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New Survey: B2B Content Curation Habits Reveal What Drives Up Engagement Rates

The good news is that content marketing (and content curation) have been widely adopted by B2B marketers, who have increasingly learned to leverage these strategies for business results that matter to their c-suite.

The bad news is that they have been widely adopted by B2B marketers, and it’s harder to stand out.

So much so, that a discussion on the Inbound message board last year revealed that many spend several hours, even several days, developing a single article – to make sure it’s high quality and in depth.

As a result, companies are getting overwhelmed. Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs’ 2017 study found that B2B marketers identify “not enough time devoted to content marketing” and “content creation challenges” as the top two reasons their marketing success has remained stagnant, or even decreased.

To make their content marketing strategy more sustainable, many marketers are turning to curation, gathering high quality content from other blogs and influencers, and sharing them with their audiences alongside content they create in-house. As such, they take a page out of a museums’ book in the best possible way, and offer their audiences a much richer experience:

 

Source: Centerline Digital via YouTube

 

In an attempt to help marketers leverage curated content for leads, it was important for my team and I to get first-hand data on their current content curation habits while building our product’s roadmap. Therefore, we went straight to the source – marketing professionals.

 

Survey Reveals: What Kind of B2B Marketers Do Content Curation?

In mid 2017, we ran a survey of 57 marketing professionals. It wasn’t a large number of people, but it helped us get started with our product, and we discovered some insights we think could interest you.

First of all, 91% of marketers we surveyed use content curation in their content marketing strategy. We’ll dive into how they do it and what’s working for them in a moment, but let’s get some context first by reviewing who these marketers are.

67% of our survey respondents work in B2B companies and 26% work in marketing agencies, which means 93% of our participants market to other companies.


16% of participants said they have over 20 people in their marketing organizations, and 5% have 10-20 marketers on their team, but the rest indicated they have 10 or less marketers in the company.

 

It’s no surprise then that 74% of participants said they’re responsible for doing everything marketing related in their companies.

 

Survey Results: How B2B Marketers Mix Owned and Curated Content to Increase Engagement

When it comes to channels B2B marketers use to promote their companies, we weren’t surprised to see LinkedIn and email taking the #1 spot. Marketers’ third favorite channel for content promotion is Facebook, followed by Twitter.

 

Let’s see what they do on these channels.

 

The Number of Articles B2B Marketers Share Every Week

98% of marketers use these channels to share articles. 47% share 1-4 articles a week, and 23% share 5-10, but 5% of marketers told us they share more than a 100 articles with their audience every week.

 

B2B Companies’ Content Curation vs. Creation Ratio – and How it Aligns with the Conversion Sweet Spot

As we said, 91% of our survey participants practice content curation. In fact, 4% share only curated content, and a quarter share curated content most of the time (70%).

As Tristan Handy, formerly COO of Argyle Social and now CEO of Fishtown Analytics, points out on Convince & Convert, “conventional social media marketing wisdom suggests that brands should avoid being overly self-promotional.” Therefore, the strategy of a quarter of our survey participants makes sense.

Yet Handy wanted data-based answers, so he reports reviewing “more than 150,000 tweets and status updates from more than 1,000 Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts” while he was still at Argyle Social. He learned that “the top five companies in our sample that generate the most clicks link to their own sites 37.9% of the time. And the top five companies in our sample that generate the most conversions link to their own sites 41.6% of the time. This feels like a pretty solid sweet spot,” he writes.

We clearly surveyed really smart marketers, because 60% of them told us they share curated content 30-50% of the time. Specifically, 42% indicated 30% of the content they share is curated, and 18% said they curate 50% of the time.

 

Looking for Content Curation Best Practices and Tools to Help You Get These Results?

Here are some useful resources with wonderful ideas:

And here’s one more great practice to follow:

 

B2B Marketers’ Secret Weapon to Content Curation Success

Since our survey participants curate so much content, we were curious to discover where they find it. Turns out that the #1 source is “stuff we read and find relevant.” The second spot is shared by Google alerts (or a similar solution) and manual search.

 

In other words, marketers are proactively looking for content to share. They set alerts and browse the web looking for great content, but they’re not afraid to spend some time digging through search engines and related websites to find articles that will serve their audience.

When asked how they decide which content to share, 84% said they read more than half the article: 21% read 60% of the article, 26% read 90% of the article, and 37% read the entire article in-depth.

 

That’s how we discovered marketers’ secret weapon to content curation success: 75% told us they care more about the content’s quality than about content quantity.

