Finding the Right Topics for Your Curation Strategy
When building your thought leadership, whether through social selling, powering an email newsletter, or simply compiling a library of relevant information to share, selecting the right topics is the key to capturing your audience's attention, driving engagement, and establishing your credibility.
One of the most common questions we get when our customers ask us for help is what topics they should use to discover curated content?Should it center on the same themes they create their own content on, or something different?
We know it can be challenging to think about what topics should be the focus of your curation strategy because most of us are used to coming up with content ideas to create original content around.
This challenge is magnified when operating in a highly competitive or niche industry and many of the articles that are not from your organization but center upon the same topics are from, or discuss, the merits of your competition.
Does this mean that curation won’t work for your company? Far from it!
Finding the right topics requires understanding the “whole person” that is your target audience.
Not just the triggers that would make them want your solution, but understanding how your orginal content fits within the larger context of challenges they are facing and questions they want to become more informed about.
Knowing this will help you determine what you should source from third-party publishers and what you should write yourself.
Understanding Your Target Audience
To curate content that resonates with your audience, gaining an understanding of their preferences, pain points, and interests that are related to your specific solution is crucial.
Start by defining your target audience personas and creating detailed profiles encompassing demographics, professional roles, and psychographic traits.
An easy place to start with this is by drafting up your ideal client.
- What are their responsibilities within their company?
- What challenges do they find themselves grappling with?
- What discussion points commonly arise in your team’s sales conversations that discuss industry or macro challenges impacting them?
Knowing who you're talking to, and what they are thinking about when they aren’t contemplating the merits of your solution, is the foundation for selecting the most relevant topics.
The Ripple Strategy: Curating Your Topic Gaps
When trying to find the right topics to curate on, we recommend looking at your solution and the specific problems it solves for as the rock you throw in the river.
This is what you have a unique perspective upon given your expertise and is what you want your audience coming to your for insight about.
But what happens when you throw a stone in the water?
Ripples spread, and continue spreading, away from the point where the rock made impact.
Those "content ripples" are the topics you should use to build your curation topics.
Sounds pretty, but how exactly do you use this strategy in real life?
Let's use an example of a pipe manufacturing company.
There's just not that much news coverage about the merits and trends occuring in the specific realm of pipe fittings.
When the topic is covered it is usually sparked by a press release from the company itself or a competitor. So, should we give up on the dream of positioning that firm’s sales team as credible experts who seek to find solutions for their customers?
Quite the contrary. Showcasing that you understand the greater context of what the customer is looking to achieve and how a more affortable, reliable, and easier to install fitting fits into their larger plans is critical for winning the business. It always has been!
So that main focus of pipe fittings reliability and durability is the "stone you throw in the water. This is where you have been and, should continue to focus your content creation efforts on.
But there is a lot of news about sustainability, manufacturing, performance, cost reduction, and improving output; honestly, the news out there on those topics can feel endless, much like the ripples, and those are the larger issues that your solution fits into.
Focusing your curation efforts to cut through that noise for your brand’s audience, and that of your team, will not only bring value to your prospects and customers by removing the need for them to find what they are interested on their own, but will also showcase your understanding of the “bigger picture” - laying a foundation for customer-centric and solution-driven conversations to be had rather than the features and functionality of individual products.
You become the one who clearly connects the dots between the challenges and solutions being discussed at an industry or macro level and your specific solution.
So don't share curated content around pipe fitting trends. You most likely won't find much out there and when you do, you likely could have written it better.
Look for topics that are not adequately covered or present an opportunity for a unique perspective, and create valuable, engaging, solution-oriented content on those topics.
Then take a comprehensive look at the already available content and analyze it from various angles to connect the content ripples to the content you're creating.
Industry Trends and Hot Topics
The first place to look when figuring out what to curate content around the industries your customers are in.
Staying abreast of industry trends and hot topics is essential for effective content curation.
For example, let's say you are encouraging and helping people save for college.
You don't want to just curate content around saving for school because
- There may not be that many articles written about it
- There may be information in those limited articles that you don't agree with
But what you want to do with your content is get people to care about saving money for college and, by stimulating this interest, you have then created an openness to your own thought leadership about that specific topic while also building an initial level of trust and credibility given that you are the one who created the interest.
So what's the step before they would want to read your article about saving for college?
Maybe it's educating them on how expensive college is right now and the risk of not saving early.
Once they've read that from an authoritative, unbiased source, now they're saying, "How am I going to solve this problem? This is a big issue. I didn't think it was that big of a challenge."
And then, they read your perspective on how best to save for college, and you have become a credible solution who brought your expertise in when you could uniquely solve it.
By keeping your finger on the pulse of the industry, you can curate timely, relevant content that captures your audience's attention.
Social Listening and Online Communities
Active participation in online communities, forums, and social media platforms is a goldmine for identifying topics that matter to your audience.
Engage in discussions, ask questions, and pay attention to the challenges, questions, and trends being discussed.
By listening to your audience's conversations, you can identify recurring topics and gain insights into their pain points and interests.
Hubspot's Scott Brinker is a great example of engaging online to find the topics his audience wants to learn more about, and he uses that to gauge what third-party content he should share AND what topics to create his own content around.
Ask Your Team
Collaboration is a powerful tool for finding the right topics for your curation strategy.
Engage with your team and colleagues, brainstorm ideas, and leverage their expertise and perspectives, especially if they are the ones sharing the content through a social selling strategy.
Your team's collective knowledge and insights can generate innovative topic ideas and uncover unique angles to explore.
Your team also knows what content is getting more engagement than others, the questions they are being asked from customers and prospects, and has a finger on the pulse continuously.
They are your subject matter experts, don't be afraid to use them!
Next Steps To Finding The Right Topics For Your Curation Strategy
Finding the right topics for your curation strategy doesn't have to be complicated, but these tips will help you get started in the right direction.
By thinking about content creation as the stones you throw and content curation as the ripples your created content makes, you can establish an effective thought leadership strategy to build your credibility with valuable content.
If you're looking for a way to source third-party content effectively, you can try UpContent's discovery tools free for 14 days, where you can start building your own custom Topics based on the ideas you gained from this article.
If you're interested in learning more about how UpContent can help you find curated content or how to build great Topics in your UpContent account, check out some of these articles!