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Are you tired of wasting time writing content? Spending hours upon hours in front of a screen researching, writing and revising your content?

Or maybe you tried outsourcing and learned the hard way by losing hundreds of dollars in expenses.

We all know that we can’t live without content. It’s the life blood of any online business.

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Imagine if this same search engine allowed you to preview the articles, AND download them either as-is OR in Spun format, just in case I wanted to use them across multiple sites.

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Big Content Search

* Big Content Search *

Subscriber SJ asks, “Can you give us your take on the advisability of writing for the content farms like Demand Media Studios (Ehow)?”

A content farm is a business that hires multiple writers to churn out articles that clients post on their web sites to improve their search engine rankings.

In my experience, the writers who write for content farms are for the most part minimally skilled. Often English is not their native language, which shows in their writing.

Articles from content farms are typically produced by writers who are not experts in the subject. They just go on Google and cobble together an article on the topic from 5 or 6 other articles they find online—frequently without giving credit to these sources.

Content farms are famous for the miserable fees they pay writers. One I saw offered $5 per article. How good are those $5 per article writers? Not very.

And I know that from experience: I stupidly hired a content farm writer to write content for my chemistry website.

In an article on careers in chemistry, she actually wrote “People interested in a career in chemistry should study chemistry.” Duh.

Unbelievably, she also wrote in the same article “Chemistry is a good career for those who are fond of atoms.” I am not kidding. This at least gave me a good laugh.

Writers have a long tradition of getting started in their freelance careers by writing for low pay or no pay.

Back in the day, it was mainly for small magazines that paid writers in contributor’s copies. Today, the articles are for websites, and they are written more for search engines than human readers. The content farms seem not to care much what’s in the article or how well it is written as long as it contains the right key words.

Subscriber MZ, a freelance writer, notes, “An infinite supply of low, low, insultingly low paying outlets have cropped up like an unkillable fungus. It’s made a lot of writers very angry. Not only do we refuse to work for these absurdly low rates, we feel deeply offended that our work could be valued so poorly.”

“But I am a beginner,” you object, “I need to get some writing samples to launch my business.” However, if the samples are articles published by content farms, good clients are unlikely to be impressed.

A better option than working for peanuts for content farms is to get hired by real clients for smaller, noncritical assignments until they get to know you well enough to try you on a bigger project.

For instance, a newsletter publisher might not hire an untested writer to write a full-length promotion for them. But they might hire you to write an article for their free e-newsletter, a special report used as a subscription premium, or some banner ads. And they will pay you a fair rate for the work.

So my advice to SJ and all other freelance writers is to avoid content farms like the plague. They are truly the cesspool of the freelance writing profession.

Bob Bly is the author of “World’s Best Copywriting Secrets” and has written copy for more than 100 companies including IBM, Boardroom, Medical Economics and AT&T. He is the author of more than 75 books and a columnist for Target Marketing, Early To Rise and The Writer. McGraw-Hill calls him “America’s top copywriter”.

I was thinking about it the other day, and I reached the conclusion that the #1 difference between good writers and amateurs is as follows.

Many writers who are amateur, mediocre, bad, or just not worth reading write mostly about their personal opinions, thoughts, stream of consciousness, and feelings—in other words, whatever bubbles into their minds.

This is why so many blogs are utter crap: Bloggers can write whatever they want. There is no publisher or editor to say, “Hey, this isn’t good; don’t publish this!” Indeed, they can and often do publish everything that pops into their head. Exceptions? Of course.

Good writers—those worth reading—have something unique, valuable, or useful to say. And what they say is not just whatever they think. It is a distillation of wisdom produced by experience, observation, study, and activity.

In other words, good writers are good because they know something and can offer value by sharing it with their readers.

Average or bad writers don’t really know anything, and so their writing is vacuous, without valuable or hard-won ideas, wisdom, or knowledge.

“Write what you know” is old advice. The problem is a lot of people who write don’t know anything, or at least do not know anything that other people also want to know. And so they have nothing to write about.

Therefore it follows that if you want to be a good writer instead of an average or bad writer, you must gain knowledge, wisdom, or experience so you have something of value and interest to write about other than your feelings and thoughts.

Here are some suggestions for acquiring the base of knowledge that can transform your writing from low value to high value:

1 – Read widely and constantly. As insurance billionaire Arthur Williams once observed, most of humankind’s knowledge can be found in books.

