How to Use Content Curation in Your Content Marketing Strategy with Pawan Deshpande

August 13, 2016

How to Use Content Curation in Your Content Marketing Strategy with Pawan Deshpande

Curation is an often-overlooked part of the content marketing mix. Which is understandable. It’s hard to create enough engaging content to fill an editorial calendar without thinking about sharing content from external sources.

Curation serves several important functions, though, so we ignore it at our peril. It helps us establish credibility with our audience through third-party verification. It helps us create relationships with future partners. And it helps us provide more value to our audience with minimal effort.

As we developed The Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to Content Marketing, we reached out to one of the smartest content curators we know: Curata CEO Pawan Deshpande. He was kind enough to share his thoughts on curation, overall content strategy, and even give us his take on the most valuable content marketing metrics.

Q&A with Curata CEO Pawan Deshpande

How important is curation? How can marketers use curation to supplement their content strategies?

Pawan: We define curation as follows: “Content curation is when an individual (or team) consistently finds, organizes, annotates and shares the most relevant and highest quality digital content on a specific topic for their target market.”

Curation is a natural and necessary extension of content creation. That is, as great as your content may be, your audience wants to learn from other experts and differing perspectives. Content curation enables marketers to bring the best of what the Internet has to offer its audience to provide third-party viewpoints, while simultaneously reducing the resources needed to fulfill their audiences’ content appetite.

The ultimate benefit of curation (and content marketing)? You build engagement and trust with your audience, so that when they’re ready to make a purchase, they turn to you as a potential source.

More specific benefits related to content curation:

  • Improve search engine optimization
  • Establish credibility as a thought leader
  • Streamline lead nurturing
  • Support lead generation
  • Provide fuel for your content engine—e.g., eBooks, blogging, social curation

Tips for marketers to do a better job of using curation to supplement their content strategy:

  • Use a content marketing mix of 75% created and 25% curated content
  • Curate from a wide variety of online sources to provide diverse insights for your audience
  • Add the human touch to your curated content—e.g., organize it, add your own insights to the content through annotation
  • Establish a microsite on a specific topic that’s of relevance to your audience, using your created and curated content to feed that microsite
  • Curate insights from your industry’s thought leaders—a great influencer marketing strategy
  • Be ethical about how you curate—e.g., provide clear attribution to the original source, only bring in a snippet of the original content
If you were starting a content marketing program from scratch, where would you begin?

Pawan: I would identify a specific topic that I can “own” in the market that meets the following criteria:

  1. A topic that my audience is interested in.
  2. A topic that no other competitor “owns” yet (by marketplace competitors, or publishers covering this topic).
  3. A topic that relates to my brand and the value proposition of our product or service.
  4. And if I plan to curate content as well, a topic where other people are publishing content.

These days most companies are already doing content marketing, so I don’t think they are starting from scratch. In those cases, I would start with data by measuring what has worked, and what hasn’t across all stages of the funnel—from sharing, to consumption, to marketing pipeline impact, to sales pipeline, and ultimately revenue. And then figure out what worked well, and see how I can do more of it.

In your eyes, what is the biggest difference between content marketing five years ago and content marketing today?

Pawan: Content marketing has advanced significantly along three main fronts:

  1. People: Five years ago, the typical CMO’s response to the question “What’s the priority of content marketing within your organization?” was “What’s content marketing?” Today, leading CMOs have put content marketing at the top of their priorities list for 2016. As proof of this, investment in this area continues to grow each year, and over 43% of companies have an executive in charge of content marketing.
  2. Process: Although much work is still needed in the area of content marketing process, it has no doubt progressed in five years. Content marketing processes are beginning to advance from the old state of being stuck as a disparate set of tactics executed by small, disconnected teams. Companies are beginning to put in place the organizational structure and processes to enable a collaborative effort for creation and curation of the best content that a company can provide for its audience. Leading companies now understand the potential impact of content marketing on awareness building, lead nurturing and sales enablement. However, there is still a long way to go.
  3. Technology: There has been a mind-numbing proliferation of technology vendors and solutions to address the needs of content and digital marketers. Curata’s content marketing tools map has increased from 40 vendors to over 130 vendors in its most recent version. A new movement is now in place to build a more cohesive and useable software platform that will build upon marketing automation and sales automation platforms to enable content marketers to drive more impact across their organizations: The Content Marketing Platform. This platform is a software solution that helps marketers be more successful in driving awareness, leads and revenue from their content. It enables a data-driven, scalable and multi-channel approach across four content process areas: strategy, production, distribution (publication and promotion) and analytics.
If you are tasked with hiring a content marketer, what is the #1 attribute you are looking for?

Pawan: Empathy. Good content marketers can empathize with their audience and can therefore understand what topics they should create content on, what tone of voice to use, and what channels to promote the content on, just to name a few.

What are the top metrics to use for measuring the impact of content marketing on your business?

Pawan: I recommend a combination of the following:

  • Consumption Metrics: These are the more traditional metrics that marketers use to measure content. Page views, unique visitors, email opens and clicks, average time on page, asset downloads.
  • Retention Metrics: Return rate, bounce rate, unsubscribes, follower count.
  • Sharing Metrics: Social media shares, likes, email forwards.
  • Engagement Metrics: Comments, session duration, depth of video viewing.
  • Lead Metrics: New leads generated, existing leads touched, funnel conversion rates
  • Sales Metrics: Pipeline generated and touched, revenue influenced.
  • Production/Costs Metrics: Time to publish, content throughput, content backlog, production cost/piece or post. 

Determining the success of your content marketing efforts will help you better manage related resources as well as demonstrating its impact on the business to other folks in your organization.

Thanks to Pawan for joining us. You can find Pawan on Twitter @TweetsfromPawan, and read more from him and the Curata team at the Curata blog.

For a comprehensive look at content marketing from planning to measurement, download The Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to Content Marketing.

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