In 2018, just creating basic online content has become a robot’s job. Billions of articles are written by AI. But content marketing, which drives people to action and creates relationships, is another story. This can only get accomplished with a human touch.
This is what Guillaume Decugis and I discuss along with other topics, including the launch of a new content intelligence tool, Hawkeye (which I am loving!), in today’s value-packed episode. If you’re a content creator, marketer, freelancer, or basically do anything in online content, you’re going to NEED to catch this episode.
Listen in right now to hear us talk about these of-the-moment topics and more for episode 32!
Episode Show Notes
1:23 – What happened to the Write Podcast? What I’ve been up to for 3 months: Creating a free, on-demand Masterclass for the Profitable Content Strategy and Marketing course!
4:53 – About Guillaume. My guest for today’s episode is a Stanford-educated engineer turned content marketer. He founded Scoop.it, which is a top platform for sharing and curating content. He just launched Hawkeye late last year, a tool for discovering and researching content trends.
6:00 – Content Helps Create Relationships. Guillaume and I first connected through content, and he says that aspect is one of the main reasons he loves it. Content helps you build those integral industry and audience relationships!
6:44 – Defining Content Intelligence. Content intelligence is a new topic for many content marketers. Guillaume explains what it is and why we need it right now.
9:24 – Content Intelligence as a KPI. How can we use competitive intelligence as a KPI for overall marketing success? Guillaume discusses how curating content (looking at what your competitors are doing) actually helps marketers get better at creating content.
12:50 – Which Tools Can You Use for Content Intelligence? Content intelligence can be hard to do without a good tool. We talk about how Hawkeye is built just for making web monitoring in your industry easier (plus the inspiration behind Hawkeye).
18:18 – How Topic Research is Streamlined with Content Intelligence Tools Like Hawkeye. You can only process so much information as a human. A tool can sift through thousands of pieces of content, find meaningful topics and trends, and tell you who is writing about them, which ones are popular, and which angles have been covered – which helps you avoid “me, too” content.
21:17 – Steps for Better Topic Research. Guillaume lists two steps for topic research with a tool like Hawkeye. The first one: Look for topics that haven’t been covered much, but will still appeal to your audience.
23:40 – Don’t Forget the Other Factors for Great Content. Smart topic research is a huge boon, but don’t forget to have the other pieces in place, like quality writing. On the other hand, great writing alone is not enough for your content marketing to succeed – you need the entire package.
26:00 – Robots Can’t Replace Smart Content Marketers. Smart content marketers will use data and intelligence to empower their writing and content creation — they won’t fear content robots, because content robots can’t be creative. I talk more about this topic and A.I. content writers in a few articles I wrote for Content Marketing Institute.
30:40 – It All Circles Back to Relationships. Robots can’t nurture relationships – they can only create content for content’s sake. Content marketing can build real rapport and trust between people. This is HUGE.
31:41 – How Can We Sign Up for Hawkeye? Beta testing is still happening for Hawkeye, which you can sign up for at Hawkeye.ai. If you’re part of a marketing team, you can get set up, too.
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
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: 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.
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!
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.
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!
A2 As a content creator, I CANNOT create without curation. Finding/curating great content/news/etc is huge inspiration #ContentWritingChat
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.
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.
On January 13, I held a Google Hangout on Air with the CEO of Scoop.it, where I interviewed him about Scoop.it and the value of content curation this year. Below is the video and full transcript. It was a very insightful chat. Enjoy!
Content Curation Interview with Guillaume Decugis Transcript
Julia: Hello everyone, I’m Julia McCoy, the CEO of Express Writers, a copywriting agency. I have with me today the CEO of Scoop.it. Can I ask you to pronounce your name, if you don’t mind?
Guillaume: Sure, so hi everyone, I’m Guillaume Decugis.
Julia: Guillaume. Did I say that right?
Julia: Great! Awesome. So, to start this off, I just wanted to talk to you about your tool. I think it’s an excellent tool for content curation that is a huge need coming up this year. We’re just seeing so much content happen, and we need tools for content curation, to be able to sort this content, and to be able to share it. So, tell me a little about Scoop.it, how you built it, and how it helps businesses today.
Guillaume: Well, thanks for the praise. So Scoop.it was something we started and launched three years ago. We launched it because we realized that Web 2.0 was creating an opportunity and a pressure. The opportunity and the pressure is actually the same. The opportunity is we can become a media publisher, we can publish a lot of content. That’s what all those tools around Web 2.0 helped us do. It’s not just an opportunity, it became a pressure.
