Profiting From Other People’s Content

newsDon’t be alarmed by that title – I’m not talking about stealing content for gain, I’m talking about adding the filtering and aggregating of content to your content consumption, creation and sharing routine.

Pretty much everyone has bought into the idea that they need to produce lots of valuable content in order to build the trust and search engine eyes of today’s online prospect. One way to supplement your content strategy while still providing lots of value, is to get good at finding and filtering other people’s content that your prospects and customers will find useful as well. (Done right, the “other people” will thank you for giving a wider audience to their content)

It should go without saying that giving credit to the original source and full attribution to the author when appropriate is a must.

There are a number of ways to think about this idea

Make yourself a better resource

Creating a habit of filtering content related to your industry, products, competitors and customers will make you better at what you do, allow you to keep up with trends and give you data to help you build deeper relationships with customers.

Share content to draw attention

Pointing out useful resources and good finds is a great way to build your social media and blog followings. Consistently sharing relevant links and sharing them on Twitter is a strategy that many find helps them be seen as follow worthy. Creating a once a week blog post roundup of good stuff is a great way to add content and keep readers engaged.

Filter personalized content

A more advanced strategy is to use your filter skills to create your own industry research briefs. If you specialize in several market niches you can create laser specific new pages and email newsletter roundups that feature the best of what you find each week. You can even use RSS technology to deliver dynamically changing web content password protected for your best clients.

Some of my favorite tools for finding other people’s content

AllTop – This site collects what it believes is the all the top blog content on a large number of topics and displays the last posts from each of these sources. This should be a daily stop for most. You can also build your own custom page here and use this as your RSS reader.

Delicious – This is my favorite bookmarking site. As I surf the web I mark sites here with tags that I define. It’s a place to categorize content, find new content and create custom RSS feeds of the content you find. If you are trying to create pages for customers you simply define a tag for the customer and then set-up an RSS feed that streams your hand picked content.

StumbleUpon – A service that helps you stumble upon content related to topics of interest that you define. Browser toolbar makes it very easy for you to go looking. I’ve used this technique on numerous occasions to find unique content to share on Twitter.

Business Exchange – Business Week’s community platform allows users to submit content related to specific topics.

Kurrently – Once of the first search engines that allows you to find what’s being said on Facebook

Twitter Advanced Search – Using the Twitter advanced search function you can set up a search like this: “small business” OR entrepreneur OR “start up” filter:links to bring you tweets for a specific topic that contain links. This is a great way to keep up with what’s being shared on a specific topic and since the search produces an RSS feed you can send it to your Google Reader or even publish it to an HTML page.

Google Reader – Subscribe to relevant industry blogs and have a library to read any time you have some down time. You can also set up a custom TwitterFeed to tweet your shared Google Reader items adding a hand selected way to share more content as you read.

Google Alerts – Create custom searches for things like brands, people and products and have any mentions delivered to your inbox or reader.

Google Insights for Search – With Google Insights for Search, you can compare search volume patterns across specific regions, categories, time frames and properties

Instapaper– A simple tool for saving web pages to read later but in a nice custom newspaper kind of format. Phone, Kindle and iPad apps available.

Feedburner – This is Google’s tool that allows you to enhance your RSS feeds. For purpose of this post I point to the Feed feature that makes it very easy for your to take and RSS feed and publish to a web page. Here’s an example where I’ve take hand selected delicious feed mention of my book, The Referral Engine, and streamed them on a web page. Bonus: Notice the RSS feed of Twitter mentions doing the same thing.

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  • Ken Honeywell

    Totally agree, John. The future belongs to the best editors and aggregators.

  • steveborgman

    John, thanks for the great information here. Have you ever used It's kind of like Instapaper, but is a great way to follow all of your blogs in a magazine type format. (I'm not promoting any affiliate thing here, just love their service).

    You mentioned “You can even use RSS technology to deliver dynamically changing web content password protected for your best clients.” Is that through the Feedburner paragraph you mentioned at the end?

  • ducttape

    Hey Steve I do like and use Feedly too. The Feedburner Buzz Boost feature allows you to copy and paste a little code and easily publish and RSS feed to a web page. The password part would just be something like create and protecting a directory with your web host panel.

  • ducttape

    I know many of my favorite newsletters come in this digest format – like the Smart Briefs series. The key lies in recognizing and enhancing content, not just cut and paste and automate.

