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A Beginner’s Guide to Content Curation
  • By Mark Harrison

    Copywriter

You won’t get far browsing the internet without finding some kind of curated content. Across the web, consumers are finding and sharing other creators’ content in new ways, but why Is content curation so important when it comes to marketing your business?

Whether you’re producing blog entries or social media posts, it’s useful to produce a mix of both original and curated content in order to provide value for your customer. Curated content may include:

  • Blog Posts
  • Video Blogs
  • Infographics
  • Social Media Posts
  • Newsletters
  • Ebooks

By definition, curating involves being selective and discerning, rather than simply gathering and blathering everything you can find. It’s not just a cut-and-paste job, but it’s a time-saver for companies who don’t have the ability to create their own content on a regular basis.

For instance, the curator of an art gallery aims to bring together exhibitions that visitors will find fascinating. By the same token, your role as a content curator is to pull different pieces together in a way that creates value for site visitors.

With the amount of work required for your original material, we recommend that you curate 20-30% of your content in order to streamline your efforts without becoming just another voice in the crowd.

This may vary depending on what your audience is looking for, but as with the rest of this guide to content curation, it’s a useful starting point.

Introduction: Why Do You Need Content Curation?

Content curation is an important part of inbound marketing because it helps to establish you as a leader in your field. Even if original content makes up most of your output, there is inherent value in content that you have extrapolated from a variety of different creators.

When you collect a lot of information from different sources into one place, there are obvious benefits for your customers. If you’re willing to put in the legwork so that they don’t have to, you’ll establish your website or social media platform as a go-to place for content within your industry.

The more value you offer a potential customer, the more time they will spend engaging with your posts. As well as boosting your conversion rate, this has potential SEO benefits, as a low bounce rate and high traffic will improve your search ranking.

Search High and Low

 When curating content, you must read as much of you can of what’s available in order to decide what to include. That takes time, but curated content wouldn’t be so valuable to your strategy if it didn’t.

In time, you’ll determine which sources are the most trustworthy and useful in your field, which will save some more time and help you to develop your skills as a curator.

Trending Topics

If you’re looking for a useful starting point, many social media platforms show what topics and hashtags are trending at the moment. These provide a real-time guide to what people are saying and sharing about a certain subject, making it slightly easier to get a bit of research in.

What’s more, trending topics may also provide inspiration for your curated content. What can you contribute to the conversation that’s relevant to your business and your industry? If your timing is right, you’ll be able to tap into topical interests and attract more visitors.

What Are Your Competitors Doing?

Beyond just researching facts, you should also be looking at what your competitors are doing. Obviously, you don’t want to link to them and risk diverting customers to them but neither do you want to copy whatever they’re doing.

So, what aren’t they doing? Which topics aren’t they covering? What kind of posts can you give your audience that they can’t get elsewhere? Answering these questions will help you to create valuable curated posts.

Diversify Your Content

 Chiefly, the main reason why you don’t want to merely copy your competitors is that your audience wants something unique. They don’t need more of the same, which means you need to figure out what else to give them.

For instance, if there’s one thing that customers have got great at in the online age, it’s dodging adverts. We install ad blockers, apply email spam filters, and duck sales calls because the last thing we want is to be marketed to.

This is why content curation is so handy when it comes to diversifying your content beyond the usual product descriptions and promotions. Instead of trying to dunk your visitors down a sales funnel, great curated posts provide a reason for customers to engage for a longer period of time.

Also helping to keep things fresh, there are a wide variety of different types of curated content that you can employ. Let’s explore the main types…

Sharing

This is an easy one. Your social media followers want relevant content and so you will share content that reflects what you want to deliver.

It’s almost as simple as that – all you have to do is make sure that you add commentary of your own or ask your followers a question in order to start a conversation. You don’t want to be seen as a spammer, so that added value is crucial.

We all share things with people we are connected to on social media and if you create value in the post as well as in the link, this is a great way to establish yourself as a reliable source.

Listing

Easy to read and especially popular with online content creators, lists and listicles are among the most powerful tools in your content curation arsenal.

Gather the best links and resources on a certain subject and collate them in list form. Structure each item according to whatever format you think is best and add commentary as you go. Whether you include your list in a blog post or as an issue of a regular newsletter, they offer a ton of value for visitors.

Provided you keep up with regular updates, ensuring that all links are live and adding new resources wherever necessary, lists are a smashing example of evergreen content; a saveable, shareable resource that will bring visitors back to your site time and again.

Distilling

The essence of curated content is always distilled from numerous different sources. Again, a curated post is not the result of cut-and-paste work, but a product of your own extensive reading and research that brings something new to the table.

It’s about gathering the best points from across the conversation into one resource. Cite your sources and present your findings in a way that’s convenient and accessible for your visitors.

Distilled content is especially compatible with visual content. If you want to stand out from other blogs, create an infographic that maps out the essentials or produce a video blog about your findings. This kind of visual content will stand out on social media as well as on your website.

Crowdsourcing

Once you feel confident, you could combine curated and original content with a crowdsourced post. This time-tested tactic will help you to create popular posts while also helping you to network within your industry.

Come up with a question that you want to answer and rather than collating existing data, ask for answers from peers and influencers within your industry. They don’t have to be celebrities, but they should be somewhat renowned in the area you’re discussing.

When you get some answers back, collect them in a post that pools their knowledge and opinions. This is one of the best kinds of curated post, expressly because of the combined value of both the curated information and the amplification provided by contributors who will share your post with their own followers.

Connect with New People

Whether you’re looking for new customers or angling for closer collaboration with others in your field, curated content will also help you to grow your network.

As well as giving credit to those who you cite, make sure you let them know about your post and see if they’ll share it with their social media following. By forging strong relationships with those you are already close to, you’ll grow nearer to the top influencers in your industry.

Additionally, creating a diverse range of shareable content can only generate more leads for your website or social media platforms. As more people discover your site, you can boost conversions by showing that you produce valuable content.

Add Value

Presentation is a key part of valuable curated content. After you’ve picked material to curate, (the best of what’s available, not just the first thing that you find!) make sure that you organise all the information to help your audience consume it easily.

In terms of unique value, it’s important to keep these posts personal. Whatever commentary you add should provide context or perspective on the information, but more importantly, it should be yours.

Don’t forget that the main thing that your original content and your curated content should have in common is your voice. That’s the added value that will endear you to potential customers.

Plan Accordingly

Curated content is highly useful in moderation. It shouldn’t be prioritised over your original content in your inbound marketing strategy and when you have a number of posts planned, it’s important to schedule these accordingly.

Content planning includes making the most of trending topics, local business hashtags, or any other special occasion, but it’s also about balancing your original and curated posts. Remember that content curation is about quality rather than quantity.

Furthermore, it’s important to optimise your posts for different channels. Use analytics from each platform to find out more about your qualified and unqualified traffic, what works and what doesn’t, and refine your strategy accordingly.

Conclusion: Gather, Don’t Blather

 Helping to streamline and accelerate your customer lifecycle, the most successful curated content always stems from careful planning and research. Working in tandem with your original content, it should be concise, accessible, and useful to your audience.

There are a host of benefits, ranging from increased sales to better networking practices, but these are only effective if you understand what your audience wants and needs.

Keep your potential customers in mind while curating content and take care not to lapse into self-promotion. As part of your inbound marketing, you want to gather content that will improve their user experience, rather than blather about why they need your products or services.

Covering everything from a crowdsourced discussion of a certain issue or topic to a social media post that shares an interesting link with your followers, content curation is a basic but valuable tool when used correctly.

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