order to keep them happy, take them from a qualified prospects to customer, and a happy customer, and everything. And you wanna align your organization around that, even if it’s a small team, even small teams are using CRM now.
I think we’re gonna see exactly the same thing happen with content marketing. Think about it. Content marketing is about doing a cycle, it’s about planning, understanding what content to publish, and when to publish it over time. It’s about producing content, either from scratch, original, curated, a mix thereof.
It’s about distribution on social, on email, SEO, and all the channels you can find. And it’s about analytics, analyzing that the impact on your business results, and repeating the cycle over and over again, and iterating it, learning from the analytics, and then doing some tests, and iterating, and getting better and better at it.
Now the fastest you can optimize that cycle, the more data you can use in that cycle, the better you’re gonna be. And of course you’ll still need to be able to be good at content, understand content, understand your target audience, understand your bio-persona. But we are firm believers that with the right tools you can make that cycle be more optimized, and that’s what we’re building.
Julia: Sounds like you’re trying to make life easier for content marketers?
Guillaume: Easier and more impacting.
The keyword for us is ROI. So ROI is R and I. So the ease here is making the I lower, and taking away a lot of the pain-points, a lot of the copy-pasting, and a lot of the painful stuff you have to do so that you can focus on where I think, human beings will never be replaced which is applying judgment, being creative, understanding, having empathy with your targets, prospects, and audience.
But the R is also important, think about what we’re discussing about republishing content.
This is documented, we’re not the only ones saying that. Mark Traphagen published a study two to three years ago, but the impact of republishing content over time.
You share it once you get that many views, you share it five times over three weeks, nobody is gonna think you’re a parrot because not 100% of your audience is seeing your tweet when you publish it, but then you get 2 to 3x more traffic.
So this is also how we increase ROI. So making the I lower, but also amplifying the impact of your content is something we work a lot on.
Julia: And I also wanted to mention some of what you just said will tie into this. The limitations of concentration, and what would be the limit? What would be the good percentage amount to mix up creating original content, and then adding in content curation?
Guillaume: First, content curation is not something you should do 100%.
It’s not a balance here, it’s not replacing creation for instance. If you look at our blog we’re using a mix of created and curated content. If you look at our social channels we’re also using a mix. And for us it’s also important because it ties in with our community, we share a lot of a lot of content from the influencers we respect and admire, and who also in turn help contribute to our content.
So I think the rule of thumb that I always like to give is if you think about what is good content plan? A good content plan might be to say, look, right now I’m blogging on a monthly basis. And I know it’s not enough, I wanna go to weekly, and I wanna do two extra weeks. So set objectives for yourself, and those objectives will vary in time.
Maybe next quarter you will be doubling, and the quarter after that your will be doubling again. So think about setting those objectives, and to me you should create as much as you can, quality content. It’s pointless to decrease your quality level just for the sake of publishing.
So at some point you gonna realize that you are either running out of time to create content, or you can create something that is not gonna be as good that shouldn’t have your brand. So at this moment you should say, well I’ve created enough, that I was inspired. I’m now lacking inspiration, I don’t have enough time, so you should think of supplementing your creation with curation.
So I always try to think about create everything you can as long as you maintain quality, as long as you’re inspired, as long as it’s easy for you to do so. And then the way you go from, and maybe that’s gonna be one of your two blog posts every week. Now the other one will be a curated one.
So there’s no strict rule like a 75/25, 50/50, 80/20, whatever. It’s different for everybody. Some people will find it easy to create one blog post every week, and then do maybe three curated posts. Some people will struggle to do one original blog post in months, and then they could supplement everything else by curation.
I think my rule is I don’t wanna create something that is not my quality standard, that’s not educational for my audience, that’s not actionable. So the minute I start to feel, okay. I’m gonna be blogging for blogging sakes, I’m better off publishing somebody else’s content, and adding some commentary in it.
Julia: That’s a very good rule of thumb. If you don’t like what you publish yourself maybe you shouldn’t be publishing it.
Guillaume: Yeah. And then, plus, there are lots of opportunities where if you publish somebody else’s content they’ve done the work, they’ve done something awesome, you can relate to it, that doesn’t make you weak.
There’s a lot of people who have been confused by that. Even the thought leaders who admired the most. Art sizes and field kind of marketing, if you look at history they’ve always been quoting, they’ve always been relating to other people’s content. That’s the way mankind is built.
