Daily Archives: October 9, 2013

Content may be King, but Curation is Golden

Once you have a well-established social community, it is difficult to maintain it. A community manager then needs to curate compelling content — the best quality & the most relevant —  in order to keep their audience engaged. The beauty of curated content is that it can serve as the perfect compliment to your self-generated content, allowing for new content without the extra cost. Think about it — millions of users are posting on social networks every minute, giving a community manager endless opportunities to find unique content. Don’t forget to link back to the original source — it is common courtesy!

Here’s a great example from Life is Good:

lifeisgood

 

Like I mentioned, there are millions of users are posting on social networks every minute.

Insert panic mode here.

It is nearly impossible to effectively curate content without using tools to help you manage the overflow of user-generated content. Here are Teresa Dankowski’s (Content Marketing Manager at Cision) “5 Tools to Help With Content Curation:”

  • Storify — Finds the most relevant content on a variety of platforms: Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, Twitter, & Instagram; search function for content discovery
  • Triberr – Communities of bloggers & influencers organized into niche categories
  • NewsCred – Newsroom service that provides access to licensed articles, images & video; curation technology powered by an editorial team
  • Social Monitoring tools – Scour social networks for keywords and mentions; HootSuite & Radian6 are two popular options

Personally, I have also worked with RebelMouse and the social monitoring tool Spredfast. RebelMouse is very similar to Storify, but RebelMouse offers more than just curation and serves as its own content management system. Muck Rack* is also a wonderful way to find unique content, as its Pro search features only pull mentions from verified journalists and bloggers on Twitter.

Example of a media search for “Syracuse University” on Muck Rack Pro:

Screen shot 2013-09-23 at 8.29.42 PM

Successful content curation, then, is about combining these two philosophies: finding unique content and using tools to find and post such content. Mashable’s “5 Tips for Great Content Curation” sum it up best:

  1. Be Part of the Content Ecosystem — Be both a content maker and a content curator.
  2. Follow a Schedule — People take comfort in knowing when to expect something from you.
  3. Embrace Multiple Platforms — Your audience lives on a variety of platforms, so you should too.
  4. Engage and Participate — Show your audience there is an actual human being behind the platform, give your networks a voice.
  5. Share. Don’t Steal. — As I mentioned earlier, attribution is common courtesy! No one likes a thief.

*Disclaimer: I am a former Muck Rack employee.

 

My Week as a Moderator

I went a whole week as a Moderator for #CMGRClass. I learned a lot about how to effectively manage a community and about how you must be on top of your community to make sure things are running smoothly. As a Moderator I felt the biggest lesson learned was time management. This was a good lesson in how to balance my time between working, school, and managing the G+ community for an entire week.

One of the most important articles that I posted was about how to be a successful community manager. This article was really effective as it had tips about the 12 most common things to do while running a community. I personally think that making connections and establishing relationships is key to success. Building relationships is what will keep your community going and your analytics will impress your manager.

Analytics

During the week that I was Moderator there was a great article titled How to Craft a Blog Post.  The article had 12 points from an experienced blogger about issues he had ran into when blogging. This article had a decent amount of discussion about what the most effective key point was. I believed that the most important point was quality control, where even one small mistake can effect your credibility in your readers eyes. One comment that stuck out to me was from iSchool Professor Kelly Lux, that “The title is SO important!”. Professor Lux brought up a great point that the most traffic on blogs comes from titles that are “keyword rich, or are those that answer ask or answer a Q”.

Overall, I think that my week as a moderator went well. There was a lot of great participation from the students of #CMGRClass. Each had their own opinions which helped keep the conversation flowing.  Using Google + for moderation was a great tool as it helped me keep track of who responded to my posts. I also liked the fact that Google + allowed me to almost instantly push a post to my audience within seconds.

I ran into issues with time management during my week of moderating. Like everybody says “there is not enough time in the day”. I tried to balance work, school, and moderating, this was extremely difficult to balance and taught me a lesson on how to balance my time evenly. I learned that moderating and being a successful Community Manager is harder than it looks, and it takes a lot of experience.