 

The Business Case for Curation is Even Greater than Sustaining Your Content Marketing Strategy Long Term

Even though marketers are taking the time to find and qualify curated content, it’s still a much faster process than creating everything themselves. But while making your team’s life easier is a great goal, it’s not the only benefit of curation.

As Handy pointed out, content curation enables you to increase engagement and conversion, while avoiding coming off as a self-promoter. Kevan Lee, the director of marketing at Buffer, adds on his company’s blog that “being really good at content curation” will help you build authority and gain influence.

It certainly worked for his company.

In another article on this company’s blog, Brian G. Peters, digital marketing strategist at Buffer, admits Buffer “used to shy away from curated content [on the company’s Facebook page], because it didn’t directly affect the bottom line: traffic, subscriptions, sales, etc.”

But after testing it for over a year on their Facebook page, Peters discovered that “7 of our 11 most successful posts throughout the last 14 months are curated (not created by Buffer)… Curated content may not ‘directly’ affect our bottom line, but it plays a significant role in reach, engagement (likes, comments, shares) and page growth. Which, in time, allows us to deliver Buffer content – content that does drive the bottom line – to a larger, more engaged audience,” he writes.

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Source: Buffer (The posts marked in blue are curated content)

 

In other words, curated content can be linked directly to revenue if you do it well over time. In fact, Ross Hudgens, founder of Siege Media, was able to build a successful company from scratch thanks to content curation.

In a guest post for Content Marketing Institute, Hudgens shares that curating content on Twitter for months led to relationships, invitations “to write for leading industry blogs, speaking gigs… job offers… [and] freelance work, which then led to starting my own company. Today, we’re a 12-person agency working with some of the biggest brands in the world. And it all started with curating content and sharing it.”

 

How are Your Content Curation Habits Contributing to Your Bottom Line?

Too many companies are overwhelmed by the amount of work it takes to produce high quality content that gets results. The data shows creating your own high quality content is critical, but with so much energy going to creation, marketers’ strategy often backfires when they end up with no content to share other than their own.

On the other hand, I’ve seen too many companies turn to content curation just to pump up their social channels, without investing extra thought into how this aligns with their overall content marketing efforts.

That’s not what’s going to get you results.

Just because the content you share is related to your product or service doesn’t mean it’ll be useful to your audience, even if a thought leader wrote it. For content curation to work, you need to think about the needs of your target audience. What’s in it for them when they read the content you curate? How does this content help them take the next step toward overcoming their biggest challenge? And even how will it get them ready to purchase?

When you dedicate some time to finding and qualifying useful third party content to mix on social media with your own articles and case studies – and make sure to add your own added value, perspective or interpretation to position yourself as a thought leader too – you’re bound to see engagement and conversions increase.

Remember, it’s about quality, not quantity. And it’s about taking the first step by taking a look at your own strategy. Ask yourself: How is your content curation vs. creation mix? How much do you verify the curated content you share will actually help your audience?

Once you have the data, adjust according to the sweet spot we mentioned above, and experiment until you find the best blend for your specific followers. By this time next year, your content marketing strategy could be significantly improving your bottom line.

 

What practices and strategies have worked best for you when it comes to content curation? If you haven’t tried curation yet, or if it hasn’t worked for you, what’s 1 step you can take this week to change that?

 

P.S: If you liked this article… let’s see how you curate it on your channels 😉

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The Do’s and Don’ts of Content Curation

Don’t get me wrong. Curating content is great, really. I love it. But done the wrong way, your efforts go down the drain. So let’s go through the do’s and don’ts, so save you some time and effort. 

DO’s:

  • Do choose wisely: handpick the most relevant, updated content that has value to your readers. You don’t want a read to spend their time reading your content and be enchanted or even disappointed by it.
  • Do stay on the ball: become an authoritative voice on the topic by always staying in the know and providing new, useful information, so that your readers can turn to you as a primary source.
  • Do have role models: follow the best curators in your industry and learn their tips and wisdom. In fact, follow your clients and potential clients too! Keep tabs on what they posts and what interests them. For example, if like us, your industry is content marketing, you can check out this list of the Top 100 Content Marketing Influencers
  • Do give credit: attribute the work and provide links back to original article, which benefits both the original site and you.

DON’Ts

  • Don’t over-do it. Chances are if you try to squeeze in more and more content, some of that content is going to be of lower quality, and your readers may miss your main message. It can also be quite time-consuming on your end to go through piles of content for that one gem. Set aside some quiet time each day to find good content and know when to move on.
  • Don’t chase the ball – curating old, shallow or widely-circulated content won’t add much credibility to your cause.
  • Don’t think that being an expert means knowing everything – use curated content from top experts and other players in your field to prove your point. Users will appreciate diverse opinions and see you as an information hub that brings together opinions and people from the industry.
  • Don’t just copy-paste. Spice up the content by adding your own take on things, add links, summarize key points and add anecdotes or quotes so that those who just want to skim quickly can still get the message, while others who want more info have link to more sources.

