The Ultimate Guide to Content Curation: Why, How and When?
Are you a selfish content marketer? Perhaps you don’t see yourself as such or don’t want to admit it, but if you are only offering your audience content that you created, then yes, you are selfish. Because the purpose of content marketing, remember, is to offer valuable and useful information to the user, which will then lead them to better respect your brand and ultimately buy from you. And what many forget is that other people’s content can also be what your audience wants. This is why you should implement content curation in your content strategy.
What is Content Curation?
Content curation does not mean creating new content. Instead, to curate content means to collect quality and valuable content from other websites and blogs (not your own), organize it, share it with your users and finally analyzing the results.
You might be thinking that this is the last thing a content marketer should be doing. After all, wouldn’t this lead the audience away from you and straight to your competition? However, that’s the wrong way of thinking about it. By curating content, you can actually strengthen the relationship that you have with your audience. You will give them what they really want and that is something of value to them.
The Benefits of Content Curation
Content curation has many benefits for your business. Offering extra value to the audience is just one of them, as it will also help you:
- Become a thought leader and influencer in your industry
We all love to share stuff on social media. But as a curator of content, you need to be a little more strategic about it. Sharing the latest trends in your industry or niche and giving your two cents about it can help elevate you to a thought leader and influencer in the eyes of your audience.
- Connect with influencers and leaders
Networking is another benefit of content curation. The opportunity to connect with influencers and top people in your industry can be invaluable and you can get that just from sharing someone else’s content.
- Better connection with the audience
Curating content can also help you engage better with the audience. Especially if you offer your own opinion to the content you share. For instance, if you disagree with a blog post, but it’s still a good one, why not share it and express your opinion? What points you disagree with? This way, you can engage the audience and the other creator in a conversation. Just keep it civil.
- Less need to create your own content
Most content marketers can tell you that creating quality and audience-oriented content on a regular basis is, to say the least, not easy. Fortunately, content curation allows you to slow down on creating your own content, while still keeping your readers engaged and happy with the information you provide them.
- You won’t alienate your audience with “me, me me” attitude
Brands that only talk about themselves get old quickly. Instead, content curation allows you to truly help your audience by letting someone else takes the spotlight. In the end, all it matters is making the customer happy, not who made him happy.
- Better SEO
With curated content you can give search bots extra pages to index and thus get an additional way for the search engines to find your website.
Rules of Content Curation
Content curation doesn’t mean simply sharing any articles or blog posts you find on the Internet. Although it’s easier than creating your own content, you still need to approach it strategically if you want to make it a successful part of your content strategy.
This is why you need to keep in mind these 5 content curation rules:
- Credit the original source
Credit where it is due. When curating someone else’s content, always mention the original creator and link back to the source. Also, avoid burying the link at the bottom or hiding it by using the same font color as the rest of the text. Make the link prominent so that the reader will have the chance to click on it and visit the source’s site if they want to.
- Add your own point of view
Content curation doesn’t mean you should simply copy/paste the content or summarize it. Instead, insert your own point of view. Tell the reader why this is important, are there any points you don’t agree with and so on.
- Use a different headline
Don’t use the same headline as the original. If you do, you’ll be competing with the author for Google search results. That way, you’ll be making a lose-lose situation for both.
- Go easy on quoting
Quote only the most important parts of the original article. Just enough to interest readers to perhaps click on it. However, if you overquote and put half of the article in, what reasons will the reader have to check the original when they can see everything already? You might think that quoting so much is a good thing and you are doing the author a service, but you’re actually not. You’re robbing them of traffic they would earn and overzealous quoting can also be seen as content duplication, so that’s another reason to avoid it.
- Only use “dofollow” links
Using “nofollow” links when curating content is probably the ethically worst thing you can do. Remember, the original content creator also deserves their share of SEO juice. So don’t rob them of it by using “nofollow” tags. Instead, only use “dofollow” ones.
