Have you ever observed how a particular content is being presented in many different ways by different sites? They’re all talking about the same thing but each article is different from the other. If you have, chances are you have been following sites that aggregate content.
What is Content Aggregation?
Content aggregation, in a nutshell, is collating a number of reliable resources on the web for a particular topic, excerpting from these sources and adding significant insights and information to produce content of great relevance to your audience.
Not to be mistaken for plagiarism, content aggregation is not using someone else’s original work and claiming it to be your own, although there are content aggregators that border on this. If done right, you will be able to provide your audience with rich information that will hugely benefit them.
Why aggregate content?
The constant upgrading of technology, the continuous evolution of the internet and the digitizing of businesses have obviously changed the way marketing is being done.
The web has become the great equalizer. Back in the day, huge companies, hands down, had the edge over small businesses, but the internet has given these small businesses a platform to compete head to head with even the biggest of brands in the industry.
Two years ago, digital marketing agencies were only trying to convince entrepreneurs to take their businesses online, but now it’s about letting your voice be heard from among the countless of industry experts within your niche.
People do not care about your products until you give them a reason to trust you. It’s not only a matter of keeping up with the news and updates within your industry, but also being able to pass on that valuable information to others.
How to aggregate content
You have to be careful when you aggregate content. Firstly, you have to avoid plagiarizing content others made. Secondly, poorly done aggregation will produce you ill-quality content.
Here are some of the things that you can do to come up with a well-aggregated content:
1. Find accurate and relevant sources
Make sure that the sources of the articles you are aggregating are credible and trustworthy. Find the ones written by influencers or published in websites that are respected and trusted within your industry.
Always double-check on the information that are included in the articles. Make sure that the details provided are accurate and that that the topics are relevant and important to your readers.
2. Add value to the original text
First of all, you need to be clear about where you stand on an issue. After quoting from the original article, let people know where you’re going with it.
Add your insights. Do you agree or disagree with the author and why? What are the things that were missed out? Do you have additional information that refute or support the statements? Include excerpts from different sources that drive your point across to your readers.
3. Digest information into bite-sized chunks
You can summarize all the important details you have gathered into bullet points, or into a much more compact article, making it easier for your readers to chew on all the information they need to know for a lesser amount of time.
4. Link to sources
Add links to the sources of the information you have gathered. This way, you are giving credit to the original author or publication, and at the same time, providing your readers access to other information that they may be searching for.
5. Involve your readers in the discussion and empower your sources
Offer the article for discussion. Ask questions to your readers and encourage your source to answer queries from the readers. Involve everyone in healthy and objective discussions about the issues and topics that you have published.
The 80/20 Rule
Several years ago, TV ads and posters ruled in marketing and sales almost always accompanied a good marketing strategy. Nowadays, people frown at always being sold to.
If you’ve been doing web marketing for quite some time now, you would be familiar with the 80/20 rule.
The 80/20 rule stands for 80% quality content and 20% about your brand. Talking about your products all the time no longer works. People want information and if you don’t have what they’re looking for, they will quickly lose interest and drop you at a snap of a finger.
Give your market what they’re looking for. Communicate with them how you will be able to resolve their problems. Give them a glimpse of your expertise. Aggregate quality content and give your audience a reason to trust your brand.
Chapter 1: Factors driving the need for Content Aggregators
In 2011, Google revamped its algorithm that sent many websites and online businesses scrambling to make changes in the way they publish content. “Content is King” headlined every single digital marketing agency.
So if content is king, shouldn’t there be a bigger clamor for original content creators over aggregated content?
Of course, nothing is much more exciting than publishing original content, but content aggregators can do for you other things that add value to your business.
Why We Need Content Aggregators
Need for Consistent Content Updates
For instance, there is now a bigger demand for websites to be constantly updated with relevant content; Content that feeds the interest of their subscribers and entices them to keep coming back for more.
Content Aggregators have the skills and infrastructure that can fill this need of these sites.
Traditional News Media are on the web
There used to be scarcity of credible sources on the web, but nowadays, journalists are starting to take their publications to the web. These journalists bring authenticity to their readers. They are inarguably experienced and trained in their line of work which makes for credible information much required of web-based publications.
Syndication for less known publications
Less known publications have better chances of reaching more audience when syndicated by content aggregators, and can help traditional media connect to a new generation of readers and subscribers.
Expansive amount of content
There are a wide variety of content made available online, from articles, to images, to videos and podcasts.
Reliable content aggregators have access to rich media sites, including retailers and entertainment sites that feature full motion videos and CD sound, where they can distribute different types of content.
The rise of non-traditional content creators
The web has provided a platform for all kinds of content creators, from writers, non-traditional journalists, bloggers, video creators and others, to publish interesting content, many of which are not always covered by traditional media.
Aggregators are after fresh, new and unique content, and they have the capability to distribute them equally to different publications and websites.