  • Bryan Bowers

    John, I couldn't agree with you more. I have been doing this for the last month as a service to my clients. I have it tied to a WordPress plugin that automatically sends a summary of all posts (with links to the full article) to my clients each week for a drip/keep in touch marketing campaign. Have already received positive reviews. :-)

  • three credit report

    awesome. thanks for sharing

  • Michael Van Osch

    great post John; your content is as usual, highly useful.

  • AlexandraCojocaru

    Great point, it's not enough to just aggregate content, you should try and give it a bit of a personal touch. I too am doing a weekly wrap-up of things that caught my attention and feel like sharing with people.
    Also, thanks for the tools, I haven't heard all of them and I will sure take a peak to see if something suits me better.

  • ducttape

    Hey Bryan – what plug in is this?

  • ducttape

    Thanks Michael

  • ducttape

    I know I like it when people add their take on things I write – it's what makes the content better than the original.

  • Will Hardison

    This is great. I was beginning to wonder if I was doing something dirty and just plain illegal by aggregating other people's content and putting them in my own words (giving credit of course) and using them as posts on my own blog.

    I always, deep, deep inside me figured that other's where doing the same. I knew there was no way people could sit around and create valuable content out of thin air. I'm sure some do, but I suspect a majority of people research, aggregate, and regurgitate content.

  • AlexandraCojocaru

    And what makes knowledge even stronger.

  • andytraub

    John, a wealth of resources in this post. Thanks for creating it. Maybe my fear is unfounded but at what point are there too many people “repurposing” content and original thoughts become hard to come by?

    I'm 100% confident I could boost the traffic to my blog if I just link to popular social media stories of the day but I want my readers to see me as a source for ideas, not just a personalized version of Google Reader. I'm sure there's middle ground in the conversation but anyone can aggregate / repurpose / regurgitate content. Doing what YOU do, what Seth Godin, what Chris Garrett does, by coming up with original thoughts…that's hard work.

    So where's the balance in being original and regurgitating everyone else's hard work?

    By the way, this is what I mean by regurgitating – Def: To repeat (information) without analyzing or comprehending it. (from my dictionary tool on my Mac)

    Thanks again for the post.

  • ducttape

    Yes if you regurgitate and don't have any original thoughts you probably wouldn't think makes sense.

    People want help understanding what to read and why – that's what I'm talking about – if you don't add the why they you won't produce much of value.

  • Erik Fisher

    For the fact that any link back to this discussion brought me to ductape's site, I say they win. Sure, someone might see a link to the article in my twitter feed, and mentally associate the article with me, and even think I know what I'm talking about, but the fact is, they came back to THIS site and see who the actual writer is. I've followed more people on twitter based on what they themselves have written, than I have followed the person who actually tweeted it.

  • ducttape

    I agree – full and accurate attribution is crucial

  • Diane

    So glad I found Duct Tape Marketing! I definately will be a frequent visitor.

    Thanks for the info. I have bookmarked some of these and plan to spend more time checking each one out.

  • andytraub

    “People want help understanding what to read and why” – That sentence really
    makes sense to me John. I think those of us who are in the depths of these
    articles, AllTop and RSS feeds often forget that there are people on the
    surface looking for guidance on where to dive in. It's easy to forget that
    there are those who want direction on what we might consider basic stuff.

    Adding the “why” as you said, is very important. I'll be using this very
    post with my friend Justin Lukasavige @pastdue when we teach a class tonight
    on creating content for your audience. Thanks for the content 😉

  • andytraub

    Erik, great point about following people back to the original source.
    That's where it gets grey in my opinion sometimes. The link back to the
    original source (as John pointed out) is key to having a healthy balance of
    repurposing vs. stealing. Thx for clarifying the topic guys. Much

  • Colorado llc

    Oh well, I relate on this topic. We live in this kind of business. Thanks for the details, hope article will succeed.

  • julieweishaar

    Thanks John for giving credence to one of the ways I “create” content. I don't have the time to be able to write enough original content as I would like. What I do is find something that I think is valuable to my readers, write my own opinion or spin on the topic, and then include a link to the original source. I have been doing this for a while and have been criticized by some for “promoting” others' work. I don't see it that way and agree with you – obviously :). I want to provide value to my clients and prospects and if someone else has something really helpful to offer (like you), I either post it directly or do what I described above. Thanks for sharing your insights.

  • yuregininsesi

    I have it tied to a WordPress plugin that automatically sends a summary of all posts (with links to the full article) to my clients each week for a drip/keep in touch marketing campaign.