Inside the science of content curation for B2B audiences

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It’s one thing to write and publish great content, but if no one’s reading it, there’s no point doing it. That’s where content curation comes in.

Sharing content by others in turn gets your content shared to a wider audience. It also gives you new ideas on content to create, and keeps your finger on the pulse of your B2B audience.

(Content curation is) the art and science of finding and sharing quality content on a specific topic. – Jay Baer, ConvinceandConvert.com

So, how do you decide what’s “quality” content for your industry? Let’s take a look at the tools and tactics you can use to find that quality content and curate it well with your audience.

What to look for in quality content

There are two main areas to look at when it comes to high-quality content online: shares and impact.

Social media shares

These tools help you measure the shares content gets on social media, and help you sort through them to find the most relevant ones for your industry. B2B marketers will want to view the shares and ‘likes’ on LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Tools such as Buzzsumo, SocialMention, Twitter Analytics, Keyhole, and Simply Measured can help you find these metrics easily. Most of these tools let you search by topic, domain, and sometimes author, to find out what’s the most shared content.

For example, using Twitonomy, we can see that @IBM’s Twitter account has the following stats over the last two years:

ibmstats

A caveat with going by these simple share numbers: research shows people share content they haven’t read, so the numbers may be artificially inflated. You can also buy social shares as well, which relate to services that will promote your content and guarantee a specific number of social shares. So if you’re just looking at these numbers alone for the mark of quality, you may be in for a surprise.

That’s not to say the content is low quality, however you shouldn’t equate shares to quality, but instead look at the impact of the content.

Content impact metrics

By going beyond the simple share metrics and digging into the impact metrics of the content you want to curate, you’ll see the content quality improves. It’s harder to manipulate these metrics because they combine several data points and don’t just rely on individual metrics like shares.

Backlinks

Links from other high-quality websites to the content you’re looking to share is a good sign (both in- and out- bound links.) Yes, you can also buy backlinks too, however it’s not usually done for individual pieces of content like blog posts, but rather for homepages, landing pages, and product pages.

Using the Ahrefs tool, we can see that Fictiv, a hardware development platform for engineers and designers, has over 15,100 total backlinks to its site from 1,672 referring pages (this refers to both in- and out- bound pages.) While Freshbooks, the accounting company for non-accountants, has 1.56 million total backlinks to its site from 795,437 referring pages.

When not to consider this metric for content impact: When it’s a website that hosts content, like YouTube. YouTube automatically has a high impact because of the number of backlinks to the main domain, www.youtube.com. Considering there are over 11 billion links on YouTube, you can see that it’s not a good site to consider for content impact.

Views

It’s one thing to get lots of shares for your content, but when you know that most people don’t even read the content they share, it can be a little frustrating. This is where the view metrics come into play. By looking at your website metrics to see what content is getting viewed and where the views are coming from, you’ll have a better idea if the content is high-quality.

When not to consider this metric for content impact: Again we go to the sites that host content like YouTube. Views are counted on the page and can lead to better placement on YouTube and unlocking advanced functionality and help from YouTube. This leads to some video producers to buy views from paid services, just like they might buy social shares.

Comments

Not an obvious metric to consider, but if healthy discussions on the blog or content is increasing by the hour, chances are that it’s high-quality, valuable content you’ll want to curate too.

bufferpost

A popular Buffer post with comments & shares

This post from Buffer’s blog by Kevan Lee is a strong example. It had 92 comments, and lots of replies by both commenters and Kevan, the author. It also had a ton of social shares and saves, which is a good metric to look at, as it meant that viewers were reading the content later in Pocket.

Add in some replies from the article or site owner and you’ve got another valuable metric to go by. Intriguing comments make an impact when they’re done purely to add value to the discussion on the content.

When not to consider this metric for content impact: When the comments aren’t moderated and aren’t relevant to the content. Look for comments that seem formulaic or veer into troll territory.

How to research the best content to curate

Now that you know what metrics to look for when researching content to curate, let’s look at how you can use them in your research to find content to curate.

Find the most discussed content

  • Tap in to your social media audience and discover the topics and stories that are trending with them with Swayy.
  • Connect your social profiles to see the stories and articles your social media followers are sharing with Nuzzel. This tool is great because it also shows you stories your followers’ followers are sharing, as well as stories that you may have missed with the boomerang feature.
  • To find out what are the trending news stories in different parts of the world, use Banjo. Use it to capitalize on real-time events that may be relevant to your B2B business.

Find your own best content

Use any tool to track your own content’s shares, clicks, and open, such as Google Analytics, Buzzsumo, or the analytics tool in Buffer. You’ll see which content is getting the most attention and garnering the most discussion. Content types to analyze include:

  • blog posts: views, shares, and comments
  • social media messages
  • emails: opens and clicks

Find new influencers

Influencers are always sharing great content, from either themselves or other relevant authors and publications. They can generate a ton of new visits to your content if they share it to their audience. So, how can you find the influencers in your industry?

  • FollowerWonk lets you search for keywords in Twitter user bios and then sort the results to find the ones with the largest reach and most authority.
  • Buzzsumo is a good tool to analyze content performance for anyone, including you, competitors, or influencers.
  • Topsy lets you find out which influencer shared certain pieces of content. So you can find out which influencers are already sharing your content, and which are sharing your competitors. This shows they’re receptive to your kind of marketing content, and also shows you what topic areas they’re interested in.
  • Traackr is a premium influencer tool that helps you discover influencers, search through their profiles, analyze sentiment and content shares, and much more.
  • Theneeds provides new relevant content specific to your needs. Access it via a personalized website or the iOS app and view articles, blog posts, social updates, videos, and more that you have liked, read, and engaged with over time.

Find new content for your industry

Aside from the usual ways of tracking content in your industry like a Twitter list of your competitors, you can try these tools to help find more content:

  • SmartBrief boasts more than 225 unique newsletters broken down into 40-plus topics. Whatever your specific industry or niche, chances are that SmartBrief will have a newsletter for you, full of curated news and information. If you’re into marketing and social media (like we are), I’d suggest browsing their marketing newsletters to begin with.
  • The org digest is a curated newsletter with stories on SEO and social media and are submitted and voted on by Hubspot and Moz users. Five of the best stories are emailed to you on a regular basis (daily or weekly).
  • eMaze is a platform for creating slideshows and presentations. You can use the eMaze Explore feature to search for popular presentations about the topic you’re interested in and find inspiration and ideas for your own content.
  • Keyhole is a hashtag tracking tool you can use to find new content topics to investigate and share.

Develop a strong content curation strategy for bigger online marketing returns

Content curation is a great way to develop good content marketing habits. You’ll develop new ideas for your own B2B content generation, engage with your audience at a deeper level, and make connections with influencers in your industry that will share your content with a wider audience.

Share quality content with your audience, and they’ll return the favour when it’s time for them to share with their audiences. As Jay Baer says, there’s both and art and science to content curation. Do it well, and you’ll notice a positive change in the relationship with your audience. Do it poorly and you’ll feel the wrath of your audience as they leave you alone.

The tactics, tips, and tools outlined in this article will help you stay on the positive side of your audience.

Flickr photo via Creative Commons

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Julia Borgini

Julia Borgini

Julia Borgini is a technology writer, copywriter and consultant for B2B technology companies. She helps them connect with people and grow their business with helpful content and copy. Visit her website to see who she’s helping today: www.spacebarpress.com