Web content aggregators can help subscribers integrate formats, such as HTML and XML, required for each web-based content into subscribers’ sites.
Content Aggregation is solution for B2B content
Web content aggregators offer a totally different set of content and services from that of traditional content providers, having carved a niche for this type of content in B2B websites.
Many companies need to provide quality content to their subscribers but lack the resources, the skills, and the time to create them. Content Aggregation provides the solution to this.
Chapter 2: Content Aggregation vs Original Content: Which is better?
Original content can be better than content aggregation in many ways. For instance, creating original quality content can definitely help boost your ranking. The key factor in this, though, is relevance.
There have been thousands of original content that has been published since Google Panda, but not all of them, by Google’s standards, are relevant, let alone quality.
Originality does not always equate to quality, which brings us to wondering which one is really better, aggregating content or producing original content?
The Pros and Cons of Content Aggregation
Aggregating content certainly has its own sets of pros and cons. For pros, content aggregation can help maintain consistency for your website.
Publishing quality content regularly keeps your site active which is good for search engine optimization, since aggregating content, in principle, should be faster to produce than original content.
And much as you need to showcase your expertise, you don’t actually have to be an expert to be able to aggregate content. At least not right away. There are many interesting work published by skilled journalists in trusted websites that you can aggregate for your article.
There is also an abundance of fresh ideas that you can jump off online. You don’t need to think too long and hard. You can gather novel information from the web and use them as springboards for your articles.
On the other hand, content aggregation may take too much time than you intend to spend on it, especially when you’ve been working on basically the same topic for some time. Finding fresh content might be a bit more challenging for you then.
And even though Google does not really penalize you for duplicate content, unless the content is spammy in nature, publishing one will just be a waste of time as it will do nothing for your site. The goal is to rank then convert this into profit, so it’s pointless to publish content without this in mind.
Even if you’re only aggregating content, you still need to produce content that will do well with search engines.
Besides, the idea behind content aggregation is not to steal content but to provide valuable information for your subscribers. This takes time.
There is also a need to double-check the information that you have collated from the articles you’ve read because not everything you find online are trustworthy.
Pros and Cons of Original Content
How exactly does original content help your ranking on Google?
If your content is interesting, relevant and fresh, many websites will link to yours. Google will pay attention and push your site up search results, driving traffic to you.
The downside is that it can take longer to produce original content and you need to invest on an editorial staff to take care of it.
The Story of Upworthy
On the other hand, consider the story of Upworthy, one of the fast rising websites that used to aggregate content for their website.
A big chunk of Upworthy’s traffic comes from Facebook. They post the link to the content on Facebook and Facebook users click on the links to be able to watch the videos that Upworthy features.
However, Facebook started going after click-bait types of content. Click-bait content are the links Facebook users post on their pages with sensationalized captions intended to lure Facebook users to their actual websites.
In light of this change, Facebook also introduced Facebook video which gained huge traction during the Ice Bucket challenge.
More and more Facebook users found clicking on videos directly uploaded on Facebook more convenient, than clicking on links that lead to their official websites therefore affecting the way Upworthy had been promoting their posts.
It is because of this that Upworthy decided to change things up and start creating their own videos to upload on Facebook video instead of simply looking for interesting and captivating ones others post on YouTube.
Original content is best on circumstances such as Upworthy’s and if you have the means and resources to maintain it. But as we’ve mentioned, content aggregation provides consistency to your website.
The best way to go about content is alternating original content with aggregated content. Content aggregation will buy you the time you need to write your original article.
Chapter 3: Content Curation vs Content Aggregation, Their Big Difference
Content Curation and Content Aggregation can become confusing if the concepts are new to you. Both marketing strategies involve scouring the web for credible and newsworthy information and featuring these on their websites and social media pages.
While there are a lot of similarities between the two, Content Aggregation is automated and keyword driven, Content Curation is not.
Content Aggregation uses automated tools that use keywords you input to crawl the web for the articles that you will include in your content. These keywords are relevant to your niche.
Content Aggregation is a more technical process, one that relies on proven traffic sources of content, Content Curation is search done manually.
And while many marketing agencies swear by the effectiveness of content curation over content aggregation because of its flexibility in terms of digging up untapped treasures of high-quality content, the latter makes updating content in real-time much more achievable.
It is also more scalable since you’re using automated tools to gather content.
Content Aggregation is information-focused
Content Aggregation edges out Content Curation in terms of the number of voices that you include in your content.
It’s not just about you and your insights. It gathers many different opinions and views of different authors respected in their fields and industries in one article.
It’s not only selling your opinion, you’re also presenting different sides to the topic, giving your readers a more holistic view on the subject, whereas content curators focus more on creating new content out of the content collected.
