ADOTAS – Online marketing technology company HiveFire released a report this morning looking at the way marketers collected curated content through 2011, and analyzing which practices and strategies were most successful in engaging readers. Content curation is the process of both creating and linking to pertinent content on a B2B website, and HiveFire makes a software solution, Curata, that automatically culls and organizes related content from around the web. Peering into the way the company’s customers were treating that content once they’d roped it in meant HiveFire was able to analyze the activity around over a million articles.
In a phone call this afternoon, HiveFire CMO Richard Turcott referred to the new report as “a report of census-level data of our own customers.” Explaining that their customers’ habits were changing as they became more familiar with content curation — a concept that’s still pretty new to a lot of businesses — and observe which methods drive more traffic, the results are “not necessarily best practices as they are observations.”
And one of the key things the report found a sweet spot for the balance between curated and original content: Sites where between 16 and 30 percent of the content was original posts had more page views. “For a lot of people that still don’t understand content curation, they think it’s just picking up third-party content,” Turcott said, but HiveFire CEO Pawan Deshpande pointed out, “Original content tends to get more click-throughs.” The report shows 17 percent more click-throughs, in fact, on original posts than on third-party posts. And Deshpande advises against wholesale reposting of third-party articles on your own website. “Curate content, create it, but never pirate it,” he said. “Share a portion, maybe a limited excerpt.”
Furthermore, the report demonstrates length of text used to introduce or clarify a link matters: Breaking it down, medium-sized snippets (141 to 1,200 characters) accounted for 55 percent of click-throughs, small snippets (up to 140 characters) for 35 and large snippets (over 1,200 characters) for just 10. And posts with pictures see 47 percent more clicks than those without. And the external channels through which businesses link to their content are evenly split: Looking at whether readers were coming in through social media links or from a newsletter, they saw a 46/54-percent split between social media and newsletters, respectively.
While it’s useful to know what’s driving traffic, it’s important to consider what the measurable value of these practices are. The value, as Deshpande sees it, is in “being viewed as an authority on a particular subject.” It’s also about having greater visibility, he said, and “boosting more traffic across more touch points.” But that reputation and those associations are developed through reliability, he explained. “When you look at the frequency, people tend to click on content when it’s shared daily. Good curators create content on a regular basis.” But creating content can be time-consuming, which is where pulling in third-party content can be appealing. The key, said Deshpande, is “getting the right mix. Most marketers are totally relying on content they’re producing themselves. They’re not producing a lot on a regular basis. Then they don’t see as many page views.” According to the study, websites that post new content daily see 17 percent more page views than those that don’t.