Continuing this three-part series, I’m keeping my word from last week’s post where I talked about what content curation should and should not be. So this week I bring to you some more tips on content curation taking ideas from the fascinating world of wines. I love wine, and have had the opportunity to taste some of the finest ones on my many travels. I can’t say I’m an expert however, but I do know someone who is, and a recognized one at that.
My nephew, Miguel Chan, is a wine expert—a Certified Sommelier in Johannesburg, South Africa. This young man has a good number of awards and recognition to his name. If you are a wine lover and eager to know about some of the best wines from around the world, do read Miguel’s blog or Wine Journal as he calls it.
I asked Miguel recently if he had some useful tips on how to taste, pick and buy wine. The wealth of knowledge and interesting information he shared with me is what has inspired this blog post. It triggered in my mind the idea that B2B marketers can learn and apply so much from the world of wine to make content curation an effective and enjoyable experience. Hope you enjoy reading this.
6 Tips on B2B Content Curation—and words of advice from a World-Class Sommelier
1. Understand the broad categories, then dig deeper: Sommelier Chan says that buying wine can be a daunting task for many, yet this should be really be as easy as buying groceries. But then if you consider the fact that there are over 45 countries growing grapes and close to 60,000 wine brands worldwide, it’s easy to imagine why a novice may feel lost. The problem is that the so called wine experts of the 70′s and 80′s have manipulated, complicated and glorified the subject of wine.
Miguel points out that for anyone new, it is merely embarking on the journey he likes to call “discovering fermented grape juice”—that’s really what wine is. You need to start by understanding that there are 6 basic categories of wines: sparkling, white, rose, red, fortified (e.g. Port or Sherry) and aromatized wines (Vermouth) with further sub-categories such as dry, off dry, semi sweet or sweet. Once you know where to start, you can narrow your search down and find what you like.
This is exactly how a B2B marketer should approach content curation. Begin by understanding that you can’t buy the whole Bodega; and you don’t need to. Just as you segment your target audience (I hope you do!), you can categorize the various content sources available to you into broad categories and then match your audience preferences to what each category offers. Knowing where to look is the first step to finding the right content that will deliver your message and help engage your prospects and customers.
2. Trust your taste: Don’t be swayed by anyone telling you what is right or wrong with a wine, says Miguel. Make your own judgment by tasting wines when you have the opportunity, and try to visit wineries if you are in a wine region. A fun way is to experience a well-stocked wine bar, order taster portions and compare glasses side by side to see what you like. Then enjoy a generous glass thereafter!
In a restaurant environment, choose what you would like to drink and select your menu accordingly. If there is a sommelier on duty, go ahead and ask for advice. A good sommelier is never the one trying to sell you obscure or the most expensive wines on the list, or intimidating you with “expert knowledge”. He or she will first listen to your need, ask about your tastes, what you are willing to spend, and above all, what type of meal you are eating in order to make a suitable recommendation.
As a marketer, you should be regularly in touch with your customers and leads to know what their “tastes” are. Plus, if you do that critical exercise of putting yourself in the customers’ shoes, their taste becomes your own. No matter what content marketing experts, writers, SEO experts and social media gurus may tell you about what will create buzz and drive traffic, trust your own knowledge and taste. The content you curate and create is a strong reflection of your brand personality so it’s not worth the risk to put out pieces that clash with this position you have so carefully built—even if the experts tell you it is sexy! A real expert is one who can match your business and lead generation objectives to your content marketing and content curation strategy.
3. Define your budget and make a shortlist: You can buy a full-bodied red like the Wolftrap (from South Africa) for under $15 or you can pay close to $3000 for a Petrus (French Bordeaux). Needless to say, if you’re shopping for wine, you need to have a budget in mind. Well, at least the average wine buyer should. Does expensive mean better? Definitely not, according to Miguel, “many wine prices are simply driven by marketing, yet are often just average quality.”
A lesson here again for content curation. Many paid and free resources are available to pick and choose from. Going back to my post from last week, let me remind you that simply link sharing (or spraying) is not meaningful. So your budget must include any costs of sourcing valuable content plus the time, effort and cost associated with tailoring that to your audience and adding your perspectives, annotations, etc.
4. Check credentials and find the best value: When shopping in a wine store, Miguel’s advice is to look for medal stickers awarded by respected publications such as Wine Spectator, Decanter, Robert Parker to name a few. Nowadays, you can also download their apps for a quick check on your smart phone. This will simplify the task as the wines have been scrutinized and rewarded accordingly by some of the world’s best tasters. “Now choose”, says Miguel, “and believe me, 9 out of 10 times you should be spot on!” The other method he advises is to seek the “best buy” / “best value” tag. “Very often there are some true gems to discover at a fraction of the price of fine wines, simply because wine quality worldwide has never been higher than it is right now.” Well, I am certainly thrilled to hear that!
Cue for us marketers: Check credentials of content providers—there’s a rash of them out there. Read reviews, check for authenticity of content, watch for compliance of copyright law, look for Creative Commons licensing where relevant, and whatever, you do, if you are not convinced about the credibility of content you plan to share, know for sure that your audience won’t be either.
5. Be versatile: Whether you are in a retail shop or a restaurant, when in doubt, search for “wines of compromise”, advises Miguel, e.g. a Rose or any quality bottle of fermented sparkling wine. These are versatile with a broad variety of food and should make everyone happy.
Now, in the context of B2B marketing and content curation, we know that we never aim to please everyone. So let’s not jump to the conclusion that any “content of compromise” type of piece will work when you don’t know what else will. But, it is possible to find, from time to time, interesting content that will go down well with a majority of your target audience, across various categories and segments. It could be something as simple as a cartoon, an industry infographic, a survey report, or benchmark study. These are quick to read and make for interesting reading. You can use them as fillers or even just to break the monotony of deep, detailed, “heavy” content—everyone needs to get on the lighter side of things once in a while.
6. Seek, experiment and enjoy: I love this last tip from my nephew: “In vino veritas (the truth is in the wine); so go out and seek, experiment; it’s a wonderful world out there.”
Indeed it is, don’t you agree? I mean, just look at how the Internet has changed our lives. We get information on anything under the sun, and I mean anything, on the go! And that makes it even more important for us to ensure that as B2B marketers, we are very selective, very strategic and very smart about content marketing. We must seek fresh, unique and meaningful content and experiment with it, but in a strategic manner. Content curation is a great tool, if we learn how to use it the right way. The “waiter’s friend” or sommelier’s knife is a corkscrew that is used to open a bottle of wine, but if you do not know how to use it, you will likely break the cork when drawing it out from the bottle. You don’t want to “break the bottle” during content curation.
Next week we will look at some leading content curation tools that you can consider adding to your lead generation toolkit. Hope you are enjoying these posts. Please email or call me, Louis Foong, at (905) 709-3827 if you have questions or any experiences to share about content curation.
Image used under licence from Shutterstock.