The Internet changed how people find and read content. While it was helpful to have a strategy for publishing information about your business before the Web, people didn't necessarily track if what you gave them as brochures and papers was integrated with everything else.
Online, it's easier to see all of the different outputs of an organization side by side -- and to notice whether they connect the dots, or if they seem to come from separate businesses.
It is more attractive to buy from a business that has its act together. You find out through search.
Why content is important
On the Web, people trade attention for good, useful content. So you need to have a plan that will help you develop, publish, and catalog content to make you more effective in attracting search and keeping people coming back to your source.
There are still companies that struggle with the idea of becoming content producers, and thus have not yet formulated a content strategy. It makes sense to have one because it helps you define why content is useful and usable, good for the bottom line and for instilling a sense of purpose -- for customers and business alike.
Some organizations are affected by the sprawling issue when it comes to content. Separate groups that develop their own and don't necessarily map to the business' overall direction is one example.
Others have the opposite problem -- too few resources means not enough content to start generating the search and participation volumes they need.
Meanwhile, the Web is filled with loads of content -- some of it good, much of it hard to use in its current form.
Content and community
Which is where there is opportunity for resource-strapped businesses to make a dent. You may have noticed that there are successful online media portals that do that with news. They aggregate and curate news.
Aggregation helps journalists find stories -- and see patterns -- and it does the same for news readers. Publications like The Huffington Post have found this model to work well to attract and retain readers. And you could look at using a similar model for your business.
As I wrote a long time ago, the contemporary Web site presence should be organized in thirds, with 1/3 editorial impact, 1/3 community building, and 1/3 marketing or calls to action.
The biggest opportunity for businesses today resides in building their own audience.
Better yet, build a community or tribe.
Curating information as content strategy
Which is where the idea that curating information could be your content strategy comes in. And I mean curating in the sense of organizing, editing, displaying, highlighting, captioning, commenting on, and all of the activities you'd see associated with telling a specific story from your point of view.
What is it that you want people to experience -- read, see, hear, even do in stores or gatherings -- from your business? How can you filter, classify, build upon, and provide existing information to do that?
Your advantage will come from having a person dedicated to curating the information. If you're working at a business that caters to other businesses (B2B), you have a specialized kind of knowledge that can set you apart. As a small business, or in a crowded industry, you could find your advantage in curating because:
- becoming a useful filter makes you a destination
- commenting and intelligent framing of conversation are still in scarce supply
- showing trends and patterns from compiling information is powerful
- providing content in a way that makes it usable gains you a loyal following
- seeing what's out there helps you find gaps in demand
- curating allows you to set the tone for where the focus should be
- seeing your role as that of ultimate decision maker on what's in and what's out
Examples of curating information with blogs are links that pertain to a particular topic or subject of interest to readers, as well as commentary on articles or quotes, both of which have been executed in a variety of creative formats.
Have you integrated curating information in your content strategy? How about making it your content strategy?