Content Curation 101: How to Curate Content Responsibly (And Ethically)

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Content Curation 101: How to Curate Content Responsibly (And Ethically)

The internet ushered in the information age, and today, more than ever, we can access any kind of info with a few clicks on the internet. But this has caused two problems: the rise of misinformation and information overload. And this has led to information fatigue syndrome.

Information fatigue syndrome is an emotional condition the audience suffers from and is caused by the stress of coping with large information quantities. As a brand, you must properly curate your content to protect your customer from that condition.

Content curation allows you to add your voice to the conversation and provide your audience with only the most valuable information. When done right, content curation lets you create high-quality content with unique combinations of insights and information that contextualize a topic by offering new perspectives. 

When you feed your audience the kind of content they demand through careful curation, they won’t have to deal with information overload. Ultimately, this will help you build credibility and stay competitive. 

Today, 82% of marketers have introduced content curation as a key part of their marketing strategy to position themselves as an industry authority and thought leader, and reinforce their relationships with the intended audience. 

But how do you know if you are doing it right? This article will explore what content curation is and how you can curate your content responsively and ethically.

What is Content Curation?

Content curation is the process of gathering, restructuring, and distributing content from various other sources on the internet.

It is an efficient way to meet your audience’s hunger for new content effectively and establish your brand as the go-to resource for your target market, and consequently, increase cash flow for your business. 


Content curation gives you a great way to keep your audience engaged and stay on top of industry trends without having to dig through tons of other sources. If done correctly, content curation is also an easy way to generate content and keep your blog, email, and social media accounts active

But when done poorly, it can affect your marketing goals. For instance, creating spammy content that provides little value to your audience can hurt your authoritativeness. To prevent this, you need to follow the best strategies.

7 Best Practices of Content Curation

On paper, content curation sounds like a simple task. But for many reasons, many marketers usually fail to excel at it. 

Some focus on quantity over quality, affecting their overall branding and marketing strategy when curating content. Others lack clear plans and goals, hindering the effectiveness of their curation efforts. Other curators duplicate and plagiarize content, which negatively impacts their SEO performance.

Content curation is a delicate process and one that you must approach carefully. You must do it responsibly to expose your audience to helpful content. And you must do it ethically and avoid copyright infringement that might hurt your reputation with customers and search engines.

Here are seven best practices to follow when curating content.

Be Selective Of The Content You Curate

Don’t just curate anything you find online blindly. You need to be selective about what you choose to share. Your audience is already suffering from information overload; therefore, you must curate helpful and relevant content.

So, how do you select what to share?

First, know your audience, and what they expect. This will help you understand their interest and give you an idea of what you should curate.

Second, ensure you are curating content from expert sources. There’s a lot of content out there, and a lot of it isn’t helpful. By curating from authoritative sources, you can filter out the noise and provide your audience with insightful content that is easy to digest. 

Expert and authoritative sources you can use to curate content include industry publications, websites with .gov or .edu domains, established research institutes, and reputable news outlets.

Create, Curate, but Don’t Pirate

Despite the difference between content piracy and curating being day and night, many marketers often don’t know the difference. To avoid that, you must be cognizant of fair use laws as a part of your curation process. 

As a curator, you need to ask yourself why you are curating specific content. According to the US copyright law, curated content is considered fairly used if you do it for criticizing, commenting, news reporting, educating, or researching reasons. Additionally, you should question your purpose of curation, e.g., is it commercial? 

To avoid piracy when curating content, you need to consider the nature of the copyrighted material and if it is licensed under a Creative Commons License that allows for reuse. Next, consider the amount of the original work you are using. If you are using all or a large portion, that is more pirating than it is curating.

Read a Variety of Sources

The point of content curation is amassing content from various sources, repackaging it, and sharing it with your audience. When you use one, you will simply be duplicating the original creator’s work. Content curation involves carefully selecting different content (articles, audio, video, infographics, white papers) from various authoritative sources. 

Combine contents from the following sources to help 

Industry Publications: Industry leaders set trends and cover some of the most interesting news and views that could interest your audience. They also publish eBooks and white papers that are industry-specific. Follow them and stay updated on any industry research you can curate and share. 

