Content Curation Giants: Google Versus Amazon
Specifically, they are major media entities that curate other people’s information. Before you object that Google is the world’s search engine, and Amazon is the world’s online retailer, let’s look at what constitutes a media entity.
Wikipedia defines media as “the storage and transmission channels or tools used to store and deliver information or data. It […] may refer to any means of information communication.”
7 Attributes that characterize a media entity
Both Amazon and Google are media entities in the traditional sense of the phrase based on these 7 attributes.
- Publish information tailored to their audience’s specific needs.
- Update information on regular basis, namely continuously.
- Provide multiple points of view. Google displays a variety of content from a variety of different sources based on authority. By contrast, Amazon delivers manufacturer information as well as other related content such as photographs, videos and reviews.
- Brand their content in line with their business.
- Offer information entry points. Forrester Research showed that Amazon has gained traction over time as a go-to information source.
- Distribute information via different channels including house files. People turn to Google for answers. Also, Google has YouTube, Google Alerts, Google+ followings and house files across their other products. Amazon uses their house file, search and devices to deliver and cross-promote products to their audience and keep them returning.
- Support information creation with advertising and product sales. Google is supported with third party ads and extends its advertising onto third party sites via Google Adsense. By contrast, Amazon carries contextually relevant third party ads integrated into its product pages as well as selling products and affiliate links.
Like many media entities, both Google and Amazon also have grown through strategic alliances and acquisitions.
7 Ways Google and Amazon are content curation giants
Google and Amazon are content curation giants because they publish other people’s content—Lots of it. In the process, they provide order and add context to the information they display based on each visitor’s past history and implied needs.
Here are 7 ways Google and Amazon reveal their content curation strategies. (Although it should be noted that neither Google nor Amazon adds a human touch or original content to their curation.)
1. Target a specific audience.
- Google and Amazon both tailor information based visitors’ past experiences. They use algorithms in the form of searches to predict the information or product desired.
2. Contain red meat content, not filler
- Google returns information based on relevance and importance. To achieve this goal, it crawls 20 billion websites per day for new information. If you try to fake it, you’ll get caught.
- Amazon provides relevant product information. The ability to rate reviewers helps reduce gaming the system. Additionally, its analytics show how well its content sells and informs its content optimization.
3. Add real value
- Google provides a diverse offering of information across different formats including images, videos, books, maps and other content.
- Amazon provides real value by allowing prospects to check prices via their app. It also allow kindle users to sample books.
4. Provides branded context for your information
- Google provides information based on its algorithms. While it creates its ranking system, it doesn’t create its own content for its core users.
- Amazon integrates seller information, expert reviews and customer ratings and reviews.
5. Involves a community
- Google engages people on its social media platforms, YouTube and Google+. It also provides other venues for user participation including Gmail and Blogger, its blogging platform. It also incorporates reviews and social media interactions in search results.
- Amazon engages its community through its ratings and reviews. As the granddaddy of online reviews, Amazon encourages customers to rate their products and reviewers.
6. Sticks to a schedule.
- Google and Amazon both continuously update their information as it’s available. (Note: 15% of Google’s daily searches are new; it’s never seen them before.)
7. Credits original content creator.
- Google is where people seek answers regardless of topic or format. Its search results provide an entryway to the information.
- Amazon is where people turn for product information and reviews, regardless of where they ultimately buy. Its content shows the creator or source.
7 Content curation secrets you can learn from Google and Amazon
Here are the 7 content curation secrets you can learn from Google and Amazon.
1. Leverage the power of other people’s content.
Assess your current content offering to determine where you have gaps. If you don’t have the expertise in-house, consider curating other people’s content. To help you, here are 7 tactics for content curation success.
Like Google and Amazon, invite your employees, peers, customers and the public to supply input and rank the results.
2. Use data to provide your audience what they want.
Google and Amazon are the poster children for BIG data. They supply visitors with information based on their express desires or past activities.