2 – At work or in your personal life, take on a difficult task or project that no one else wants to do. If you succeed, you can write your own ticket selling your expertise to others both in your writings and as a consulting service.

Example: My old college friend EG led his company in an early SAP (software) implementation and then made a handsome living as a SAP expert.

3 – Have more experiences. Instead of watching TV, be on the board of a nonprofit like my colleague BK, or buy and run a bar like my writer friend CF. Or be like my friend DY who built a shack in the middle of the woods, lived there for a year, and then wrote a novel about it. The more you do, the more you have to write about.

4 – Associate with successful people. Soak up their knowledge and experience. Ask questions to find out what they know that others don’t. Then distill what you learn and pass it on to your readers.

5 – Take or teach a course.

For instance, in my early days in NYC, I took some Learning Annex courses on various career options such as music and business. I then wrote about what I learned in my John Wiley & Sons book “Dream Jobs: a Guide to Tomorrow’s Top Careers”.

I had been a technical writer at Westinghouse in Baltimore, and when I moved to NYC, I taught a technical writing course at New York University. The course became the basis for my McGraw-Hill book “The Elements of Technical Writing,” which I wrote in 1981 and is still in print today.

Nicholas Baker: “If you think your writing furthers life or truth in some way, then you keep writing. But if that feeling stops, you have to find something else to do.”

Bob Bly is the author of “World’s Best Copywriting Secrets” and has written copy for more than 100 companies including IBM, Boardroom, Medical Economics and AT&T. He is the author of more than 75 books and a columnist for Target Marketing, Early To Rise and The Writer. McGraw-Hill calls him “America’s top copywriter”.

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The 4Rs Of Content Management by Bob Bly

Posted September 13th, 2013 by Nelson Tan. Filed under Content Publishing

Subscriber DK asks, “Bob, do you fear duplication? Triplication of your work? 30+ years and mountains of books, articles etc. How do you keep it fresh without dusting off and repackaging old efforts? Perpetual originality is very impressive.”

What DK really is talking about is the shelf life of content and whether (and how much) you have to continually come out with new stuff.

I think the solution to managing and “curating” your content lies in the 4 R’s of content management: recycle, refurbish, reject, and replace.

1. Recycle: DK is partially incorrect in suggesting that you should not dust off and repackage old efforts. On the contrary, you should.

It takes a lot of time and effort to create good content. If you only use it once, you are wasting it. Why not get maximum usage out of your investment? You should look to repackage your content in multiple media and forums. I know of one writer who made thousands of dollars selling and reselling the same short article on travel to India to 37 different magazines and newspapers!

One of my mentors, the late Howard Shenson, was a consultant, speaker, and information marketer. Howard told me a secret: customers will buy the same information in a variety of formats: speech, seminar, audio CD, special report, article, etc.

In the 1980s, I wrote numerous articles on marketing for a trade publication called Business Marketing. When the articles were published, I shoved them into a file cabinet and there they sat, ignored and unused.

Many years later, when I put up my first website, I learned that websites should have a lot of content. So I dusted off those articles, scanned them, and posted them on the articles page of my website.

Result: an instant library of content for my site with no additional effort on my part. No one has ever said anything about the articles being recycled.

2. Refurbish: this means to make significant updates to your writings so that they are current. For instance, I wrote a book on copywriting, The Copywriter’s Handbook, around 1985. Of course, it had nothing in it about online marketing.

Fortunately the publisher asked me to update it for the 21st century. So I added sections on e-mail marketing, websites, and other online marketing for a revised 3rd edition that now sells on Amazon.

There are 2 categories of updates for content: (1) cosmetic (e.g. the original Copywriter’s Handbook referred to typewriters, which we have changed to PCs, and we had to update the price of a postage stamp for the new edition) and (2) substantial.

Make both when updating content. If a reader finds even one dated reference in your writing, they will assume the entire document is out of date.

When you update, indicate the current year for the copyright date of the new edition. And note that it is a revised edition on the cover.

Today’s Internet-spoiled readers assume anything with a copyright date older than 24 months is out of date. Ridiculous, but that’s what they believe. Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People” was published in 1936 and still sells well today.

3. Reject: alas, some things you write become so dated and stale that they cannot be saved and should be discarded.

An example is a book I wrote decades ago on producing brochures called Create the Perfect Sales Piece.

