Content curation has been the epitome of cool for some time. From collections of fashion and literature, to online shopping and YouTube channels, anyone can curate anything. If the curator is an influencer, they can disrupt traditional marketplaces. For instance, the art world once believed that collectors would never buy paintings based on an online image.
Market forces have also put pressure on legal services to embrace disruption.
Clients want help to overcome information overload. Legal professionals such as professional support lawyers (PSLs) already share and create content. However business development and legal marketing teams are perfectly placed to take a strategic approach to content curation. These four questions are designed to get you thinking about how you can really differentiate yourself and engage with clients.
1. What is the difference between content aggregation and content curation?
Content aggregation means bringing sources together into one platform. This can be from subscription or free news feeds, blogs, press releases, financial information, and social media etc. Information is indexed and processed by software like Vable. Aggregation is the first step in the knowledge process.
Content curation is when aggregated information is processed. It is read, selected and annotated by people who understand their audience. It's a careful thought process and is part of a wider business development communications strategy. Curated material will vary in type and tone depending on which channel it is published, for example, through LinkedIn, Twitter or via dashboards.
This is an important distinction to make. It differentiates the work of information services from that of the business development departments. We have already written about curation from the library point of view but we need the BD perspective for a consolidated, silo-breaking approach.
2. What are the marketing benefits of content curation?
A recent report showed that innovative law departments performed much higher against the ultimate measures of quality and value. It said ‘examples of innovation given by in-house counsel mostly focused on technology… and value-added services such as training and sharing knowledge [my emphasis]’. The following benefits your bottom line, and your ability to differentiate yourself.
Improved business analysis and competitive intelligence: Successful content curation results in enhanced reputation and a demonstration of your expertise.
Time saving: People do not have time to sift through everything so content curation is an essential service for which clients would be willing to pay.
Information quality: Trustworthy sources are key because of the risk associated with ‘fake news’, misinformation or misleading opinions being presented as fact.
The final benefit is the human element. Algorithms and searches make useful filters, but only a person can decide whether something is valuable or not. Seeing through the information noise, extract relevant content, and comment intelligently on it are skills that can’t be underestimated.
3. Why should everyone embrace dashboards?
Presenting information on a dashboard is a win for everyone. The types of topics and feeds on them depends on the job function of the end-users. They can either be a one-stop-shop for legal marketeers to see and manage all their topics. Or for legal professionals to receive a selection of curated - or general - information feeds. Shared dashboards make it even easier for internal team members to be ‘on the same page’.
And dashboards are not just for internal use. There are no limits to access - if a client is interested in having their professional adviser set up topics of interest, it could be a game changer in the way information is delivered to them. Corporates, pharmaceuticals, financial houses, in-house legal teams, barristers etc., could have access to their own dashboards, with expert searching and curation provided by the law firm.
Dashboards remove the need for emailed newsletters, unless end-users specifically request bespoke roundups. Unlike scheduled alerts, dashboards have the advantage of providing the end-user with an at-a-glance view of their feeds on their desktop or mobile. They have access to metrics, such as how many articles were published on a particular date - useful for tracking key corporate events, for example.
4. How does content curation fit into a Social Media & Communications Strategy?
Start with a search
This is how it works for Team Vable. Keep in mind that whatever you do with the content, it originates with a search. Identify themes based on current industry trends, interests, clients or companies. Create and/or confer with your search experts to get the best results - at this stage you might want the platform to return a broad based set of results. From here it depends on your audience and the dissemination of the knowledge.
Then select your content
A successful social media and communications strategy requires a constant supply of relevant, shareable content. Well-organised aggregated content searches save time because you don’t need to trawl through unreliable sources. You have a pre-prepared selection of relevant topics in one place - your dashboard. You can select, annotate and publish items to different channels according to your own theme or industry focus.
Decide on the social media channel
Different channels need different approaches but they can all become curated feeds. For example, LinkedIn encourages posting of longer thought pieces. The option for publishing directly from there could allow you to explore how something in an article might impact your clients. Whereas Twitter’s strength is its brevity and immediate engagement. It allows you to flag something briefly, gauge opinion, start a conversation, or build up a story in parts.
Or turn it into a single newsletter for email campaigns
Newsletter construction and distribution becomes so much easier with content curation. Again, having a pool of high quality, relevant articles from which to choose is essential. People are awash with emailed newsletters so you have to stand out from your competitors. Your curatorial expertise and useful analysis will make that difference.
Analytics and reporting will show whether you are reaching and engaging with the right audience.