Whether you’re marketing a product, a service or your own ideas, there are three strategies you can use to publish content across social-media platforms, depending on whether the content is owned, curated or promotional.
With an “owned content” strategy, you’re writing original material on a periodic basis. This approach helps generate interest and demand for products or services. Ideally, these products or services can be tied to a good deal of unique content, which starts to solve users’ problems while also pointing them to potential solutions.
An example of this approach can be found at This Old House, the web site companion to the popular home-improvement television series and magazine. The site regularly features content like “21 Thrifty Ways To Deck Out Your Bath” and “How To Fix a Furniture Finish“. These features point readers back to the television series, the magazine and in some cases to sponsor products.
If you look at the featured links on This Old House, you’ll see effective use of photography as a story-telling tool. “Owned content” need not be just text. Photos, video and podcasts all represent ways in which content can be presented in an original way.
“Curated content” can also come in a variety of forms, but it is consistently created by others. People value the power of original content, but they also value content providers who can gather information and present a coherent list of recommended links or resources.
Bundling the work of others can be an effective way to build a personal brand without having to create and publish as much original content as you’d need to do if the content were owned. An example is found in Michael Bhaskar’s public list of publishing startups, available as a Google Doc. Other organizations have taken advantage of Bhaskar’s work for their own purposes, as evidence by Frankfurt Book Fair’s use of the list to inform a contest held at the 2014 fair.
Finally, “promotional content” offers opportunities to blend aspects of the approaches embodied in publishing “owned” and “curated” content. Although it can include calls to “check out what we do”, the more effective versions promote webinars, podcasts, events and other learning opportunities as a means to an end.
When promotional content is used to provide demonstrable value, consumers see it as a benefit. Mediabistro, a web site that covers a range of media businesses, also promotes its online and in-person courses, “boot camps” and even social gatherings. These offerings are all consistent with its positioning as a preferred resource for media professionals.
Most publishers and marketers pick a dominant approach, but the choice should not be exclusive. Traditional media may favor owned content, but it already does curated content as “best of”, “most influential” and “Fortune 500” type lists. Individuals may find it easier to curate content, but the very act of curation reveals trends and connections that often deserve an “owned” evaluation.
In all cases, owned and curated content can lead to promotional opportunities. As we organize around audiences, we need to keep asking how we can create and publish content that best serves their needs.