 

How to Be A Community Manager by Community Managers

Coming into this class, I’ll be honest, I wasn’t 100% sure what a community manager was or what they do on a day to day basis as a job.  Three or four weeks into the class, and I had a little bit stronger of a grasp on the concept, but not enough to say that I know what they do everyday.  All of this changed when we had the Google+ Hangout panel with Sean Keeley and Ally Greer.  Hearing directly from people that are managing communities every day helped me truly understand what I’d be doing if I decided to pursue community management as a career.

Scoop.it

One thing that stuck out to me about Ally’s contribution to the panel was the way she got into the position at Scoop.it and what she does on a day to day basis.  She got her job with Scoop.it in a relatively unconventional manner, and said she didn’t really know what community management was when she got the job.  I thought that was interesting because it made me feel better about myself in this class because I still didn’t understand exactly what it meant.

Ally went on to explain that not only does she handle social media and content curation, which is all I thought community managers do, but she also deals with customer support and questions, which is something I did at a previous internship.  That stuck out to me because it made me think that even though I wouldn’t consider myself to be a community manager, I do have some community management experience.

The biggest takeaway I found from Ally was that community management encompasses much more than just social media, which is what I thought when I first signed up for this class, and I’m sure other people thought as well.  The second thing I took away is that many people probably have some experience managing a community, whether they realize it or not.

Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician

What interested me most about what Sean who manages Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician, (a Syracuse sports blog) had to say was about how he appeals to his audience.  I think Sean knows his audience and what they’ll be interested in so well because he’s just as interested.  You can see the passion for sports, specifically Syracuse sports, in his blog.  This is important because his audience is also people with a strong passion for Syracuse sports.

One thing that he said is that he writes for himself, which was interesting to me, because why would you write anything for other people to read if you wouldn’t read it or weren’t passionate about it yourself.  Content only turns out as good as the knowledge you have about it, so the more you know and love what you’re creating, the better the content will be, and the more your audience will respond and respect it.

Some Words of Wisdom on Content Creation

For class this week we had two panel guests – Ally Greer, Community Manager at Scoopit, and Sean Keeley, blogger extraordinaire. Keeping in line with the current theme of the class, content, much wisdom was shared regarding content creation.

Scoopit

Scoopit, the it curation platform, currently boasts five million unique users in eleven months – making it one of the largest and most connected curation publishing platforms out there. Ally Greer, living the dream of many young professionals, wound up in her current position via an internship in Paris, one that eventually transitioned into a full time position at the Scoopit San Francisco offices. Tackling the issue of content creation and what it means for a company like Scoopit, which doesn’t exactly create content, Greer discussed where the focus lies: lean content. Martin Smith, Director of Marketing at Atlantic BT, even went as far as to dub Scoopit’s strategy as “The Lean Content Movement” in a February blog post. According to the Scoopit team, lean content is “Resources, tools, tips, and tricks for the most efficient use of content with the minimum use of resources.”

In an age where content is abundant and creation is a time/resource consuming affair, Scoopit has found the way to stay on top. This very methodology was echoed in Greer’s remarks at the panel, ones that truly define Scoopit’s content creation strategy: curation is the substitute for creation. Thus, a user of Scoopit will find that they have the ability to not just share their favorites with others, but that they can go one step further and edit the content to give it meaning.

 Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician

Sean Keeley on the other hand, employs a more fundamental strategy to content creation: he writes for himself. Keeley started blogging as a hobby, writing about sports in a way he found was lacking on other blogs. Today he likes to pride his blog, Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician, as the go-to place for Syracuse University sports and community happenings. Even though his basis is a regional entity (Syracuse sports), Keeley feels that his community is not tied down to upstate NY. He takes a topical approach to content creation, keeping his community coming back for the quality of the content, regardless of location. When discussing how he writes for his particular niche of the community, Keeley straight up says, “I write for myself.” For those struggling with content creation this is fantastic advice. Content should reflect the writer’s/brand’s personality and above all else should be consistent with who you are. This is especially true in Keeley’s case, who started blogging specifically to fill a void that he needed filled. Thus, he now produces quality writing that he would want to read in an ideal blog and the users that share that vision keep on coming back!

