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    Curation To Get You Through the Sales Funnel

    The curation mantra of 2012 has been that the most effective content curation involves three key activities: finding high quality content in your area of knowledge; contextualizing that content for your target audience; and distributing and sharing that content within your networks.

    So how does a marketer fit their curation strategy into the sales cycle for their company? Here at Atomic Reach, we’ve found that the Eloqua sales model is helpful in pairing our content marketing strategy with our sales strategy. Eloqua has managed to break down the types of content marketers should distribute for every stage of the sales funnel.

    Potential Customer or Lead?

    To begin, you determine whether or not you’re dealing with an actual lead or a potential customer. Potential customer is used to emphasize the fact that at this stage there is only the possibility for this client to become something more, whereas the term ‘lead’ really describes that this possibility is legitimately going somewhere.

    According to Joe Chernov, Eloqua’s VP of Content Marketing, calling every potential customer a ‘lead’ can be a major misstep, because that doesn’t take into account the important details you may have already gathered through earlier engagements they’ve initiated with your company.

    The broad usage of the term also leaves out vital information about customers’ content interests, and their current mindset and motivations behind those interests. For these reasons, Eloqua uses the following four categories to more clearly define potential customers and help content marketers direct their communications more effectively.

    Curation to Turn Suspects into Prospects:

    For potential customers at the suspect stage, provide curated content that shows what you know. Suspects haven’t yet taken action after accessing your content. These are people who’ve landed on your blog or social network and could be interested in buying your product down the line but are not quite there yet. Curation is key at this stage because you want to establish yourself as an industry authority. So they know you are the go-to resource for information in your niche field.

    Upon your first introduction to a potential customer, sharing what you know as an organization is what will entice people’s interest. A sales pitch from the first moment of interaction is not the way to go. Start with your blog. Your blog should be the hub of your content wheel and your social media networks will act as the spokes that help to amplify the reach of your message. Through your blog you will push out relevant posts, updates and curated stories that consumers and search engines are already looking for.

    Curated stories will assist your original posts for the days you don’t have the time to create original posts. Curating stories and information that is relevant to your business is essential to producing engaging and enough content on a timely and regular basis. It supplements for companies that don’t have the financial resources to divert specifically to a content marketing strategy. Additionally, content curation can help revive dropping or stagnant site traffic, improve poor SEO performance, reduce lead acquisition costs, enhance brand credibility and thought leadership positioning, aid in the lead nurturing process and lower content creation costs.

    Curation also diversifies that content on your blog by pulling information and resources from a wide range of sources. This can broaden the exposure of your blog immensely. Sharing important and informative information can strengthen your blog’s reputation as a reliable resource and authority in your niche.

    To sum it up, curation helps you get found by improving your SEO and once visitors are on your website, it can turn them into suspect leads because your content (curated and original) will demonstrate authority and thought leadership in your field of expertise.

    What type of curated content should you provide potential customers at the suspect stage?

    1. Infographics:

    • This is an organized collection of disparate observations and data points, presented in a graphic format. Whether created or curated infographics are a great way to present data, but make sure you give credit if its curated. Check out some examples of relevant social media infographics here.

    2. Non-demo videos:

    3. Curated lists:

    4. Curated Blog Posts:

    • “Wrap-up” posts, where you pull together a collection of other people’s posts,are a great way to provide a broad overview of what’s going on while positioning yourself as an expert and creating connections to your industry peers (who are usually happy to have their work featured).
    • Crowd-sourced posts are a quick and easy way to generate interesting, multi-faceted content featuring the curated comments of others. Pose a single question to a group of peers or clients and publish the responses in a blog post. Or, host a tweet chat and share the best tweets on your blog.
    • Event summary posts that include a collection of key quotes from speakers, event-related tweets, video clips, slides, photos, and/or links to related content are a valuable resource for both event attendees and folks who weren’t able to be there in person.
    • Reblog posts from other bloggers. Publish a short excerpt or an abstract from someone else’s blog and provide a link back to the original source so your subscribers can read the full text.

    5. Newsletters

    • Curate your own content to provide a handy index for a particular time period or a specific topic. This is also a great way to give older content a new lease on life.
    • Week Review newsletters provide subscribers with an overview of what’s been happening not only with your brand, but around your industry. Like wrap-up blog posts, these review newsletters establish your brand as a thought leader because you decide what’s worth sharing and provide your opinions on those stories.
    • Hybrid curated newsletters combine links to original and third-party content. Using this model, you can highlight your best content within the context of the larger, industry conversation – again, positioning yourself as a leader who is tuned into what’s going on.

    For more ways to curate content check out this Curata E-Book.

    Topics: Content Marketing Strategy, Lead Generation, sales