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Not bad for a machine: Content as “curated” by Paper.li.

I used to think that curating content – reusing content from other sources to keep your prospects engaged with you – was for wimps. Real men (and women) did the hard work of coming up with ideas, researching and writing them.

An online service called Paper.li has me reconsidering my stance.  It scans the Twitter accounts you’re following (or a list of Twitter accounts you’ve created, or Tweets found through a hashtag search.) It does a very nice job of automatically capturing the headline, image and an excerpt of each Tweet. For the price of two Starbucks’ ($9 per paper) per month you can add your own logo, decide which captured stories get the biggest play and notify your followers when a new edition is ready for publication.

I was impressed with the first such paper I found, Content With Content which covers (not surprisingly) content marketing. It shows how, by carefully choosing which accounts Paper.li scans, you can automatically create a good-looking compilation of quality content for your followers.

Add Thought Leadership and Stir

Where this content curation tool gets really interesting is the Editor’s Note feature, which allows you to add one (and only one, as far as I can tell) own story of your own to the mix. This is your opportunity to, in your given field, add your insightful comments to what would otherwise be a showcase for others in your field.

If you’re a virtualization management vendor, for example, you could use the Editor’s Note to comment on the features a competitor failed to announce in a Tweet picked up by Paper.li If there’s a rash of Tweets from VMworld (happening as I write this) you can use the Editor’s Note to explain why, for example, there’s suddenly a lot of talk about the security risks in virtualization. You can also include hyperlinks to steer your readers to stories you think they should, and shouldn’t read; tell them what they should think about them or even to a landing page on your own site.

Twitter Overload?

Such automated content creation seems like a good fit for areas where there’s a lot of quality content floating around, and a lot of “news” to keep the paper fresh. In the IT space, think for example of virtualization, storage, security, mobile or anything related to “cloud.”

I would recommend it, however, only for organizations that have the time and ability to add value by carefully choosing which Twitter accounts to sweep for content, controlling the “play” various stories get and, above all, adding their own commentary through the “Editor’s Note.” I still maintain, purist that I am, that a newspaper edited only by an algorithm will eventually look random and chaotic.

You also need to watch overloading your prospects. Do they really need a daily recapping of many of the same Tweets they may have already seen from the accounts they’re following? You also need to figure out how this fits with the other social media channels (such as email newsletters) you’re already offering them.

Services like this provide some of the collection and present functions required to provide quality content, but as I describe in my ebook on where to invest in content marketing, adding context, insight and excellent presentation requires more work.

Low-Hanging Fruit?

One client recently asked me about creating a “super-site” about their technology niche — a “must-view” Web site for potential customers. With the right amount of customization, a service like Paper.li could be the cost-effective core for such a site.

Used right, I’m starting to think there’s a place for curation in content marketing. I’m curious about whether, and how, services like this have worked for you in the B2B space.

Author: Bob Scheier
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I'm a veteran IT trade press reporter and editor with a passion for clear writing that explains how technology can help businesses. To learn more about my content marketing services, email bob@scheierassociates.com or call me at 508 725-7258.

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Filed under: Content MarketingPR/Marketing Trends

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