Now that everybody can publish content, if you do not, then you simply don’t exist.
Or if you publish bad content, you might hurt your brand. So we felt that pressure is going to be something that a lot of professionals, businesses, companies, big and small are going to have a tough time with. Because..
Not everybody is a content creator. It takes time, energy, talent, inspiration to create good content.
And so we felt a lot of people will be struggling with that. And there’s an alternative to create content, or complement. We like to talk about complement, which is content curation. We felt not everybody can become an awesome blogger, an awesome video producer. But, we believe that fundamentally all businesses, all professionals have expertise. When you’re good at what you’re doing, you’ve done that for a few years, you have expertise and you can apply that expertise to curate content, which means selecting great content that you feel is relevant to your field, and adding your own value, your own context: telling your audience why this was an awesome piece of content. And we felt that was much more accessible to professionals in general, and it is a great way to build your content strategy for your business. So that’s the background behind it.
Julia: That’s excellent! I agree with everything you said about getting content, and staying on the map with content. As you may or may not know, I developed some content strategizing products in our own company. We wanted to go beyond just creating content. So we looked into creating curation, and we were going to try to plan content, and show people how to find content. One of the tools I found was Scoop.it. I was so happy it was so simple to use, and I was researching maybe 20 different tools. Scoop.it was a key of how we find content.
How do you see it as answering a big need for curation coming up this year?
Guillaume: So, first of all, I love the fact you found Scoop.it simple, because that’s really I think the key to what we’ve been trying to do. We wanted to make it super simple.
Let’s clarify something: curation in itself is not simple. If you don’t have tools, it’s actually very complicated, and you can waste a lot of time trying to find great content.
You’ll have this experience of, like, I’ve been browsing the web for FOUR hours and I felt I achieved nothing. And so we felt we needed to combine a couple of things. First, a piece of technology that could automate your content monitoring. And let’s be clear: automation, we automate the discovery of content, we never automate publishing. So we empower our users to publish in their own name what they’ve selected, and we make it easy for them to find content instead of searching for it hours every day. In just a few minutes, you can have the most relevant content in your field, directly on your Scoop.it engine. So simplicity is at the core of what we’re trying to achieve.
I was asked by the Content Marketing Institute, what’s my prediction for 2015, and I think, you know, content marketing has been around for a few years. It’s maturing and it’s something that large companies have embraced. They’ve moved from traditional advertising, which is kind of old fashioned, to creating excellent content.
The company which I admire which is probably the pioneer of content marketing is Redbull. If you look at what Redbull has become, they’re not a soft drink company anymore. They’re a media company. They have this content pool with 50,000 pieces of content, they launched a man to space and broke the record of parachuting down to earth. They’ve done amazing stuff, they’ve done amazing content. But the thing is they’re a large company, and they’re making a bold bet of transforming their company into a media company. A lot of the small midsize companies have not been able to do this, because it takes resources, it takes a long term horizon that large companies have and small companies don’t have. So my prediction for 2015 was that content marketing is now going to become mainstream. It’s going to become something that millions of SMBs in the US or in the world are going to be able to embrace. And, I think curation is going to play a very important role there, because if you think of content marketing where a lot of people like to mix up creation and curation, and the large brands have resources. They can create a lot of content, they can have agencies work for them. But for more SMBs, they usually don’t have access to that, they usually don’t have a budget for that. So, curation is necessary for them to embrace content marketing, and that’s what we see coming in 2015, a lot of SMBs embracing content marketing through content creation and curation.
Julia: I totally agree with you. Everything you said is really insightful. I see that there is so much content on the web and it’s growing every day as you know, and it’s so important to curate and create to make your own mark.
Guillaume: Having a mix is really important. We’re not saying stop creating content; we’re saying if you have a day job, or if you’re not a natural born writer, it takes time and you should really focus on exceptional pieces of content. And we believe that curation forms creation. By curating you will spot the gaps in your field that nobody is writing about, like the things you’ve learned, you can tell. Instead of adding to the noise by creating another piece of content that’s already been written, you can use your curation abilities to say, I’ve shared some really good articles by other people, but nobody has been writing on that particular point, and I can share that and I can educate my audience. So, we’re strong believers in balance and there’s strong synergies in curation and creation.
