Case Study – Authority Site from Scratch

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Spend any time in the internet marketing space and you’ll see countless articles and advice on building your authority.

These articles, tips, and tricks always promise an end goal of becoming the #1 site for your target audience. But they’re also tailored for those who already have a foothold in the market.

If you read around, you’ll find that most of them are about increasing and multiplying your existing authority. They revolve around tactics to leverage your existing gains which makes them pretty useless for those setting up new sites or wanting to start with a clean slate.

HiResAudioCentral.com (HRAC) is a primary example of the information and tactics that are so often overlooked. The HRAC team managed to build an authority site from scratch using a curation first strategy.

We’re going to dive into the how and why they started and explore the curation methods they employed to grow their very own authority site from nothing.

Building an Authority Site

When Hi-Res Audio Central first launched their portal website, their goal was to be at the forefront of a new audio technology called hi-res audio (HRA).

The plan was to grow the site to become the epicenter of news, opinions, and information on high res audio. With some of the industry’s biggest players adopting high res audio, the HRAC team knew the right strategy could put them in the perfect position to ride the incoming wave of interest.

But HRA is a cutting edge technology. Even a momentary lapse in attention could cause a key development to slip past the HRAC team and have them scrambling to catch up.

The HRAC team needed consistent, up to date, and informative information to stay ahead of the sound revolution and ensure their site was the go to source of cutting edge information.

Becoming the Epicenter of a Market

It didn’t take Hi Res Audio Central long to realize they needed help. The HRA space includes a huge selection of well informed professionals including artists, audiophiles, producers, engineers, manufactures, and film sound designers.

It’s a broad range of highly technical topics which are the focal point of highly informed individuals.

Because of the range and complexity of topics, there was almost no way for HRA enthusiasts to find the high quality content they needed.

It was this lack of availability that led to HRAC’s mission statement.

“Our job is to deliver all the various viewpoints concerning high-res audio,”

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Ron Goldberg, website director and chief editor, goes on to explain the issue in more detail;

“We didn’t want to become just another voice in the crowd. Instead, we wanted to provide trusted content and editorials using our team’s extensive experience in a space that is changing rapidly.”

For the HRAC team the goal was to provide up to date, high value content that couldn’t be found anywhere else online. They wanted to build their site into the authority the industry needed. And to do that they needed to achieve three things:

  • To find the best and most trusted content in their niche
  • To deliver content efficiently and cost effectively
  • To increase website traffic and audience engagement

These three targets aren’t easy to achieve. It’s possible to achieve all three, but it comes back to the age old adage of fast, good, cheap, and how you can only choose two out of the three.

The HRAC team realized curation could be the solution to quickly produce high value content without breaking the bank, all they needed was to find the right tool.

Why Hi Res Audio Central Selected Curation Suite

The day to day duties of the editors at Hi Res Audio Central were long, arduous tasks. Every single day they had to:

  1. Source information on the HRA topic
  2. Sort the high-quality content from the garbage
  3. Eliminate duplicate content
  4. Select the best quality pieces for their audience and decide how to repurpose it

It was incredibly time-consuming. Even with the assistance of RSS feed readers and email sorting it was a task that would dominate the majority of their days.

The time constraints of publishing cutting edge content and the labour of finding that content simply didn’t match up, and so led the team to the Curation Suite Platform.

With Curation Suite, HRAC’s team were able to source and filter content based on a number of different metrics. They could quickly sort the wheat from the chaff and then organize based on impact metrics including:

  • Filtering out content from serial spam or non-authority sites
  • Organizing results by social share data
  • Highlighting content from top news sources
  • Sorting by Moz scores

The ability to source from specific sources and then organize the results turned a tedious, labour intensive task into a high-quality birds-eye-view of the top content in the niche.

Results

Hi Res Audio Central experienced immediate results. They saved time, reduced costs, produced authoritative content, and increased audience engagement.

“Curation Suite lets us gather a breadth of relevant content that our audience would otherwise never be exposed to,” says Ron. “It also extends our original content by letting us easily add additional contextual interest.”

