Creating and Implementing a Content Curation Strategy
You know that you need a lot of different types of content to give your audience a variety of information, but did you know that you don’t have to create all the content yourself?
Instead of doing that, you can curate relevant and interesting content and organize it in a meaningful way to share with your audience, becoming the go-to source for all things related to your niche.
When you curate content, you don’t need to create anything new; instead you spend your time finding the content, compiling the content, and sharing it with your audience.
The Process of Content Curation
Some people think that content curation simply means that you share other people’s content on social media. But, there is a little more to it than that. There are steps that you need to follow to ensure that you gather the best content and make it super-valuable to your audience, and yourself too.
- Define Your Audience – Know who you’re finding the content for exactly. For example, if you are a blogger who blogs about knitting you’ll need to create an audience persona that names, ages, and describes the person you’re marketing to, exactly.
- Determine Your Goals – There are many reasons you may choose to curate content in addition to creating your own content. For example, maybe you want to find a way to fill in the gaps of information on your blog for your audience.
- Add Content Curation to Your Content Strategy – Once you have decided to do content curation, you want to put it into your schedule. It’s not a good idea to only do content curation randomly. Instead, you want to incorporate it into a good plan so that you fill the gaps, add to your content, but don’t contradict your efforts.
- Find the Content – Now that you know you’re going to do it, you’ll need to locate the content. You can use a variety of sources to do this such as Google Alerts, BuzzSumo.com and other tools that will help you find more content easily – including hidden content.
- Filter the Content – When you find the content, don’t just share it automatically. Instead, check their facts, and ensure that they did not plagiarize the content and it really is an original work. Any curated content should be as good as or better than anything you can create on your own.
- Classify the Content – Put the content into a classification, such as the categories you use on your blog. In this way, you’ll know exactly when and where to share it, because you’ll know how it fits in with the content you already have.
- Add Value to the Content – Always add your own thoughts, create an image, make an infographic, make it look prettier, create a checklist or cheat sheet and ask a burning question of your audience regarding the curated content.
Now that you know the basic process for content curation, let’s go through everything more closely.
Setting Goals for Content Curation
Via content curation you can serve your audience, become the trusted source for niche information, become a thought leader and more. The first thing you need to do is set some goals for content curation. The goals will inform the type of content you share and your calls to action.
- Serve Your Community – Your audience, tribe or community are the people you need to please. No matter what topic or niche you’re in, it’s all about how you can be of service to your community. If the content you find serves a need for them, then you’re doing well.
- Become a Trusted Channel of Information – If you are good at evaluating content and fact checking content, then you can become a trusted place for your audience to find the right information about the topic.
- Become a Thought Leader – It’s amazing, but the more you share content from others with your own thoughts added, the more people will see you as one of the movers and shakers or thought leaders. This is the “Oprah” method. Interview and get to know information from the experts, add your own thoughts, and you have a winning combination.
- Improve Your Traffic – Content curation can improve your traffic. The reason is that eventually people will see your website as the place to go to find the information about that niche. If you do it right, your content will get search engine traffic too.
- Increase Engagement – Sharing curated content with a deep question on social media can improve engagement exponentially. But, you need to understand how to do it. Share the content with your blurb and your additional information, and ask your audience to read the original source and come back to your page or group to answer the question.
As someone who wants to curate content you’ll need to understand how to find the content, build value into the content, share it properly, and follow up.
Building Value with Curated Content
Your customers only have a limited amount of time to do research. If you get them to come to your website, you want them to stick around and not seek information elsewhere. The best way to accomplish this is to curate other people’s content so that your audience will stay with you as the place to go for information about your niche.
Keep in mind that you don’t copy the content and steal it from someone. Instead, you will make a blurb or a critique about the content you’re sharing, or even provide additional information and then link to the real source of the content. If you find the content and keep it organized in a way that your audience can find it effortlessly and consume it easily, they’ll come back to you first to find all the important information about their topic. Curating content builds value in a multitude of ways.
