The Content Curation Blog

How content curation can help you to engage your audiences

Articles by Pam Neely

Why you need content marketing software

Why you need a content marketing software

Content marketing has a lot of moving parts. The good thing is there are a thousand ways to customize it, re-imagine it, and gain an edge on our competitors. The downside? It’s a lot to manage.

Fortunately, marketers today are way luckier than the marketers of yesteryear. We’ve got computers! We’ve got a thousand tools to create, manage and promote our content with.

The trick is to manage all those tools and the work they facilitate as nimbly and effectively as possible. This is why you need a content marketing software. You need one unifying tool or system to manage all the moving parts. Otherwise you’re working with a patchwork of systems, constantly trying to fill in the gaps between them.

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The blurry line between blogging and curation

Bloggers write less than they think they do, and they curate more than they realize.
Most of this is due to the nature of blog posts. They tend to be a mishmash of mediums and sources. For example, we’re advised to include an image every 350 words or so. It’s also a good idea to link out to respected sites. And when you link out, usually you’re doing it to reference what someone else has written.
Blog posts that back up what they assert with research also tend to do especially well. That was recently proved by Moz and BuzzSumo in their study, “Content, Shares and Links: What We Learnt From 1m Posts”. As the blog post summarizing the report says,
“There are, however, specific content types that do have a strong positive correlation of shares and links. This includes research backed content and opinion forming journalism. We found these content formats achieve both higher shares and significantly more links.”
Whether it’s a quote, or a reference, or an image or a video, the blog post as a genre has an affinity for curation. In fact, many of the best practices I just mentioned for posts are curation themselves. Photographs are usually curated. Research is almost always curated. And quotes and links are clear examples of curation.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="624" caption="This is a screenshot of one our older posts. It’s got several images, links, and two references to other publishers’ information. In other words, it’s almost entirely curated content, plus some copy to weave the whole thing together."][/caption]
Blog posts tend to take another step towards curation when you consider a part of curation that’s too often ignored: the practice of commenting on what you curate.
Many of us – myself included – are a bit lazy with our content curation. We spend the time to find and share good stuff, sure. But when we share the stuff, we don’t add our own commentary. We might tack on a hashtag, but that’s about it. Many of us (again, me included) rarely bother to add a phrase or two of commentary.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="624" caption="I should be adding more commentary to the content I curate on social media. Adding hashtags isn’t enough. But I did get in three whole words of commentary in one of these tweets."][/caption]
We should add more commentary. Content that is shared without commentary still has some value, but not nearly as much value as if we added a few words about why it matters. We could even go so far as to say why it matters, and then tie it into a larger theme…
By then, we’d practically be blogging.

The blurry line between blogging and curation.
To understand this better, let’s imagine content curation in different content formats as a spectrum. On one side of, we’ve got blogging. The type of blogging that has a few references to other sources, uses a few graphs and maybe a few images, and has a few quotes. Blogging that’s, say… about 20% curated content.
The remainder of the post includes lots of commentary on all that curated content. There’s also usually some discussion about how all those curated elements fit together to create the theme or topic the post is about.
On the other side of the spectrum, we’ve got the shared content stream (all curated) that people like me put out in our social media accounts. It could be a Twitter feed, or a Facebook page, or a Scoop.It account. That content could be about 80% curated. I say that because for about every five posts I publish, one post promotes my own stuff. This is a common – and recommend – promotion mix. It’s enough of other peoples’ content to create a good feed of industry information and ideas, but just enough of my own content to get some exposure for my own work.
Here’s what we’ve got so far on the spectrum. On one side, a standard, well-researched blog post that’s maybe 20% curated. On the other side, a curated social media account/feed…but without much commentary on the curated content. It’s about 80% curated.

Now, let’s talk about a few types or formats of blog posts that tend to have even more curated information in them. These types of blog posts that tend to be more than 20% curation. These are more like 30-40% curated:
· The list of tools post.
· The list of studies post.
· The case study post… if it draws from someone else’s case study.
These blog post formats take it even further. Some of them are well over 70-80% curated:
· The “list of statistics” post.
· The “round up” post – experts’ opinions.
· The interview post.
You probably saw this coming a few paragraphs ago, but by the time we get to round up and interview posts, we’re looking at content that’s more than 50% curated. That’s content with more curation than a curated social media feed, assuming it’s got some commentary.
Let’s circle back to my social media feed example. You know, where I was sharing curated posts about 80% of the time. It was only 80% curated because some of my own content gets sprinkled in, about one piece of my content for every four pieces of other content. And unfortunately (because I am lazy), I was not adding much commentary to those shares, aside from a couple of hashtags.
But let’s say I started to do a better job with my curation, like Dr. Merz does in the example below. And let’s assume I was not limited to Twitter’s 140 characters. If I was building my curation stream / social media feed on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest or, I could have more room, and add a few sentences. On ScoopIt, I could even add a few paragraphs.

