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How to Use Curated Content in Your Private Online Community (Part 1)

Written by Joshua Paul | on October 9, 2013 at 8:57 AM

20120106-OC-AMW-0534

We're all content curators. If you've ever shared an article on Facebook, retweeted a link on Twitter or gathered information around a specific theme, you've curated content.

When you consistently share content across your personal networks, you become a hub of information. Friends and family may turn to you for news and updates of a specific topic, often before they consult traditional news sources.

The same thing can be true professionally and on an organizational level. By developing an effective strategy for curating content, a company or membership organization can quickly establish itself as a trusted source for relevant information.

Why Curate Content for Your Online Community?

A steady stream of excusive content in your online customer or member community is the lifeblood that behind return visits, participation, and value in your online community.

This insightful information can be "exclusive" in two ways:

  1. Original. The content is only accessible by members of the community.
  2. Curated. You are pulling together the best resources on the web in a way that is only available to members of the community.

Think of content curation in the way that art museums locate, evaluate, and select art for their exhibits. The museums are not creating the pieces themselves. They choosing the art of others that best fits their mission, goals, and target audiences.

Save Time and Budget

In your online customer or member community, content curation can be an effective way of sharing interesting, relevant information with your community members without having to create the content yourself. While not a replacements for exclusive original content in your online community, curated content programs can save both time and money.

Position Your Organization at the Center of Your Market

With the abundance of information flowing rapidly across social, digital and mobile channels, knowing what to share can be challenging. However, if executed smartly and consistently, an company's content curation strategy can help position them as an authority and trusted advisor within an industry or on a specific topic.

Formats and Sources

Chances are your customers or members spend a significant amount of time consuming information online. This useful information takes a variety of forms "“ from news and statistics to how-tos and opinion pieces. Information of value to your customers or members also comes from an array of sources - from blog posts and videos to research studies and Slideshare presentations.

You target audiences use this information to help make strategic decisions about where they invest time and resources, learn critical skills, and keep their thumb on the pulse of their market.

Most likely, your company or membership organization is already contributing to this constant flow of information with blog articles, social media updates, white papers, videos and more.

In addition to the content you're creating from scratch, you can take advantage of content that others are creating. This content may support your organization's mission, help customers get more from your company's products, or otherwise share tips and perspective that are relevant to members of your private online community.

The Value of Content Curation

By sharing thoughtfully curated content in your private online community, you're giving your customers or members resources to help them do their jobs more successfully, as well as streamlining the way they get information. The more valuable information you curate, the more likely they are to return to your online community and view it as an indispensable tool in their work days.

When you provide useful and credible curated information to your community members, you're not only saving them time, but also helping your organization work more effectively. Augmenting your original content with curated content enables your organization to pump more exclusive content into your online community at a lower cost than strictly producing original content.

It also reinforced the notion that your company monitors and understand your target audience's market.

How to Use Curated Content in Your Online Customer or Member Community

Getting the right content to the right people at the right time is the core of a successful content strategy. Curating content in your online customer community isn't any different. At a very basic level, sharing others' content is simple. But in order to maximize its value to your community members, packaging it in an engaging way can help.

Here are few examples of how you can use curated content:

Round-ups, Wrap-ups & Roll-ups

Information moves fast, if your members are not paying attention, they could miss it. By rounding up the week's best stories around a specific topic or industry, your community members have the benefit of getting noteworthy news and advice in one place. News roll-ups can be emailed and posted online community's blogs for maximum engagement.

Consistency is key. The more you do it, the more your community will rely on you for your information digest. Wrapping up the week's or day's news also affords your organization the opportunity to provide a concise summary or perspective to further establishing your role as a thought leader.

Opinions & Knowledge Exercises

By offering your opinion about a particular piece of newsworthy content, executives and volunteer leaders can demonstrate their knowledge about certain topics or interests. Select an interesting presentation slide, video or infographic that relates to your organization's offerings or trends in your industry. Then, provide comment on why it is important, whether you agree, and additional insight you can bring to the conversation.

Letting your customers or members know that members of your organization are open to processing the views of others in your industry demonstrates your organization's awareness, participation, and commitment to your market.

You may be surprised by the interest that your customers or members have in your executives' opinions and the transparency into their understanding of their market.

Personal Lists & Resources

Customers and members are curious about how your organization works and what inspires employees, executives, and volunteer leaders (like board members). Compiling lists of the books people are reading, videos they are watching, as well as the people they follow on social media can bring your organization to life for your constituents.

While curated lists help showcase the interests and talents of your employees, showing your organization's human side can also help facilitate engagement and strengthen customer relationships.

Stay Tuned

In part two of this series on using curated content in your online customer or member community, we'll discuss the fundamentals of setting up a sustainable content curation program for your online community.

Nine low-cost member engagement strategies for associations.

Topics: Online Community Management, Online Community

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