Content marketing: it’s become a buzzword in the social media marketing industry. It technically describes the creation and distribution of content for marketing purposes. In todays world, if you run across someone who claims to do “that content marketing thing”, chances are they’re just posting funny comics they found online to your Facebook page. In addition to being an ineffective marketing strategy, ‘curating’ online content can cost you thousands of dollars in lawsuits.
Is it worth it?, or should we start looking at adjusting the balance between curating, and creating content.
An Entrepreneur article suggests that third-party content should make up 25% of your weekly blog posts, and I can see why many marketers follow that idea. Sharing other’s blogs and graphics can save time, and content is abundant so it’s not hard to find an article that perfectly addresses your industry. There are also sharing benefits, when you curate someone else’s article it could be a the start of a beautiful friendship between you and the creator and his fans.
There is an evil secret about sharing content that most marketers forget – copyright lawsuits suck. Kari DePhillips is the Co-Founder of The Content Factory, she is literally part of a company that does nothing but create content, but they got sued for $8,000.Here’s what happened: when an employee used an image found via Google search in a client’s blog post, the photographer sued. It wasn’t an incredible photo, and after the post had been live for 3 months, with under 100 views, they received a notification that they were in trouble. The worst part is, in most cases simply taking down the photo doesn’t make the fine go away.
Even if you know better than to use a random google image to accompany a blog post, any sharing of images that you, or the original sharer doesn’t have the rights to could come back to you. Same concept applies to comics other people drew and articles other people wrote.
So it’s clear that curated content is the very scary moat filled with crocodiles surrounding the beautiful castle of successful social media marketing, so how do you get across the moat? On a bridge of course! Despite the bridge, many knights still thought it would be faster and easier to just swim across, but then they got eaten by crocodiles. Take to time to safely cross on the “Custom Content” bridge, and don’t get eaten by lawyer crocodiles.
If that metaphor threw you, what I’m trying to say is, curated content may seem like the easy answer to developing a strong social presence, but in reality if you put the effort in to creating incredible custom content, your fans will notice and you could avoid copyright lawsuits.
Speaking of sharing images you don’t own, right now Pinterest is in some potential hot water because with brand page, you are re-pinning images that you don’t own. Technically the rule is that if the site with the original piece of content has a “Pin This” or “Share on Pinterest”, that is them giving you permission to share.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see tons of brand accounts being shut down and sued for sharing that cute doggy in a top hat picture, so use caution on Pinterest, and of course, start producing more custom content with material you own without a shadow of a doubt.