Reduced the Cost of Generating Content

Imagine you have five full time contributors. Each one spends 1 hour+ each day simply looking for content in their target niche market.

They then have to read all that content to sort out the good from the bad. The good content then needs to be organized and categorized by relevancy before finally being repurposed for your audience’s needs.

That process could easily add up to 40+ hours every week. That’s the full time salary of one of those contributors. 40+ hours and a full time salary simply to sort data and cherry pick what could work well.

It’s a necessary part of any content focused business, but it’s not an effective method of completing the task.

Curation Suite cuts the hours needed for everything up-to and including publishing by approximately 80%. That gives your contributors more time to focus on improving your content’s effectiveness or other areas of the business.

As Ron Goldberg puts it:

“Without this software, we’d need a staff of researchers and reporters to be the authoritative source in our topic area,” Ron explains. “With Curation Suite, our editors can focus on creative decisions and audience engagement, which is what good curation is all about.”

Increased Audience Engagement

Increasing traffic is a key element of a successful online business. But, it’s also known as a vanity metric. Alone, traffic means little. What’s far more important than increasing traffic, is increasing engagement.

Tens of thousands of visitors are worthless if no one is engaging with your content or purchasing your product. Audience engagement is the key differentiator for savvy digital businesses.

Authority drives audience engagement. Smart curated content is one of the fastest methods of increasing your authority. If your audience starts seeing you as their favorite source of industry news and information, they’ll start listening to everything you have to say.

The natural engagement with your original content and promotional materials will spike and you’ll find more readers engaging and taking the actions you want them to.

Effective curation works side-by-side with original content production. Ron sums this up well with a sentence that accurately highlights what I see every day with our clients.

“Curation Suite is a star performer. Our original content would never have gotten the audience that it does without our ability to be authoritative on our subject. Without Curation Suite, we could not have accomplished this,” shares Ron.

What Does Hi Res Audio Central Think of Content Suite?

Curation Suite has helped Hi Res Audio Central grow a vast, highly engaged audience. It’s become an integral part of their content marketing and authority building machine.

It’s not replaced any part of their staff, but has instead helped extend the reach, influence, and abilities of their reporting team.

“Curation Suite helps you amplify your own publication’s worthiness by having additional reportage, and an opportunity for the editor to make editorial decisions. It doesn’t replace reporters, it extends them. I can’t imagine how you could be a successful publication without it,” says Ron with a look of satisfaction.

If you want to extend the reach of your reporters and improve your publishing consistency while cutting down on research time, sign up for Curation Suite today. We offer a full 7-day money back guarantee so there’s no risk for you.

Start Curating Your Content Today

Keys to Success in Building an Authority Site

Hi Res Audio Central started with a curation first strategy. They focused on finding the latest news, stories, posts and reviews they could find on HRA and published them on a consistent basis.

Consistency is key. You need to be publishing content regularly to stay top of your audience’s mind and establish yourself as the brand who has their finger on the pulse of all recent developments.

But that content has to be of high value. HRAC didn’t just pull in lots of potentially interesting content, they amplified it with their own knowledge and opinions.

To give an idea of the sort of regular content they curate, take a look at the below:

Study: Consumers Not Satisfied with Quality of Audio Systems

A high quality curation that cites a study of music consumers.

Unlike many curators, HRAC didn’t just offer a simple one sentence summary but instead listed some of the more interesting facts and statistics from the study. This both grabs attention for those who want to learn more, and gives those with a passing interest everything they need on that one page.

This is a very effective way of doing commentary for a curation when citing industry studies, stats, or reports.

The HRAC team also a has a whole section of their site dedicated to gear reviews and gear review curations with their own commentary:

Gear Review: Sony’s NW-ZX100 Hi-Res Music Player

Another curation which pulls from a huge industry leader in CNET.

Gear Review: Pioneer XDP-100R High-Resolution Audio Player

Here’s another one where they cite a review from TechHive. Notice in this curation they also add an additional link to Pioneer adding additional value for their readers.

