8 ways brands are screwing up content aggregation

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What's the biggest problem marketers say they face when it comes to content marketing? Producing original content is No. 1, followed closely by the challenge of finding the time to actually produce content, according to the findings of a 2011 survey conducted by Curata.

Content aggregation is a highly proactive and selective approach to finding, collecting, organizing, presenting, sharing, and displaying digital content around predefined sets of criteria and subject matter to appeal to a target audience. It's become integral not only to marketing and branding, but also to journalism, reporting, and social media.

8 ways brands are screwing up content aggregation

Content curation and aggregation can take many forms, including feeds or channels such as on YouTube. It can appear on blogs or even be something as simple as the links you upload to social media sites such as Facebook. It can be an online newsroom, a collection of links, an assortment of RSS feeds, or a Twitter list. Whatever form it does take, it's around a topic, or a subject, or even a sensibility that speaks to the knowledge, expertise, taste, refinement, brand message, or persona of the person, brand, or company that has created the particular content channel.

That said, there is, unsurprisingly, a dark side of content aggregation. In this article, we'll look at the eight worst practices that are upsettingly common among brands.



Chris Chasty
Chris Chasty March 20, 2013 at 3:13 PM

I method I have been following is treating my tactics towards content creation as a journalist would. I constantly follow the beat of trending news and allow it to influence my content choices and article topics.

Specifically with social media, the sharing of content that jumps on a trend is valuable, but it is important to maintain a balance between trending for the sake of trending and creating a story that is topical and connected to the overall big picture resonating from trending news.

Jack Gazdik
Jack Gazdik March 18, 2013 at 5:13 PM

I agree with everything written in this post. Aside from being ethical and moral by citing and linking back to sources, link backs also help build relationships in the social space. Content marketing should promote two-way communication and, if possible, mutually benefit the brand and the content creator to build and foster future relationships.

Carl Hartman
Carl Hartman March 18, 2013 at 3:40 PM

Seems to be a habit on this site that people only talk about the "7 Mistakes" or things like that. Regardless of your ending, the reality is that most people don't know how to do it right. Right now, most content is a conglomeration (you call it aggregation, which assumes some kind of grand order) and that conglomeration is a mess. You also site storytelling, which is also a mess. Rarely is it done correctly. (Almost never, but there are a few bright spots out there.)

More than 10 years ago, when I was an executive at PBS the Corporation for Public Broadcasting had a public competition for "Television of Tomorrow" and out of 80+ submissions on the future of interactive storytelling, my design was the winner. Interactive or on-line storytelling is so much more. All the buzz about "content marketing" is only that, buzz. It's another phrase that masks the fact that very few people know how to do it right.

In my first best-selling book on branding we outline the basics for building a stellar brand. The next release will actually provide the constructs and theory behind proper formatting of content and give solid answers so people can do more than pile a bunch of links, text and linear content onto pages. Just the way Eisenstein described film theory 100 years ago, we've put together a guide that explains proper story structure applied to online content, marketing, human-computer interaction, social storytelling, neural patterns, etc.

Before people worry about linking and attribution, they need to take a few advanced classes in screenwriting from the masters and learn that structure. Comments about "storytelling" and telling good stories are really useless until people understand how to structure a great story. Pick up a copy of Eisenstein's "Film Form" and learn how the juxtaposition of images and story elements really do work. How pacing of content impacts a viewer. Pick up a copy of Lajos Egri's book and learn how to create great, memorable characters or Lew Hunter's book on screenwriting for structure. After that, we can worry about attribution or other mechanics.

The real mistakes people are making: not really knowing how to tell amazing stories and simply throwing the word storytelling around as the latest buzzword.

Nick Stamoulis
Nick Stamoulis March 18, 2013 at 1:35 PM

You never want to give anyone, either the search engines or the original author, cause to believe that you were stealing content. Link back and cite the original author by name at least!