We build on our predecessors and what’s existing. So it doesn’t make you weaker. Actually it plays the opposite role. Curation, besides ROI driven quantitative stuff like publishing more, and publishing faster, does a couple of things. First, it makes you more credible. If I tell you hey, here’s what an expert said on this topic, I’m more credible than if I’m telling you that.
And actually there was a study, I’m gonna do that just now, there was a study that was done not by us, but by an analytics and market research company who surveyed people on how they found various type of content credible. They had to rank. Do I trust that type of content or do I trust more that type of content? And they found that third party content was four to seven times more trusted than vendor originating content. So that’s not me saying it, it’s somebody else’s. So curation adds credibility to what you’re saying. But the second thing it also helps you build a relationship. There’s a lot of people, and it might be your case where I started sharing their content, and then we had conversations.
Hey, thanks for sharing my content, and then we started chatting on Twitter. And then you contributed to our blog, and now we’re creating content together. So sharing influencers’ content, influencers in your industry sharing their content will put you in their radar. And if you wanna then build on that and do influencer marketing. I think this is a great start.
And I published a blog post on the Tracker blog, on this. Tracker is a great platform to discover and nurture influencers. I recommend you look at it. There’s a blog post I wrote about how curation is actually a first step in an influencer marketing strategy, because before you can ask influencer anything.
I’m a firm believer that you have to give before you get. Give them traffic, give them love, share their content, and once you start to establish those relationships well maybe you’ll be in a position to ask them to, I don’t know, contribute to your content, or re-share one of your posts, or anything like that.
So that aspect of curation is also very, very important.
Julia: Absolutely that’s great for connections. We’ve seen that happen so many times. We will go and connect to our influencer, just minutes later we’ll get a follow back, and then we’ll start a conversation. And if we didn’t initiate, and do something, re-share their content, follow them first, good things wouldn’t follow.
So it is about connecting. Any last thoughts you want to add, just thinking about the New Year, and business going into content marketing doing their curation?
Guillaume: Yeah. I think there’s a recap, I think we’re gonna see something pretty exciting happening over the next few months so next year is gonna be exciting.
I think, we’ve been hearing about content marketing for a long time. I think there’s another aspect maybe I’ll add to that is the fact that the other trend that I’ve been seeing in 2015 that I think will amplify in 2016 is the type of companies which are embracing content marketing.
If you look at four years ago when we started to talk about content marketing it was really a large company, a consumer brand story. I am a big admirer of for instance, Red Bull. They transformed a food company, a soft drink company into a media company. And we’ve seen a few examples of that.
When you look at those stories, you look at content marketing being awesome and great, but this is not what 99% of companies out there can do. It’s what large companies can do. And so, Joe Pulizzi has this compilation of predictions for next year, and last year he asked me, what’s your prediction for content marketing trends in 2015? And my prediction is we’re gonna start to see SMBs, so small to mid-size businesses, embrace content marketing, and content curation is actually an enabler of that because this whole ROI equation was the bottleneck for them, and so now they’re starting to see techniques that help them do that with a one person team, or two person, and then small marketing teams.
So I think we’re gonna see that trend accelerate in 2016. It’s already true now. I think we’re seeing a lot of small mid-size companies, who don’t have teams, marking teams of 100 to 200 people. Start to think about content as something they can really embrace, and start, be good at, and scale, even though they don’t have the means to give a million dollars to a large advertising agency and say okay, solve that problem for me.
So they have to do it themselves. So they need to have the right tools and the right methodology, and so I think we’re gonna see that amplified and continued through in 2016 in addition to that trend around, standardizing the methodology, and also be able to measure the ROI of content marketing a lot more.
Julia: Thank you so much for being on The Write Podcast Guillaume, really appreciate it.
Guillaume: Let’s do a follow up to see whether our prediction was true. [LAUGH]
Julia: [LAUGH] That sounds great.
Guillaume: Thanks for having me.
[MUSIC] For more online content tips and strategies, visit expresswriters.com/write-blog. [MUSIC]
Julia: I always like hearing Guillaume’s perspectives and insights on content marketing. You can follow him on Twitter @gdecugis, and be sure to check out Scoop.it.