It was written before the advent of desktop publishing, so the production methods are obsolete.

But more important, so few marketers use print brochures today that the subject isn’t important enough to justify a new edition. So the publisher and I have let it quietly die.

4. Replace: I also wrote a book on direct mail, but when e-mail marketing began to replace direct mail as a preferred outbound marketing tactic, I wrote a book on e-mail (one of the first) called Internet Direct Mail. So rather than refurbish my direct mail book I replaced it with an e-mail marketing book.

3 key pieces of advice for managing your content:

1. Have a good filing system for all your content on your hard drive. Use descriptive subdirectories so you can quickly locate the files you are looking for.

2. Look at the content you already have every now and then. You’ll find gems you’d forgotten that deserve to be recycled or refurbished.

3. Create some regular mechanism that requires you to constantly write new content. That way, you’ll always have an ample surplus of content for products and promotions. Be sure to retain all rights to content you have written.

My content-creation mechanism is this e-newsletter and my column in Target Marketing magazine. For you, it might be a blog, articles for the business section of your local newspaper, or updated content for your website.

Bob Bly is the author of “World’s Best Copywriting Secrets” and has written copy for more than 100 companies including IBM, Boardroom, Medical Economics and AT&T. He is the author of more than 75 books and a columnist for Target Marketing, Early To Rise and The Writer. McGraw-Hill calls him “America’s top copywriter”.

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Subscriber JC recently asked me a question that I get asked quite often.

It has to do with how much information to give away when marketing with content.

“Conventional advice says never to give away all your secrets through your blog and social networks,” writes JC.

“So how do you distinguish between educating consumers and giving away personal trade secrets?”

I gave JC this advice on how to determine what content to give away: Share with your prospects what you do, but not how to do it.

This way prospects will view you as the expert in your skill set but not be able to do it themselves. And so they will perceive that they need to hire you.

But now I think my answer to JC was too restrictive. Fact is, I give away lots of how-to in my content. And by doing so, I further solidify the impression that I know what I am doing.

However, even if you do give away a lot of how-to, your prospects will then theoretically know how to do what you do…but will not have your years of experience in actually doing it.

So their skill level will be a fraction of yours, and they will still turn to you, the expert, for your services and advice.

My overriding philosophy is that it is better to give away more secrets rather than fewer in your content marketing. In this, I am in opposition to the conventional advice JC refers to.

Marketers fear giving away too much content for two reasons: First, they overestimate the rarity of their content.

You may think what you are giving away is your own secret sauce, invented by and known only by you.

But more often than not, the same advice has already been posted in many places online…and it is not the secret you think it is.

Second, marketers do not realize that the majority of prospects, while wanting to become better educated, do not actually want to do the work themselves.

The reason they want to become better educated in your skill area is so they can know enough to select the right vendor…and more effectively evaluate the work you do for them.

As Sims the retailer says in their radio commercials, “An educated consumer is the best customer.”

Here are some of the channels where I commonly share content with my prospects and subscribers:

1. My e-newsletter.

2. My books.

3. My e-books.

4. My column in Target Marketing magazine.

5. Articles.

6. Blog posts.

7. Facebook and LinkedIn posts, tweets.

8. The Articles page of my website: http://www.bly.com/newsite/Pages/articles.php

9. Special reports.

10. Presentations: seminars, speeches, webinars.

Bob Bly is the author of “World’s Best Copywriting Secrets” and has written copy for more than 100 companies including IBM, Boardroom, Medical Economics and AT&T. He is the author of more than 75 books and a columnist for Target Marketing, Early To Rise and The Writer. McGraw-Hill calls him “America’s top copywriter”.

Thomas Edison said “We don’t know a millionth of one percent about anything.”

I am the first to admit there are many things in modern marketing that I know I should do. I know how to do them, too. And I do them. But I don’t always understand why they work.

This new idea of transparency is one of them.

Transparency is the notion that your readers don’t just want content about your area of expertise, although they do want it.

They also want personal stories about you and your life, and for you to reveal your personality, beliefs, and philosophy of life to them.

That is why I do not restrict this e-newsletter to pure marketing advice, but also present my ideas on a variety of topics related to success in both business and your personal life.

(In a few months, a collection of the best of these essays will be published as a paperback book by Morgan James.)

From the correspondence I receive from my subscribers, many of you approve of and like this kind of essay.

