Why Content Curation?
The beauty of content curation is that you don’t have to create it.
In the world that we live in, at least the online part of it, there’s too much content. Not only does this make it more difficult to stick out, but it also means that there is a lot of good content already out there.
When we think about the objectives of content marketing, it makes us question how much content we really need to create…
First off, I’m a big believer in content creation. At the end of the day, it’s important to have owned content, and a lot of it too.
It gives you credibility in the industry and earns you the trust you’ll need from potential clients and customers.
But when I suggest that we might not need to make as much content, I’m merely pointing at the fact that most of our content isn’t unique.
In fact, there’s probably an article just like this one floating around on the Internet.
And when we consider why content is created, we can start to replace much of our owned content with 3rd party, curated content.
Let’s think about why we create content in the first place…
We don’t create content for the sake of creating content. Rather it’s a means to an end.
Part of the reason is to establish credibility. We want to build our brand, both as an individual and as a brand.
But furthermore, we want the more tangible results that content can provide:
Think website visitors, email subscribers, social shares, and ultimately sales.
Why do we create content for our audience?
Once again, part of the reason is to build trust and foster a relationship between the reader and writer.
We want the audience to know that we “know what we’re talking about” and we can help solve their problems.
Lastly, content is about providing value. In many cases, as in B2B, it’s about educating the customer.
We want to help them do their job better, make their company more money, save them time.
In other situations, we want to make them laugh, or think, or share with friends.
The problem with creating this content ourselves is that it takes forever. Content marketing can be quite expensive, both in terms of the time it takes and the cost of outsourcing it.
This is where content curation comes in. If we can go out and find content on the web that educates potential customers, makes people laugh, causes them to buy, makes them mention us to friends, haven’t we done our job?
Absolutely. But don’t get ahead of yourself.
Of course, it’s not all about curated content. You have to create it as well. But, relevant curated content most definitely should be part of your content marketing mix.
What do we need?
We have established the why, but how about the what?
We need content, but what content?
Whenever I source content, I take a similar approach to my content creation process.
After all, it’s all about what you provide, regardless of whether you or anyone else created it.
This means that we need to source content that aligns with the stages in our buyer’s journey.
Think about the classic funnel.
For a majority of your content curation efforts, you’re looking for top of the funnel content. This means you want entertaining or informational content.
It’s not meant to earn you sales, this is about finding content that engages people.
What problems does your target audience have?
How can you fix those problems?
Typically, you’ll be asking yourself the same questions you do when brainstorming content to create.
The only difference here is that we have to go out and find it rather than create it.
Where to share?
The whole point of curating content is so that you can deliver it to your audience.
This becomes a game of two things: distribution and engagement.
As for distribution, the go-to is typically social media.
Social media is quick and dirty. Everyone has a social profile and your audience is most likely on one platform, most likely many.
But distribution can be a lot more than sharing random articles on Twitter.
It may mean a weekly link roundup that you promote on your website.
Or perhaps you share relevant articles in your newsletter every few days.
But we can’t forget about the two-fold strategy here. Engagement is just as important as your distribution.
If no one is liking, commenting, clicking, or even seeing our posts, why post them in the first place?
Remember, content marketing isn’t the end game, it’s just a means to an end.
Start with your personality.
First off, the content isn’t yours.
You don’t own it, and your fans, customers, followers know this. And that’s fine.
But to get a reaction from the audience, it’s best to provide your insight.
What were your thoughts on the article you shared?
How come you reposted the Instagram picture from a different brand?
Why do you believe that this piece is relevant to the audience?
How can this piece help them?
I think we all know a profile or two (either from a brand or individual) that simply shares links.
There is no commentary on the content, no background story, no “why”. Hence, there’s no engagement.
It makes you wonder why they even bother sharing.
This is often what separates the winners from the losers.
Those that take relevant curated content, and position it in a way that drives engagement, win.
There’s a major reason why this is so.
People that share links look like robots. There’s no personality, there’s no relationship, it’s basically an RSS feed of links.
Be human, it works.
And this doesn’t always mean explaining how helpful the content is.
Maybe you share a piece and provide a counter-argument to the main point.
Regardless, give something to your audience other than just the curated piece itself. After all, they are following you for a reason.