- Helps You Fill Your Content Needs – No one person can create enough content to satisfy the appetite of their audience. And, there is no real reason to do that when someone else has already created the content for you for some of it.
- Add Value to Social Media – Social media is interesting due to the variety of content being shared, from videos, to images, to text based. But, you can’t possibly keep up by only sharing your own content, so add in some other content that will help break it up and give you more time to create better content.
- Become the “Go-To” Person in Your Niche – If you want to be seen as an expert, you can employ the Oprah method mentioned earlier: distribute other people’s knowledge with your commentary and thoughts on a regular basis, and before you know it people will see you as the expert and authority.
- Help Generate More Original Content Ideas – Believe it or not, reading through all the content out there to locate excellent information for your audience will also help you develop a never-ending stream of content creation ideas.
- Build Stronger Relationships – People appreciate it when you share their hard work with others so that they get more traffic. Plus, your audience will appreciate having a one-stop shop to find all of the information they need about the niche.
- Save Resources – It costs time and money to write brand new content about everything you want to share with your audience. When you curate content it will still take some time, but the fact is, it’s less expensive and many times you’ll find that someone else has already said it better than you.
- Grow Traffic – Having a steady amount of new content (including curated content) on your blog, website and social networks will help you grow traffic and encourage repeat visitors.
- Leverage Other People’s Work – One of the best ways to earn money is by using other people’s money and other people’s work. When you let someone else write the content, and use that content to help promote your own products and services, you’re using someone else’s work to prop up your own.
The trick is to mix curated content with original content. Add your own thoughts to the curated content to make it more unique. Always give credit where it’s due to the original creator, whether you shared because you agreed with it or not.
When and Where to Use Curated Content
There are a lot of ways to use curated content. But, remember that the important part isn’t how you share it but that it’s organized, dependable, and right on topic – and that you present it in a way that makes sense for your audience. There are four ways you can share curated content.
You can do weekly roundups of articles, blog posts and other information from other websites as a helpful way to organize resources for your audience. In this way you’ll be providing one place for your audience to go to get all their information needs met.
Email News Updates
You can also curate content and send it out via email. For example, on a regular basis – even daily – you can send out at least one news report or update about what’s new in your niche. For instance, if your niche is webinars, you should have sent out the news about Google Hangouts on Air Live being changed to YouTube Live. That way, your audience is informed in such a way that they want to come to your website first to find important information that they need to make decisions.
Social media is another way to share curated content. You’re likely most used to this method. The key to staying relevant with curated content is to avoid going outside of the niche you’re in. It’s hard sometimes to stay on topic, but you need to narrow down exactly the things that your audience needs.
Another way to share curated content is to add it to a report or white paper. Since you can include commentary, blurbs, thoughts and more in a report or white paper, it is the perfect way to provide curated content to your audience that they can use.
For example, if you have a cooking blog, you could make a report curating 100 chicken recipes. Give your thoughts in terms of changes, additions and so forth to fill out the report, and people will even pay for it.
These four ways to provide your audience with curated content will help you become the go-to person within your niche for good information. Do it regularly – ensure that the content you share is accurate, and share your thoughts too so you can become a thought leader. In this way you will have a winning combination.
Where to Find Your Content
One of the challenges with curating content is finding good sources for the content. You also want to find several sources of content and not just one source; otherwise your audience can just skip you and go to the one source.
There are a few tools you can use to help you find content, such as:
BuzzSumo – This website helps you find highly shared content and even key influencers within your niche. BuzzSumo uses both web search and social search to find the right content to share with your audience.
Curata – This software will help you locate just the right content to share with your audience. It solves the finding part of the three-part content curation system: find, curate, share. Not only that; it also helps you to organize and contextualize all of the content.
ContentGems – Set up this content discovery engine and it will compile a stream of content for you to mine for just the right stuff to share with your audience. Plus, it connects directly to social media, email and your website if you want it to.