The challenge for aggregators is to keep to the context of the topic so it’s important for you to keep in mind that the goal of Content Aggregation is to supply valuable information that your subscribers have a need for.
Chapter 4: Best Content Aggregator Websites and Tools
One of the things that make Content Aggregation reliable and scalable is the availability of tools online that you can use.
There is a wide variety to choose from, ranging from free services to paid ones. Some are easier to utilize than others.
Here’s a list of 5 of the most popular Content Aggregator websites and tools recommended by digital marketing agencies, in no particular order:
- Alltop.com – Content creators and publishers cannot easily get listed on Alltop. You need to prove your content’s worth to be able to make it to their list. If you visit Alltop.com, you will find content from popular websites such as Mashable, TechCrunch, Problogger, Wired and LifeHacker. This says a lot about the reliability of this tool to churn top quality content. Not only that, Alltop adds a “do-follow” link to your site.
- Bizsugar.com is specifically committed to gathering news related to small businesses. It is a resource site that is very useful for small businesses that are working on targeted traffic and link building. You don’t need to register for membership to be able to submit news to Bizsugar. What makes BizSugar different from other content aggregating websites is that it is also a community where you can build a support network with other small business owners.
- Bibliologo is a content aggregation tool that specially caters to researchers. You can import different RSS feeds into your account, add bibliographies and cite sources. Bibliogo gathers articles based on the keywords you’ve input. It’s interactive in a way that it lets you suggest, share and comment on bibliographies and citations in your workgroups. It can also publish in RTF, RIS, RSS feed and other formats. Bibliogo is a free tool.
- Feedly was one of the RSS feeds that rose to the occasion when Google announced that it was shutting down Google Reader in 2013. Feedly provides categorization and grouping features of news articles and blogs according to your interest, be it technology, business, design, or marketing. It’s very user-friendly and reads like a magazine. You can simply click “read” for those that you’ve gone over and don’t need any more or you can click “save for later” for those you plan to get back to. You can integrate Feedly to Evernote or other organization tools for your research curation needs and into your social media accounts such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or your email for easy sharing.
- Buzzsumo lets you see how links are doing on social media and gives you a list of share-worthy content. All you need to do is type in a topic and it will generate an organized list of content for you based on their popularity. You can filter your list based by date, language, country and type of content. For instance, are you looking for infographics? Videos? Web news? Blogs? This makes it easier for you to find industry experts in every location and subscribe to their blogs. For a minimum amount of 99 USD, you can set your alert for the topics that you want to keep tabs on.
- LinkedIn Pulse – If you’re familiar with the principle behind the creation of LinkedIn, you’ll know that LinkedIn Pulse is a great tool to utilize in gathering blogs written by industry experts and influencers. You can simply download the Pulse app on your device or if you prefer not to, you can just add it to your LinkedIn news feed.
- Paper.li is an app that aggregates content from your Twitter and Facebook news feeds based on your keywords, and automatically lays it out and publishes it for you online, newsletter style. Paper.li also tags contacts and users to alert them on your updates.
- Postano – What sets Postano apart from other tools is that it can also pull content from Foursquare, Vine, Flickr and Blogger. So if you’re after unearthing great content that have the potential to go viral, Postano is the best tool to use.
- Storify is as the name of the tool suggests – stories. Storify lets you build up stories on your Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Tumblr, and Instagram timelines, using the articles that you have gathered. You can add your own insights to the content. Storify has a “drag and drop” feature that lets you add videos, images, or texts, and tweets into your content.
- Inoreader – is a highly-customizable content aggregation tool that works best for marketers that manage multiple websites. You can set up multiple dashboards and organize your feed accordingly. For example, you can assign one dashboard for social media, another for a different website, then another for personal purposes. Inoreader also lets you transfer your subscriptions in another content aggregator tool into Inoreader without much trouble.
Other tools and websites
Pinterest is also considered an effective content aggregator.
Ultimately, it’s finding the right tool that will best meet the needs of your marketing campaigns.
Chapter 5: Content Aggregation Strategies
There are several ways to do Content Aggregation. One of which is Social Media aggregation which simply means utilizing social media in aggregating content for your subscribers.
There are two types of Social Media aggregation: Self-generated content aggregation and Customer-generated content aggregation.
Self-generated content is content generated through the efforts of the brand alone, while Customer-generated is generating content by gathering it from your subscribers and customers themselves.
To understand more about social media content aggregation, here’s a list of 5 effective customer-generated content aggregation strategies that you can use as a guide:
1. Providing Social Proof
Social Proof is simply showing evidence that your claims about your products and services are true.
For example, if you own a restaurant, you may want to put up a wall of Instagram photos or Twitter mentions regarding your food and services and encourage your customers to tag you to their posts or use a specific hashtag so they will appear on the wall.
2. Creating Social Buzz
Do you remember when the Magnum bar was introduced to the market? Magnum bar is an ice cream bar that is sold at a much higher price and was tagged a premium product.