My primary copywriting mentor, the late Sig Rosenblum, would have scolded me for my transparency. Sig said, “The reader doesn’t care about you. He cares about his needs, wants, fears, and desires.”

Sig was right in the 1980s when I first connected with him, but his advice seems to no longer apply today; readers apparently do care about you.

But I am not sure why: I lead a pretty dull and ordinary life.

I am not a karate master like Dr. Andrew Linick or an amateur Brazilian jiu jitsu fighter like Mark Ford. I don’t collect fine cigars like Ken Roberts or own exotic cars like Joe Vitale.

I am not adventurous. I don’t go on expeditions to Peru like Dr. Al Sears, or bungee jump and skydive like Fran Capo. I don’t even like to travel, although I will do so to give a seminar. I much prefer to stay at home writing, reading, and spending time with my family.

If I had to guess why transparency works, it’s that human beings love stories, and in transparency, writers tell a lot of personal stories. So transparency captures the reader’s interest.

On social media, I may tell just the story, and that can generate many comments.

In my e-newsletter issues, which are lengthier, I usually incorporate a lesson—often about business or human behavior—into transparency stories.

Writers have been integrating lessons into stories since before Aesop, so it’s a well-established writing technique.

A few closing facts about the way I practice transparency:

1) I am not embarrassed about anything. I hold almost nothing back. The exception is when the story would violate someone’s privacy.

2) I always tell the truth. I don’t exaggerate. If I say a mailing generated a 3% response rate, it did. As Christopher Reeve tells Lois in the first Superman movie, “I never lie.”

3) I don’t make an effort to make myself look good. The truth I tell is unvarnished.

These things you can take as the gospel truth.

Bob Bly is the author of “World’s Best Copywriting Secrets” and has written copy for more than 100 companies including IBM, Boardroom, Medical Economics and AT&T. He is the author of more than 75 books and a columnist for Target Marketing, Early To Rise and The Writer. McGraw-Hill calls him “America’s top copywriter”.

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The 3 Rs Of Content Optimization

Posted June 7th, 2013 by Nelson Tan. Filed under Content Publishing

What do you do when your content becomes out of date? You have 3 options:

Reorganize - take existing content and restructure it in a way that is more useful to your prospects.

Rewrite - companies often find it useful to rewrite content when it is either dated or has been exhausted due to a high level of previous consumption.

Retire - every piece of content has a shelf life. You cannot use the same content indefinitely.

Source: Marketo white paper, Creating Content That Sells

When I wrote my first book in 1981, book publishing was pretty simple and straightforward: you sold your book to a publishing house, and they published your book.

Today, the array of publishing options available to authors is dazzling. Here’s a quick overview of the 5 basic categories of book publishing to help you choose the one that’s best for you:

1. Mainstream publishing

“Mainstream publishing” means selling your book to a traditional publishing house.

I have done this with all of my 80 books. My publishers include McGraw-Hill, Henry Holt & Company, John Wiley & Sons, HarperCollins, Prentice Hall, and Career Press.

One advantage of traditional publishing is that the money flows from the publisher to the author—as advances and royalties—rather than you paying them.

If you are writing a book for the prestige of being a published author—which can help establish you as a thought leader in your field—mainstream publishing is by far the most prestigious of the 5 publishing options listed here.

People are impressed when you show them a physical book that looks professionally produced—and when you tell them your publisher is Random House or John Wiley.

On the negative side, traditional publishing is a business in decline (it has been for decades) and these books have been selling fewer and fewer copies. Exceptions? Of course.

Despite this, I like mainstream publishing because someone else (the publisher) does most of the grunt work and I make money from the get-go.

2. Self-publishing

“Self publishing” means paying a printer to print your book. You are also responsible for marketing and distribution.

Instead of the 8% royalty a mainstream publisher would pay you, you can earn 40% or more of the cover price per unit sold, depending on method of distribution.

Because you have a higher profit margin, self-publishing is a great option for speakers who want to sell their books at the back of the room.

Bottom line: self-publishing can potentially be more lucrative than mainstream publishing, though frequently it is not.

As for prestige of being a published author, self-publishing is less prestigious than mainstream publishing but more so than e-book publishing (see #4 and 5 below).

I have never self-published a real book. Decades ago, I self-published a book-length work as a typewritten, bound manual for a course I taught—and a small publisher picked it up and published it as a traditional book.

