By Mary Montserrat-Howlett published February 12, 2014

How to Fuel Your Curated Content Marketing with Storify

storify logo-make web tell storyAccording to a recent Content Marketing 2014 trends report, 93 percent of B2B marketers say they use content marketing; yet of that 93 percent, less than half (42 percent) feel their efforts are effective. One of the greatest challenges organizations say they face is producing steady streams of engaging content.

With the amount of publicly accessible information online, it can certainly be difficult for curated content to cut through the clutter. However, the real problem isn’t the amount of information that’s out there, it’s the tremendous amount of effort it takes to organize and prioritize that information, and then to adapt the insights derived into an applicable content strategy.

If you think about the life span of a tweet, or the sheer volume of topics flooding through the mayhem of social conversations online, there is a very narrow time frame to capture news, ideas, and insights, let alone create content around those trending topics. This is why content curation has become such a pivotal practice in supporting content marketing objectives.

Storify is a free platform that can help you bring order to the chaos and preserve social media conversations happening in real time for use in your content efforts. By incorporating Storify into your content marketing plan, you gain access to tools that can help you structure ideas, provide context, and produce content with a unique perspective in a streamlined way.

Let’s take a look at the platform and review some creative examples of how different organizations, from brands to educators, are leveraging Storify.

Chapter 1: The Storify platform

Storify is a content curation tool with built-in blogging and social capabilities. Storify’s platform allows you to easily create stories by filtering social media and news sites in order to collect information about a given topic. Storify aggregates real-time updates from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, Pinterest, Google+, and other social media, allowing you to easily drag and drop elements from a rich variety of sources to build a narrative around your given topic.

Here is a snapshot of the Storify home page:

Storify -Homepage-Example

As you can see, there are many big media companies that are active on the platform. Storify’s own story, in fact, begins in the realm of journalism, as it was co-founded by Burt Herman — a former correspondent for the Associated Press.

Seeing the crucial role that social media played in breaking news stories, Storify’s founders saw an opportunity to amplify the voices on social media that “deserve to be published on mainstream media.” With the mindset that “every person around the world is potentially a reporter on the ground,” Storify was designed to give journalists the ability to compile these golden nuggets of information in one place, and use them to form rich-media stories.

Chapter 2: How it works

Creating a story is simple. As you can see in the example below, I’ve searched the keyword “ice storm” to see what people on Twitter were saying about a big freeze that recently hit Toronto:

storify-search example-ice storm

To give you an example of what a finished product might look like, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. used Storify to mix and match some of the most incredible photos that were uploaded to Instagram, Twitter, and other platforms to report on how the ice storm affected Torontonians.

Below are some excerpts from the story:

Storify example-frozen berries on tree

journalist commentary-candles

Your stories don’t just live on the Storify website. They can also be easily embedded to WordPress, Tumblr, and anywhere HTML is supported. Just click the “Distribute” area at the top of your story, or install the Storify WordPress plug-in to display your story in WP. Here is an example of the San Francisco 49ers website with an embedded Storify story:

SF 49ers page-Storify example

Storify maintains proper display and attribution, and lets you automatically notify the people whose tweets were included in a story. Storify stories can be continuously updated, and your readers will always see the latest version, driving more repeat visits and stronger reader engagement.

Chapter 3: Creative ways to use Storify

Let’s look at more examples of businesses that have been using Storify, and see what inspiration we can gain in order to use the platform to fuel content marketing efforts:

Twitter chat round-ups: With half a billion tweets being sent per day, Storify can be a useful way to curate and share the best tweets posted at a given time or around a particular trend. “Storifying” these conversations means your followers can find all the relevant highlights of a conversation in one place.

Say you host a Twitter chat, or a Hangout on Air. You can engage your users with a Storify follow-up conversation that brings forth the best ideas and gives the conversation a story of its own:

ioe tweet chat-storify exampleFor example, Cisco routinely uses Storify to summarize the highlights of its Twitter chats. One recent example is its #IoE Twitter chat, where it used Storify to garner ideas about what participants thought the “Internet of Everything” should connect. The best ideas submitted to the chat were later featured on WIRED.com.

