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Strategies, research, industry trends — your pulse on the marketplace
The   Bazaar   Voice
Strategies, research, industry trends — your pulse on the marketplace
content curation

Whether it’s the scarcity of authentic content or the hurdles in repurposing it cohesively across channels, brands grapple with effectively meeting consumers’ content expectations. The right content curation strategy will not only resonate with consumers but also enhances the brand’s image consistently, irrespective of the touchpoint.

Social media and search algorithms reward fresh, relevant content and frequent posting. That’s great news if you have a lot of content and resources to work with. Not so much if you don’t.

Saturated digital spaces and higher standards for content put pressure on brands to elevate and increase their production. The time and effort needed to regularly create and distribute engaging content across channels is substantial. 

Forming a content curation plan is a game-changer for streamlining the production process and supplementing original content creation. Learn how to conquer the challenges of curating authentic content and how to implement a successful strategy.

Chapters:

  1. What is content curation?
  2. How does content curation benefit e-commerce brands?
  3. Hurdles to curating authentic content
  4. 8 tactics for curating quality content and distributing it across channels
  5. Continue to evolve your content curation strategy


What is content curation?

Content curation is a way for e-commerce brands to share content from outside sources, including individuals and organizations, on their own marketing channels.

Effective content curation sources relevant and authentic content, and shares it with helpful context on appropriate channels. You should have an intentional strategy for content curation to bring value to your audience and drive results. 

Examples of different types of content you could curate include visual social media like images and videos, articles, data reports, podcasts, TV or film clips, and customer reviews. You can share curated content on your most active customer touchpoints, including your product pages, blog, social media channels, and emails. 

How does content curation benefit e-commerce brands?

Content curation offers a range of benefits to e-commerce brands regardless of size or maturity. Some of the top advantages include:

  • Eases workflow: Curating content reduces the pressure, time, and effort required to regularly create original content. Instead of ideating, writing, filming, shooting, and designing content from scratch each time, you can supplement by sharing the content that someone else produced 
  • Reduces costs: Because content curation reduces the time and in-house or outsourced talent that original content creation demands, it also eliminates the associated costs
  • Supplies social proof: Whenever you share the kind of content that features or specifically mentions your brand and products, you’re providing social proof. When your audience sees other people recommending your products and showing love for your brand, it has a persuasive and contagious effect — this is the power of user-generated content (UGC)
  • Diversifies content mix: The same type and tone of content can get boring and predictable quickly. And if the content is only coming from your brand’s perspective, that can be a turn-off. 74% of shoppers trust UGC more than brand-created content on product pages and 55% say they’re unlikely to purchase a product without consulting UGC, according to our Shopper Experience Index. Curating content allows you to share diverse voices, viewpoints, and styles of content to keep it fresh and interesting
  • Increases engagement and reach: By sharing content from customers, influencers, publications, or other media and tagging those creators, you’re encouraging those sources to respond in kind. When they like, comment, or share your curated content, that’s introducing it to their own audience for further reach and engagement
  • Demonstrates thought leadership: When you intentionally and thoughtfully share content, it shows you’re in tune with the latest trends and important voices. Even if you didn’t create the content originally, you can amplify clever takes and creative insights while adding to the conversation

Hurdles to curating authentic content

Content curation seems simple and straightforward enough, but to do it right, it gets more complicated. And by right, we mean consistent and authentic. It’s not just about sharing content to fill holes in your content calendar. It needs to be content created by real people voicing honest opinions that accurately reflect your brand, online community, and products. 

Understanding and addressing these challenges is crucial for e-commerce brands to establish a trustworthy online presence. Here’s some of the top obstacles to seamlessly curating a steady flow of authentic content.

Shortage of quality content

Consumers today are always-on and confronted with more content on every channel than ever. To get their attention and pique their interest, you need to express a unique style and voice along with striking visuals.

That goes for both the content your brand creates and curates. While there’s no shortage of content in every major digital space, finding the kind of quality content worthy of sharing is the real issue. Before you select and share content, you need to ensure it meets certain criteria, like it: 

  • Comes from a trustworthy source
  • Is accurate
  • Is timely and up-to-date 
  • Meets your visual and editorial quality standards
  • Serves a purpose for your audience
  • Reflects your brand values and identity
  • Meets your content KPIs, i.e., increases brand awareness and drives conversions

Inconsistencies across channels

Customers notice when a brand’s presence across marketing channels is disjointed, and it may cause them to abandon their journey. The majority (75%) of shoppers expect a cohesive and connected experience on each brand channel. Discrepancies in tone, style, aesthetics, and messaging on different channels can compromise a consistent experience for your customers.

Content formats, audience, and language can all vary from one channel to another. All of these factors need to be in alignment when distributing curated content according to each channel’s unique characteristics. Your email newsletter has totally different capabilities and a more narrow audience than, say, your TikTok profile.

So, while you want to maintain your major brand elements on each, you also have to modify your content to fit each channel. 

Challenges in content verification 

When you’re sharing content from other sources, it’s crucial that the source and the content itself are legitimate. There’s bots, fake reviews, misinformation, and manipulated visuals at play in today’s digital arena. You need to have a reliable fact-checking and content-vetting process in place to ensure authenticity and deliver trustworthy content.

Before you share content from other creators, ensure you’re not violating any intellectual property or copyright restrictions. To avoid infringement and any associated consequences, follow these best practices: 

  • Check the fair use guidelines for any channels you don’t own
  • Ask for permission to share the source’s content
  • Properly attribute and credit the content source

Partnering with Bazaarvoice takes care of this important step for you with our automated rights-requesting capabilities. This feature enables a streamlined way to ask creators permission to use their content in your marketing materials. 