3. Publishing services

There are companies that are not “real” publishers but rather offer “publishing services”. Examples include iUniverse, Trafford Publishing, and Xlibris.

Typically these publishing services produce and publish your book for an up-front fee, and then pay you a royalty per book sold. But deals vary.

I have no experience with this category of book publishing. It seems to be an option for people who are looking to self-publish but want someone else to handle all the details.

The prestige is equal to or maybe a little above traditional self-publishing as described in #2 above.

4. PDF e-books

You can produce your book as a PDF and set up a website where people can purchase and download it.

There is very little prestige in writing an e-book. But the profit margins are close to 100% and so you can make a lot of money with this option.

Writing and selling PDF e-books is a good publishing option for authors who either want to maximize their revenues or get their ideas into published format quickly.

I have made hundreds of thousands of dollars selling e-books that are either collections of my previously published writing (columns, articles) or updates of my out-of-print paperback books. It is very lucrative.

5. Kindle e-books

A variation of #4 is to publish e-books for Kindle and sell them on Amazon.

Although there are rare stories of fortunes being made self-publishing e-books for Kindle, many Kindle authors have
limited sales and do it more for vanity. I don’t think having a Kindle e-book on amazon.com is terribly prestigious.

I have never self-published a book for Kindle, though many of my regular publishers sell e-book versions of my paperback and hardcover books for that platform.

To summarize:

* If you are writing a book to become a recognized expert in your field, go with a mainstream publisher (option #1).

* If you want a physical book to sell at the back of the room when you speak, self-publish a paperback (option #2).

* If you want to make a lot of money from book sales, publish PDF e-books and sell them online (option #4).

* If you want your work to be available for purchase on Amazon.com and you don’t want to write or publish a traditional book, publish it as an e-book for Kindle (#5).

Bob Bly is the author of “World’s Best Copywriting Secrets” and has written copy for more than 100 companies including IBM, Boardroom, Medical Economics and AT&T. He is the author of more than 75 books and a columnist for Target Marketing, Early To Rise and The Writer. McGraw-Hill calls him “America’s top copywriter”.

How to package your content

Posted April 3rd, 2013 by Nelson Tan. Filed under Content Publishing

Roger C. Parker suggests using the following types of information for content marketing:

1. Information on buying: Example: “10 Things to Look for When Shopping for Floor Covering.”

2. Questions to ask: “6 Questions to Ask When Refinancing Your Home.”

3. Mistakes to avoid: “Top 10 Mistakes Made by First-Time Book Authors.”

4. Symptoms: “7 Signs of Job Burnout.”

5. Strategies: “6 Steps to Permanent Weight Loss.”

6. Definitions: “8 Important E-Commerce Terms.”

7. Best practices: “10 Keys to Sustained Growth.”

Source: Content Marketing Institute, 2/22/13.

Copyblogger.com offers these 10 suggestions for writing strong content that gets marketing results online:

1. Care deeply about the quality of your writing, and about your audience.

2. Go deep with original research.

3. Share a never-before-seen interview.

4. Avoid redundant, duplicated, or stolen content.

5. Build so much trust with your audience that people would be happy to hand over their credit card.

6. Build your authority and your site’s authority.

7. Write for humans, not machines.

8. Create something nobody has ever seen before.

9. Remain balanced and worthy of your audience’s trust.

10. Cover a topic comprehensively (don’t aim for an arbitrary word count and stop once you reach it).

According to Marketingprofs.com, some of the types of content Google likes include interviews, lists, surveys, polls, reviews, news, case studies, predictions, humor, and contests.

Source: www.copyblogger.com, 2/18/13.

The Google algorithm used to reward online marketers for posting lots of short, poorly written articles on their website; “content mills” sprang up to meet the demand.

How bad are those content mill writers working for as little as $15 per article? I once made the mistake of hiring one to write an article on careers in chemistry for one of my websites.

I will never forget the laugh her first sentence gave me: “Chemistry is a good career for people who are fond of atoms.” She also wrote, “To have a career in chemistry, one should study chemistry in college.” Duh.

But things have changed. Lately Copyblogger.com and Marketingprofs.com have been writing about how Google now penalizes marketers for these sorry articles and rewards them for quality content with higher search engine rankings.

That’s good news for good content writers, whose ability to write original and engaging content will now be more valued by the marketplace. And it’s good news for online marketers that provide their visitors with value instead of junk in their articles.