Events: Similar to a chat round-up, Storify also provides a fast and easy way to assemble tweets, Instagram pictures, videos, and other social media content related to a live event, as well as to add your business’ perspective to the conversation.

For example, the World Economic Forum (WEF) uses Storify to own the media around its annual meetings. The WEF generated more than 80,000 views by embedding a story on its site and circulating it on social media. In addition, to help streamline the content promotion process, the Storify system automatically tags everyone who was mentioned in a story, and notifies them via Twitter that they have been quoted or retweeted (as noted in the 49ers example, above).

Storify example-world economic forum

Research: Some educators are also beginning to implement Storify as a new resource students can use to conduct research and share insights. For example, one teacher integrated Storify in a class and asked students to use it to create annotated bibliographies. The project was effective on multiple levels, but what was most valuable, according to the instructor was the ability to provide immediate, formative feedback on the relevancy and reliability of sources.

For content marketers, this example demonstrates that Storify not only can turbo-charge the brainstorming and writing process, but it can also provide new insights into what people are saying about your brand and industry.

Presentations and tutorials: One journalism professor started converting PowerPoint lectures into Storify presentations. Rather than deal with the hassle of going back and forth between PowerPoint and web pages, Storify offers a clean way to pool information into one web page that can be easily shared with audiences. Storify also gives you the option to turn your story into a slideshow.

storify slideshow example

 

Product launches: You can use Storify to extend the reach of your new product by posting a mix of demos, beta user testimonials, and social media buzz from around the web. Include tweets, pins, or videos of how others are using your products or services, and wrap all that positive feedback into a snackable story.

For example, Microsoft recently used Storify to promote its Windows Phone. The company aggregated content from multiple social channels to build out a story of Windows Phone users’ top five favorite features:

storify example-top 5 windows phone

Chapter 4: Premium Storify subscriptions with Storify VIP

If you are a brand wanting to step up your game, Storify’s premium VIP service provides a host of unique functionalities, including:

  • Private stories: These stories are only visible to those whom you give access. Ideal for company communications or personal research.
  • Custom sources: This allows you to add in-house data and media APIs by creating a custom source on the Storify platform
  • Custom story displays: Easily customize your story embeds to fit with your website’s style and branding (like the 49ers example featured earlier).
  • Google Analytics: Track the engagement on your Storify content through your Google Analytics dashboard.
  • SEO compatibility: Your Storify content is fully visible to search engines.

Chapter 5: Best practices for using Storify

For content marketers, having a single platform to gather social media conversations and capture the heart of trending stories in real time can be an innovative way to curate and streamline your content production process.

Some best practices to keep in mind:

  • Align Storify with your other content marketing efforts to ensure that all your content channels are supporting — not overstepping — each other.
  • Always add unique commentary to your stories: Some Storify users have the bad habit of just dragging and dropping social media elements into a post without providing any context. Storify isn’t meant to be used to rip off other people’s ideas, but rather to build upon them.
  • Leverage Storify’s SEO value: Storify is a PR 7 site that can pass some serious link juice on to your website. Identify keywords you want to rank for, and include relevant links within your stories that point back to desired web pages.
  • Promote your stories: Storify is a social platform with more than 850,000 journalists, agencies, and brands sharing stories. Plus, every time you include someone’s tweet, Google+ comment, Instagram picture, etc., the link leads back to the original source, notifying the person that they’ve been mentioned. Keep a database of those people you mention, and nurture those relationships to build your following.

Have you used Storify to help fuel your content marketing efforts? What have the results been? Share your experience in the comment section below!

For additional content marketing success stories, check out CMI’sUltimate eBook: 100 Content Marketing Examples.

Author: Mary Montserrat-Howlett

Mary Montserrat-Howlett is the Marketing Content Coordinator at iProspect Canada, a leading digital performance agency that helps brands maximize their online marketing ROI. Follow her on Twitter for tips and updates about content marketing.