Julia: Exactly. That’s something I’ve been blogging about in a few of my recent blogs, I talked about that exact idea.
Guillaume: Yeah, I love your blog posts by the way, I’ve curated a few of those already. Really good.
Julia: Now about blogging, I also wanted to ask you how businesses can use Scoop.it to publish their own content. Tell me more about that.
Guillaume: So our view is, the way we look at content and content strategy for businesses, we look at a couple of things. We think you should have a content hub, a place where all of your content, whether curated or created, can reside. A lot of businesses blog already, and if you have a blog you should make it your content hub. Scoop.it integrates with WordPress, or Tumblr, so it’s very easy to consolidate everything in something that already exists, like your blog. So we look at you should have a content hub, which is where you’re going to drive your audience to, which is going to be a place where people can see all of your content that defines you.
We like to say you are the content you publish.
Whether it’s created or curated, and you can organize that content the way you want. It’s also going to be a place whether you can drive SEO content, where people will be able to discover you from search, not just from your social channels. You will also be able to convert. You know, we’re doing content strategy, content marketing because we think it’s fundamentally good for your business, so it should be a way to drive and generate leads, and convert people to either subscribe, or buy, or drive a sale. And you have to have your own face to do this. It could be a WordPress blog, it could be another blog. And for those who don’t have a blog, we have a live publishing platform on Scoop.it so you can create pages with your created and curated content. You can use that as like a blogging platform.
So that’s one thing that’s your content hub; then you should think about all the distribution channels you could use, social media of course. Scoop.it is connected with all the social media channels, so in the same way you feed your blogs or your content hub on Scoop.it, you distribute that content to social media, to Facebook, LinkedIn, not just for files but for groups. We also integrate with the ability to create newsletters. Email has been under the radar for a few years because we say, ah, social media is the new way to distribute. We still believe that email is super important, super relevant, still in 2015. We integrate with Mailchimp to make it super easy to distribute by email. So, I like to think about creating a content hub wherever you feel affordable. But you should really own it. And with the premium version of Scoop.it, you can really make Scoop.it pages your own, you can really integrate with WordPress, and distribution channels which should be social, SEO, email, to name a few ones.
Julia: Wow, it sounds like a really thorough platform. We’ve been using it to find content, but I don’t think we’ve been using all the features of being able to publish. So, instead of a social media competitor, it sounds like really you’re your own content hub.
Guillaume: Yes. You know, again, I think it’s an evolution of Scoop.it which is evolving. We’re actually about to launch a new version of the platform.
Julia: Yes, tell me about that.
Guillaume: That platform is really going to be reaching all around the needs of SMEs. And I think, as Scoop.it grew we evolved from being a tool to becoming a solution. And what do I mean by that? Very quickly, Scoop.it started as a discovery tool. The first users of Scoop.it liked it, that they could discover content very rapidly, and then share that content to their social handles. Then we’ve added the ability to create content hubs, or view existing content hubs on WordPress. The solution people need is actually a combination of things. We think SMEs actually need a workflow. They don’t need just discovery, just distribution, just content hubs. They need a combination of that, of all things, and they need to be able to manage it. We have this new version coming in a couple of weeks, which is really about planning your content. Number one, having a calendar that gives you a full view of what is it you have plans for the next few days. Second, sourcing which is essentially the discovery part but enriched with a lot of admins features. So sourcing all of the content that feeds that planning, and then integrated with feeding a destination but also feeding distribution channels as we discussed, and also all of the analytics activity, did you get traffic, engagement, leads. So we’re packaging all of those things into a very neat solution that takes you through a content workflow with a 360 global approach.
Julia: Wow! So that’s really impressive. So that’s getting ready to launch next week?
Guillaume: Next week or the following week we’re getting ready. So in the next two weeks. Before the end of the month.
Julia: That’s a good goal! That sounds really great. So, thank you for your time and going through all of that. It’s really great to see all the features of Scoop.it and what it can bring just coming up this year, because content is going to be a monster. And this tool can help businesses get control of it, and just not be average with content. And, you know, just do better than your industry competitor. So do you see a lot of growth coming up, do you anticipate that this year?
Guillaume: Do I see a lot of what, sorry?
