Content Marketing: Embrace Some Noise!
I often get article ideas as I fly through my Facebook feed. That they’re often my most snarky reads is telling, but that’s another discussion for another time and publish.
This one really grabbed my attention, as it came from a marketer who’s coming back after a fairly long hiatus. I’ve been carefully watching and monitoring the re-entry.
The post was targeted to email marketers and email content. The premise? Losing the noise to gain the reads.
Funnily enough, the post touted creating killer titles. The title they chose? 4 Newsletter Tips. Not sure killer is the descriptor I’d use, but … again, time to get back on topic.
Content Clutter: What To Cut?
As I don my devil’s advocate horns, I say you should keep some of the clutter, some of the noise, in your content? Am I mad?
Crazy like a fox, maybe!
You Can Clean-Up Too Much!
When you take that one step too far in an attempt to create the most clear and concise content, you often end up with a canned, vanilla, or otherwise unappealing read.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Too much #content clean-up gains you lackluster content that fails to inspire!” quote=”Too much #content clean-up gains you lackluster content that fails to inspire!” theme=”style4″]
Why is this? Because you’ve stripped out all of the personality, all of the verve, all of the pizazz. When you clear out the “clutter,” you often clear out the creative quirks that help you stand head and shoulders above the crowd.
You might respond with …
But so-and-so writes like this!
And I’ll engage in some witty repartee along the lines of …
If so-and-so jumped off a bridge, would you jump too?
Some Noise Can Stand Out!
We’ve all heard about content shock and how your content, to be seen, must stand out amongst all the other noise. It makes sense.
[clickToTweet tweet=”If you never make noise, your content won’t be heard above the current sound.” quote=”But, if you never make any noise, you can’t possibly be heard above the current sound.” theme=”style4″]
Consider music. Taken down to its very core, it’s meant to be heard. Thus, if we decide to go for extreme simplicity, all music is noise. We choose to listen to the musical style that appeals to us.
It’s much the same thing when it comes to the articles we read and the blogs we choose to follow. We read what we like, what makes us think, what appeals to us.
We’re drawn to specific noise.
Voice, Style, Tone? Not Noise!
Because we’re often reading, rather than listening to the content to which we subscribe (podcasts are another issue entirely), the noise is experienced with our eyes, not our ears.
Just yesterday, I received a lovely compliment, via Twitter. The new connection told me he loved my writing style. I was flattered, of course.
But here’s the thing. My writing style isn’t clean. It isn’t crisp. It’s fairly cluttered. I’m a noisy writer. There’s a lot of me thrown into the ideas and concepts I share when writing. A LOT.
Is all of my alliteration absolutely necessary? No. Am I getting rid of it in future. Again, no.
Do my article intros sometimes ramble? Sure. But I like to set a scene. And those who choose to read what I write seem to like that scene setting.
Embrace Your Necessary Noise!
We’re certainly not saying you should cram in clutter in order to ramp up your word count. Shorter posts certainly can be sweet when they get the point across quickly and well.
I rarely publish lengthy tomes. But I still embrace the noise that makes my content my own. I refuse to set aside the very style that has gained me readers in a bid to gain different readers. That would be akin to throwing out the baby with the bath water. Silly and senseless.
Better Blogging With Help From Frightened Rabbit
It was inevitable. Eventually I’d have to share blogging tips based on something beyond known hits from the eighties and nineties.
Today I’m taking a chance and sharing my favorite band as part of my Music & Marketing Mondays series. They’re not well known and they don’t have any well-known chart-topping hits.
Swim Until You Can’t See Land
Sometimes you have to take a leap of faith when you’re blogging. Will the topic resonate with your readers? Is it too edgy, too blatant, too controversial? Is it different from anything you’ve published before? Is it a topic that’s new to your blogging repertoire?
You never know what will fly and what will fail. You can’t reap the greatest of rewards if you don’t sometimes take a chance. Sometimes you need to dive in, rather than slowing dipping in a toe at a time. Sometimes you need to start the swim and keep swimming, even when the land disappears behind you and you’re not sure of the way back.
The best bloggers take some chances, hoping to strike a chord, prompt a response or change a mind. It’s never easy and it’s often scary, but it’s these kinds of articles that make the most difference.
Old, Old Fashioned
While your blog can, and should be, the hub of your digital home, not one of us can make the most of our lives and or abilities if we never leave home. There’s more to a successful blog, business and online presence than the online presence itself.