That would take my social media feed from being 80% “pure” curation to more like 50% or less of pure curation. If I did a really thorough job of the commentary, and grouped the curated content into tight categories, I’d have the rudiments of a blog post.
In other words, after I start commenting on my curation in that social feed, suddenly there’s not much difference in the ratio of “content” to “curation” between the blog posts and the social media feed. And when you start counting the commentary on the curated content as curation, too, suddenly the blog posts are almost entirely curation. The social media feed is too.

When it’s hard to tell the difference between content and curation.
Maybe this all feels like I’m bending the definitions of blogging and content curation too much. Maybe all we’ve got now is a tangled knot of stretched out definitions. But perhaps we’re not recognizing how much curation goes on in blog posts. And perhaps we should try to bring in more context and commentary to our social feeds and pure “curation” streams.
While I’m talking about definitions, consider this definition of content marketing from The Content Marketing Institute:
Content marketing’s purpose is to attract and retain customers by consistently creating and curating relevant and valuable content with the intention of changing or enhancing consumer behavior. It is an ongoing process that is best integrated into your overall marketing strategy, and it focuses on owning media, not renting it.
Did you see it? “Curating” is included in CMI’s definition of content marketing. And I’ve just added another piece of curated content to this post.

What do you think?
Are blog posts mostly curated content? Or does that really only apply to blogs in certain industries and by certain authors? Should blog posts have more, or less, curation in them?
And are we slacking off by not adding more commentary to our curated social media posts? Are there enough benefits to that to make it worth our time?
We’d love your thoughts on this, pro or con. Tell us what you think in the comments.

And if you’d like to know how you can start blogging consistently in 30 minutes a day or less, read our eBook!

Image by Sonny Abesamis.

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The best content marketing tools for the creation phase (2/6)

best content marketing tools edition 2 creation phase

Last week we listed the best content marketing tools for the research phase, first phase of your content marketing cycle.

We mentioned how much content marketing is an opportunity to build an audience in an authentic way, if you’re willing to invest the time to do things right.

Some carefully chosen content marketing software definitely help. To give you the specifics on how it could help and which pieces of software might help, we’ve put together this series of walk-throughs of all the basic functions and tasks required for content marketing, plus which pieces of software to use for each function.

This doesn’t include every piece of software you could use. But it does include the heavy hitters and the most popular tools.

I hope it gives you some ideas for how to better use software in your content marketing. Excel and whiteboards and notepads are all great tools, but we probably shouldn’t be running an entire content marketing department with them.

This week, we’ll go over the best content marketing tools to help you in your creation phase.

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The best content marketing tools for the research phase (1/6)

best content marketing tools edition 1 research phase

Content marketing has a lot going for it. It’s 63% less expensive than traditional advertising. It’s an opportunity to build an audience in an authentic way. But it does require quite a bit of work and management if you want to see results.

These are the 6 phases of content marketing:


This week, we’ll go over the best content marketing tools to help you in your research phase.

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7 ways for small businesses to generate leads with social media

7 ways for small businesses to generate leads with social media

Small business owners aren’t usually on social media to share cat videos and indulge in celebrity gossip. They’re on social media for business. They do social media to gain exposure, but ultimately the goal is to get more business. Getting more business usually means getting more leads.

Unfortunately, getting leads from social media is not so easy. If you’re doing well at it, pat yourself on the back. Most marketers struggle with getting social media to work well for lead generation.

7 ways for small businesses to generate leads with social media

That’s what Ascend2 discovered when they tallied up the results of a lead generation survey of 300 marketers last month. Only 26% of the marketers they surveyed marked social media as among their more effective lead generation tactics.

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No man is an island: content curation for content creators

No man is an island: content curation for content creators

“There is nothing new under the sun.”

What do you think of that quote? Is it depressing? Dismissive?


True or not, that quote evokes a dilemma every content creator struggles with. We have a lot of content to create, and in one way or another, it’s all been created before.

Before you get on the defensive, let me explain what I mean by that.

Why we tend to create similar content

Our job is to create content that both serves our audience and meets business goals. To do that efficiently, we use proven formats (blog posts, white papers, tweets, etc). We answer common questions. We do this in ways that are familiar to our audience and easy for them to understand.

If we get too creative and too cutting-edge, we become hard to understand. As soon as our audience doesn’t understand us, they’re gone. The rest of the Internet – the easy-to-understand and endlessly diverting Internet – is only a click away.

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12 signs you’re wasting time on content marketing

12 signs you're wasting time on content marketing

Lack of time came in as the #1 challenge for both B2B and B2C marketers in the Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs 2014 Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends surveys.

If you’re not sure you’re using your time well enough, or if you’d like a checklist of content marketing areas to emphasize, the following list may be helpful. Each item of this list is a sign you’re wasting time on content marketing. Or – on the brighter side – an opportunity to boost your productivity.

