After my last post about a content strategy, Merlin U Ward [Twitter @merlinuward] asked me, “What about media aggregators?” An “aggregator” is someone (or in most cases today a set of software tools) that gathers content produced by others and makes it available to people who want easy access to good filtered content on that topic. How media aggregation relates to sales and business development is this: If your friends, prospects, and customers turn to you for content recommendations (which is why you have a content strategy!), you don’t have to produce all the content yourself. You can be a “media aggregator.” Ah, but what kind of time does that take? A whole lot.
Enter the media aggregator tools and services! I’ll give you a simple, practical example that I’ve been trying out. It’s called paper.li (in its alpha version). It organizes content from Facebook and Twitter into a daily online “newspaper” with an attractive format. It comes in a free version. You create a Twitter list or Facebook list of people or companies that you want to follow OR that you think will interest your customers. Paper.li automates the process of aggregating that content on a daily basis, produces it daily at a time you specify, emails you that it’s online, and posts an announcement to your Twitter feed and/or Facebook wall. I created one called the “Grow-Your-Company” Daily. It’s composed of tweets (plus the links that they feature–i.e. blog content) from 11 people that consistently have good ideas for small business development, sales, and marketing. I like it for the convenience of my own daily reading, and other people have clicked through to it and in some cases subscribed.
Be aware that some critics of the media aggregator think it’s just another form of spam. I’m sensitive to that, so I haven’t done any real marketing of this Daily news aggregation other than a daily Twitter post. And I see more and more people in my Twitter stream creating versions of their own. Time will tell if a simple version like paper.li will fulfill a real need.
There’s also the issue of whether other people whose content you are aggregating like that idea or find it offensive. I put a lot of free content out into social media spaces, and if people that I reach directly make my content available to others, that increases my reach–therefore I appreciate it [in the form of “aggregation” where the content is clearly attributed to me; not plagiarized]. It’s also an encouragement to create good, well-written content that people consider relevant to their needs. But I’m sure others would disagree, depending on their own strategy and goals.
“The number one thing that I learned at Bazaarvoice is that people pay attention to content from others, and they will tune in to brands that facilitate this content as part of the experiences they create. However, given the overwhelming number of conversations coming in from all directions all at once, it’s often impossible to focus a lens on the ones that are most relevant for a given time, place, audience, and outcome. There is a tremendous opportunity to bring the most relevant content from the masses, to the masses – in real-time, wherever they spend their time.”
As I understand it, Mass Relevance will focus on helping big-company marketing and sales teams to define what their audience will consider “relevant content from the masses.” If someone, or some program, is filtering information on your behalf, you want to have a high degree of confidence that what they include is extremely relevant and that what they exclude is for the most part irrelevant to you. Think of how amazon.com “knows” your buying preferences and sends suggestions to your inbox. That’s how it starts–with knowledge about your customers’ preferences, learned through social media interactions with them.
A lot if ideas, demands, observations and tools are converging on this “content strategy” topic. I’d like to hear from you! Is the topic of interest? Do you want me to continue working with this topic with an emphasis on the basics for small business growth? Please post your comments!