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Content Curation: your secret weapon for Lead Nurturing?

Creating compelling new content for each stage of your personas’ buying cycles. It’s tricky and expensive, but is there a better way?

In fact, how important is it to create your own content at all?

Many, many moons ago, I watched a sales colleague tear an article from an industry magazine. He popped it in an envelope, along with a compliments slip saying “I thought you’d find this interesting”. And he posted it to a prospect.

It wasn’t his content. We didn’t write it, and it wasn’t even about our company. But that wasn’t the point. He added value by spotting it, and understanding his prospect well enough to know they’d be interested. It moved the conversation along.

He was using content curation to nurture an opportunity. And it worked.

Why should it be any different now? These days, we have social media, and feeds, and CRM, and e-newsletters, and more content than you could shake a stick at. If anything, it ought to be easier than ever to do the same sort of thing.

And, I’d suggest, it’s more influential, too.

The more content is published online, the less valuable each new piece becomes… and the more we need people who can, reliably, point out the best pieces – the things most relevant to us.

At MOI, we’re always busy with client content, leaving precious little time to spend on our own. So, to keep in touch with our best contacts, we’ve been circulating fortnightly Technology Marketing In Mind updates, with links that are not only useful and interesting, but also relevant to the day job.

Ten issues later, we’ve already learned a few things about how thorough and organised we need to be to justify our place in the ‘Inbox’. Here are a few suggestions we recommend you keep front of mind:

1. Always be looking

If you’re not going to generate new content, another way to add value – and to demonstrate you’re at the forefront of new thought in the industry – is to consistently be the first to show your audience something new.

It doesn’t matter if you use Twitter, feeds or subscriptions, the point is to cast your net far and wide for the freshest, most interesting material.

2. Understand your audiences

Content needs to be absolutely relevant and useful; to stimulate, inspire or help them do their job. That means you really need to do your homework on personas and buying cycles, just as much as you would with any lead nurturing strategy. In fact, probably more.

3. Take a position

If producing less content of your own is leaving you with a Thought Leadership itch that needs scratching, here’s your chance.

Chances are your prospect is busy, so tell them why they should make time for the content you’ve found, and be clear what you think about it. Add value with your expertise (taking a different tone of voice helps, too).

4. Monitor and refine

Modern content curation has another advantage over my sales friend and his magazine cuttings. You know for sure whether anyone’s reading. So follow up your hunches: what’s popular, what’s not? And why?

The better your view of what people need, the more helpful you can be – and the more attuned you’ll be when some of those nurtured contacts begin to ripen into sales ready leads.

Like anything of real value, it requires a little graft. Content curation is by no means the lazy option. But we’re really pleased with how our updates have been received.

I’m not suggesting you shouldn’t ever come up with your own content. But building an element of curation into your content strategy frees you from churning out STUFF just to satisfy a spreadsheet – and gets you back to speaking up when you’ve something really helpful, insightful or exciting to say.

After all, there’s only so much content that each prospect needs or wants to consume at each stage of their buying cycle, and only so much that’s really good.

Are you going to keep adding to the haystack, or help them find the needle?