Learnist – Use the browser extension to help you save, organize, and share relevant content. Or, just use it to organize the content for you to go through to pick out the best to share with your audience.
PressForward – This is a WordPress plugin that will collect content from the web, and allow you to go through it and determine what content is best for sharing with your audience.
Bundle Post – You can use this software in conjunction with other tools like Buffer.com to curate, schedule and market the content that you want your audience to read.
MyCurator – This WordPress Plugin will help you grab and classify content that is filtered by the keywords you choose. From this system, you can grab the articles you want to share, add your own thoughts, and share on your blog in just a few clicks.
Hootsuite.com – You’ve heard of this and likely think of it as automation software for social media, which it is. But, it also has a handy-dandy content suggestion section that can help notify you of potentially interesting content that you might want to share with your audience.
Using these tools will help you find and organize your content to curate and share with your audience. There are also some ways to find unseen content that isn’t being shared a lot or isn’t known about, but is still important and can work for you to highlight and share with your audience. We’ll look at that next.
Finding Unseen Content
There is content out there that is perfectly good content that isn’t being shared or found, because the owner of the content isn’t marketing or promoting it as they should. Perhaps they’re not that great with keywords or marketing but they’re smart about what they’re saying in their content. Try these ideas to find it.
- Newbies – If you’re involved with your niche, you’re going to actually become an “oldie” eventually. You’ll notice very smart new people come along who are creating amazing content for their audience. Why not curate that content too, even if it’s not as popular according to the tools?
- Writers – Many writers don’t even care if people find them; they just like the act of writing, and often they’ll have a lot of content. If it’s relevant to you and your audience, you can share this content with them in a way that helps them and you.
- Your Own Content – You already have amazing content that may need to be refreshed and shared with your audience again, along with curated content that you find elsewhere.
- Industry Content – You are in a particular industry with many organizations that continuously put out new content. If you can find that content, whether it’s internal or not, you can curate it and share it. For example, if you’re a VA who specializes in helping set up shopping carts, you can find content about shopping carts from industry leaders and share it.
- Google Search – Instead of searching only from keywords, search for various file types such as PowerPoint or PDF, and you’ll find hidden gems of content and places to find content that you may not have considered.
- Colleges and Universities – These are treasure troves of information that often marketers don’t think about. Not only that, the information is definitely authoritative and there is nothing wrong with sharing it, commenting on it, and curating it for your audience.
- Colleagues’ Blogs – Pay attention to the blogs of the people you follow and who are your friends. They will likely put out something really useful at some point that you can use. Plus, you’ll get the added benefit of them promoting the post as well.
Finding little-known content that other people have written but not promoted is just as useful as finding frequently shared and popular content within your niche. In this way, you’ll become the main expert in your field, and your audience will stick around to learn more because you’ve vastly increased the value of your offerings.
Mistakes to Avoid
When you’re new to curating content as a strategy for building relationships and traffic, and increasing sales, there are a few mistakes that you should avoid.
Automating Content Curation
Don’t use a system that automates the entire process of content curation. For example, Paper.li will collect content for you that you can then share as your automatic “paper” with your name on it. This is ineffective. Instead, use the system to collect the content, and then weed through the content manually to find the best content to share. You don’t want to share any content that isn’t written and developed better than yours.
Being Too Generic
Don’t just compile a list of links for the curated content; instead be creative about how you share it. For example, you could share two opposing articles about a topic and include your thoughts and ideas about it. Add new research, link to the original content, and then ask for comments on your content.
Not Adding Your Own Value
Find new ways to engage your readers, such as showing a variety of perspectives for the topics you choose to publish. Organize, categorize and prioritize the curated content in a way that makes it easy to find and interesting to consume. Always ensure that the content is timely in some way, whether it’s newly created or newly useful again.