Other posts by Mary Montserrat-Howlett

  • http://www.spinsucks.com/ Clay Morgan

    Storify is a terrific tool and very likely the best way to pull stories from various social media. But its a tool. At the end of the day, the results of tools such as Storify, keyword searches, algorithms and all the other technology still must be determined by a human to be something the particular audience might or might not be interested in.

    The problem with curation is there is so much content out there. The second problem is a lot of people aren’t good at it for a variety of reasons, one being they don’t really know who their audiences are. Then they fall to technology to solve the problem.

    Unfortunately, technology can’t solve the problem, it can only help you solve it. It is like a hammer. A hammer cannot frame a house during construction, but it sure is helpful when framing.

    • Mary M-Howlett

      Agree with you, Clay. Content curation tools are built to help humans cope with information overload, not to automate-and-forget the delicate and intricate curation process. Just as the museum curator is responsible for carefully selecting, gathering and preserving collections, content curation requires an appointed content specialist (or team) to consistently find, annotate and share the most relevant and highest quality digital content on a specific topic for their particular niche or industry. Thanks for your insightful comment!

  • http://workado.com/ Justin McGill @ Workado

    I haven’t really dug into Storify, but am seeing it pop up more frequently so I was curious to see how brands and companies used it from a marketer’s perspective. Good read – thanks! :)

    • Mary M-Howlett

      Thanks for the comment, Justin. Storify was originally developed as a journalist’s tool – but as brand publishing becomes evermore prominent in today’s digital marketing strategies, I think we will continue to see marketing and newsroom practices converge.

  • http://www.nishasalim.com/ Nisha Salim

    Storify has an inherent risk of being used inappropriately precisely because it is a curating tool and is so easy to use, and abuse.

    I think points 2, 3, and 4 mentioned under “best practices for storify” summarize why and how it can encourage and even reward sloppiness. Because of its SEO value, marketers may be tempted to just drag and drop links from here and there to create stories which create no value and just add to the clutter. And the feature of notifying influencers when they appear in stories may not get you too many brownie points if the content itself looks hastily put together. I’m reminded of the notification feature of paper.li which nobody bothers to read, and comes across as spammy.

    Like Clay Morgan says, Storify is terrific tool indeed, but without the insightful commentary of a human being who cares enough to provide context and value, this tool can easily lose its value. And because it is so easy to abuse for its SEO juice, it will be, and that can possibly bring down the value of the entire platform. Like what spammers did to guest-blogging (which is still great IF done to create value and build relationships, but is under the radar of Google).

    But yes, it is a great tool for curation.

    • Michael Gerard

      Some good points Nisha. Curation is certainly increasing in popularity, and with its increased use comes risk of inappropriate use – intentional or not. Content marketers need to ensure they are curating in an ethical manner and abiding by fair use doctrine. For example, reproduce only those portions of a story(in quotes) to make your point; curate from multiple sources; provide clear links and attribution to the original source of the article; don’t use no-follows on your links to original publisher’s content; and provide context or commentary with your curated piece to add your own value. These practices, and more, are especially important for businesses that don’t want to risk their brand equity with unethical curation practices. It’s even better if your curation software has these business grade ethics and fair use processes built into the application. Here’s more information about ethics and fair use as it applies to content marketing and curation: http://www.curata.com/blog/what-marketers-need-to-know-about-ethical-curation-part-1/ (full disclosure, I’m the CMO of Curata, a business grade content curation platform)

      • http://www.nishasalim.com/ Nisha Salim

        Thank you for pointing me to the ethical content curation guide, Michael. There is no doubt that if used well, curation can add great value to the brand and also build good relationships with others whose content you’re promoting.

  • http://www.it-sales-leads.com/ Barbara Mckinney

    I have just started using Storify and its great no doubt. There is a heck of a lot of potential for marketers to benefit from Storify… even more so from Pinterest. One thing is that this social platform/creation tool isn’t limited in its demographic like Pinterest is.