 

In terms of writing process, Keeley usually plays it fast and loose, but uses different techniques depending on the topic at hand. If for example, there’s a breaking story, he’ll pay attention to attributes like SEO (to make sure his post surfaces over the various others about the same story), but also work fast to get the story out there. Whereas, if it’s a subject Keeley has more leeway with, he’ll take his time and have fun with the writing. As of late, Keeley admits to widening his subject scope, writing a lot about women’s sports and underrated sports like soccer. Using site comments and social media as a gauge for interest, Keeley is able to determine what exactly his users want to read. For example, he keeps tabs on which of his content gets shared most frequently and generates notable feedback to further determine which topics he covers. Going more in detail about how he views social media, Keeley describes Facebook as his traffic driver and twitter as the conversation tool. Keeley is an especially avid twitterer however, passing along and sharing links to noteworthy stories even if he doesn’t personally write about them.

Takeaways

We heard from two very different individuals with two different approaches to content creation, but it was useful advice nonetheless! For Greer and Scoopit, the lean content approach works perfectly for their company and business model. Whereas, Keeley keeps his community interested by writing for himself.

I wonder though, how it would be if the approaches were reversed. How would Scoopit be different if the content generators based curation on personal preferences? How would the blog’s reception be if Keeley focused on curating rather than creating?

Highlights from an Online Content Panel

Image Courtesy of Richard Stephenson.

Last week our #CMGRclass had a chance to remotely sit down and chat with Ally Greer and Sean Keeley, Community Managers from Scoop.it and Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician. The last four weeks of content had been building to this moment: we were going to be able to see everything we had been reading and writing on transfer into the “real world.”

“I have a unique story on how I got into Community Management…”

I’m always curious about how people get their jobs. I love hearing people’s stories and I love seeing their faces light up when they talk about how connecting with one person led them to discover “X” which is why they’re at “Y” and how they’re hoping to accomplish “Z.” What I liked the most about Ally Greer’s story is how she started it, “I have a unique story.” Greer explained that while she was studying abroad in Paris she did an internship at Scoop.it where she assisted them by giving them her “American viewpoint.” After graduating college she was asked to join their team in San Francisco and has been working for them for the last year and a half. Greer says that she spends her days looking through blog posts, investigating how other Community Managers operate and “learning through observing.”

“I was looking for a reason to write every day…”

Like with Greer’s story, I was curious to learn more about what drove Keeley. Why did he start a blog, why is it about sports – is there a reason it’s about sports? Keeley explained that he wasn’t “particularly into sports writing” but decided to start a blog that would allow him to write whatever he wanted to write about. And that is how Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician was created. He jokes that “as a name it doesn’t make sense” but that the blog started out as a hobby in 2005 and now in 2013, almost 2014, he says that it’s pretty much the main thing he works on every day. He explained that the site is not how he supports himself financially but that everything that has come after the site is what has allowed him to pay the bills.

It was really interesting to see how two Community Managers approach the same job differently. Greer was thrust into it not really sure of what to do or how to go about running things and now she helps maintain their social media and is in charge of the ambassadors. Keeley originally wanted something to do that would allow him to write every day and didn’t think too much about what others wanted to read – he focused on what interested him. Hearing that reminded me of an earlier reading in the semester where we learned that one of the ways to have a successful blog or single posting is to make sure you are interested in what you are talking about.

Listening to their stories made me consider where I would like to go with the work I’m doing as Production Coordinator for SU Arts Engage. Part of my job is maintaining a presence on social media, Twitter and Facebook more than anything else, and we’re always looking to grow our audience. Every event we do we have a hashtag that we monitor and we ask for feedback and a like on our Facebook page if they liked what they saw. At the same time as wanting our audience to grow, I’m reminded of something Greer said, “just because you have 100,000 users doesn’t necessarily mean you have 100,000 users.” Find the core group of interested members of your organization and hold on to them tightly – because they are going to be the ones to get others interested.