On its first week after its launch, Magnum bar set Facebook and Twitter afire with users posting about it on their timelines.
Iconosquare has walls of instagram posts of people trying out the ice cream bar and expressing their thoughts about it. There are tons of videos on YouTube about it as well.
Many approved of it, others didn’t understand what the hype was all about, and comment threads got longer and longer.
That’s what social buzz is all about.
3. Increasing Engagement
The use of hashtags as a way to increase engagement on social media has become a common marketing strategy in events.
For example, a product launch, a grand opening of a store, a brand’s anniversary event, a charity ball, or perhaps, a sponsored holiday event. Guests are given a specific hashtag to use when they post about the event on their social media pages.
4. Motivating and Influencing web users
One of the ways to motivate and influence web users to participate in a campaign is getting them involved in a Q & A session online.
Are you familiar with Twitter parties? Again, subscribers have to use specific hashtags in order to follow the entire conversation and displaying these live media conversations on your social media feed.
Other ways to influence web users is to run various contests where they are encouraged to express themselves.
5. Provide Visual Experience
Both the fashion and food industries thrive on giving visual experiences to users. Photos have a way of eliciting responses from the audience that no words can.
Live social media posting is another way of providing visual experience to subscribers. For example, concert events or fashion show goers post updates on them on Instagram or Facebook as the events unfold.
Social Media is a powerful tool for Content Aggregation
Aggregating customer-focused content on social media is powerful because you have added other voices to your own. and are providing, not only details of your product but an experience.
Nowadays, people don’t just buy into sales talks, they’re after the experience. By doing so, you are promoting trust between you and your subscribers.
It’s dynamic and it’s a game-changer for businesses. Social media aggregation allows you to tap into one of the richest sources of valuable feedback and information
Chapter 6: Importance of Content Aggregation to Your Marketing Strategy
While Content Aggregation is a “strategy,” it does not make up your entire marketing strategy. It is only a part of a much bigger picture, and an important part at that.
Content marketing is all about relevance. Content, no matter how well-created, is nothing without an audience.
Content Aggregation for both businesses and content creators
For content creators, their original works have no relevance without them finding the people their content will be relevant to. They need to find their audience and be noticed.
Businesses need to realize that people search for content. People want to be updated with the latest news, blogs and trends, and they have grown accustomed over the years in searching for the information they need on social media.
Reddit, Digg, Facebook, Twitter, and even Pinterest recognize the changes in the way people consume content and have adjusted their platforms to accommodate this.
If you want web users to pay attention to you, give them a reason to trust you. Give them the content they need and help them find you.
With content aggregation, you don’t only present one thing, rather, you present your audience with a much wider set of options. You give them an opportunity to think and decide for themselves what they feel is right for them.
Consumers nowadays do not like being forced into buying a product or an idea for the lack of choices. They want to be given the freedom to choose for themselves.
In a way, content aggregation empowers them in this way. You pull relevant content from all forms of media and present all these information to them.
Marketing costs are lower
Marketing is an investment. But with content aggregation, you can lower the cost of your marketing campaigns while maintaining effectiveness and efficiency.
Content aggregation allows you to do away with the usual research and editorial costs. You no longer need to send people on the field to study and do research, you can find most of the information you need for your content on the web.
Additionally, there are many content aggregation tools that are free for you to use and helps you cut down the time you spend in creating your content.
Content Aggregation is approved by search engines
If done right, Content Aggregation can help your website rank on search results. Since Content Aggregation is based on keywords relevant to your niche, there is an assurance in the quality of information you’re providing your subscribers.
Relevant content reflects well on Google Panda. The better you rank, the more traction you gain for your website.
Tips for Content Aggregation
Content Aggregation is an effective marketing strategy because it achieves the goal of filling in a need in the market, which is to supply quality information to your followers.
However, there are proper ways to do it, otherwise, you risk plagiarizing another person’s work or worse, produce poor quality content.
Here’s a summary of the things you need to remember when you aggregate content:
1. Find accurate and relevant sources. This should be easy since tools for aggregation will generate that automatically for you once you input the keywords.
2. Add value to the original text. You can find a different angle on the topic and serve it in the article.
3. Digest information in bite-sized chunk.
4. Add links to your sources. Not only to credit the original author, but as an invitation for him to take part in the discussions with your readers.
5. Encourage your readers to add their own insights and voice their own opinions regarding your article.
Remember that the goal of Content Aggregation is not only to be consistent in publishing content, that is only one of its benefits, but to provide valuable information to your subscribers.
Don’t let the tools do all the work for you, filter out content that are of poor quality, but be careful not to deviate too far or at all from the original contexts of the articles that you have gathered.
And lastly, double-check on the usage rights of the content that you will be using and follow due process in acquiring the rights to use them when necessary.