Oh let’s get old fashioned
Back to how things used to be
If I get old, old fashioned
Would you get old, old fashioned with me?
Consider getting old fashioned and going out to network in real life. Be open to real life experiences, relationships and conversations. These will all add to your impact online, too.
My Backwards Walk
In the first song shared, I mentioned taking a leap. The lesson in this song is the exact opposite. Sometimes it’s very important to think long and hard before an implementation, an article shared. Making a mistake with something you publish can be very difficult to fix after the fact.
I’m working on erasing you
Just don’t have the proper tools
I’ll get hammered, forget that you exist
There’s no way I’m forgetting this
While this is a love song of sorts, it’s about feeling the need to erase something, but being drawn back in, unable to escape and start fresh. The singer is knee deep and mired in something less than desirable, yet can’t see any way out.
A poorly written, planned and thought out article can leave you in the same nasty mess. And it can be nearly impossible to pull yourself out of that mess.
Transparency is a term we hear bandied about all the time. When it comes to your brand and what you publish, transparency is tantamount to the trust developed with our audience, whom we hope to make prospects, then, eventually purchasers of our products and services.
We’ve all heard about businesses with skeletons in the closet, skulls buried in the backyard. Consider whether or not you’re trying to keep buried your own backyard skulls. Can you truly keep them buried forever?
Backyard skulls, deep beneath the ground
All those backyard skulls, not deep enough to never be found
Would it not be better to share, carefully, your past failings. To be open and honest about your business past, your product and service future?
Eventually we’re all forced to make a decision? Are we on the right path with our business, with our brand? Is it time to pivot, pack it in or soldier forward?
When the work stops working
What was light becomes a weight
When the work stops working
Shall we pack it all in
When the work stops working
And the weight becomes an ache
When the work stops working
Shall we pack it all in
Or start again
Sometimes we are forced to contemplate our blogging? Maybe it’s time to change our focus, time to consider new topics. Is what you’ve long been doing still working? Is it time to tweak? Time to take a strong stand? Time to start anew?
Only you can know, and it will not be an easy decision.
So there you have it. A Music & Marketing Monday publish featuring my favorite band. I hope you’ll take a listen to each of the five songs shared and let me know if managed to strike a chord!
By Heidi Weber [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Choose A New S-Word: Let’s Say So Long To Sexy!
It is a Friday. And yes, some might consider this post a bit amusing – especially some of my alliterations, so it will fill the role of a Friday Funny share. But, there’s a part of me that’s dead serious.
Sexy … BLECH!
Sometimes the use of the term, in social media and digital marketing circles especially, just sickens me.
For the most part, party peeps, no one’s thinking about how sexy your social media services are, or are not. And let’s face it, many of the entrenched faces and voices in the industry, are aging. No, I’m not starting an ageist rant. I know there are several social media hotties in our midst.
But c’mon. I’m about to turn 44. I try to take care of myself, I play tennis and lift weights, and on good days I look in the mirror and think I’m cute as a button. But, I’m certainly not the epitome of sexy. I’m middle-aged and often crabby, for Pete’s sake (I hope Pete won’t think I’m taking his name in vain).
Let me ask you a question? Is anyone labeling Ted Rubin’s ideas or articles sexy? Doubtful. Socktastic (ha ha, it’s even an “S” word)? Probably. Sexy? Not so much. Same goes for Mark Schaefer. And for that other Schaffer? Neal, that’s it!
Strive For Something BETTER Than Sexy!
I don’t yearn for sexy.
[clickToTweet tweet=”I don’t want my acquaintances, peers and clients to think of me as ‘sexy.’ ” quote=”I don’t want my acquaintances, peers and clients to think of me as sexy (actually that’s quite creeptastic).” theme=”style4″]
I don’t want my design work deemed sexy. I really don’t want sexy attributed to me by anyone other than my husband. And maybe Benedict Cumberbatch (swoon). Okay?
Can we suss out a new S-word to get all jiggy with (yes, that DID totally out me as middle-aged, and I’m fine with it) going forward?
There are ever so many scintillating (add that one to the list post-haste) S-words we could champion instead.
How about smart, special, savvy?
What about giving stellar a whirl? It comes from the stars!
We could try standup, standout, striking. Maybe test the waters with successful, stirring, smashing or spirited?