How much quality content should you post on your website? The more good articles you have, the better.

The problem for Internet marketers is that creating a large volume of quality articles is a lot of work and takes a lot of time.

When I first put up my website, I had no articles, and I dreaded the labor ahead of me in coming up with articles.

Then I realized that I had written dozens of articles on marketing in the 1980s for Business Marketing, Direct Marketing, and other marketing publications…and these had never been posted on the web anywhere!

I immediately wondered whether I still had hard copies of the articles. I didn’t have electronic copies since I had changed from a CPM to an MS-DOS computer years ago.

I went downstairs to my basement archives. The originals of all the articles were in a bottom drawer in a file cabinet. But to my dismay, I found that Humphrey, our old cat who had a kidney problem, had peed all over the drawer. And the articles were covered with a foul-smelling yellow powder.

I put on dishwashing gloves, picked the articles out of the drawer with a tweezers, photocopied them, scanned the clean copies into Word, and posted the Word files on my website, where they now reside for your reading pleasure; of course there is no charge to read or download them.

Most visitors to my site who read these articles do not know they were once drenched in feline urine!

If you are just starting out and don’t have a library of cat-pee-covered articles already written, how do you ramp up the content on your website?

My suggestion is that you find a venue where you are required to produce articles on a regular basis.

Be sure to retain the rights to your articles so you can post them on your website without restriction. Type “First rights only” in the upper left corner of the first page of every article you submit.

Here are a few options for creating an article-generating machine:

1 – Write a blog and post an article a week on it—at least 300 words.

2 – Write a column for a trade magazine or newsletter. I write a regular column on B2B marketing for Target Marketing magazine, and post the articles on my site once Target has published them. My column runs 1,000 words.

3 – Write a weekly article for distribution to subscribers to your e-list. Then post those messages in an article archive on your site. Length typically ranges from 400 to 750 words.

Suggestions #1-3 above will force you to create content on a regular basis, with no slacking in your production. It will become a habit and in one year, you’ll have anywhere from a dozen to as many as 50 articles to post on your site.

On the other hand, I find that if you don’t have an outlet that requires regular articles from you, you will never get around to writing any or posting them on your site and your Google ranking will suffer as a result.

Don’t merely rewrite other people’s articles and post them on your site. Make your content original, based on your own activities and results.

Bob Bly is the author of “World’s Best Copywriting Secrets” and has written copy for more than 100 companies including IBM, Boardroom, Medical Economics and AT&T. He is the author of more than 75 books and a columnist for Target Marketing, Early To Rise and The Writer. McGraw-Hill calls him “America’s top copywriter”.

Big buzz on a new traffic strategy

Posted February 16th, 2013 by Nelson Tan. Filed under Content Publishing

CurationSoftThere is a major shift happening in the world of content marketing. But first, what’s “content marketing”? It’s what bloggers and marketers do when they put up content that they want the search engines to rank and readers to flock to in order to build a brand, make product or affiliate sales, and sell advertising. So, basically anyone who uses content to get free search engine traffic and have the ability to get real people linking to and buzzing about their site is a content marketer. Well, in the past few months a certain type of content marketing has started to get very popular. It’s called “curation” and it has many benefits over traditional content marketing models.

1. Curation allows content marketers to create a lot more content around a lot more keywords in the same amount of time they currently spend on content development.

2. This enables you to score for a lot more keyword rankings, leading to more daily traffic.

3. It also enables you to keep readers engaged and loyal to your source of information because you filter through all the information on a topic and present them with the best of the best info on the topic.

4. You write less original content yourself and, often, put together more valuable content to readers at the same time.

5. Enables one-writer-sites to look and feel like they have a small staff of writers.

6. Posting more often gives more opportunities for something to go viral on social networks. And gives readers more to “Like,” retweet, and +1 on Google+.

7. Increases your authority score with Google because of the increased social signals Google finds for your site.

Since everyone is buzzing about curation, I wanted to get clarification on the tactic from an expert. My good friend Jack Humphrey is going to explain what curation is and how he developed an amazing software which helps him to create pages which rank really high in the search engines.

Click here to learn more about Jack’s amazing software.

Content curation is now fast catching on as a method for creating authoritative and useful content. Creating quality curated content is an art and with any such activity there are things that you should and should not do.