Guillaume was recently a featured guest host on our weekly Twitter chat, this March. If you’re a writer, business owner, or content marketer, you’ll love our Twitter chat. It happens every week on Tuesdays at 10 AM CST. Join us with the #ContentWritingChat. I love hearing from the participants that join content writing chat every week. We always hear something like, a business owner learns a new way to do content, or someone is inspired to create better content in a better way. So be sure to join our Twitter chat.
Lastly, keep an eye out for my book. I’m really excited about it, it’s coming out the end of this march. The book is called, So You Think You Can Write? The Definitive Guide To Successful Online Content. In this book, I’m sharing everything I taught myself in the last four years on how to create great content for the web. This is both for the online writer who wants to make this their career, and for the business owner that wants to create great online content for their readers. Be sure to check it out on Amazon.
Thanks for joining today’s Write Podcast! For more episodes go to expresswriters.com/write-podcast.
We had so many new participants in this week’s Content Writing Chat – we couldn’t have been more thrilled with the turn out. Lots of new faces joined us. We were even a trending topic in the USA again, reaching our highest rank so far: #40!
If you missed it, there’s no need to worry because we have a recap of some of the best tweets of the chat. Keep reading to learn all about content curation!
#ContentWritingChat March 8 2016 Recap: Best Practices for Content Curation in 2016
Our guest host for this week’s chat was Guillaume Decugis. Guillaume is the Co-Founder and CEO of Scoop.it, and an all-around awesome entrepreneur and influencer in the content marketing space. Julia has interviewed him previously on G+ Hangouts and Blab. He joined us to share his thoughts on best practices for content curation in 2016.
What is content curation exactly? Guillaume, Kristen, Kyle, and Grenae all chimed in with great answers for our first question!
It’s all about discovering and publishing content that is relevant to your audience. Grenae said you should add your own insights, examples, and experience when sharing content from others. As Kyle mentioned, it’s a good way to advance the conversation.
It seems everyone agrees: you can’t have creation without curation! Guillaume mentioned that we should all have a balance between creating content and curating content. Kyle said it’s important to create great content ourselves, but to also promote others who are creating great content as well.
Even our CEO, Julia, agrees. She said she can’t create without curation. Curating amazing content can be a huge source of inspiration!
Although Guillaume and Julia don’t have a specific ratio they follow, they both recognize that balance is KEY. Provide your audience with a mix of valuable content from you and from other sources.
Both Chris and Kyle are fans of a 60/40 ratio. Your goal should always be to give your audience useful content and to tune in to what others are saying.
And as Jeremy said, curation shows that you care about what others are saying. You let others know that you’re listening when their content is part of your curation.
We received a ton of suggestions for great content curation tips from everyone in the chat on Tuesday! As Netvantage Marketing said, you should consider where your audience is getting their information. Check out the websites and sources they’re reading.
Guillaume mentioned using his tool, Scoop.it, but also said email newsletters are a great place to find content. Make sure you’re subscribed to some of the influential blogs within your industry to see what people are talking about!
Kristen is a fan of Feedly and Paper.li. Varun likes using Twitter Lists to find awesome content. If you create a List of influencers in your industry, you can easily scroll through updates and find a ton of new content. Tajah suggests checking out some of your favorite hashtags to see what others are posting.
And as Julia and Dagmar mentioned, BuzzSumo is a fantastic tool for curation. We use it here at Express Writers on a regular basis.
When it comes to content curation, there are a few things you should always keep in mind. Guillaume stressed the importance of always giving proper credit to the original source. Never try to take credit for something you didn’t create!
Tara said you should always read content in its entirety before you share it with your audience. Never blindly retweet or share something without checking it out first.
Omni Sodo suggested using tools to save you time when curating content. Kyle recommended using Twitter Lists as a way to track people and brands who consistently publish great content.
Some content curation don’ts: Don’t be unethical. Don’t steal content and try to pass it off as your own. Don’t curate for search engines. (Curate for your audience instead!)
Here are just a few of the amazing tools you should use when curating content: Scoop.it, Storify, Feedly, Buffer, Quora, BuzzSumo, social media platforms, and Google Trends.
We had an open Q&A session at the end of the chat and invited everyone in the chat to ask Guillaume questions. Check out a couple of his answers below:
We look forward to seeing you at the next #ContentWritingChat! Mark your calendars weekly for Tuesday at 10 AM for great chats centered around content writing and marketing!