But should “popular” content be your focus when sharing other people’s posts?
Professional content marketers use content discovery services to find the content they share.
Many content discovery services heavily favor content that has proven to be popular. Popularity is a key metric by which these services suggest the content being shared.
The logic seems straightforward.
If I share proven popular content, my audience will respond by liking and sharing too. What could be wrong about that?
It’s not that simple. There’s a difference between content you Create and content you Curate.
Content you Create
If your audience shares or likes the content you Create, the resulting traffic comes to you.
You control the content you Create. You host the website where the content is posted and anyone reading this content has to come to you to see it.
Content you Curate
But if your audience shares or likes content you Curate and share, the resulting traffic doesn’t come to your site.
These eyeballs go to the site hosting the content. These aren’t your shares and likes, they belong to the third party from whom you curated the content.
The Goal of Sharing Content
Don’t lose sight of your goals when you share curated content:
- Build authority with your audience. You build authority by providing content to your audience they haven’t seen, not by sharing over shared clickbait everyone has seen. A leader is ahead of the curve, sharing new content – not a follower.
- Be seen as a relevant source of content. Relevance and popularly don’t often go together.
- Maintain a relationship with your audience. Relationships are built on substance. A relevant piece of current information is more likely to cement a relationship. Obscure information your audience hasn’t seen is more valuable to the relationship, if it’s relevant.
The Challenge of Being Relevant
Most marketers are tasked with the job of developing a community for a specific brand or product. Most vertical markets don’t fit nicely into popular niches.
If you’re selling a product that appeals to a specific niche, your followers will identify with you and your content. But they may not feel the need to share this content with their friends, who are totally uninterested.
When I see an article about marketing, I don’t share it with my Facebook friends from high school. I read it and I develop trust in the person who shared it with me, but I know my friends will think I’m boring if I share the article with them – so I don’t.
Shares and likes are not an effective measure of the relevance of the content you curate and share. A relevant and timely piece of content is far more effective than something that does not support your niche.
You’re the expert in your field. You should trust your judgement.
Many content discovery services promote popular content because it’s easy. They get the metrics from social media platforms and easily use these numbers as ranking factors.
It feels good when content you share gets likes and shares.
But it’s a mistake to assume that popularity is a useful metric for curated content you share.
To be clear, popularity isn’t a bad thing, but it shouldn’t be the reason you chose to share third party content..
If you want to be successful with your content marketing, you should focus on these things:
- Relevance – Everything you post doesn’t need to overlap exactly with your niche, but it needs to be of general relevance to your audience, or they will tune you out.
- Timeliness – You want to be a leader and seen as the go-to provider of news about your area of expertise.
- Rich Content – Content that contains video, audio or graphics is far more valuable than plain text. A combination of Video and Text (which we call Video Rich Content) is the best, because it gives your audience the option of consuming the content in the manner they prefer.
Rather than try to follow the trend and share popular content, you need to set the trend.
In many ways we’re all still in high school. You shouldn’t be hanging around with the cool kids, you should be yourself and attract the audience that matters to you.
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