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The 3 Rs: A Balanced Formula for Effective Content Curation

formula for effective content, CMIWhen you talk about content curation, you often hear that recent content is the fast lane to visibility. This seems logical as you certainly want to be in the conversation on the latest trending topics in your market. But if you focus on that lane too tightly, you miss the route to becoming a full-spectrum destination for your target customer.

To make the most of your content, remember the 3 Rs. Your content should be:

  1. Recent
  2. Reliable
  3. Relevant

1. Recent

Content curators generally prioritize recency, and there are good reasons for that:

  • Users want the latest, most accurate information.
  • Search engines generally see recency as an indicator of higher relevancy.

But beware of focusing only on the latest and greatest. By its nature, recent content — that is, content focused on the latest news or market developments — can have a short shelf life, and requires you to repeatedly replenish your content stream with the newest information. Each update, in turn, will quickly be overtaken by the next round of news, the trendiest trends, and the freshest takes on recent events, leaving much of your previous content stale and out of date.

2. Reliable

When you’re developing a strategy for content curation, don’t focus so intently on the most recent content that you overlook the importance of reliability. Make sure your content stream is well-rounded by providing your readers with reliable, useful material that has a longer shelf life. This type of “evergreen” content doesn’t go out of style, and it won’t be overtaken by new developments.

For instance, if you only post stories about the latest technology developments in your market, that material will quickly be outdated when the next round of updates occurs. Instead, aim for a balanced diet by pairing fresh content with “sticky” informational pieces from credible sources; think “how-to” guides, checklists, in-depth analyses, and FAQs related to central issues in your industry. Once you’ve got it, this content retains value at little to no ongoing cost in terms of time and attention invested in revisions to stay current.

When smartly optimized, over time you will build an archive of evergreen content that users can reference to solve problems or answer questions, and your site will become a destination for authoritative content.

3. Relevant

The final variable to consider when developing well-rounded, effective content streams is relevancy. Everything you publish, regardless of source, should be relevant — to your brand, to potential customers, to your industry, and across all platforms. Be vigilant about maintaining your focus, and don’t sacrifice relevance for recency, reliability, or any other criteria. No matter how great the content is, your customers have to care about it.

As you evaluate curated content, don’t forget to consider relevancy on a macro level, too:

  • Is it relevant to your brand? Does the content fit the brand persona you’re striving to create? Don’t post material that’s contrary to your brand values, or to the values your customer base expects.
  • Is it relevant within the context of your website? This doesn’t mean you can’t ever post a funny aside or an entertaining but tangential oddity — it doesn’t all have to be meat and potatoes. But consider which platform is appropriate for different types of material. Use your website for material that tightly focuses on your core business, and keep quirky bits for Twitter. Put a personal face on your brand with blog posts, and use Facebook for promotions and to drive attention to posts on your other platforms.
  • Is it relevant to other content you’ve posted? In other words, do you have a coherent content stream across all platforms? Avoid contradicting previous content or posting material that’s way outside your focus as you’ve defined it. It’s crucial to filter your content stream to ensure it’s always aligned with your message, goals, and intended audience. All content you post should match your brand values and the image you wish to present.

The 3 Rs: A balanced equation for effective content streams

Here are some tips for creating a mix of recent, reliable, and relevant content that bolsters your visibility and authority with customers:

  • Maintain a balanced, consistent content stream across all platforms, with fresh content to leverage recency for high social visibility.
  • Take advantage of reliable, high-quality, evergreen material to grow your authority.
  • Aim for relevant content by keeping your market and your brand in mind.

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