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, 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.
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?