ellipsis flag icon-blogicon-check icon-comments icon-email icon-error icon-facebook icon-follow-comment icon-googleicon-hamburger icon-imedia-blog icon-imediaicon-instagramicon-left-arrow icon-linked-in icon-linked icon-linkedin icon-multi-page-view icon-person icon-print icon-right-arrow icon-save icon-searchicon-share-arrow icon-single-page-view icon-tag icon-twitter icon-unfollow icon-upload icon-valid icon-video-play icon-views icon-website icon-youtubelogo-imedia-white logo-imedia logo-mediaWhite review-star thumbs_down thumbs_up

What's driving the content marketing evolution?

What's driving the content marketing evolution? Pawan Deshpande

In the old B2B model, buyers accessed, evaluated, and understood the marketplace solely through a select group of middlemen -- namely trade publications, analysts, and specialized experts. As a result, the road to success for the marketer was clear -- be on the top right quadrant of the next analyst report or on the front page of the next trade magazine. Static content and strong relationships with these middlemen best described how to succeed in content marketing. 


Along came the internet, and with it, a new way of creating and publishing online information for prospects. Instead of waiting for analyst input and trade publications, buyers now use the Internet in their search for information. However, don't be fooled: The middleman remains a necessary player in the B2B world.


Who is this new middleman and what does that mean for the B2B marketer?  According to one recent study by Business.com, a full 65 percent of B2B purchasers use search engines to begin their research for corporate buying decisions. In other words, few buyers today directly access vendor websites. In addition to search engines, people are turning to online trade publications, online social connections, and other online industry resources -- particularly during the beginning stages of the buying process. 


The ideal for the online B2B marketer is to secure the best placement with these new intermediaries: Success no longer means being on the front page of the next print run of a trade magazine. Success today means being on the front page of Google, and being prevalent across various social media channels.  


Realizing this change, the natural reaction from B2B marketers is to spend more time producing content to publish on websites that will get picked up and drive search engine ranking. From whitepapers, to podcasts, to blogs, to eBooks, to webinars, B2B marketers are now focused on keeping content fresh in the 24/7 online environment. 


Unfortunately, creating custom content can prove both expensive and time consuming. Furthermore, it's getting less and less effective as the Internet gets overpopulated with content produced by everyone from the everyday blogger to the B2B content marketer. With all that noise on the Internet, it is a major challenge for a business implementing a content marketing strategy to get noticed, keep content relevant, and become a trusted resource online.


Fortunately, there's a way out -- overpopulation leads natural selection and evolution. In order for online marketing to stay relevant with both the B2B buyer and the B2B marketer, the system still needs to evolve. One way online marketing is doing so is through content curation.


So, what is a content curator? Rohit Bhargava defines the content curator as someone "who continually finds, groups, organizes, and shares the best and most relevant content on a specific issue online." Unlike typical content marketing, content curation is more effective when there's an overpopulation of content: It presents a real point of differentiation for the B2B marketer.


Here are five easy steps, along with some guiding questions and tips, to help you.

Step 1: Identify
The first step is to identify a key topic or issue for which you would like to curate content.  Identifying a topic is the hardest and most important step but fortunately, you only have to do it once. 



  • On what topic or issue do my prospects want to hear from me every single day?



  • Is there a topic that my prospects currently spend a lot of time researching and tracking on their own that I can research on their behalf?



  • Are there topics that are not well covered in my industry for which I can become a unique resource Step Two: FollowOnce you have a topic, you will need to follow the most important sources and influencers for content on this topic. Examples of these sources include key bloggers, industry analysts and trade publications. 



  • Do you or does someone else in your organization (an internal media monitoring resource or a PR Agency) already follow the key influencers in your industry? 



  • Subscribe to key RSS feeds and email newsletters and start following Twitter accounts of influencers. This is a great way to continually track important and interesting conversations about your topic of choice.

Step 2: Follow
Once you have a topic, you will need to follow the most important sources and influencers for content on this topic. Examples of these sources include key bloggers, industry analysts and trade publications. 



  • Do you or does someone else in your organization (an internal media monitoring resource or a PR Agency) already follow the key influencers in your industry? 



  • Subscribe to key RSS feeds and email newsletters and start following Twitter accounts of influencers. This is a great way to continually track important and interesting conversations about your topic of choice.

Step 3: Share
Begin to share the most relevant content from these sources with your audience.  While many sources will talk about a wide range of topics, your job as a curator is to be selective and share only the most relevant, comprehensive insights with your customers. 



  • Leverage your blog or dedicated microsite, social media channels, and email newsletters to share this information.



  • Have you looked at your competitors as resources too?  Your content curation efforts should be product neutral and some of what you share should present viewpoints with which you disagree: This gives your site credibility and establishes you as the definitive resource on your topic.

Step 4: Organize
Give your curated content a home and organize it. 



  • Categorize your content so that prospects interested in a particular subtopic can quickly retrieve the most relevant information.



  • One great medium for warehousing archival curated content is on a dedicated microsite for your topic. An added bonus of the microsite is that it can also perform with respect to SEO.



  • Has your microsite's content been tagged with important companies, people, and products? Is it categorized by sub-topics? This is the next step in maximizing your content's reach. 

Step 5: Create
The final step of curation is to create your own content -- prospects and customers want to hear your perspective too.



  • Regular curation will make it easier to write more relevant and engaging content that addresses hot topics in the industry.

Performing the curation process of identifying, following, sharing, organizing, and creating a fire hose of content every day may seem daunting at first. Whether you curate through a strictly manual process or rely on content curation technology platforms, by continually following this process, over time, you will create a premier online destination for all content on your specific topic or issue, making you an online thought leader and boosting your lead generation, thereby furthering your overall marketing objectives.


Pawan Deshpande is CEO of HiveFire.

On Twitter? Follow iMedia Connection at @iMediaTweet.

Pawan Deshpande is the founder and CEO of Curata. Pawan is responsible for the company's vision, management and advanced development initiatives. His work at Curata has been recognized through the 2010 Boston Business Journal's 40 under 40 Award,...

View full biography

Comments

to leave comments.

Commenter: Rick Clark

2010, November 10

Great article . . . informative and timely as well.
Thanks,
Rick Clark @rcl4rk