The Write Podcast, Episode 9: How to Fit Content Curation into Your Content Marketing Strategy Successfully with Guillaume Decugis

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!

guillaume decugis content curation

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.

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.Click To Tweet

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.

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.Click To Tweet

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.

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