If you like to snark and sass (sound like anyone you know?), you could strive for sparkling, salty, smoking or even sizzling!
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being seen as skillful or satisfactory is there?
You can try for stupendous heights of sublime or supremity!
You can really knuckle down and go for sesquipedalian. WHAT? But, of course, it means “given to or characterized by the use of long words.” LOL!
Are you always giving when you write and share? Then there’s no doubt you could be described as swagalicious!
Last, but certainly not least, you can go for the penultimate “S” word and hobnob with the likes of a very famous Mary! Poppins, of course. Let’s all embrace supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!
Seriously? Enough With The Sexy!
I’ve just provided you with a stunning selection (still rocking that “S”) of superior words that will mean a lot more to your audience than the smarmy use of “sexy” to describe everything from scotch tape to sugar cookies!
Who’s with me?
Aside: Why didn’t I link to any of the powerhouse fellas I mentioned above? Because I’m not trying to piggyback off their names to get reads on this post. It was a serious question. But I didn’t reference any of their specific work, so I feel linking would have been a little shady and gratuitous.
Death To The Marketing Is Dead Trend!
Do you ever feel like you’re surrounded by drama? I’m sure I do my fair share to create much of the drama that surrounds me. You certainly can’t publish snarky sentiments and expect to get off drama free.
But I often find myself scrolling through articles, mostly via Feedly or another RSS gatherer, wondering why we have to go for the dramatic when it’s less than necessary.
Death, Dying & Killing It When You Content Market!
Is it just me, or do an awful lot of marketing articles tap into the idea of killing something? And, if not that, then they’re talking about the impending death knell of a practice we’ve all come to hold dear. Anyone else notice that? Just me?
Why do we feel the need to pronounce currently accepted and still valuable practices dead in order to be provocative? Every time I turn around I’m bombarded with another announcement of imminent death…
- SEO Is Dead! Stick With Social!
- Content Marketing Is Dead! Stop Beating A Dead Horse!
- Facebook Is Dead! Switch Immediately To Myspace!
Okay, I admit it. I may have gone just a bit too far with that last fake headline. But I know plenty of you have seen these pronouncements populating your feed of late.
While I’m all for taking off the rose-colored glasses and looking a bit deeper to see the two sides that make up every story, I have some problems with this Chicken Little, “the sky is falling” mentality.
Several problems, actually, and what better way to share them than with a dose of my patented Simmer Down Sassy Pants snark and sass.
#1: They Tend To Be Ridiculously Premature
People have been writing about and lamenting the death of Photoshop for years. It was not too recently ramped up with the launch of Canva, the supposed “democratizer” of graphic design – seriously don’t get me started, that’s another rant entirely – anywho … where was I, oh … the death of Photoshop.
It’s not going anywhere anytime soon. Derek, my husband and partner in Go Creative Go business crime, still uses it every day. While I was never a big Photoshop fan, I’m still using Fireworks on a several times per day basis. FYI, Fireworks is another image editor/creator, optimizer owned by Adobe.
Photoshop is still available and still being updated by the fine folks at Adobe, though it’s now a cloud-based product. And, I see articles and tutorials published almost every day by fellow graphic design enthusiasts.
There’s no reason to jump ship quite yet!
#2: They’re Gimmicky!
Someone told someone else that provocative headlines were the hot ticket. Content marketing with catchy titles is the way to go.
Not so fast there, Tiger. Those are blanket statements. And you already know how I feel about blanket statements, don’t you?
Sure, the occasional provocative title will gather eyes for your well-written (we hope) content marketing prize. I’m not categorically against the pithy, the provocative. As a matter of fact, the title of this article could very easily be described as provocative, and, YES, some could say it detracts from my point. Maybe! Kinda!
Gimmicks are great in the short run, but if you don’t deliver on what’s promised they won’t reap you any rewards.
A catchy title that draws eyes CAN be great. But if those eyes aren’t delivered the promised goods and ideas, you’ve possibly lost a reader. Possibly a prospect. Maybe even a paying client!
#3: They’re Uninspired!
Bandwagon jumping is often the first sign that someone’s run out of creative mojo. When we’ve lost the ability to create something relatively new and targeted, we fall back on the standbys. The gimmicks. Click bait. Eye candy.