8 tactics for curating quality content and distributing it across channels

Luckily, you can easily sidestep all of those roadblocks to successful content curation and create a successful strategy by following these best practices. 

1. Understand your audience’s interests and preferred channels

How do you know if the content you curate, share, and distribute will be valuable? First, you need to understand what will help, attract, and reach your audience. Research your audience to understand what their needs and pain points are that your product solves. 

What type of content gets the most engagement? Where is your audience most active, and which of your channels has the most engaged followers? Those answers will reveal what to focus on, whether that’s tutorials on TikTok, reviews featured in email campaigns, shoppable Instagram posts, galleries of customer photos on product pages, etc.

2. Create and follow a content style guide

Establishing and implementing a content style guide is key to maintaining consistency across channels. It also provides a clear framework for your team to follow. Your style guide serves as a rulebook that includes instructions for executing your brand’s content curation strategy. These are some of the elements to include:

  • Voice: The unique personality and message of your brand that represents its values and mission
  • Tone: This can change depending on the situation, from the norm which could be upbeat and friendly to empathetic and understanding for delicate situations
  • Format: When to use short-form and long-form content, images, videos, audio, and other elements depending on the channel
  • Verification steps: The process for verifying content is authentic
  • Image and video specs: The quality standards, length, and dimensions for visual assets
  • Content types: What types of content work best for each platform, including educational vs. entertaining, top of funnel vs. bottom of funnel, etc.
  • Tagging and attribution: How to give credit to content sources and tag them on each channel

3. Tailor content for each channel

While consistency is key, it’s also essential to respect the unique characteristics of each channel. Tailor content to fit the specific nuances of platforms without compromising the overarching brand message. Adapt visual elements, messaging length, and content formats to align seamlessly with the expectations of users on each channel.

This approach also helps broaden and diversify your marketing content mix. Different types of content have their own unique advantages, and you can track how each performs. For example, on e-commerce websites, product reviews impact purchasing decisions for 78% of consumers, and product photos taken by shoppers impact purchasing for 69%. Social media is another popular shopping source where lifestyle videos and photos taken by real shoppers thrive.

When you curate content for one channel, you can repurpose it for a different channel to maximize its reach and impact. For example, you can play clips of a podcast that mentions your brand or niche as an Instagram post and link to the episode with a written takeaway in an email campaign. Or, you can share a TikTok tutorial of how to use one of your products on your brand’s TikTok feed and also embed it in a blog post on a related topic on your website.

4. Encourage and foster UGC

You can create a steady flow of authentic content by leveraging UGC to distribute across channels. Besides its authenticity, it’s also very persuasive, giving 78% of shoppers more confidence in making purchases

UGC includes reviews, photos, videos, blog posts, podcast episodes, and any other content created by your own audience. UGC can come from anyone who’s purchased a product from you regardless of their online presence or from an influencer with a large following. There’s so many ways to collect and encourage UGC, including: 

FAs a good example, The Body Shop entices customers to share their social media photos using #TheBodyShop to be featured on their website gallery. Showcasing UGC galleries earned The Body Shop a 13% increase in average order value.

5. Use social listening and search engine alerts 

Social listening tools and search engine alerts are excellent content curation resources because they track content that tags or mentions your brand, industry, or relevant topics.

Social listening means monitoring online conversations across social media platforms that mention your brand or a specific hashtag you’re tracking. With social listening, you can gain valuable insights into consumer sentiments, preferences, and emerging trends. By actively listening to your audience, you can identify content to share, reveal relevant topics to focus on, and gauge the effectiveness of current content.

Setting up Google search alerts keeps you informed about industry trends, competitor activities, and relevant keywords. These real-time notifications allow brands to keep up with fresh content to share and current interests. You can set up alerts for any topic you want and receive them in your email inbox.

6. Add context and your brand’s perspective 

Merely sharing curated content isn’t enough. When you post content from other sources, add your own feedback, recommendations, or thoughts. If it needs explanation outside of its original location, provide that for your audience. Add to the conversation and tie it back to your brand’s message and content goals.

MAM Baby does a great job of this on Instagram. The brand curates relevant content from their customers and shares it on their Instagram page. They add their own message to each post, like more context on featured products or their own reactions showing their brand’s personality.

They also combined their UGC curation with social commerce to make their Instagram feed shoppable, leading to increased site visits by 157% and an extra £96k in annual revenue.

7. Streamline and centralize content planning and distribution 

When you have multiple people juggling all the content for your various marketing channels, you need an easy way to manage it all. You can do that by having a content supply chain that everyone can access for all your content planning, drafting, approval, and scheduling tasks. That could be folders with multiple documents for content calendars, drafts for review, your style guide, and other resources. 

Or, you can invest in one centralized platform to access everything you need, including Bazaarvoice tools like Social Media Manager. This tool lets you create and schedule content, plus analyze performance and competitors all in one place.

8. Implement authenticity review processes

Establish a process and guidelines to ensure the content you’re sharing is trustworthy and true to your brand pillars. Make sure you collaborate with influencers who create genuine content and whose presence aligns with your brand values. Check each review and piece of content you source to make sure it’s not fraudulent. 

If you’re a smaller business, it might make more sense to vet each piece of content and its creator manually, one at a time. If you’re scaling your business or marketing efforts, you could partner with a team like Bazaarvoice that uses fraud detection technology, algorithms, and analysts to ensure authenticity.

Continue to evolve your content curation strategy

Once you have your plan and process in place for curating content, put it to the test and then measure the results. Use analytics to see what’s working and what’s lacking engagement. Then, use those insights to refine your strategy, continue what’s performing well, and address what isn’t.

Find out more about how to find, analyze, and apply consumer insights to optimize and elevate your content strategy in our guide: The smart marketer’s guide to finding and using customer insights.

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