The Best Phones With Hi-Res Audio

Another quick single source curation example.

Horizontal Topic Curation

This is where the HRAC moves ahead of most curators.

Most curators focus on single source curation, but the HRAC team does a great job of curating around their main topic, or what we call horizontal topics.

Horizontal topic curation is the curation of content related to the main topic of your authority. Unlike single source curation which pulls content from one location, horizontal curation can offer more value by focusing on the wider implications.

Many of the horizontal curations HRAC publish are about the music industry and consumer behavior. Here’s a few of their best examples:

In Shift to Streaming, Music Business Has Lost Billions

In this example HRAC cites a report from the New York Times regarding music streaming and revenue. However, they go one step further than just citing the NYT piece.

You’ll notice that they’ve also included a few additional stories and studies relevant to the topic. Additional links which offer a more complete view of the issue and give the user everything they need to form a comprehensive opinion.

It’s additional links and commentary like this that’s enabled HRAC to build authority in this market. Sure they could have just stopped at the single cited story or link but they went further. They focused on providing even more value to their users.

Through their knowledge they connected multiple news items together. It’s details like these that that ultimately build authority –  especially when using a strategy like curation.

Beyond Curation & Thought Leadership

It was always in HRAC’s plan to release unique content. It’s worth highlighting again something Ron said above:

“Curation Suite is a star performer. Our original content would never have gotten the audience that it does without our ability to be authoritative on our subject. Without Curation Suite, we could not have accomplished this,”

As I’ve said, curation is great for building authority. But it’s your own content that can really take your curations to the next level.

HRAC have done a great job at producing some killer content. Content which has benefitted immensely from the authority Curation Suite helped build. To give an idea of the kind of content I’m referring to, check out the examples below.

Geddy Lee Wants Steven Wilson to Mix Rush Catalog in 5.1

This post really took off for them on Facebook amassing over 2.5K Facebook shares within a few weeks. What’s even more impressive is how the article is still growing in shares and traffic today. And its all thanks to having an established, authoritative presence.

How Do You Know a Music File Is Hi Res? The Audio Professor Crunches The Numbers

Once you’ve built authority in a market it allows you to expand your publishing. For instance, you can get guest posts like this one from Ken C. Pohlmann, a well-known audio educator, consultant and author.

HRAC Exclusive: Graham Nash Is All About Hi-Res for This Path Tonight Solo Album and Future CSNY Projects

Another really good example is an exclusive interview Matt Mettler did (HRAC team member) with Graham Nash.

hires-advert-200How They Monetize

Hi Res Audio Central monetizes with a series of sponsorships, advertising partnerships, and advertising networks.

A quick look at their site reveals their advertising placements and banner ads.

Above the fold is a top banner ad grabbing the attention of users who have just landed on site.

This is complemented with a series of sidebar banner ads ideally targeting those interested in the topic.

Also, below the content is one more banner ad, which is a great placement for high interest individuals who read through content in it’s entirety.

These ads are a mix of their own exclusive site advertisers and ad networks like Google Adsense. They also provide potential advertisers with a media kit you can download and view.

Thanks to a steady stream of traffic generated through their curated content, this mix of sponsorships and advertising works well for HRAC providing a steady stream of passive income.

Final Thoughts & Lessons Learned

It’s worth noting HRAC publishes content a few times a week. They don’t rush content and publish for the sake of publishing. Yes, I’ve spoken a lot about frequency and consistency, but sometimes no news is better than bad news.

HRAC know this and only publish when they find something interesting or noteworthy in the market. There’s a few keys that enabled them to build authority quickly:

  • They had a defined authority goal (leader in HiRes Audio news)
  • They published consistently (huge reason why they created authority)
  • They used tools that saved time and resources (Curation Suite)

Not only have they built an authority site but through their publishing efforts they also have built a respectable following on both Facebook and Twitter.

The growth of HIResAudioCentral.com has truly been amazing and they are just getting started.

To get the same results as HRAC and start growing your authorty, sign up for Curation Suite and the Listening Engine today.