Again, there are times when a provocative title draws eyes to a real prize. A well crafted, ideas-full article or other form of content (podcast, infographic) that packs plenty of punch and generates real discussion.
There are some great “death to” articles that are absolutely on target and worthy of the shares the title generates. But it’s become too easy to add the word “death” to a title, and then fail to deliver on the expected punch and pithy entendre.
It’s at that point when the uninspired ruin a tactic that can be quite effective.
Death is, for all intents and purposes, permanent …
Yes, we could certainly discuss many a religious belief to the contrary, but work with me here.
Digital marketing, social media marketing, content marketing … each is equal parts fleeting and permanent. Permanent in that someone can always take a screen cap and reference your past foibles. But fleeting in that new ideas, influencers and best practices crop up every day. Dare we say every hour?
Let’s not bring pre-mature death on anything that remains useful, even for only a margin of our audience. Let’s, instead, consider how to bolster what’s flagging, how to revive what’s grown a little tired, and breathe new life into tactics and practices before we relegate them to turn to dust and blow away.
Your Content Is The Rhythm Section Of Your Brand!
I’m a big fan of music with a pounding or pulsating rhythm. My mother used to laugh about the house shaking when I ensconced myself in my room with my music. I’ve always been able to work with music playing, back to my college term paper days. I don’t go for classical or calming, I want a steady building rhythm that keeps me pepped up for productivity!
Don’t you think your readers want the same steady rhythm when it comes to your content?
Content, Like A Good Band, Should Be Tight
When you hear about a band putting out a great album, or putting on a good show you often hear that the drummer was tight, or “in the pocket.” This means the drummer’s sticks are precise. But it also means there’s some personality and finesse shining through. The drummer’s keeping everyone in the band in time, but he/she’s also laying down a killer groove.
Your content should be doing the same thing for your brand.
Your content must be tight, must be on topic and what you write has to keep in line with your brand message and purpose.
But you’ve also got to lay down a groove and make the read a good time. Writers, like drummers, must let their finesse and personality shine within the tight confines of grammar and format.
Style Drives Bands AND Brands
Your content shouldn’t overshadow your ultimate goal, which is providing a great product, service or solution to your ideal client. The same goes for a great rhythm section. The bass player and the drummer aren’t there to outshine the vocals or the lyrics. They are there to enhance it.
Your content, shared across social media platforms, might be driving many eyes to your ultimate prize … what you’re selling. But, it has to do so carefully, with nuance and subtlety. You can’t slap your readers in the face with a hard sell.
Music shouldn’t be an assault on the ears. Your content shouldn’t be an assault on reader experience, either.
Is your content subtly highlighting and enhancing your products, services and solutions? If not, why not?
Dynamics Drive The Experience
I’m a fan of the loud/soft/loud or slow/fast/slow style in song. The Pixies, one of my favorite bands, nailed this with their music.
Another great example? Nirvana.
A plodding pace, in music or in content, soon becomes background filler or annoying. At the same time, too loud with no break in the noise doesn’t work either. Yelling at your audience rarely garners great result.
Dynamics drive the brand experience. Your content must showcase these varying dynamics. From the careful and calming recitation of facts and analytics to the exuberant drive of true emotion, your content must run the gamut.
If your articles aren’t eliciting any emotion, you’ll want to take a deeper look at your content and brand dynamics, then make sure your content showcases those dynamics. Are you lulling your readers into a near doze because your content lacks the dynamics to drive results?
We Want To Feel That Content!
What you publish should be more than a read, more than a quick scan for facts and quotes worth sharing. Your content has to build up the feels, much like a great song.
Music triggers emotion. So do great stories shared. If you think of your content as stories, as the sound of your brand, you’ll better appreciate what must be done to appeal to those reading.
Is your content staying to true to your brand vision and driving it forward? Or is it out of step and possibly out of tune? Your brand can’t build momentum or rhythm if your content isn’t keeping pace.
Better Brands Choose Their Words Wisely
A.K.A. Don’t Be An Idiom Idiot!
There’s SO much more to smart and savvy brands than logos, color schemes and your font of choice.
The very words and phrases brands choose, and use/misuse, play a large role in the perception of your expertise, or lack thereof.
Per Merriam-Webster, one of my favorite go-to resources in writing and reading comprehension: An idiom is a rendition of a combination of words that have a figurative meaning. The figurative meaning is comprehended in regard to a common use of the expression that is separate from the literal meaning or definition of the words of which it is made.
