What is content curation?
Content curation. The term has been used to cover many different things. Most marketers are familiar with the practice of sharing other people’s content on social networks, what we’ll refer to as social content curation. Content curation actually covers much more than just social sharing, and can help your content marketing results in ways you don’t imagine.
Furthermore, content curation can help other departments of your company to share knowledge or reinforce training programs.
A definition of content curation
Beth Kanter, probably the most knowledgeable influencer in curated content, explains what content curation means: “Content curation is the process of sorting through the vast amounts of content on the web and presenting it in a meaningful and organized way around a specific theme. The work involves sifting, sorting, arranging, and publishing information. A content curator cherry picks the best content that is important and relevant to share with its community.”
Let’s take a deep dive into the details. The curator’s role is to:
Faced with the huge, ever-increasing amount of data on the web, the curator has to bring out the best existing content on a specific topic. To make it happen, he has to monitor the best sources in his industry and keep spotting new ones.
Obviously, he has to evaluate the quality of the source and be able to distinguish the good pieces from the bad ones. Doing this will avoid sharing content of poor quality (or false) and therefore taking part of the surrounding noise that’s already existing. Picking good quality content is not only the first step of the process, but it’s the cornerstone of content curation as well: there’s no good curation without good content.
2. Edit & Enrich
When we want to differentiate a wise content curator from a simple user who shares content on social media, the distinction is clear: expertise. As the curator is an expert in his field, he needs to add value, provide context to the piece of content he has selected. At this step, it’s not just about hitting publish, it’s also about editing the post. Beyond simple formatting, it’s about adding the curator’s message to his own voice. Bringing context to his audience adds value and helps establish himself as a thought leader and show his expertise.
If a curator takes time to select and enrich a piece of content, he must share it to meet his audience. Curation is usually intended for a targeted audience, but it could be done for larger audiences, publicly.
However, content curation is not necessarily public. It can be used for sharing knowledge internally. Companies want to leverage their employees’ knowledge and need them store, share, categorize and disseminate it to the largest possible number: curation is a good answer to that. The main objective is that everyone can carry on with the same amount of information and is able to take the right decisions.
It is very clear that curating content means finding the most relevant information on a given topic and presenting it in a meaningful way for your audience, but the benefits and the outputs (forms) curated content can take remain unclear.
The benefits of content curation
If curating content means finding the most relevant content in your space and presenting it to your audience, then the main objective – and benefit – should be to show that you are knowledgeable about your domain by relating the most useful information available to your audience. Yet, there are many more benefits that attract marketers to integrate curated content into their content marketing strategy. Some of these benefits are:
- Keeping a social media presence: content curation allows to share great content on social media regularly;
- Feeding your website: many marketers, and especially SMBs marketers don’t have time to create content to feed their website. Using content curation and integrate it into their website is an easy way to do so;
- Scaling your content production: if you find yourself buried in marketing tasks and don’t have enough time to write a complete blog article every week, content curation allows you to publish more content easily;
- Be credible: with content curation, you will show that you are not the only one to give a certain argument;
- Establish thought leadership: sharing the gems in your domain will help you establish as a thought leader;
- Building brand awareness: as you can work your own e-reputation with content curation, you can also build your brand awareness;
- Sending love to influencers in your space and interact with the actors in your space: by curating content from influencers and other actors in your industry, you will be identified by them and they will be glad to be quoted;
- Increasing your traffic from search: sharing fresh, regular and quality content on your website will help you get better SEO rankings for your content and get more traffic from search.
- Creating a space for efficient social selling activities
But content curation will not be helpful for marketing only. It will be useful in market intelligence too:
- Sharing knowledge with your colleagues in order to get better collectively.
- Monitoring what is being said about your industry: it keeps you posted on what is being published in your space by experts, magazines, competitors, etc. You know what your audience likes to read (given the number of shares of the articles) and you can curate accordingly to answer questions your audience is asking.
After you have found the articles you think would be interesting for your audience, there are four different – and complementary – ways you can curate them. Most marketers already practice social content curation, i.e. sharing other people’s content on social networks, but this is not the only nor the most efficient way curated content can be used to reach marketing objectives.
1. Social content curation
When you find a good article on the web and you share it on your company profile (with or without a little note saying ‘great piece’ or ‘a new take on’, etc.), you’re doing social content curation. Social curation is the most spread out form of curation you can find. It is easy to do, it allows you to keep a social media presence even if you don’t have time to write original content, and it helps you get noticed by the other actors in your space (because you’re sharing their content).
2. Curated blog posts
A curated blog post is an article on your blog that starts with a quote and a link to another piece of content. You’re using an existing piece as your introduction, and then you add your own commentary/insight to it, making it your own.
3. Curated content hubs
A curated content hub is a place where you aggregate your own content and curated content to provide an easy navigation and presentation of content with your added insights to introduce it. A curated content hub is a great way to show your entire expertise and thought leadership on any given topic.
4. Curated email newsletters
A curated email newsletter provides a useful and engaging roundup on a given topic by combining your own original content and curated posts.
How to curate the right way?
To curate content in an effective way you should:
- Select carefully the piece of content you want to curate. It must be fresh and of good quality. No need to share every single piece everybody shares. You have to know why you curate it.
- Be careful with the layout. Whatever media, it’s easier to read when well-formatted. Titles should be catchy, images have to be polished and the subject has to be clearly identified.
- Systematically quote the source, it’s a golden rule. The author must be mentioned and a link must go to the original article.
- A short quote yes, a copy/paste no! Don’t copy the article and make sure to mention the author – those two rules go hand in hand! It’s important not to make another piece of content yours – for ethical reasons obviously, but also for SEO purposes (Google blames severely duplicate content).
- Broadcast it at the right place. Be logical when it comes to your audience and your objectives.
If it’s still unclear for you, check out the infographic below: