What Is Content Curation? A Dummies’ Guide to the Hows, Whats, and Whys

What Is Content Curation? A Dummies’ Guide to the Hows, Whats, and Whys

If you’re like most overstretched and under-resourced marketers, you’re too busy to churn out original content that engages prospects, builds relationships, and supports your branding strategy. Fortunately, content curation is a pretty simple solution that can help you deliver meaningful and relevant content to your audience consistently.

What is content curation, though? Why should you consider adding it to your brand’s content marketing strategy? How do you even curate content? You’re about to find out the answers to these pressing questions and so much more.

What is content curationWhat Is Content Curation?

It’s easier to find and comment on relevant pieces of content than it is to create your own masterpiece from scratch. That’s precisely what content curation is.

It’s the process of aggregating data about a specific topic, distilling that information to identify the most important ideas, organizing those ideas into a logical order, adding your unique spin to them, and then presenting the content to your adoring audience.

You’re not regurgitating what you’ve read. You’re simply repurposing, repackaging, and contributing your own insight to third-party content.

Why Your Business Should Consider This Tactic

Believe it or not, curation offers your brand a number of powerful benefits.

Content curation gives brands an advantage
Content curation gives brands an advantage.
  • Improve efficiency – Most businesses find it impossible to satisfy the ravenous appetites of their online community members. Curation allows you to feed your audience with quality information on a frequent basis without sacrificing time and resources designated to other areas of your business.
  • Establish thought leadership – Adding your own perspective and unique voice not only allows you to add your brand’s stamp to the article, but it also positions you as the go-to authority on a particular subject.
  • Increase brand visibility – Curated content can boost your SEO efforts and improve your rankings. There’s also the viral aspect to consider since people are likely to share cream-of-the-crop information that’s presented to them in a neat little package.
  • Educate your market – Essentially, you’re connecting your brand’s voice with the voices of industry experts. You’re participating in a bigger conversation and helping your prospects and customers gain an in-depth understanding of the topic at hand.
  • Enhance the level of brand trust – When you can show the audience through your commentary that you’ve read the article and raised its value, they’re more likely to trust the content you deliver.
  • Create networking opportunities – Drive traffic to a quality article and you might find the author thanking you with an invitation to connect. They may even share a little link love.

Is curation for everyone? Unfortunately, it’s not.

You’ll need to determine whether there’s dominant competition in your area of focus already, as well as the scope of opportunity to source and organize disparate pieces of information. You may find your focus is too narrow to offer added value on a consistent basis.

The Process

5 Steps for Content Curation

The Dos and Don’ts of Curation

Although content curation is fairly simple, there are a few guidelines every marketer needs to follow.

#1 – Do stay within the allocated time limit.

If you had a penny for every piece of content published each minute, the chances are you wouldn’t be reading this article. The reality is you are, so apart from warning you about the risk of information overload, it’s a good time to remind you that your research time, as well as the paid resources you intend to use, must form part of your content marketing budget. While it’s easy to get lost in a virtual maze of fresh articles, it’s crucial to remain focused. Limit distractions to ensure you digest content in a meaningful way and put your research time to good use.

#2 – Don’t rely on curation alone.

Content creation can be resource- and time-intensive, which is why a good content marketing strategy should incorporate both created and curated pieces. However, a brand that places it’s future solely on the works of others doesn’t have much of a future at all. Curated content is designed to complement your content creation plan—not replace it.

#3 – Do select content that provides value to your audience.

The most important part of curating content is handpicking pieces that are most relevant to the needs of your audience. That requires in-depth knowledge of your readership, as well as the ability to mine, organize, and present a customized collection of content based on a specific issue or theme.

#4 – Don’t forget to add your brand’s flavor.

Content curation isn’t a simple cut and paste job. If you want people to read your content and come back for more, you need to inject your brand’s personality into your curated blog posts, newsletters, and social media snippets. Provide summaries of key points, add your own opinion or perspective, or offer insightful information that will further help readers make sense of the article you’re sharing.

#5 – Do honor authorship of the originals by citing the writers and your sources.

Common sense should tell you that plagiarism is unethical, so make certain you give credit where it’s due.

#6 – Do use multiple sources.

You need to give your readers a diverse mix of engaging and relevant content, which is why selecting a variety of pieces from different sources is essential. Put on your proverbial editor’s hat and search for informative and intellectually challenging material, as well as light-hearted tidbits of interesting insight that are sure to entertain while educating. Whatever you do, avoid unnecessary confusion by sticking to your theme or topic.

Resources and Tools to Make Content Curation Easy

Google Alert for content curationWhether you’re sourcing, organizing, or preparing third-party content for distribution, the following tools and resources can make the process a little less time-consuming.

Google Alerts: Set up search queries that relate to your audience’s needs and then let Google do part of the research work for you. In addition to monitoring the web for interesting new content based on your keyword terms, the search giant will deliver results to your inbox so you can easily sort through the content links in one place.

HootSuite: Recently, HootSuite integrated ContentGems’ content curation app into their already robust service offering. This collaboration means you can now find meaningful content based on your keywords and social signals, and then push those links, along with your own customized snippets, to the social media channels you prefer.

Google News: Source the latest stories from thousands of popular news outlets.

Curata: This smart tool rummages through the Internet to identify relevant content, lets you catalog its findings in a way that makes sense, and then publishes content to the channels of your choice. As a bonus, it’ll measure your results so you can maximize your reach.

Social Media Sites: Most social platforms have their own search functionality, allowing you to dig for relevant posts. Beware though; social media sites are noisy so you’ll need to stay focused.

Alltop: This feed aggregator allows you to gain quick access to the hottest topics and stories from the best sites and blogs on the web. Create customized collections of curated feeds and then use them as your go-to source when you need something new and profound to share with your online communities.

Storify: Bring a narrative element to your curated content by collecting, publishing, and sharing content through this information network.

Addict-o-matic: Create a customized page of the latest headlines from top sources. Move or delete sites, and then bookmark your custom view for future reference.

Other great sources include RSS feeds and newsletters you subscribe to, social bookmarking sites, Google Blog Search, industry-related forums, and archived databases. There are thousands of content aggregators and curators to choose from, so you’ll never be hard-pressed to find juicy morsels you can share with your fans.

Are you curating content to spice up your content marketing strategy? If you’re holding back, tell us why in the comment section below. If you have additional tips, share them!

Shawn Manaher

Shawn Manaher is the founder and CEO of The Content Authority. He's one part content manager, one part writing ninja organizer, and two parts leader of top content creators. You don't even want to know what he calls pancakes.

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