Beyond PR

Sep 06, 2011

Curating Content on Twitter for Thought Leadership

Last month, I had the pleasure of attending RealTime NY (formerly TWTRCON). The one-day conference, held at B.B. King Blues Club in New York, was jam-packed with sessions, workshops, and case studies on mobile, social and real-time Web.

In one of the workshops, Angela Dunn (@blogbrevity) talked about how to curate content on Twitter for thought leadership. Following are highlights of her presentation:

Content Curation

Content curation is the art and science of finding, organizing, and sharing information that adds value and encourages engagement for the audience you’re hoping to influence. It is a cyclical process: What you find and what you post influence what people search and find about you.

“Your goal is to grow a community,” said Dunn. “People will engage with you if they find value.”

According to Dunn, almost 80 percent of companies are curating content for thought leadership.

There are three main principles to content curation:

  • Expertise with a point of view. “That’s really important,” said Dunn. “You want to add value with your point of view.
  • Building trust by helping others: Answer questions, and share information, knowledge and resources.
  • Establish trust, then get influence. Be credible and consistent. Align yourself with others that are trusted. Once you inspire trust, you can inspire action.

Your network has a value. Your company’s brand has a value. Your influence is a product of the two. And that influence, said Dunn, builds social capital. Your “role” affects how that social capital is used.

Dunn also shared three professional topic spheres for content:

  • Subject-matter expertise: 70 percent
  • Industry-related subtopics: 20 percent
  • Personal topics of interest: 10 percent

You want to have the majority of your tweets in the area where you want to present yourself as a leader.

Starting Out

If you’re ready to start curating content, Dunn offers the following advice:

  • Clearly define your niche. Define the main topics and subtopics that define your digital brand.
  • Think in terms of hashtags. What’s your hashtag?
  • Write a great Twitter bio, including key topics and links.
  • Identify key influencers in your topic. Search your hashtag. Find the leaders in your conversation. Engage in shared interests. Cross-pollinate ideas. Also, retweet others’ content and mention others regularly, for two reasons: to gain resonance among followers, and so search results are up-to-date.
  • Group key influencers into Twitter lists by topic. Grouping influencers in public lists is a compliment and improves their influencer score. In return, they may follow you back, which increases your presence in that area. And don’t forget to include yourself in your own lists!

Finding and Sharing Great Content

To find great content, search on Twitter for hashtags daily to get a sense of what the conversation is in your area. Also, set up searches in Google Reader and Alerts for your name, your business name, your competitors and keywords.

There are several types of content that are good to share:

  • Breaking news: Be the first to share the latest developments in your field, but don’t forget to add your point of view. Rewrite headlines for more impact, and link to visual resources (infographics).
  • How-to pieces: How-to’s are very popular. Share your experience and methods. The more your help others, the more you’ll have an audience.
  • Recap posts: Write or share a recap post for a Twitter chat, conference, speaker presentation or even book reviews to engage your community.
  • Identify Trends: Identify any patterns, connect the dots and bring your point of view. But make sure you’re open to discussing a different point of view. Don’t make it personal or bully anyone.

You can also show your thought leadership by posting any presentations on SlideShare, Scribd or Prezi. Also look at what others in your space are posting.

Twitter Chats

Twitter-based chats [like ProfNet’s own #ConnectChat – shameless plug] connect people and ideas around the world. They also provide you with great content, as transcripts and recaps are very valuable things to tweet.

To manage tweets, you can use a tool such as TweetChat, which lets you see the conversation and auto-appends your tweet with the hashtag.

Beyond Twitter

Twitter is not the only online tool for content curation and thought leadership:

  • Your blog: Define it, have a good bio, and post with SEO headlines. Also, comments on others’ blogs, especially those that are well-respected in your industry.
  • LinkedIn profile: Include a photo, a link to your blog and any books you’ve written.
  • Quora: Bio and topic selection is critical, said Dunn. Demonstrate your expertise by answering key questions.
  • Mobile vs. desktop SEO: “Just like social search has changed the landscape,” said Dunn, “look to changes in mobile search for the next wave.” Think about how you come up in mobile search.

Above all, follow the expression, “To thine own self be true.” Don’t pretend to be someone else. Stick to your real areas of expertise.

For more great tips from Dunn, read “How to Be a Thought Leader DJ” on her blog, blogbrevity.

Written by Maria Perez, director of news operations for ProfNet, a service that helps journalists connect with expert sources. To read more from Maria, visit her blog on ProfNet Connect at

2 Comments on Blog Post Title

christopher copywriter 20:49 EST on Nov 13, 2011

Well described twitter strategy!! Nice work… I even think the “topic spheres for content” percentages are accurate. Depending on the voice and life of the person tweeting – perhaps a larger proportion of personal tweets could be added to this mix. I also think mentioning the value of writing and creating ones own original content is also of value in this discussion. But totally lovin’ it!!


Maria Perez 08:10 EST on Nov 15, 2011

Thank you!

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