Not Curating Many Types of Content
Many people make the mistake of only curating articles or blog posts. But, you should also curate other types of content such as videos, memes, infographics and more. As long as you link it to the owner and send the owner good traffic, they’ll be fine with it.
Not Evaluating the Content First
Don’t just share content without reading it and verifying the facts. Not everyone is concerned about their work being right – or worse, plagiarized. Make sure the content is written by and created by who you think it is so that you share the original work. This is the best way to develop trust.
Not Giving Credit to the Creator
When you curate anything, or even use one piece of information from someone else, you’re supposed to give them credit. This is even truer when you curate content from someone else. If you don’t link back to them, and just copy and paste their content, you’re stealing. Don’t be a thief. Learn about “Fair Use” under copyright laws on http://www.copyright.gov/fair-use/more-info.html
Not Including a Call to Action (CTA)
In most of the content that you create, you need to include some form of call to action. You want your audience to subscribe, join, share, follow and buy. But, if you don’t ask them to do it, they won’t. Be clear with your CTAs so that your audience understands what you want them to do.
Not Mixing Curated with Original Content
Don’t just start curating content and stop creating original content. You need both. Make the curated content more unique by adding your own thoughts and ideas, but also write new content about the topics that you believe your audience wants and needs to know about. This will keep your audience interested.
Not Researching Keywords
When you are trying to find content to curate, you’ll need to do a lot of keyword research to ensure that you find a variety of sources for content worth curating and creating. Keywords are how you’ll find the content, and keywords are what you’ll use in your commentary and titles to bring traffic to you.
Not Using a Variety of Sources
Some people think curating content from fewer places is best, but you really should try to find a good variety of places to get content from. It might take you some time, but if you limit it to say 10 to 15 different places, you’ll be able to get a lot more types of content to share with others than if you only use three or four places.
If you avoid these mistakes, you can be super-successful with content curation. Set your goals, create a plan of action, and move forward to make content curation work for you.
Tips to Ensure Your Content Curation Efforts Remain Ethical
One problem with sharing curated content is the risk of slipping ethics. If you follow this list and check it each time before sharing curated content, you’ll do great.
- Use Many Sources – The more sources you use for the information you share, the better. Not only will you get a bigger variety of ideas and angles of thought, you’ll usually also find better quality of information.
- Link to the Original Source – Always link very prominently to the source of the work. If you’re writing a blog post, tell your readers to go to the source of the work with a link to it. Don’t hide the links, and don’t make it a “no follow” link and take away the SEO “points” that the author would normally get.
- Quote Sparingly – When you pull quotes from the original work, be sure to do it properly. If you’re not sure how to do that, check out this learning about how to properly reference a quote from a blog or other place online: http://www.easybib.com/guides/citation-guides/mla-format/how-to-cite-a-blog-mla/
- Add Your Own Commentary – Whenever you’re using curated content, the fastest way to add value is to add your own point of view to the work. This is also a great way to avoid issues with plagiarism and anyone getting angry at you for using their work.
- Add Additional Information – Sometimes someone will have a very informative blog post or article that has gaps of information that you can inform your readers about via your commentary. When you can take the opportunity to do that, you’ll not only make your share more ethical, you’ll also make your share boost your authority.
- Use Your Own Images – Don’t copy anyone’s images and use them on your blog or in any share without permission. Instead, take your own images, or use stock photos. For example, if it’s a recipe you’ve curated, make it and take your own pics.
- Use Your Own Title – Don’t use the same title of the curated content; instead find a different title to use for your post that is demonstrative of what’s inside the share. By using your own title that’s indicative of what’s inside, you’ll boost trust and avoid any appearance of plagiarism.
Curating content is a great way to fill in the gaps of content on your blog, social media and elsewhere, as long as you do it correctly. The biggest point is that you should always point back to the original creator, using a good link that helps give them credit and sends traffic to them too.