Think Before You Turn That Phrase
We’ve all seen brands and individuals mangle what we call a “turn of phrase”. Admittedly, it’s often funny. But when you’re trying to promote yourself as a dedicated, dialed-in digital business marketer, certain common word choice errors, which I like to call idiom idiocy – as I can’t stop myself from employing alliteration whenever possible, might very well make you look foolish in the eyes of your potential client.
Some of these phrases may not “strictly” fall into the idiom camp – but again, for love of alliteration, I hope you forgive me!
Word Choice Woes!
Tongue In Cheek NOT Tongue and Cheek: Meaning that a statement or other phrase is made in an attempt at humor, is not seriously intended and should not be taken at face value. When I hear the botched version I immediately flash back to those horrible old Skoals commercials about a “pinch between your teeth and gum”. I don’t know why!
Bear With Me NOT Bare With Me: While you might be an especially handsome man or beautiful women, I’d prefer it if you kept your clothes on. We’re not THAT connected, OK?
“Bear with me,” the standard expression, is a request for forbearance or patience. “Bare with me” would be an invitation to get “nekkid” together.
Whet Your Appetite NOT Wet Your Appetite: While water is essential to life as we know it, it’s not the “wet” you’re looking for. Water applied to an appetite would serve to “dampen” rather than increase it. And this phrase is about more than that gourmet meal. Per TheFreeDictionary, to whet is: to cause someone to be interested in something and to be eager to have, know, learn, etc., more about it.
Pass Muster NOT Pass Mustard: You’re not doctoring up a hotdog from a sidewalk vendor! The phrase means “to be judged as acceptable.” It comes from the idea of mustering forces, militia – an army.
Tough Row To Hoe NOT Road To Hoe: I’ve seen plenty of road crews in my life – in Atlanta it seems every road is constantly in need of repair. That being said, I’ve never seen a crew member working with a hoe. That gardening implement is meant to create rows in which you’ll plant your crops (seeds). If you’ve ever gardened seriously – or farmed, you’ll know that’s pretty hard work. Hence the phrase, which means you’ve got a difficult task to carry out or a heavy set of burdens.
There you have it. Pithy phrases can draw in and entertain your audience. Or they can drive people away if you fall prey to idiom idiocy!
Sing Your Story With Your Own Unique Voice
I love music as much, if not more than I love digital marketing. It’s probably safe to say that I’m an absolute music nerd. This comes as no surprise to anyone who regularly reads what I write. I’ve shared articles referencing R.E.M., Depeche Mode, Duran Duran, and many more. I often look back to my 80’s music influences when I’m generating my music and marketing article ideas.
What some of my readers might not know? I’m an indie rock kind of chick! That’s right. A hipster. But hopefully not a hipster dufus (yes, I love to add pop culture and Seinfeld references to my writing, too).
So, I’m more than excited to publish a music and marketing article that shares several songs that fit with my more indie listening leanings!
Frightened Rabbit: The Modern Leper (EXPLICIT)
It’s pretty safe to say that my favorite singers wouldn’t fare well if they took their singing talents to a “reality” TV show intent on creating slick and seriously engineered pop stars. I can perfectly picture Simon sneering as I imagine it.
I choose my favorite songs and those who sing them based on two things:
- The story told
- The emotion shared
That’s really not much different from how I choose those marketers and digital storytellers whose posts I look for in my feeds.
A song about a leper isn’t destined to rise to the top of the pop charts, but it absolutely catches my attention with a strong and standout story. And, even better, it makes me think. I look for the same in content and social media marketing.
Jeff Mangum: My Dream Girl Don’t Exist
My ex-husband couldn’t stand Jeff Mangum’s voice. Words like whiny, grating and even caterwauling were thrown about with abandon.
But the voice that fronts Neutral Milk Hotel digs deep and does something for me. I’d trade passionate for whiny, gripping for grating and maybe yearning for caterwauling.
I often stress that if we all liked and sought out the same things, the world would be a very boring place. The same goes for the digital marketing and social media sphere. We seek what sings to us. If your story sings to me, I’ll share it. You can’t expect everyone to hum along or dance in place.
Modest Mouse: Doin’ The Cockroach
The story in this song sings to me, and I think no other voice but Isaac Brock’s would do it justice. But, it’s an acquired taste. Like learning to drink coffee or wine, it’s a passion that develops over time, through repeat sips (or listens).