What’s interesting about this strategy is that people begin to develop a certain level of trust in you.
The reason for this is that they begin to see you as someone that understands and shares good content.
If you’re sharing content that the audience finds helpful or enjoys, they will associate you as the founder of that content. In a sense, you become the source of information.
This isn’t about stealing the content creator’s thunder, this is about finding the needle in the haystack.
Given the fact that there are millions of articles published every single month, you’re providing a free, valuable service by only presenting the best of the best.
Furthermore, by providing your thoughts, you’re giving them even more insight so that they can digest the content with your viewpoint and expertise in mind.
Time to find the Content Gold
Now we must discuss the “how”.
We don’t want to create all the content ourselves. That would take far too long.
We also don’t want to scour the web every day, simply to find a few solid pieces to share. That also takes far too much effort.
That also takes far too much effort.
This is the time to employ a helpful tool to do the heavy work for you.
Below I have 4 helpful content curation tools that will make your life easier.
I encourage you to test them out and find which suits you best.
Remember RSS readers?
Feedly is a reader on steroids.
What it allows you to do is follow your favorite content sources all within one dashboard.
You can create folders with different categories of content. For example, I could have one list with social media blogs and another with SEO blogs.
As these publications push out content, it will appear in your Feedly. You can read it in the interface for some websites, or you can click through to the website in other cases.
This makes sourcing a lot easier. It also makes staying caught up on your industry easier too.
Say you set aside time on Fridays to read industry related content to stay sharp. Instead of going to each individual website to see their new articles, you could simply log into Feedly and find it sitting there patiently waiting for you.
When curating content, this means you can quickly grab links and push them to your social media profiles or social media management platform.
As you read the articles and schedule your social updates/newsletter/roundups, you could provide bits and pieces of insight for each article.
Remember that whole concept of engagement?
Curata is a content marketing and curation platform.
This means it’s literally built for this sort of thing.
As stated on their website, Curata uses machine learning, natural language processing, and artificial intelligence to power their content curation software.
As I said, pretty much the Rolls Royce of content curation tools.
“Using keywords, news sources, authors, bookmarked or shared content, etc., Curata CCS will scour the web and return highly relevant results in a dashboard that empowers you to incorporate your own summary and brand voice, embed royalty-free imagery, schedule, and share.”
All I need right now is that meme that says “Take my money.”
Scoop.it is similar to Curata, in that it acts as both a content marketing platform and a content curation service.
It uses a “smart suggestion engine” to crawl the web and bring you the most popular, relevant, and fresh content based on the relevant keywords you provide.
This leaves you with a whole lot of quality content to share.
Furthermore, Scoop.it helps you to stay in control of all that content, so that you can effectively publish it on your distribution channels.
For example, it has features that allow you to publish curated content to your own blog in minutes.
For a marketer that syndicates a lot of content, you’ll find this feature extremely helpful.
BuzzSumo is one of those tools I would purchase if I could. (I use the free, limited version).
It’s ultra simple and gives you a deep dive into the top performing posts based on keywords you type into the search.
You can filter by date, content type, and country. Plus you can see all the social shares that a piece earned, along with who shared it and what websites linked back to it.
This leads to some awesome opportunities when you’re engaging in outreach.
For content curation purposes, you could easily search for content within your respective niche and then filter down to most recent.
Then you would be able to see the top performing pieces so that you can publish them to your distribution channels.
Personally, I have used it for content promotion and seeing “what’s hot” so that I can integrate it into my marketing strategy.
This may mean new content ideas, opportunities for guest blogging, promoting my created content, and a whole lot more.
Content curation isn’t necessarily the easy way out.
It sounds very nice in theory:
All you have to do is type in keywords and out pops a whole lot of content to share. No writing required!
In part, this is certainly true, especially with all the tools at our disposal.
Nonetheless, the importance of relevance, distribution, and leveraging engagement is something we can’t dismiss.
Content curation acts less as the go-to strategy and more as an important ingredient in our overall content strategy.
It allows us to save a whole lot of time by not having to create all the content ourselves.
Plus it makes us appear as a helpful leader in regards to our ability to find the golden nuggets of content.
To recap: Figure out what your audience wants, find the content that aligns with those wants, and distribute it in a manner that focuses on engagement.
Best of luck in your content curation efforts!