5 Dec 2013
An Important Announcement on the Evolution of Trapit
When we launched the beta version of Trapit back in 2011, it was with the lofty ambition to create a uniquely personalized web for each and every person. We knew that lurking beyond the shallow social echo chamber, crappy search results, memes, and trends is a vast undiscovered web of high-quality, original content with no way of reaching its intended audience, an audience of people frustrated with the growing lack of personal relevance in the web experience and their inability to connect with good content on the subjects most important or interesting to them.
It wasn’t until we built and started using an early version of Trapit that we realized just how big this undiscovered web really is, and how much of that good stuff we’d been missing. Great content that we didn’t know existed simply because it wasn’t deemed important enough by our social networks - or didn’t show up on the first (or second, fifth, tenth…) page of search results. Since our launch we’ve helped tens of million of people connect with hundreds of millions of pieces of content through our award-winning user experiences on web and mobile. What’s better is that we’ve made a difference in people’s lives, from the troubled patient who discovered an experimental cancer drug trial, to the celebrity chef who is using Trapit discoveries to fight childhood obesity and diabetes, to the teacher whose curriculum leverages Trapit to teach digital literacy and expose students to topical content in support of lesson plans.
3 Dec 2013
Curating Content for Context
Image via Andrey Kuzmin.
Optimally curated content can be a wonderful thing. You’ve got your original content that you create, a tremendously important asset that you want to highlight every chance you get. Augmenting that, you have curated content that you’re sharing, building trust and further establishing and legitimizing your own thought leadership in the field. And it’s this balanced combination of the two that enables you to reap the best of the benefits from both worlds: your audience seeing that you’ve got both your finger on the pulse of your industry and the tools, resources and know-how to blaze a path through that wilderness.
But sharing curated stories and writing your own content isn’t the full story; the key to success is what you curate and how it supports your own, original contributions. You have a lot of options for what content you want to share, and the better you get at content discovery, the better you can inform your audience as it relates to the value you provide. And that’s what curating for context is all about.
25 Nov 2013
Creating the Element of Discovery with Content
Discovery is a great buzzword, but what does it really mean? To us, it means collecting and sharing great content from all kinds of sources, big and small, to share insights, open up dialogue, and create interest. Why curate? That is a question that we are often asked and a debate that is still kicking in the content marketing world. There are many reasons to curate content from other sources, but one of the big ones is that it can help give your audience an element of discovery. Everyone has social circles online, and within those social circles, the same content (articles, viral videos, etc.) often gets shared over and over again, meaning that you’re not seeing much content that is new, exciting, or different than what everyone else is seeing. That makes sharing content a lot less fun, too, if you don’t have something fresh and interesting on-hand. For brands, there is an opportunity here to seek out exciting unique content and share it with their followers. If that content is new and interesting to that audience, they are much more likely to share it within their social circles because you have given them the element of discovering something great.
21 Nov 2013
Content Curation & Creation: a Balancing Act
I recently read up on an interesting argument that took a stance against the future of curation in today’s content marketing world. The article raised some valid points on brand building, encouraging businesses to strive to be more than filters of the web’s already-public content and to become more of an authority figure on the creative front of its industry. The writer’s main concern over curation stemmed from the question, should a brand choose ‘to be the curator or the curated?’ My response is simple, why not choose to be both? Rather than take a black and white approach where it’s one content marketing strategy or the other, a brand should strive to be as versatile as possible, finding the ideal combination of both content creation and curation that most effectively grips hold of its audience’s interests.
The Dilemma: Avoiding Content Gaps and Consumer Abandonment
Although I wholeheartedly agree with the writer that content creation is integral for a well-rounded marketing campaign, it’s much easier said than done to keep those creative juices flowing for the long haul if all content output is manufactured internally. What if your staff doesn’t have (or runs out of) time, inspiration and financial resources to keep the ball rolling - then what? If that inkwell happens to run dry and triggers a lag in the content flow, the goal of establishing consistency has been abandoned, and in effect could very well result in audience members abandoning the brand online. Remember, for consumers with social media-adapted attention spans, it’s as easy as an unsubscribe, unlike, or unfollow button to say goodbye. Treat content like the nutritious social fuel that it is. Consumers desire it, and in today’s day in age, need it to survive the day. Feed consumers regularly and become part of our consumption routine, but don’t force feed junk food data simply out of necessity to throw something out there.
19 Nov 2013
To curate or not to curate - That is the question?
I know the rest of you won’t believe this, but the answer to the question is staring us all in the face. It is simply one word – but what an important one: marketing. No adjective required. What is all the hype about the need for categorization? It is confusing at best. So, as we continue to read about content marketing I am tempted to ask, “Isn’t this just marketing after all?” Really, what is marketing without content? Granted, the fact that the Internet has opened up a new world of data, information, and content adds some level of complexity to what marketers should do to create compelling stories for their audiences. Oh, but what a promise…a promise that there is more than enough - a true abundance - of really wonderful “stuff” out there, allowing a marketer to now become a marketing mixologist, creating great “cocktails” for their readers to consume.
