Take time to prowl your market for great online content, and share the best of the best (with notes) with your audiences. Both readers and bloggers will love you.
NOTE: This is the first in a series of posts called B2B Content Marketing Models, which aims to recreate the full repertoire of great ways B2B marketers can use content marketing (their quiver of arrows, if you will). We’ll look at a model, give you an idea how to do it well and share some examples. Later posts in the series:
B2B Content Marketing Models II: The Webinar
It’s a real-time world, and everyone (no matter the industry) wants to know the latest. The intel. The kind of information and stories that scream “I know right where our industry’s at, and where it’s going.”
This kind of awareness doesn’t come out of thin air. Either people spend hours/days surfing, or you subscribe to a blogger or two who does that for you, and returns from the web jungles with the links you need week-by-week, month-by-month.
That’s the premise of the B2B content marketing model I call the curated post round-up. Want a few good examples from the marketing industry? Check out the weekly blog round-ups from Savvy B2B Marketing or Content Marketeer:
What makes for a great curated post round-up?
Enough posts, but not too many
A weekly curated list of 50 posts has generally not been curated enough. Cook it some more, and come back when you’re down to less than 10 of the best of the best.
Great content in context
There’s a reason you’re providing a link to this content – it’s uniquely insightful, startling, newsworthy or even scandalous or bizarre. Provide that context for your readers (but, again, not too much – a couple lines should do it).
Direct deep links
Make it damn obvious and easy for your readers to go directly to the content you’re drawing attention to. Deeplink. And don’t confuse people with multiple links.
Imagine you’re an impresario and the creator of the content you’re linking to is the talent. You want to hype them, build them up and push them forward.
Nothing draws traffic like consistency. I can’t emphasise this enough. Don’t just be weekly to be weekly. Put up your weekly round-up at the exact same time of day every week, or month. That’s your deadline.
An audience instinct
There’s no substitute. Newspapermen used to call it a nose for news. Understanding what makes for the most relevant and impactful stories out of a long list is a skill that requires cultivation. When you’ve got it, though, you’re golden.
So how do you go about making the perfect weekly or monthly content roundup?
This kind of thing can be automated, so that you spend only an hour setting it up and then anywhere from zero to 60 minutes per week or month to manage. But I find that automation often looks and feels like automation. And automated roundups don’t feel valuable.
If you’re committed and a little organized, however, you can do this by spending only an hour or two every week or month (depending on your frequency). There are two approaches for two different styles:
The Fruit Picker
Most people in marketing have their sources of preference, be they websites, twitter feeds, forums or facebook pages.
The Fruit Picker approach involves starring, bookmarking, favoriting or otherwise plucking out great content, as you stumble across it in the course of a week or month.
At the end of the week or month, the fruit picker goes back to his “baskets” and pulls out the best-looking examples of great content, writes a quick intro to the links and – bam! – weekly/monthly content roundup.
(Drawback: As mentioned before, consistency in this genre is everything. If you go a week without finding time to peruse content, your baskets will be paltry when you’re ready to post.)
The harvester is, like a wheat farmer – more methodical. He plants his seeds (sets up dozens, even hundreds, of feeds in a blog aggregator like Google Reader or a Netvibes dashboard) then waits until the night before he’s going to post to harvest.
From the mass of content that’s accumulated over the week or month, he or she rapidly pulls out a list of the best stuff, siphons it down, writes his intro and publishes.
This avoids the risk of #fail like the fruit-picker, but it involves committing a solid hour or two per week to the activity. (The fruit picker, when he’s efficient, does most of the curating incidentally, as he’s reading stuff online).
A few final notes about making your weekly or monthly curated roundup
Curation requires some serious content consumption – you can’t get around that (unless you automate, which, well, sucks). But there’s an added benefit to the curator: Pretty soon, you’re your business’s leading authority on what’s happening in your industry and the trade media, and you know what separates the good stories, and good sources, from the so-so.
And the biggest benefits of the roundup? These kinds of posts are like blog subscription magnets. Once people stumble over one well-curated roundup and understand it’s a weekly affair, they’ll come back week after week like clockwork.
Secondly, bloggers collect inbound links like trophies in their little mental vitrines. Link to one today, and he’s more likely to link to your great content tomorrow. More bling for your own inbound link collection…
What’s your favorite blog roundup for your industry?