Guillaume: Oh yeah, absolutely. I think right now we’ve been seeing large companies embrace content marketing, and we’re used by large companies as well, as more and more are using collaborative features. We’ve been used by 1.5 million professionals primarily as a discovery social media tool, and so I think we’ve seen more and more SMBs embrace Scoop.it as part of everything. So we have been growing very fast, we’re closing our books and so I don’t know the final numbers yet, but we’ve been focusing on that for about 15 months now. We’ve grown in a year from 0 to 3,000 business and enterprise plans, and I think it’s going to accelerate throughout the year. I see a lot of, the story that you just told, businesses are now embracing content, they’re realizing it’s not just talk with peers on social media, they’re realizing you need to have that publishing capability in order to build your SEO, your inbound marketing, your inbound leads. I think that’s going to be an essential drive and an essential strategy to grow yourself. We’ve moved from SEM and emails to getting social media, trying to explore social media. I think those companies will understand that. It’s a powerful sales channel for us. The companies that do that will grow much faster than their competitors. And that’s going to happen this year.
Julia: That sounds really great. It’s just amazing how much content has grown in the past few years and how it’s changed so much.
Guillaume: Yes! And you know, another thought I would like to bring is, if you think that this whole change, driven again by Web 2.0, is about us becoming media publishers, as professionals or as businesses.
I would encourage you to look at what are the media outlets that really became rockstars in the past 5-10 years. It’s not the NY Times, it’s not the Washington Post. If you look at the history of media, it’s completely changed.
The media that created a lot of value and grew the fastest were the Huffington Post, BuzzFeed, Business Insider, Upworthy.
They don’t produce 100% of their content. They use a mix of their own content and curated content, or even some of them, like Upworthy, just do curation. They do awesome curation, which means that curation really can drive amazing traffic. So if you’re going to become as businesses, media, because Web 2.0 puts us in that corner and puts that pressure on us, we shouldn’t look at becoming media in the old-fashioned, twentieth-century way, like the NY Times 20 years ago, we should look at becoming media in the modern way like the Huffington Post, BuzzFeed, and Upworthy. That’s using that mix of curation and creation, that makes it easy to scale and helps you become lean with content. We like to talk about lean content as a way to be efficient with your content strategy. And I think those media are a good example of that.
Julia: That’s a great point.
Just to wrap this up, I know you’ve mentioned a couple times just a mix of curation and creation. What do you recommend, knowing what you do, having gone through content, building Scoop.it, what do you see as a good schedule for curating (something that’s not original, but relatable to what you do) and then creating your own content? Would you say 50/50, like two blogs a week, and then a few curated?
Guillaume: So the way I like to define, for some people it will be 50/50, for others 80/20, the thing that I would encourage people to look at is what comes naturally. Focus your creation activity in creating really epic content, something that if you’re going to devote some time away from your business, away from your customers, away from your employees, you should really make it count. To me, that’s the rule. If you’re talking about a 3 people shop where the business owner has a lot of things, that could be once a month. If we’re talking about 200-people company which already has a marketing team, it could be blogging once a day (everybody publishes, you know, once a week, and if they’re a 5 people team, that’s once a day). But then, look at curation to fill in the gaps for everything else. And so I think it’s depending on,
The minute you start creating low quality content is where you should stop.
You should stop and say, well, instead of creating low quality content, create less content but curate more content. You will augment the quality of whatever your readers receive. To me that’s the signal, when you start realizing, ah! I’m pressuring myself too much, and I’m creating something I’m not really proud of. You’re better off spending that time curating.
Julia: That’s a really great rule. I think anyone could take that rule and make it work.
Guillaume: Yeah, I mean that’s the rule I apply myself, whatever I feel uninspired, and I feel I’m going to force myself to blog, force myself to create something, maybe two hours later I’m going to go through content suggestions on Scoop.it, and I’ll find a great piece of content and I’m inspired, and suddenly I turn that into a mini blog post, using the publishing capabilities of the platform, and that’s so much better.
Because I’ve added to the discussion, instead of adding noise.
That’s been working a lot better for us as well, and our clients.
Julia: Yes, great rule. I would add nothing to it. Really good.
Thank you so much for your time today! This was a really insightful chat, and it was really good to talk.
Guillaume: Thank you, and if anybody has a question they want to throw out, my Twitter handle is @gdecugis. Feel free to tweet me, and I’m passionate about this discussion, so we are engaged.
Julia: Yes! That sounds great. We will have to probably schedule another one of these.