Do make sure that your inbound marketing tactics, like curating content, bring readers back to you and remind them of what you have to offer.

Tools like CliClap make curating content super easy to do across all social network platforms, which can be scheduled in advance. ClipClap’s ‘clip’ or easy-to-add banner on all of your shared content keeps your call-to-action and logo in your reader’s mind. It’s a great way to save time and improve your conversions!

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Hello World, Meet CliClap

As content and social marketing become ever more prevalent in digital marketing, content and social marketers are expected both produce ever more content, and keep a steady stream of content flowing — increasing the amount of curated content that gets distributed.

Curated content is great. But the problem is it’s not yours. It lacks your branding, and doesn’t drive traffic to your site, or get you any closer to your goals.

That’s Why We Built CliClap!

CliClap is a free tool that lets you add a Call to Action to any content you share, regardless of where that content exists on the web. That way, you can drive traffic to your website and landing pages via curated content and earned media.

We also added a bunch of other great features, like post scheduling. So now you can use one tool to do much of your social media management tasks. Pretty neat, right?

We launched in May this year, and we’re already seeing an amazing response from our users, who are getting a lot of value out of it.

Now we’re launching the CliClap blog, which you can visit to keep up-to-date on what’s going on in the world of social media and content marketing and curated content.

Are you already using CliClap? Let us know what you love about it! Let us know what we should add! We’d love your feedback.

Not using CliClap yet? Get it here free.

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The Ultimate List of Browser Extensions For Marketers

It’s finally here – we’ve built the ultimate list of browser extensions for marketers by marketers. Unlike other lists out there, this one is based on input from marketers who share the extensions they actually use.

Share the extensions you love
This list is public and ongoing – so if you’re a marketer and are using extensions you love, feel free to add them to the list and share them with the world. When adding, please ensure that the extension isn’t already on the list. Also, help us out by leaving a comment at the end about the extension you use most and why.

What’s special about this list?
Since Google changed its policy to require Chrome extensions to have a single purpose, extensions have become much safer to use and have turned into a growing marketplace on the Google Web Store. Today, almost any web application comes with a browser extension. However, just like any big marketplaces, when there are so many options, it’s really hard to find the ones that are truly useful. I have personally tried over a hundred extensions – some are still on my browser while many others I removed after just one try. When looking at the extensions that are still on my browser, I realized that 90% were installed based on recommendations from friends and colleagues. That’s why I decided to build this list and have other marketers share the extensions they use with the community.

Why do you need to use browser extensions?
Extensions are usually a smaller version of applications. Their main purpose is to enhance the functionality of your browser. In many cases, they help simplify processes and common workflows you do with your browser.

Overview of extensions I use

 

1. SimilarTech
SimilarTech is an excellent prospecting tool. All you need to do is click it when you are on a site of a company you wish to prospect. It provides info on:

Traffic to the site you are exploring

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Company details

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and technology used

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The extension can be used for various business cases. We use it to learn which companies could be potential clients. Our prospects need to have a presence on social media (traffic from social) and preferably utilize marketing automation technologies.

2. Zest
As they describe themselves: “It’s a bull$hit-free zone for pro marketers to get inspired by the freshest, most in-depth marketing everything.” The current functionality enables you to share the content you find interesting with the Zest community

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or open the Zest feed to explore the latest and greatest content shared by the Zest community.

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3. Pablo
I used Pablo to create the featured image of this post. The tool enables you to create images with the perfect size and format for Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. The extension enables you to grab any text or image from a page you are viewing into the editor and start editing it for your needs.

For example, to grab an image from a page, hover over the image with your mouse, right click and you will see an option to open the image in Pablo for editing.

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The image will open instantly inside the editor and you will be able to start designing it for your needs.

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4. CliClap
Last but not least is our extension ?. CliClap enables marketers to add “Clips” with a call to action or content recommendations on top of any content you share, without the need to add a single line of code. Any post shared is tracked and enables you to analyze audience engagement by social channel and profile.

This is what a Clip looks like (click to see a live example)

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The extension allows you to instantly share and schedule content you find, directly to your social profiles, while attaching a personalized Clip to every post.

 

Hope you found the list useful so far! I’d be happy if you could help us build out the list with the extensions you love, and by leaving a comment below with the one you use most.

Thanks in advance!

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