Content Curation Step-by-Step
Now that we’ve pretty much established what is content curation, why you should do it and some ground rules, let’s take a step-by-step look at what this means in practice:
- Step 1: Define Your Goals
Why do you want to curate content? Is it to inform and educate your visitors, prospects and customers beyond what they can already see on your site? Or perhaps you are looking more internally and want to educate your own team on a specific topic. For example, you can keep your sales and R&D teams up-to-date with the latest industry trends or new technologies they can use.
- Step 2: What’s the Topic?
What topic are you going to cover? This is a very important question that you need to answer early on in the content curation process. Here, you want to look at the strength of the competition, as well size and interest of the audience. You can’t avoid competition entirely. Simply put, if no one is writing about the topic, that means there is no interest in it. In other words, you want to see some competition, but hopefully it should be light. On the other hand, you also want to determine if your own audience is interested in this topic. If it’s not, don’t bother curating.
- Step 3: Investigate Sources
You want to find and pick only the best sources for content curation. A simple Google search for a specific topic is probably not the best way to do this as it will give you and your audience only the basic information about that topic. For example, if you’re running a blog about bitcoin and want to curate something, a simple “What is Bitcoin” article won’t work. Your audience already knows that.
You need to go deeper in your research. Instead of a quick Google search, look for high quality blogs oriented toward that niche. Linked Pulse articles can also be a good source for content curation as these will most of the time be created by experts in that industry. Another source would be to target specific LinkedIn and Twitter users.
- Step 4: Curation
Now it’s actually time to curate content. The most important thing to keep in mind is how relevant the content is to your audience? Does it offer anything above what they can already find on your site? Is this information unique or can your audience find it anywhere on the Internet? Are you using credible and authority sources?
Finally, does it make for a good topic for conversation with your target audience? Remember, you don’t have to agree with the points made by the original author or you can add some extra points of your own and fill in some gaps left in the original source.
- Step 5: Don’t Forget to Share
Finally, you need to actually share the curated content with your audience. There are a couple of ways you can do this:
- Sharing on social media. People spent a lot of time on social media sites and that time only grows. In 2012, Internet users spent 90 minutes per day on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and other sites and in 2017 that number went up to 135 minutes per day, according to Statista. However, keep in mind that sharing on social networks won’t help you rank on search engines, at least not directly.
- Feeds. This can give you access to a more loyal audience as they already subscribe via RSS readers to feeds they want to see, but at the same time, feeds have a shorter life span.
- Email newsletters. People check their emails several times per day (hey, checking email, social media posts and text messages releases dopamine in your brain!), so you should be able to provide content on a consistent basis to your audience. The problem is that newsletters are not in real time and by the time it reaches your intentend audience’s inboxes, it can already be outdated.
- Analyze the Performance of Your Curated Content
Finally, you need to see if your content curation tactic worked or not. Here, you’ll be looking at slightly different metrics than what you’re used to with regular content marketing. Pay attention to how many repeat visits you get. This will tell you if visitors are coming back for more. Another important metric to check is the total page views. Is it growing? If it is and you see a nice boost in traffic, that’ a good sign that content curation is working for you.
On the other hand, you want to avoid looking at bounce rate or time spent on the site. Normally, you want to minimize the first and maximize the second, but with curated content, the situation is a bit different. Often, a user will go to check the original website, which will naturally increase your bounce rate and shorten their visit time.
On social media, you want content curation to give you a nice boost in the number of followers you have and also some retweets or shares. If people value the content you curate, they will follow you and share your stuff more.
Best Content Curation Tools
Content curation tools can be very useful. I’ll review the best ones you can use some other time, but for now, here’s a few you can use:
- Publish This
These range from those for beginners to advanced users, as well, by price and what they offer. Be sure to check them all before you decide on the tool you want to use. In addition to these, you can also use Twitter lists. You’ll need to spent a little time finding what accounts to follow and organizing them, but they can be worth it if you update them regularly.
There are more ways to satisfy your customer’s needs for information than creating your own content. Content curation is another good strategy to keep in mind. I hope this guide will help you make it successful.
Now, if you have any comments or questions about this post and content curation, let me know in the comments below and also don’t forget to share this article if you found it useful.