If you are fortunate enough to have the budget, resources and intellectual capital to create 100% proprietary content, yay for you! For the rest of us, in order to create a relevant, targeted, and informational mix of content for our intended clients/customers, we need to incorporate 3rd party content. And not all 3rd party content is created equal. Sure, it’s easy to be lazy with content curation, but if you don’t vet properly the price can be steep.
At SME Digital we recommend that you follow the 80/20 rule with content distribution. 80% of your content should be relevant and informational but not at all strategic or sales focused. This 80% should be focused on addressing your customers’ needs or assisting to educate and inform them. If the content is brand agnostic, better!
The remaining 20% can be more sales, brand or service oriented. When you are curating content, it’s not quite enough to just head out onto the great wide web and grab content that seems relevant. The content that you post from your branded social accounts, or link to on your company website, needs to align with your brand, your services, and your corporate culture.
I have raised an eyebrow on more than a few occasions when clicking on an article tweeted out by a company. I have seen articles tweeted out where the content was arguing against the merits of one of their service offerings. It was not the main topic of the article, but if you read the entire piece you would walk away curious if you were a customer.
By not taking the time to establish criteria for curating content, you are putting your brand at risk
Beyond The Headline
I often wonder if content managers are reading beyond the headline. You don’t want to attach your brand to 3rd party content, only to find out that the source was not credible, or worse, that the source of the content is not ethically in sync with your brand.
For example, say you are a reputable debt relief provider, one of the few that exist. Your company finds a great financial blogger who talks about debt free living. Their content is on point and completely aligned with your view on managing debt. But, you discover that the blogger is an affiliate for a less than credible competitor of yours.
By not taking the time to establish criteria for curating content, you are putting your brand at risk and potentially sending your customer base mixed messages.
3 Tips for Vetting Content
If you are curating content, you need criteria for vetting 3rd party content and the sources. Here are three tips to pay attention to:
- Begin with your brand guidelines and develop your content curating framework from there. Typically these brand guidelines are reviewed and approved by your legal team and can provide some great insight into subject matter or even key language that you should avoid using.
- Identify companies in your industry that you emulate and/or respect, and see where they are sourcing content.
- Have a discovery conversation with potential bloggers and find out who they are already partners with. They could have a content exchange, or even an affiliate arrangement with a competitor that you may be unaware of.
Create a framework that lists specific criteria a source should meet for approval. Be sure to include how to vet each source within your framework. Once you have vetted a decent number of sources, you can provide a list of approved sources to your team.
It is imperative that companies put in the time to ensure that all content distributed by their brand reflect the brand and the company goals. A solid vetting criteria can save you not only time in the content curating process, but potentially a PR two-step down the road.
Put the time and effort on the front end of the process and your content will reflect that effort.
How do you decide which 3rd party content to promote? Do you have steps or guidelines that you follow?