User-Generated Content: This can be social media and forum posts shared by industry experts or your audience. They can give your content ideas or quotes you can include in your curated content.

Crowdsourcing and Interviews: If you have a topic idea and need help getting different perspectives, you can interview or get industry experts to share their opinions. Here’s an example of HubSpot expertly doing it: 

Provide Original Commentary and Your Personal Point of View

Content curation isn’t just about you and your brand, unlike content marketing. It involves sharing well-researched content from other industry leaders whom you trust. Content curation allows you to introduce new voices to your audience and share new perspectives. 

But you must remember that your audience trusts you and expects to see your view. Providing relevant commentary that showcases your brand’s perspective on the topic at hand is essential for five reasons:

  1. You don’t want the content to feel generic to the extent that it’s not meaningful to your core audience
  2. Incorporating your perspective allows you to leverage the credibility of external sources for your own benefits 
  3. You want to retain your audience and prevent them from going to the original source in the future
  4. You want to reduce the amount of duplicate content that might hurt your SEO
  5. You don’t want to break the fair use laws

Give Credit Where Credit is Due, and Don’t Use ‘nofollow’ Links

Ethical curators give credit where credit is due by properly citing and linking to the original work. There are many reasons you should do this (to avoid copyright infringement, absolve yourself from negative press, etc.), but the main one is that it is simply the right thing to do. 

If you are going to use another creator’s research or infographic, the least you can do is attribute it to them.

Mentioning your sources just by name isn’t enough. You need to do it in a manner that makes them visible and directs internet traffic to them. This will benefit both you and them. 

The first step is to avoid nofollow links. They typically negate some of the goodwill created by linking to the original creator. Additionally, nofollow links add little SEO benefits to your content as it shows search engines you are linking to not-so-authoritative sites and hurts your source’s domain authority.

The second step is prominently displaying the links. You can start or end your content by dedicating a space where you mention all your sources. Finally, don’t hide links by camouflaging the anchor text or covertly attaching URLs to image files. They show a lack of professionalism and are bad SEO practices.

Recognize Bias 

Don’t curate content that has a biased point of view. This kind of content will affect how your audience views your brand. One of the reasons for content curation is to amplify diverse insights. Therefore, when curating content, avoid heavily one-sided sources or those that rely on unsupportive claims.


And if you use them, ensure that you offer a different perspective or combine it with a source that leans on the opposing sides. 

You should avoid one-sided views even when using news sources too. Use news aggregator apps that can help you recognize media bias and read from different credible sources to get different viewpoints. 

Retitle Any and All Content you Curate

When curating content, it is essential that you spin it to give your new content a new angle – this will be effortless if you’re using reliable content curation software. This makes your content unique and ensures you are not competing for the same title on search results. Additionally, if you skip this step, Google algorithms can interpret your curated content as syndicated or plagiarized.

It’s also fun to retitle content and add your spin to make the title more provocative and appealing for a click-through. Most content, especially from educational and governmental sources, isn’t SEO optimized. To reach more people and get them to click, you need to use a more persuasive title. 

Finally, retitling allows you to give the curated content a personal touch. You can add keywords relevant to your brand and those that can help your audience identify you.

Secure Permissions and Take Them Down if Asked To

DCMA strikes are a real thing, and they can affect your brand. Content curation involves using different sources and distributing the content on different channels. If you are using content from a source without asking for permission, they usually have the right to ask you to pull it down. 

And this includes even user-generated content. It is best to always write to the copyright holder and ask for permission before you share or reproduce their content. However, sometimes it’s hard to find the original source, but since the information is vital for your audience, you share it. 

If you do this and later the owner resurfaces and asks you to take down a piece of content, the best policy is to take it down immediately. This will prevent you from dealing with copyright issues. Too many DMCA strikes can affect your ranking and other SEO goals.

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About the Author

Magnus Eriksen
Magnus Eriksen is a copywriter and an eCommerce SEO specialist with a degree in Marketing and Brand Management. Before embarking on his copywriting career, he was a content writer for digital marketing agencies such as Synlighet AS and Omega Media, where he mastered on-page and technical SEO.