Creating newsletters with content curation platforms: Scoop.it

Scoop.It by emailWhile content strategy is our favorite topic, we thought you might want a review of a content tool now and then. We use and test content marketing and content curation platforms the whole time. We’re also preparing a report on these content curation platforms, along with some posts on the value of content curation and in which context to use it.

Until now most popular content curation platforms mainly offered social content sharing possibilities.  However, some of them are also integrated or integrating with email platforms.  In this post I look at Scoop.it, one of the tools I’ve been testing for a while now, and for those among you who want to try it, there’s a step-by-step example using Scoop.it and MailChimp.

However, first some thoughts on content curation platforms by way of an introduction. If you just want to know how Scoop.it integrates with email platforms, feel free to skip. And if you like/dislike these reviews do let us know as well.

Connecting content curation platforms with channels, goals, audiences and marketing tools

Integrating content curation and email makes complete sense and should really be a feature of all content curation platforms, unless of course your curated content is included in your blog posts or generated by smart feeds that “power” your newsletters, for instance. In case you doubt: yes, many people still love email, depending on the relevance of the content they get.

There are many curation platforms, varying from very basic to highly professional. As some of the more popular content curation tools are also used by a broader audience (and your target audience?) it can be smart to use them.

There are also different content curation platforms, depending on the intent they were designed for. Which one suits you best depends on your goals, on how content curation can help you serve your audiences better, how creative you are and how relevant content curation as such is for you and your target groups, to use that old term, in general.

List.ly, for instance, which we used for our crowdsourced list of content marketing, copywriting, web content and storytelling ‘experts’, is built to…curate lists. I’ll review it soon and give you some tips on how to use that handy curation tool. Another content curation platform is Scoop.it that is rapidly gaining popularity if I look at the number of people we know are joining it every day.

Both Scoop.it and List.ly are not enterprise level content curation platforms. But they are used by businesses, marketers and bloggers (with a handy bookmarklet for your browser). In the end, the same happens with Pinterest, for instance. It’s not made for business or marketing but it certainly is used for it. Scoop.it and List.ly are about offering curated content in respectively a magazine layout and list lay-out. Both are about community, social interaction, curation, participation, linking, connecting and bookmarking at the same time, with a different content curation format. The curated content can also be embedded into your blow or other content, as is the case with YouTube, Pinterest, slideshare, etc.

Integrating Scoop.it and email

Recently Scoop.it announced an integration with MailChimp to allow curators using Scoop.it to create newsletters based on their ‘scooped’ content. Time for a test and a how-to.

Obviously, if you plan to use MailChimp, you need both a MailChimp and a Scoop.it account to get started.  You can also use another email solution as you can export the HTML code of your Scoop.it email in a ZIP file or get it sent to you. Connect with your Scoop.it account and go to the desired toping you are ‘scooping’ (or curating). In the screenshot below that’s our ‘Content Marketing Experience’ topic board. On the top left-hand side you can click the ‘Manage’ button after which a drop-down menu appears. Select ‘Create a Newsletter’ as you can see in the screenshot.

Selecting the newsletter option in Scoop.It

Selecting the newsletter option in Scoop.It

After that it’s really simple. You pick the number of posts to send, decide whether you want to show the header or not and can choose to add sharing buttons or not.

Three interesting features:

  1. The possibility to either let the newsletter link to your Scoop.it content (curated content) or the original article (or multimedia content such as presentations, videos and more).
  2. You can customize the header which is recommended from a branding and consistency perspective if you do more than just curating, which you probably do, right?
  3. You can use a custom URL on your header image (sending people who click to the desired web page).

In the example I used a simple customized header. It has a pre-defined image size of 600x80px (typical width in email and in MailChimp). Remember: don’t make it too heavy, this is email.

Download the Scoop.It newsletter output code in a ZIP file or connect with MailChimp

Download the Scoop.It newsletter output code in a ZIP file or connect with MailChimp

Once you’re done you click the blue “Connect” button on the bottom-left side to connect with your MailChimp account. If you plan on using another email solution, just download the code output in the ZIP file or get it sent to you.

When using Mailchimp, you are asked to log in to MailChimp upon clicking and to integrate both platforms. Next, you’ll see the exact same screen as before but this time instead of a blue ‘Connect’ button, you’ll notice a ‘Create a MailChimp draft Campaign’. Attention: make sure your settings (number of scoops, etc.) are right before clicking it (!).

Click the button, pick your newsletter list and add the usual things such as subject line, sender, etc. in the window that opens. The last field (To Name) is for a MailChimp merge tag. If you don’t know what that is yet, fill in anything, you can change it later.

Adding the settings of the MailChimp draft emailing

Adding the settings of the MailChimp draft emailing – note how the blue button on the left changed after connecting with MailChimp

Next, click ‘Create’ and you go to your MailChimp account now where you can view the draft of the mail, import the code, change lay-out, etc. (I assume you know how to use MailChimp, if not, feel free to ask).

You can see the result here. If you know your way around basic code, use a platform such as Dreamweaver or have some people that can do it for you, change lay-out as you like. The same applies if you downloaded the code for another email platform.

Integration is the future of content curation

Is this the best solution imaginable? No. As said, there are many curation platforms and you may also prefer to send a newsletter with content from various sources (which is easy to do as we’ll show in other hands-on posts). Professional content curation platforms and content marketing platforms might be a better choice for you.

However, the evolution towards an integration of content curation platforms and other marketing tools – and tactics – is obvious. Nothing you do as a marketer stands alone. At least, it shouldn’t.

For people already working with Scoop.it, it’s certainly a nice way to get started fast. The success depends on your proposition and for which reasons you use content curation (think audiences, personas, information needs, added value, behavior, …). It’s easy and with some coding skills you can certainly take it a step further. Most of all, it’s an interesting evolution to follow if you’re interested in content curation. As Scoop.it is very image-intensive and it does require some coding skills to adapt the lay-out if you want to tailor it based on the code Scoop.it creates, I’m hesitant. However, if you have no alternative to create a newsletter, maybe this is something for you.

Stay tuned for more similar posts and of course we’ll also review some more corporate tools, including content curation platforms. It doesn’t always have to be about strategy. In the meantime, feel free to give it a try or ask some tips in our Google+ community. Until April 15h the newsletter feature is free and unlimited so you have all the time to test it before deciding whether you want to use it or not. If you used the integration of Scoop.it in a newsletter and came up with ideas or suggestions, please do share them!

Disclaimer: we are in no way affiliated with or paid by any of the platforms we mention in our blogs, unless otherwise indicated. All our reviews are (and will be) neutral.

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Comments

  1. says

    Great piece here. This marriage absolutely makes sense. I hope this partnership flourishes as we at Flashissue are extremely excited about the content curation evolution. We have crafted our product around the average Joe Who does “not know what to write” and wants to stay away from “HTML Spaghetti” I think this is a sign of great things to come for the content curation and delivery market.

    • says

      So do I. I think that curation is a small piece of an evolution that content marketing, online publishing and digital media are going through in general. The impact of the Copernican revolution where it’s not about us but about the customer in the first place and the impact of social is – according to me – not understood by many big players yet. It’s a topic for a blog post I hope to put out soon. Thanks Eric for your comment. Looking forward to share all the relevant stuff – I’m pretty confident about that – we’re planning to offer here soon.

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