Content marketers have become active curators, wading through an overwhelming amount of content to find, organize and share the pieces that will be relevant and interesting to their audiences.
Content curation is an important part of your content strategy, but only if it is done well. The goal is curation with a purpose; you shouldn’t be collecting up five well-written pieces each week to avoid writing five new pieces. If your brand’s blog is looking more like a content museum than a presentation of your brand’s latest and greatest works, you may be leaning a bit too heavily on content curation.
Here’s what you need to do to curate insightful, valuable content for your blog and social media accounts — and to ensure you’re not using content curation as a crutch.
Find Awesome Content
Upwell, a media and news non-profit, coined the term “awesome spotting” to describe the process of identifying content that your audience will love.
Awesome content should be:
- Engaging: Whether it’s funny, cute, or insightful, there needs to be a compelling hook to draw your audience in.
- Credible: It’s bad for your brand if the content you’re sharing turns out not to be based in fact. (It’s also embarrassing if your brand mistakes satire for news.)
- Relevant: Establishing your brand as a leader in your industry means sharing content relevant to your industry, your products or services, and your audience.
- Under-amplified: Consistently curating content that is new and unfamiliar to your audience will do more for your brand than re-sharing an article that has made the rounds many times.
Note that content does not have to be brand new to still be worth sharing. If it’s engaging, credible, related to your brand, and under-amplified, content from a year ago can still be valuable to share. It’s even better if you can connect the piece to something recent, such as an ongoing trend in your industry or a current event.
You may come up with additional criteria specific to your brand’s industry and your target market’s needs and preferences, to help you narrow the search even further when looking through content.
As you curate and share content across your channels, you’ll notice that the act of curating content pushes you to do valuable audience research. In searching for content worth sharing, you’ll need to learn more about who your audience is, and what they like to consume and share. This can give you more insight to shape your content strategy and clue you in to the kind of content you should be producing.
You don’t have to spend your entire day scrolling through social media, hoping to come across a perfectly fitting article or infographic. There are plenty of tools to make “awesome spotting” easier.
Offer Your Brand’s Insight
There’s a fine line between content curation and content aggregation, where content is shared without any commentary or context for what makes it noteworthy.
Why would your audience need to come to your blog to read a collection of five posts from other blogs? What’s the benefit to reading your curated list, instead of simply viewing the content on its original source?
To add value to your readers, offer your unique take on why a piece of content (or list of articles) is worth looking at. Add your expert insight and explain why the content resonates with your company. Your audience will get more value out of the content if it is accompanied by your knowledge.
Further, if you’re aggregating content without your original commentary, particularly on your blog or website, it can actually hurt your search engine ranking. Search engines won’t view your brand’s blog as valuable or insightful if they only see you regurgitating content from elsewhere. Post enough duplicate content and Google could even consider you a spam blog, and penalize your search rankings.
Make sure the commentary you’ve written is longer than the excerpt you took from the article you’re sharing. Annotating content with your own thoughts and opinions will avoid SEO problems, while offering more value to your audience.
Attribute, Attribute, Attribute
Attributing the sources of content is the ethical thing to do, but there’s more to it than that. When you share and properly attribute others’ work, you can begin to develop relationships with the original content creators.
When you give credit to others, you’re publicly stating there is value in their content; you’re essentially giving them a wonderful compliment. With enough time and energy, those relationships can move offline and become lasting connections that help your business.
All from the simple (and ethical) act of giving credit where credit is due.
Include a Call to Action
Once someone has read the content you’ve shared, what do you want them to do next? Whether you want them to share the content with their friends, sign up for your newsletter, or reach out to your sales department, you need to include that as a call to action (CTA) after they’ve consumed your content.
Figuring out your CTAs is an important part of your content strategy, with both content you’re producing and curating. Curated content, just like all content your brand produces, should lead strategically into your sales funnel in a logical way. Don’t neglect to add CTAs in your curated content — you’ll be missing valuable opportunities to encourage your audience to move one step closer along the funnel.
Don’t Use Content Curation Alone — Create Original Content, Too
Compared with the daunting and time-consuming task of creating original content, curating existing content can seem so easy. Other people have already done the writing, and all you need to do is to give them credit and add some thoughts of your own. It can be tempting to rely heavily on curated content as a matter of convenience, but if you let it become a crutch, it will hurt your content marketing results.
While content curation is an important part of your content strategy, it can’t replace content creation. Your brand needs to promote a mix of curated content and original content developed by your company.
Fortunately, as you become better at curating content, you’ll naturally pick up and hone skills for creating it. Identifying and assessing the good and the bad in others’ content can help you get a better sense of your own brand voice, your audience’s interests and needs, and what types of content work well in various situations.
From there, you’ll be able to both curate pieces worth sharing and create your own engaging and relevant content to impress your audience.
Need help producing content of your own? Reach out to our expert content marketing team to see how we can help you produce the right kinds of content to elevate your brand and make connections with your consumers. Or, browse our blog for more resources to help you boost your content marketing to the next level.