The internet of today is a double-edged sword. On the positive side, information is more readily available than ever before. On the negative, we are awash in so much information that it’s tough to know where to focus our time and energy. And when you’re a marketer curating email content, it’s even harder to try and figure out what your audience wants to see.
You don’t want your audience — or other potential customers — to scroll through your emails without much thought, or, worse, hit delete before even opening them. So how do you keep them engaged? Highlighting your products and services in unique and captivating ways is a great start, but you can’t ONLY talk about yourself. You have to be an information provider. A thought leader. You want your audience to open your emails because they know they’re going to walk away with something of value.
And one of the best ways to do just that is by curating content — finding and sharing useful news, notes, and nuggets that showcase the things your audience cares about most.
Here are some tips and tools that will help you start curating email content like a pro.
Five Tips for Curating Email Content
1. Put Some “You” Into It
Don’t simply grab and share content. The whole reason you’re engaging with your audience in the first place is to promote and sell your brand, so make each email personal. This means weighing in and putting your own spin on things, even as you supply links and information from others. Nextdraft founder Dave Pell is a master at this. He personally curates and delivers a must-read email list of stories “with a fast, pithy wit that will make your computer device vibrate with delight.” His approach works; he currently has 160,000 subscribers and counting.
2. Use the 80/20 Rule
Yes, you have a brand to promote. However, if you spend the majority of your posts preaching about why your product/service/organization is the best, your target audience will grow bored with you and move on. A good rule of thumb is to use 80% of your content to give people something that interests them. If you sell gourmet kitchenware, for example, articles about cooking techniques or exciting new recipes will draw your audience in. Then, use the remaining 20% of your content space for self-promotion. While this may seem counter-intuitive, it’s the best way to get people to share your posts and spread the word about your brand.
3. Variety is the Spice of Content
Don’t just share articles. Give your audience members a wide variety of content, from videos and podcasts to infographics and eBooks. Different people prefer different types of content, so work hard to keep them all tuned in and excited for your next email.
4. Go Underground
Speaking of variety, one way to stand out to your audience is to provide them with information they aren’t getting anywhere else in your industry. To do this, you’ll need to dig around a bit to go beyond what’s currently trending on Twitter (or in other words, when it’s no longer new news). RSS feeds are a great way to come across links and news that other sources aren’t yet sharing.
5. Use What You’ve Got
If you’ve already got a great blog or website, make sure you’re meandering back through your old content to see what you could curate and share. While creating new content is important, you should also never miss a chance to share an older post or article on a topic that’s currently relevant to your target audience. If it generates interest, it provides more exposure for your organization or brand.
Our Favorite Tools for Curating Email Content
Do your own research and find out what works best for you and your workflow, but here are five of our favorite tools, ranging from most expensive to absolutely free, that make curating email content a breeze.
A great tool for advanced content curators, the beauty of Curata lies in the ability to endlessly customize your content sources. It’s a great one-stop shop for emails, social media, blogs, and more. It is on the pricey side, however.
After Google Reader left the scene, a few different RSS readers popped up to fill the void. One of them is Feedly — a user-friendly news aggregator that allows you to see content from specific publications, blogs, YouTube channels, or keyword searches all in one place. It’s free to try out and $18 a month after the trial.
Sign up for certain keywords and immediately discover relevant content. Curate that content, add your spin on it, and share it. That’s the idea behind Scoop.it. The site also suggests topics that are complimentary to the ones you’re viewing, providing access to a wealth of potentially sharable tidbits. Scoop.it is free for one topic/two social media accounts and runs up to $67 a month for the more expansive version.
4. Twitter Lists
Twitter provides a fantastic (and free!) way to find and curate content through its lists option. In short, a list is a curated group of Twitter accounts. You can select accounts to make your own list or subscribe to lists already created by others. Scrolling through your list feed can provide quick inspiration for content pertaining to any field or topic. You can find instructions for using Twitter lists right here.
5. Google Alerts
Last, but not least, we’d be remiss in not adding Google Alerts to our “must-have” list of content curation tools. After all, it’s free and incredibly easy to use. Simply sign up with keywords — specific topics, industries, or the names of your competitors, for example. Google will e-mail you an alert whenever those search terms are mentioned online. Click here for detailed instructions on setting up a Google alert.
Ready to get started with curating email content? We’re here to help. Contact us today!