15 Best Practices for Maximum Results
If you want to get the most out of your content curation efforts, it’s imperative that you go into it with goals and a plan of action. Just copying and pasting some links for your audience isn’t really going to accomplish your goals. But developing a plan of action based on your goals will make content curation work for you so you can get maximum results.
- Know Your Audience – Like with anything else you do in business, it’s imperative to know your audience. Know who you’re collecting the content for and why. If you stay on topic and remember your audience as you look for content that helps them with their problems and provides solutions, you’ll succeed with content curation.
- Identify Problems You Can Solve – Make a list of your audience’s problems that you can solve with the right content. It will help you come up with search terms as well to find the right information for your audience to share.
- Remind Them Who Sent Them – One issue with curated content is that you are sending them off to another website. The risk is that they may not remember who shared the content with them. But if you use software like Sharedby you’ll be able to keep your business at the top of their mind.
- Curate Your Own Content Too – If you notice that you have content that you’ve created that helps your viewers when you’re rounding up content for your audience, add in your own content too. Sending people back to your older content and reminding them that you have answers for them is helpful.
- Use Finding Tools – One of the things you do when curating content is find things. Finding things on the net can be like finding a needle in a haystack. But with the right tools, like Feedly, you’ll be able to locate the exact content you need.
- Save Carefully – Another hurdle you have to cross when curating content is how to save it. You can save it into spreadsheets for later saving, or you can use Evernote or Pocket. However, you do it, develop a system that works for you.
- Schedule Shares – One way to spread out your curated shares is to use sharing software like Buffer or SproutSocial.com, or by using native scheduling in social media like Facebook to ensure that information is disseminated appropriately.
- Create an Environment of Authority – Be careful about what type of content you share because you want it to be from truly authoritative sources. Check out the website or blog to ensure that the content is not stolen or inaccurate in any way. Remember, disagreeing with it doesn’t make it wrong or stolen.
- Know Your Why – This starts with your audience’s desires, wants and needs. When you know what they want, you’ll be able to deliver just the right content that they need, right when they need it. Just keep focused on your audience and your niche or topic.
- Create a Plan – Don’t start your content curation process without a plan in place. Starting with your why, develop different strategies and tactics to use that leads to reaching your goals. For example, you may choose to share curated content on social media at 2 p.m. on Saturday because you learned that this is the best time to get your audience to read.
- Give Credit Where Credit Is Due – Don’t just take other people’s content without giving them credit for it. You can use a small portion of their content, then link to the original source of the content, but you cannot just copy and paste the content as if it’s yours even if you do include their name.
- Highlight the Important Parts – Also, don’t just straight share the content. Instead, highlight what you found important in the content. That way your audience will know whether or not they need to continue reading it.
- Give Your Own Thoughts – In addition to highlighting important parts of the curated content, you should provide your own thoughts. Don’t worry about whether you disagree or agree – just give your original thoughts about the topic the content is about.
- Track Everything – You can do this in numerous ways, from the Shared By method to using the Google URL Builder Tool, or by building redirects for the links. That way you can track them and determine what type of content works best to bring visitors to your website.
- Analyze and Evaluate – Don’t just share the content you find; instead read it, absorb it, research it, and understand it. Know enough to know that the content is top-notch and what your audience needs.
Following these best practices for implementing a content curation strategy will help you accomplish the goals you’ve set for curating the content in the first place.
Content curation is definitely the missing piece in most online marketers’ content strategy. Use this checklist to ensure that you don’t miss a single step.
- Find the Content
- Use the tools
- Use only good quality sources
- Evaluate the Content
- Are the facts accurate?
- Is it well organized?
- Add Value to the Content
- Create an infographic
- Add your own thoughts
- Fill in the gaps
- Organize the Content
- Set up categories for the content
- Make it easy to find
- Share the Content
- Promote on social media
- Track the Results
- Use analytics
You’ll be surprised at how much content curation can help your business go to the next level. If you feel that you have gaps in your content, and you desire to be a one-stop shop for your audience to find all types of information about your niche, content curation can work for you.