Social media marketing is about acquired taste, too. You have to choose the platforms that best allow you to sing your story in your own unique voice. For me those channels are Twitter and Google+. I didn’t immediately fall in love with either platform. It was through repeat listens and learning to love each as I spent more and more time engaged in conversation and discussion.
Handsome Furs: Hearts of Iron
I’ve chosen to share this song for two reasons. First, Dan Boeckner’s voice is an acquired taste. But the second reason is the one I’d really like to stick.
To make it in our field, digital and social media marketing, you’ve got to have a heart of iron. Heck, you’ve also got to have a soul of steel and you’ve got to be able to roll with the punches … some directed below the belt.
I got called out this morning, on Twitter. I was called lazy for using the term “moron” in an article and title. I laughed, shot off a response that didn’t engage in name calling and went about my day. You have to be able to do so.
I carefully chose to call out unnamed individuals as morons, and I don’t intend to change that practice. To do so would mean I’m trying to hide my voice. I have no intention of ever doing so.
Superchunk: Hyper Enough
My unique voice, the one I use to share each story I think worthy of sharing, could probably be described as hyper. Some might say edgy. I’m pretty sure I’ve even been called manic.
I’m sure Mac McCaughan and the rest of the Superchunk gang were often told that they played too fast, were woefully out of tune (on occasion … OK, maybe a lot), were perhaps not exactly what a venue manager was looking for in a music act.
I’m not a perfect fit for every job. There are many prospects who aren’t a perfect fit for our company. But I’m hyper enough (meaning I’m dedicated to hustling and moving forward) to keep looking for that right prospect, that fortuitous fit.
Are You Singing Your Story?
Your voice might not suit everyone. But it doesn’t have to. You’ll find harmony and resonance with a group that suits your goals, your message and your intent and purpose. Don’t fall prey to the auto-tune mentality and lose what makes your voice unique!
Seriously? Admit You Curate or Cut Bait!
Before I dive into the topic, I need to clear a few things up:
- I’ve had this article on hold, partially written, for several weeks. I actually started writing it soon after recording a podcast session with Cendrine Marrouat of Social Media Slant. The topic discussed on the podcast was, cannily enough, content curation.
- I chose to publish an article on dissenting opinions as a lead-in to this article, in order to make a point. I can dissagree with an article, an idea, an opinion, without hating on a person or group. I can actually completely respect and trust someone and still, occasionally, disagree with them.
- It will appear that an article published by Carol Lynn Rivera of Web.Search.Social was an impetus for a rant. But, as stated above, I’ve had this topic in mind for a while. It would be ludicrous, however, for me to say that Carol Lynn’s article does not factor into my own publish. It does, indeed.
- My writing style is fairly combative, snarky and often meant to make people laugh, mostly at my antics and language, while also getting them to think. I felt no compunction to change my writing style before publishing this article.
So, the short and quick of it? I can disagree with Carol Lynn on this specific topic and still think she’s spot on 99.99% of the time. I can still share her articles, comment on her blog posts, and engage in conversations with her on Twitter and Google+.
And, because Carol Lynn is a savvy marketer that knows the value of duscussion and dissenting views, she won’t immediately call me a dick, a jerk, an a**hole, or any other derogatory name. She may absolutely call me snarky, though!
That being cleared up, we can dive into the topic.
C’mon … Seriously? You “Don’t” Curate Content?
Content curation has become the love to hate topic of note lately. Possibly closely followed by the whole content shock conundrum.
Part of the problem, as pointed out passionately and pointedly by my respected peer and lovely friend, Cendrine Marrouat, is the lack of a one size fits all definition for content curation. People can, and do, curate content in a variety of ways. Maybe they just don’t know it yet?
I’m Going To Share Content, But Not Curate It!
Say what? I’ve seen this argument a few times and it always leaves me scratching my head in exasperation.
Do you seek out the content of others because you can’t possibly create enough content to satisfy the needs of your audience? Yes? You curate content!
Curating isn’t something people in tweed jackets do as they sit amidst the dusty books in their library. You don’t have to share the articles you read and find worthy on Scoop.it or share them with paper.li to be a curator. But if you do, that’s groovy,too!
Do you seek out smartly written, savvy articles to add to your Buffer account? Articles that will be shared in a timely fashion via Twitter, Google+, maybe even Linkedin? Yes? You curate content.
