According 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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
For 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).
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.
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:
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.