As marketers, you know prospects may tell you what they think you want to hear. Instead analyze your content marketing metrics to better tailor your information to suit your target audience. Even a blog can track key metrics for your business.
(BTW- Google Analytics is a free tracking tool. I’m not pushing Google products. I use Google Analytics and have worked with large content sites that used it.)
3. Incorporate user input and feedback to improve your content offering.
To this end, Google watches visitor signals including social media, and Amazon allows customers to vote on reviews.
While encouraging visitors to contribute content and perspective provides support for your content, don’t forget that 90% of people lurk, 9% of people do something easy or small, and 1% create or contribute content.
Make it easy for your audience to comment on, participate in, and share your curated content. Follow the “Don’t make me think” rule. The easier you make it for your audience to contribute, the higher the chances of participation.
4. Watch the competition.
Both Google and Amazon think BIG when they think competitors.
Google took on the major search options including Yahoo and AOL. Now, they’re taking on Apple when it comes to mobile platforms and Microsoft in terms of search and software (operating systems and applications) and email.
Who would have thought that Amazon would be a top retailer? Forget Barnes and Noble (with whom I competed while at Bookspan). We’re speaking Walmart.
By contrast, most marketers and businesses think small. They only look at competitors in the same niche, same channel and/or same location. While at Columbia House, we only considered BMG Direct our competitor, not other forms of recorded music like radio and MTV. Check 7 competitors every business has.
Look across processes when you examine your competitors.
5. Adapt to new technologies.
Amazon invented the first e-reader. The kindle got people comfortable using a reading device instead of physical books. At Bookspan, even our Internet head didn’t believe people would use a device to read in bed or on-the-go.
The kindle allowed Amazon a backdoor into the tablet market. Further, it disrupted the publishing model by creating a new platform. Amazon extended this with their print book imprint.
Both Google and Amazon were early adopters and disrupters of mobile capabilities.
Google provided the dominant mobile search platform. They extended their reach with their Android operating system and their Play platform, a direct challenge to Apple.
Amazon introduced its mobile app early in the mobile game making it easy for people to buy from them while in another retailer’s store. They’ve extended their mobile reach with the Amazon Fire Phone.
Both Google via YouTube and its Chromecast device and Amazon through Amazon Prime have extended their offerings to television. Both are creating original content for video and television consumption.
Don’t stick your head in the sand when it comes to new technologies.
Continually test new products and technologies. While no one wants to be tied to the next Betamax, you don’t want to be yesterday’s news.
6. Build long-term relationships with your audience.
Both Google and Amazon have worked to be the go-to resource regardless of device. Over time they’ve built customer trust and loyalty that’s part of their brand value.
Google is known for providing the best search results. A whole industry has grown around search, both paid and organic. Additionally Google has YouTube, the number 2 social media platform and search engine, and Google+.
It also provides maps and other forms of content including quietly digitizing all the world’s books.
Further, Google has communications platforms in the form of Gmail, Blogger and Google Drive.
Amazon has been building its customer file for years. In the early days, it practically gave its product away. It offered 50% discounts on books when the average margin on a print book was 45-50%.
With kindles, they have an installed reader base. This goes beyond selling more kindles. It translates to selling more ebooks.
Now they’re offering a free year of Amazon Prime with an Amazon Fire phone to build their installed base.
Go beyond building your house file for the next sale. Determine what you can do for your prospects and customers to build your relationship and keep them active.
7. Socialize your content.
Google provides tools to help you improve your use of search as a visitor and an advertiser. It takes social signals into account in its search results.
It also socializes on sites like YouTube and Google+.
Amazon makes it easy to share product information.
Like the major museums of the world, Google and Amazon are content curation giants.
Take a page from their content curation playbooks. Use 1 or more of their 7 content curation secrets.
Like them, dream big and start your content curation small.
How can you curate content like Google and Amazon?
P.S. I’d be thrilled if you’d add me to your G+ circles.
From leading content entrepreneur,
Joe Pulizzi, and the team at The Tilt.
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