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How to make your content ridiculously easy to share

How to make your content ridiculously easy to share

Sharing is caring. It’s cliché, but oh so true. While share counts may not be directly tied to your social media and content marketing ROI, many brand publishers measure the success of a piece of content by how many shares it gets.

In earlier posts we’ve talked about the psychological motivations behind what makes people want to share. We’ve also covered how to get in your audience’s head to find out what they want you to share (in other words – what they’re most interested in). For this installment of the sharing series, we’re focused on helping you make content easy to share by formatting it. These are all the tips and tricks of formatting and timing that have been shown to make a difference.

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Why no one is sharing your content [and 3 strategies to fix it]

Why No One is Sharing Your Content [and 3 Strategies to Fix It]

Are you embarrassed by the social sharing counts on your blog posts? Do you hit publish… only to hear crickets?

If you’re not getting many – or any – shares for your content, there is one bright spot: You’re not alone. I’ve seen hundreds of good, even great blog posts with single digit share counts. On any given day, thousands of unshared updates stream through my social media accounts.

As you know, there’s a tremendous amount of content getting published. If you’re not getting any sharing love, consider what you’re up against. This infographic from Domo  outlines the situation well. It shows how much content is published every minute. And it doesn’t even count the 2 million blog posts published every day.

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Social sharing and psychology: 7 levers you should push if you want more shares

Social sharing and psychology - 7 levers you should push if you want more shares

The success or failure of a piece of content is often measured by how many shares it gets. Hopefully, those shares are also part of a content strategy that’s driven by ROI. But whether they are or not, there’s almost always a push for more shares.

Social sharing and psychology are linked: if you want to get more shares from your content, it helps to take a look at the psychological drivers behind why content gets shared. These are the motivations behind sharing that are deeper than the typical techniques to get more shares. They go beyond tricks like including an image, choosing the right time to share, and crafting a click-worthy headline.

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A beginner’s guide to promote content on social media

promote content on social media - a beginner guide

If you don’t know how to promote content on social media, putting all the pieces together can feel like quite a challenge. There are so many options, so many technologies, and so many tips and tricks all clamoring for your attention.

To help distill the process down to it’s basic elements, we’ve created two imaginary business owners: Marisa, who owns a retail store, and Ted, who owns a professional services firm. This post will outline their businesses needs and their content promotion goals. Then it will lay out a detailed weekly content promotion plan and schedule for each of them.

Each promotion plan is a little different, because the businesses are different. Your business will be different than these plans too, of course. But after reading this you’ll know The basic elements of a promotion plan, how they should change with different business priorities and how to decide which options are best for you.

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Audience and Content Publishing: 17 Ways to Find Out What Your Audience Wants You to Share

audience and content publishing - 17 Ways to Find Out What Your Audience Wants You to Share

Ever had a piece of content go viral? It’s a heady experience. Maybe it took off immediately and you watched the share count go up like a rocket ship. Or maybe it was a slow burn, but week after week, you kept shaking your head at how unbelievably well that one piece of content did.

Any time this happens the most powerful response (after “That did AWESOME! I rock!”) is to try to do it again. Ad agencies get irked when clients tell them “we want it go viral” because they’ve gotten this request so many times. Everybody wants their stuff to go viral. Who would say, “we’d like this to go largely unnoticed.”

Odds are you don’t know how to make things go viral every time. Hey, neither do I. But I do know how to increase the chances of it happening. I’m about to show you how to increase the chances of going viral for your stuff, too. Not just viral wildfire once – and maybe not every time – but often enough to make your competition jealous and to leave your audience enthralled.

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How to nurture leads with content curation

How to Nurture Leads with Content Curation 2

Want more leads? You’re not alone. According to IDG Enterprise’s 2015 B2B Content Marketing Spotlight Report, lead generation is the #1 priority for content marketers.
But while everybody says they want more leads, in the very next breathe they’ll add that they want better leads, too. That’s why you’ll see lead nurturing come in as priority #4 on this same graph. Lead nurturing is basically lead generation 2.0. First you get the leads, then you warm them up.

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9 Ways for SMBs to Beat Big Corporations on Social Media [With Examples]

9 Ways for SMBs to Beat Big Corporations on Social Media

Everybody loves an underdog. David versus Goliath… Your local bookstore versus Amazon… Marty’s Fish, Milk & Bait versus WalMart. All these battles, famous or not, tug at our heart strings. Trouble is, if you’re a small business owner, you know you need to do more than just tug at heart strings to make your business work. You need to actually get people in the door. You need to get them to buy things. Then you need them to come back.

Social media has long been hailed as a marketing equalizer. In many ways, it is. It’s free to create an account and free to post and to build your following (Facebook changes aside). But it’s time to get more specific about how to use social as a marketing equalizer. So here are 9 techniques SMBs can use to beat big corporations on social media.

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