  • Mahak Vasudev

    Wow! I was searching for a good resource that explains Storify and yours comes at the right time. It is a great tool indeed and I do think it will see an increased application in marketing.

  • http://www.webspiders.com/ John Murphy

    Nice idea to promote your business ideas in Storify. People love to read stories if those are well-written and edited. You can share your ideas in same format as suggested here. This can be one way to do online marketing and impress traffic. Yes! Time has really come to think different.

  • Chris Green

    I’m not sold on it the implementation side at the moment, it seems as if hosting content curated on Storify elsewhere can lead to duplication or, because it’s based in an iFrame the content’s own potency isn’t going to be attributed to your site, rather Storify itself.

    This is just a 10minute appraisal which I need to look into more, but if anyone else has any similar views/concerns or can dispel mine, I’d be interested to hear about it!

    • LivefyreSkyler

      Hi Chris! One of the guys from the Storify team here. Sorry I missed this a few days ago.

      Good point about iframes – by default, these aren’t adding additional info to the page they’re embedded on, so that isn’t adding to what a search engine is finding on a specific page.

      Check out some of the info I just responded with to Kirsten Meyer in these comments though. This might help provide a little more context on what iframes enable, additional options for SEO and how other aspects of the platform work in favor of the many businesses using it perhaps.

      Otherwise, thanks for taking the time to briefly browse the platform! If you have some questions about a specific use case or concern, happy to pass those along to the team.

  • mevaga24

    my best friend’s ex-wife makes $69 every hour on the internet . She has been without work for 9 months but last month her pay was $13633 just working on the internet for a few hours. blog here ­j­o­b­s­6­4­.­c­o­m

  • http://www.kirstenmeyer.com/ Kirsten Meyer

    If Storify has not chimed in to respond to the SEO questions, is it safe to presume the duplication question as mentioned by Chris and Nisha is in fact a real problem they’ve not worked out? (Storify? hello?)

    I thought it looked like an exciting new tool but exciting new tools seem a dime a dozen anymore and I’m not sure its worth the investment of my time if its going to work against my efforts in other areas…..

    • LivefyreSkyler

      Hi Kirsten! Great discussion forming in the comments here. I’m actually part of the Storify team, so maybe I can help clarify a few things:

      • Yes, as Chris mentions, when a Storify story is embedded on another site, by default the embed is in an iframe.

      • The objects you drag/drop into Storify stories are not hosted or uploaded to Storify. They are embedded into the story, so the objects themselves and all the attribution information displayed with them link back to the original source.

      • As the article mentions in Chapter 4, our Storify VIP platform does offer some advanced SEO compatibility for stories if needed.

      Overall, I’d say the Storify team has never touted itself as an advanced tool for SEO, but it can certainly be useful in that regard for the reasons mentioned in this article. As many have pointed out in the comments here, good curation can be difficult to do, so Storify’s goal over the last 3+ years has been enabling people to find the best sources to curate quickly and distribute their stories anywhere easily.

      Many bloggers, brands, publishers and orgs use the Storify platform to generate great content for their readers quickly. This, coupled with the fact that Storify profiles can link to their sites and social media pages (including Google Authorship: http://thenextweb.com/media/2013/08/31/storify-now-supports-google-authorship-and-posting-to-facebook-pages/), make many of them regard Storify as a valuable part of their SMO strategy in fact, so we can’t say we hear about their use of Storify undermining any of their content marketing efforts.

      Lots of info here and in Mary’s incredible article above, so we’d definitely encourage anyone who hasn’t tried Storify or needs a better visual to try it out for a bit. If still curious, the team’s always available to clarify exact use cases or questions via the Feedback and Support areas you’ll see there as well.

      Hope this helps add some more context here!

      • http://www.kirstenmeyer.com/ Kirsten Meyer

        Thanks so much for chiming in with the additional detail, LivefyreSkyler. This definitely gives me a lot to think about and a better understanding of how Storify can fit into my overall marketing strategy.