Here are 9 content curation best practices that you should try to follow so that the content you create is nice to read, useful to readers and fair to the creators of original content.

1. Make use of your creative abilities

Many people think that a content curator is just a person who finds and arranges other people’s work in an interesting and useful way.

While that is essential, significant value addition is important in terms of opinions, recommendations and commentary. Curated content is actually an interesting and useful blend of collected content, original opinions and contributions from others.

2. Identify content that is related to your website, but interesting to the readers

Always keep the interest of your readers in mind. They are looking for something that is useful to them. Try to find content that will be very interesting to your readers, but is related to your website in some way. For example, if your website is promoting baby strollers, look for articles that the owners of baby strollers will find interesting.

For example, tips on using baby strollers, reviews of popular baby strollers, feedback left by buyers of specific strollers, advantages and disadvantages of stroller features, statistics reflecting the popularity of different type of strollers, etc.

Try to develop a collection of sites which regularly publish such material and bookmark them so that you can periodically check them for new content. You can also subscribe to their RSS feeds or follow them on social media so that you are alerted when useful content becomes available. Content curation tools such as Curationsoft are excellent for finding related content.

3. Regularly publish new articles or posts

Your readers will find your website or blog useful only when there is regular useful content coming in. While even one article a week is good enough, try to publish it on a particular day of the week so that your audience will know when to expect new content from you.

A great article is nice to attract attention of new readers, but regular content is what will make them regular visitors to your site and encourage them to bookmark it or share it with others.

4. Go where your audience is

Gone are the days when readers bookmark and visit sites. There is an information overload and scarcity of time. Most people have a few sites that they visit regularly including social media sites or YouTube. Find out where your audience is coming from and places that they visit regularly. Try to create content there and then gently bring the visitors to your site. You could do this by interacting or writing guest articles on popular blogs or social media
websites.

5. Use platforms judiciously

When using multiple platforms, it is important to understand that a major part of your audience could be using more than one of those platforms. So if you are using multiple platforms to inform your readers about some interesting piece of information try to space it out. Sending it out together could hit the same users multiple times at the same time, which is a bit of a nuisance. Spacing out your tweets or comments will also serve as a reminder even if the same reader gets it again.

6. Always give credit to the original content creator

Irrespective of the platform and irrespective of how little of the information you quote, always give credit to the original author. This is an essential courtesy and the author will appreciate the gesture. You are also making your article, post or comment more useful because readers will be able to click the link to get more information. When
we say original author, it is the first person who put that content in the public domain. So if your source is itself quoting someone else, you should find the original source and give credit to them.

7. Don’t create duplicate content

When you quote someone else, quote only the part of the article that is relevant to your discussion. Copying an entire article will most likely get you penalized by the search engines for creating duplicate content. Try not to quote more than 15 percent of the original article. Quoting an entire article could also be seen as copyright infringement unless you have the permission of the original source.

8. Be careful with graphics and videos

Many content creators who put up graphics on sites such as Pinterest appreciate your quoting them. However, creating graphics and videos involves a lot of work and not everyone will like you to copy their work to your site. Check the copyright notices carefully and when in doubt get the permission of the creator of the content.

9. Encourage discussions

Interactivity is a great advantage of the web and you must encourage reader interaction by allowing comments and responding to them. You should also interact and comment on the website or blog of the original author. This can also be done on social media such as Twitter, but be careful to read the linked content before you decide to re-tweet it.

Content curation is a nice strategy for content marketing and creating nice curated content is an art. Try to follow the nine content curation best practices discussed above and you will soon be creating valuable content which your readers will appreciate.

Peter Lenkefi is the creator of CurationSoft. Discover, review, and curate content from Wikipedia pages, Google Blog Search, Google News, Blekko Blog Search and Blekko News, YouTube, Twitter, Flickr and ANY RSS feed you want!

1. Know your audience: Carefully consider the type of readers you’re targeting and/or trying to attract, and tailor your content to them.

2. Create a framework for future content needs: Map out potential blog ideas, stories, featured posts, etc. That way, you have something to work from each time content is needed.

3. Create a content schedule: If you find yourself not blogging enough, creating a schedule can be the perfect way to get focused and stay motivated.

4. Think Multimedia: Looks for ways to recycle the same content into different formats.

5. Always encourage reader feedback and welcome user-generated content as part of your publishing mix.


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