“To be a good search marketer, you must be a good searcher.” That’s sage advice for SEO and it’s also pretty handy for any kind of content marketing.
Recently I’ve found myself offering more advice on content creation by showing some of Google’s Advanced search features in combination with other content sourcing “tricks”. Since one of the most pressing issues with content marketing is content sourcing and curation here’s a sample of those tips you might find useful:
These tips assume you’re already working in the context of a planned editorial calendar with content types, topics, keywords, promotion and repurposing identified.
Start by creating a list of your topics. Then get into audience pain points and characteristics, document types, contexts/situations for use. For example:
- Topic: Email Marketing & Social Media
- Pain Points: How to expand value of email, incorporate social investments into other channels like email
- Context: Email software provider wants to reach Fortune 100 companies & influencers
- Relevant Document Types: Infographics, eBooks, Power Point Presentations, Blogs or Blog Posts, White Papers, Research, Videos, etc
This gives direction for the kind of research you’ll do. There’s no substitute for being familiar with the industry and target audience, especially being aware of what’s trending, what topics are under-served and unique perspectives that will resonate.
For example. if the task were to compile a list of the best eBooks or reports on the intersection of email marketing and social media, then a query using Google Advanced search might start with a focus on “email marketing” “social media” with optional words like “best” or “list” and of course the pdf file type. MS Word docs can be filtered too but such reports are more often published in pdf format.
Narrow things down by date range and placement of keywords (anywhere on page vs in the title tag). You can also specify a specific domain. Use a browser add-on (like SEO Quake for Chrome) to overlay information about each page displayed in the search results such as number of inbound links and social signals to give you more than Google ranking to go by in terms of identifying more credible content.
Say for example, you knew that a certain University, Industry Analyst or Conference often publishes such reports, search for all file types of pdf on the specific domain name for combinations of your search phrases. This is a useful tactic for content sourcing as well as competitive intelligence.
Compiling disparate resources together is a common content curation tactic that has stood the test of time and continues to be popular on blogs and online media alike. The type and format of those resources depends on a variety of factors ranging from current level of saturation to ease of finding unique and interesting things to share.
Besides just listing useful resources, you can add other features such as ratings, reviews, polls/surveys and contests for the best resources. That way you can incent promotion from those included to come out on top in the voting. Offering badges to winners isn’t very useful for link acquisition outcomes but good badge graphics are good for building awareness of your site on others that display the badge as recognition.
Other dimensions to consider with ranked lists include creating opportunities for feedback, contribution and recognition. You can crowdsource future topics, solicit volunteer judges and involve those that are most active in commenting and sharing.
Of course, Google isn’t the only place to research stories, trends and specific types of resources. Twitter search, social mention, Bing, Blekko and certain social media monitoring tools can be quite handy too.
What search tools have you found to be most useful when sourcing or curating content?