Why Waste Time Researching & Reading?
One argument against content curation states that it’s silly to spend soooooooo much time reading and researching the content of others when you could be creating that content yourself.
I’m sorry, but are you both all knowing and all powerful? Omniscient and omnipotent? You can write on any subject under the sun without having to do any research, without having to reference any resources? Nope! I call bullshit!
If you create content without ever looking to your peers, your competitors and your betters (that’s right, you’re not the BESTEST at ALL BUSINESS) then the content you create is often going to be CRAP.
You’re not an expert on/at EVERYTHING. No one is. Curating and then referencing well written, helpful content means you care enough to educate yourself on topics that you think your audience might find interesting and helpful.
I Am Marketer, Hear Me Toot (My Own Horn)
Meet Joe Schmoe. Joe is THE marketer. It’s all about him and what he knows and shares. Everything he tweets is coupled with one of the following hashtags:
Joe Schmoe is a self important shmuck. There’s nothing inherently wrong with sharing your own content. You worked hard to create it, of course you want to get the maximum shares out of it.
But when you constantly hashtag your own content with #IKnowBest add-ons, especially that content which has long passed its expiration date for relevance or usefulness, you show your following that you’re not interested in sharing content with value. You’re sharing how much you value your own content. Do you see the difference?
Content Curation Isn’t Helping Your Customers
Or Landing You Leads …
It’s not? Color me shocked, because I absolutely take to Google to research the topics on which I am not an expert. Why? Because, once again – say it OUT LOUD with me, I’m not a flipping expert at everything!
I ain’t no guru! (and neither is Carol Lynn)
I had a meeting yesterday with a potential client interested in expanding their online presence and using that presence to recruit new talent. New real estate talent.
Go Creative Go has designed, implemented and managed real estate websites and digital marketing campaigns, but always with the intent to showcase listings and neighborhood benefits. Never with the focus on recruiting.
So, to prep for this meeting and to show this client I’m as knowledgeable as I can be about the subject of using digital marketing for real estate agent recruiting, I chose to look to the experts. I sough out, read and collected (curated) the BEST content on the subject.
I DID NOT INSIST on only sharing my own content. Why not? I’ve never needed to create it. I don’t have any.
Could I have created it? Yes, but there wasn’t a need. It was there for me to read and for me to share.
FYI, I landed the client even though I shared two articles written by competitors.
Curate Because It’s Already Been Said & Said Well!
Why do we feel we must reinvent the wheel? If someone with a sound grasp and understanding of the topic has already written the article, what’s wrong with reading it, asking questions if the author is available for it, and storing it for future use or sharing?
There’s nothing wrong with that.
There will be times when I can research a topic and manage to create my own fairly compelling content on said topic. But there will also be times when creating valuable content on a topic will simply be beyond my capability. I can’t become an expert at certain things with a quick Google search and and three article reads.
Some areas of expertise require years of study, practical training and much mentorship. In those instances it’s much smarter to seek out the smarts shared by those who are actually the smartest!
Curating Is About MORE Than The Content!
Curating is about connections, peer review and the potential for collaboration. I’ve stated this on many occasions.
When I share the content of my peers, I’m not doing it out of some ridiculous and unrealistic idea of reciprocity. The reciprocity share has never had any real value.
Where then is the actual value? In the connections made, the conversations had, the possibility of building a real relationship that will allow for sharing ideas and maybe even collaborating on projects.
I would not be who I am today without curating and sharing some fantastic content, which allowed me to connect with some great people.
So Put Up Or Shut Up!
Is Sharing Completely Different Than Curating?
Some would say yes. You don’t have to curate to share content. I disagree. You don’t share articles, videos or infographics that you haven’t read, viewed, deemed worthy and valuable do you? Of course not!
And I don’t disagree because I’m a dick or because I live to rant. Here are my reasons:
- Every time I record and subsequently publish a podcast interview, I’m curating content. That’s right. Curating! Without researching and reaching out to my guest on THEIR expertise, there’d be no means for me to create that “unique” content I’m calling my own.
- Every time I ask my readers to tell me what they want to read about, I’m curating content. Those ideas are NOT my own, even though I’m using them to create content to be delivered from the digital real estate I own.
- Every time I take the time to read an article, deem it worthy of sharing, and add it to either my bookmarks or Buffer for later sharing, I’m curating content.