14 Nov 2013
Every Expert Has Their Limits
Image via Komarketing Associates, LLC.
"There’s only so much I can do." It’s probably the most common lament out of my mouth, and even though my case is probably not identical to yours, it’s a sentiment we can all relate to.
You see, I’m a scientist — an astrophysicist — and a science writer. When news and stories about the Universe on both the largest and most fundamental scales break, there are a slew of individuals and organizations who look to me to cut through the noise and separate what’s true (and worth listening to) from what’s skewed, sensationalized or an outright scam. Yet no matter how much content I produce myself, even as an expert in the field, I could never cover it all.
But my focus isn’t on being the first to cover a story, it’s on being the highest-quality option out there. I want to frame the story properly, around the context of what else is going on. I want to talk about the limits of what’s known and the nuanced possibilities of what’s next. I don’t want to have the same, middle-of-the-road content that’s quick and cheap to put out; my brand is quality and trust. If someone asks me how to position themselves as a trusted expert, there’s never an alternative to actually being an expert and focusing your efforts on quality.
12 Nov 2013
4 Steps to Making Sure Your Content Matters
Coming from an agency background, the bread and butter was always around original content creation. Well, I’m here to say that I still think compelling creative and content is a key component to a marketer’s success, but just because it is original, doesn’t mean it is good or has the desired effect.
For example, I was scrolling through my Facebook feed for the first time this morning and I saw an urgent post from a family member: “If you use a cell phone regularly, you really must get this information”. So I clicked and read the article where I was led to the end and found it was really a lead generation tactic for a doctor. I am not saying that cell phones don’t cause health issues, and who knows, we all might be dinosaurs in billions of years because of it, but this approach to drive new patient leads for this doctor is probably a good example of attracting some and alienating others, or having it backfire all together.
I am not sure if Good Content means anything. Good Content is closely linked to a good, centralized Content Strategy and that obviously involves a deliberate consideration of your targeted audiences, what end result you desire, and where to find them.
6 Nov 2013
3 Ways to Build a Unique Content Voice
We all know the importance of good content. Brands are all publishers now, and creating compelling content on different online channels is paramount to building and holding onto a loyal following. But what does your content say about your brand? Does what you post on Twitter align with the style of your company blog posts? If you’re not sure, it’s time to do a little thinking about brand personality and building a unique and cohesive content voice. Here are three ways to get started on defining and implementing what you want your content to say about your brand.
1. Decide on your brand personality
What is your brand’s voice? Is it serious and authoritative or quirky and conversational? Every brand should have its own unique personality, and it’s up to you to decide what that is and make sure it comes across in all of your content. If you don’t know where to start, try writing down the first adjectives that come to mind when you think about your company, your culture, and how you want to be seen by the world. Build up a list of adjectives for your brand, and then think about how that should affect your content style. If your brand personality is direct and authoritative, then you might want to take a concise approach to writing and give your audience actionable advice. If you want your voice to be more personal with a sense of humor, then try telling stories with your content and including humorous anecdotes. Once you’ve decided what your brand voice should look like, it will be a lot easier to design a content strategy that exemplifies that to the fullest.
5 Nov 2013
Content is Still King; Is Your Corporate Blog a Welcome Mat?
Whether you lay claim to a local startup, a small business on the rise, or a Fortune 500 giant, operating a company website without a featured blog is wasting away a grand content marketing opportunity in today’s digital age. Making the effort to host a company blog with a steady stream of relevant content serves as an invaluable tool for establishing sustainable brand awareness, enhances influence in a targeted field of expertise, and to further engage a connection with a growing readership who may become loyal customers in return.
However, driving a prosperous business blog is not easily done overnight and often comes with many pain points along the road to content marketing success. Here are a few business blog tips worth fancying.
Don’t forget the folks on mobile devices
Back in 1999, just 38 million people had access to broadband internet. Today, over 1.2 billion have it on their mobile phones. Odds are, when a newcomer finds his or her way to your company blog for the first time, there is a solid chance they found it while navigating on a mobile device. If the blog’s mobile layout is cramped or cluttered and the method of consuming content is more confusing than it is convenient, expect the attention span of an average user to swiftly jump ship without looking back.
29 Oct 2013
The Constant Struggle for Quality Content
Any time there’s something you need to tell your target audience, you automatically find yourself in competition with all the other content-creators out there vying for their attention. And to get it — to get their eye on you instead of anyone else — there are competing considerations:
- Being the first to get your story out there,
- Coming up with a message that will resonate with relevancy to your audience, and
- Writing the highest-quality, most intrinsically valuable piece that you can.
In a world already overloaded with content, the final consideration is by far the most important.
Think about the vast majority of the content that’s created: the republished press releases or AP/Reuters wire stories, the unoriginal churnalist pieces put out by content farms, and the run-of-the-mill clickbait you see practically everywhere you look.
Is that how you want to represent yourself to your target audience?
Of course not. Your goal should be relevance, not repetition. Your goal should be quality, not quantity. And if you’re going to put the effort into writing a high-quality piece, you should take the time to make sure it’s not only timely, but timeless as well.