Staking a claim in the visual web doesn’t just mean creating original content all the time. Just as a great meal includes excellent side dishes, your content marketing strategy needs a healthy helping of curated links and photos. Some of the most successful online brands spend time curating and collecting other people’s visuals, especially on social networking services like Pinterest and Tumblr.
1. Connect with your brand voice.
Up to now, you’ve probably developed a brand voice around how you write and speak for the web. On the visual web, you’ve now got to apply a similar approach to the types of images you’ll collect and curate. Is yours the type of wild and crazy brand that will sprinkle a LOLcat in with a set of snapshots from a staff outing? Or are you tightly focused on photos that feature your products in heavily stylized settings. Your audience will call you out on inconsistencies, so it’s worth exploring those boundaries early in your curation efforts.
2. Take a stand.
Think about the best DJ you’ve ever listened to. They didn’t create any new music on the fly, but they knew exactly what to play in the moment to set the right vibe. That also meant knowing what not to play: the Macarena doesn’t always make everyone happy. Instead of trying to collect an endless list of links or the world’s biggest pinboard, value your audience’s time by showing them just the very best examples of the items that reflect your philosophy and their lifestyle.
3. Dig deeper.
Many bands just starting out on Pinterest restrict themselves to just a handful of images that mirror content on their websites. However, the most successful companies on the visual web use curation tools to reflect company ideals while setting the context for deeper company relationships. Use Pinterest to show off who you are, not just what you sell. Showcase your people, your heritage, your neighborhood, and even your pets (if that matches your brand voice).
4. Celebrate your audience.
Don’t be afraid to reflect the ways that your customers have integrated what you sell into their own lives. Repin images and stories that illustrate both the extraordinary and the useful ways your audience has embraced your brand. Emphasize the connections your customers can make with each other, even when your products and services aren’t at the center of that hub.
5. Make your own curations sharable.
After years of worrying about piracy and copyright concerns, it’s understandable that many mainstream brands remain shy about using Pinterest or other visual social networks. Start building a media library of sharable content, which you’ve created yourself or for which you’ve negotiated the rights to share online. That way, Curalate can track how far your images travel across your customers’ personal networks.
Pinterest and other visual social networks have experienced such strong growth over the past few years because they don’t require users to come up with original images all the time. Blending your own original images with those from your community can build rapport and credibility among an increasingly sophisticated and savvy audience.