Decide one way or the other! If curation is such a waste of time, and the smart and sensible way to market yourself and your brand centers on creating and sharing content that resides only on your digital real estate, that’s fine. Share only your own content if it suits your style and your business model. Some bigger brands do that quite well!
But don’t call me out as stupid, silly or lacking sense for curating if you engage in activities that, when looked at under the light of the many meanings of curation, as there’s no one size fits all definition, show you’re ACTUALLY, by some definitions, engaging in curating content.
Have At It!
I expect some reaction to this. There will be some agreement and there’s sure to be some disagreement.
But I do know that we can have a discussion, no matter our opinions, without devolving into name calling (and Joe Schmoe was just a writing tool, people, you know that darned good and well).
I look forward to some chatter, some discussion and even some smart, but sassy, snark.
And yes, I realize the fish in my photo shows a lure, not bait, but the only bait photos I could find were large piles of worms. Not really what I wanted to go with here, as I’m not trying to open a can of worms. Get it?!?!
Dissenting Opinions Don’t Make Me A Dick!
And let me just add to my title for a bit, if you don’t mind.
My dissenting opinions don’t by default make me:
- A Troll
I could probably add to that bulleted list with tens of other words, but that’s probably enough to get the point across.
That’s right party people. I can disagree with your article, your idea, your infographic, even your business model and still be a positive human being. I can even be your friend and confidante.
Positivity Passionistas Need To Practice What They Preach
I’m so tired of seeing people spouting off that you shouldn’t pay attention to the “jerks.”
Who exactly are these “jerks?” Anyone who disagrees with them, with their specific ideas, views or actions.
Let me tell you something, princess … that’s not positive or perky or powerful. In fact, the word I’d use to describe it is pathetic!
Calling someone out as a jerk for simply asking a question about your idea isn’t showcasing your positive nature and can-do attitude. It’s showing your petty side. The one that only wants pats on the back and accolades.
While both accolades and huzzahs can certainly be social, the main function that most of us hope to achieve with our social shares is conversation.
Opinions absolutely are like a**holes, we ALL have one. But we absolutely don’t have to act like an a**hole when we share your opinion. And we don’t have to react like an a**hole when someone does share an opinion that doesn’t match our own.
Dissenting Opinions Make For Open & Honest Discussion
While recording a podcast episode with Ian Anderson Gray, this very topic came up.
He actually likes it when what he publishes garners a dissenting opinion or two.
If the only conversations you choose to allow must involve a consensus that your idea is the only idea, that your way is the only way, you’re actually closing yourself off to a lot of ideas that might enhance and strengthen your own.
Look at all of the great leaps forward in science and technology. Would any have happened if all the scientist naysayers decided they didn’t want to be a jerk by sharing their new theory? I’m guessing Steve Jobs would respond with a resounding N-O.
But, I Didn’t Ask For “Your” Opinion!
Yeah, actually you did. As soon as you clicked on the publish button you put your article, your idea, your graphic, your slides, etc. out for the world to see.
Leaving your comments section open and issuing a call to action to discuss just might get you … that’s right a discussion!
Do you honestly think that every reader of every article agrees with you absolutely, 100%, every time?
I can understand that you might get upset, and rightly so, if someone sharing a dissenting opinion calls you out harshly, calls you a name.
Wait, hang on a second, aren’t you actually the one engaging in name calling? Interesting.
Sugarcoating Is For Suck-ups And Sycophants
I don’t expect anyone to agree with me all the time. 24-7-365 agreement would be boring and pointless. How would any of us grow and evolve?
Every time I publish an article I know there’s the potential for pushback. And I welcome that pushback if it’s delivered in a calm, rational, based on facts and or experience, comment that opens up the opportunity for conversation.
I’ve seen that pushback from big names and small. And I’ve delivered my own pushback, again without worrying about the cachet and clout of the author. Even the big names out there are looking to converse. They don’t expect you to swallow everything they’re selling whole without asking any questions.
So, why should you expect that?
I’m often in the minority. And I’m fine with that. I learn something new with every dissenting opinion I read and choose to take in the spirit in which it was intended. A chance to engage in smart conversation.
My bestest digital gal pal and partner in podcast crime, Brooke Ballard sums it up:
… if you need a spoon full of sugar for the truth to go down, go watch Mary Poppins!