What Is Content Curation? The Complete Beginner’s Guide

Title: The Ultimate Guide to Content Curation: Benefits, Best Practices, Tools and More

Content curation has become an essential part of many successful content marketing strategies. By sharing high-quality, relevant content from other sources, you can provide added value to your audience, build trust and credibility, and enhance your brand‘s reputation as a go-to resource.

In this comprehensive guide, we‘ll dive deep into what content curation is, why it matters, best practices to follow, tools to use, examples to learn from, and how to integrate curation into your overall content plan. By the end, you‘ll be equipped with expert tips and knowledge to curate content like a pro!

What is Content Curation?

Simply put, content curation is the process of finding, organizing and sharing the best and most relevant content on a specific topic or niche. Rather than creating content from scratch, curators sift through the noise to hand-select the gems that will resonate with their particular audience.

Think of it like an artmuseum. Museum curators don‘t create the art themselves. Instead, their job is to carefully choose which pieces to feature that fit the theme of an exhibit and arrange them in a way that tells a compelling story for visitors.

As a content curator, you‘re similarly selecting the best content from a sea of blog posts, articles, videos, podcasts, infographics and more. The content you choose to share should align with your brand positioning and audience interests. Then, you add your own unique commentary, insight or perspective to put your own stamp on the curated pieces.

Why Bother With Content Curation?

Now you might be thinking, if this content already exists, what‘s the benefit of rehashing it for my audience? Won‘t it seem lazy or like I‘m just piggybacking on other people‘s hard work?

When done strategically, curating content can actually bring tremendous value to your audience and your brand. Here are a few key reasons to consider content curation:

  1. Provide a valuable service to your audience. With the overwhelming amount of content available today, your audience likely doesn‘t have the time to sift through it all themselves. By curating the best, most interesting and useful content, you‘re providing a service and saving them time. You become a trusted filter and source of information they can rely on.

  2. Strengthen your brand positioning and authority. Sharing high-quality, relevant content shows you‘re tapped into industry trends and news. You can provide diverse, well-rounded perspectives beyond just your own content. Curating thought leaders and influencers also positions you among those ranks. Thoughtful curation and commentary demonstrate your expertise on the topics and issues that matter most to your audience.

  3. Build relationships with other content creators or brands. Sharing other people‘s content is a great way to get noticed and start building relationships. When you feature their work, tag them on social media and let them know. Many will appreciate the exposure to your audience and reciprocate by sharing your content as well. You can also reach out to suggest a content partnership or co-marketing opportunity if it seems like a good fit.

  4. Fill your content calendar and maximize resources. Constantly creating fresh content is time consuming and resource-intensive. Content curation helps fill out your publishing calendar so you‘re consistently providing value to your audience without getting burned out. You can also extend the reach and lifespan of your own content by curating it along with external content in new, repurposed formats.

  5. Diversify your content for better engagement. Varying content formats and sources keeps things interesting for your audience. Curation allows you to diversify your content mix beyond just your own created pieces. Sharing different media like videos, infographics, data visualizations and more has also been shown to boost engagement.

Best Practices for Effective Content Curation

Follow these content curation best practices to ensure you‘re getting the most value for your efforts:

  1. Be selective and focus on quality over quantity. Don‘t just share anything and everything. Be strategic about the content you curate, ensuring it‘s relevant, credible and something your audience will genuinely find interesting. Spending more time hand-selecting the best pieces is better than indiscriminately mass-sharing content of varying quality.

  2. Always add your own insight and commentary. Remember, curation isn‘t just about curation. It‘s about filtering content through your unique lens. Don‘t just hit the share button without adding your own two cents. Pull out key takeaways, offer a different perspective, add examples from your experience, or explain why you think this piece matters for your audience. Your insights are what separate curation from just aggregation.

  3. Provide attribution and cite your sources. Just like any other form of content, it‘s important to give credit where it‘s due. When curating external content, always include the original source and relevant links. Tag the author or publisher and mention them by name where possible. Aside from being the ethical thing to do, linking to authoritative sources can also provide valuable link juice for SEO.

  4. Put a system in place to organize content. Devise a system to collect, organize and filter the content you want to curate. Create categories or tags based on topics/themes that resonate with your audience. Consistently monitor the publications, blogs and social media accounts that tend to produce quality content in your niche. Use tools (which we‘ll cover later) to streamline the process.

  5. Curate from credible and diverse sources. Aim to include a mix of voices and perspectives from well-respected sources in your curation. Don‘t just stick to the usual suspects that everyone else in your industry is curating. Venture outside your regular reading list to find unique, lesser-known gems as well. Diversity is key to keeping your audience engaged and solidifying your position as a valuable curator.

  6. Contextualize content for your specific audience. When sharing curated content, add context for why it matters to YOUR audience. How will they apply this knowledge? What are the implications for their lives/businesses? Connect the dots between the content you‘re curating and your audience‘s challenges, goals and priorities.

  7. Maintain a healthy mix of curated and original content. Curation works best as a supplement to your own original content, not a replacement for it. Strike a balance between curated and created content. Aim to share a unique insight, finding or perspective in your original content, while your curated content supports and enhances those ideas.

  8. Cross-promote curated content across channels. Get more bang for your curation buck by sharing across multiple channels. Turn a curated blog post into a Twitter thread. Highlight curated stats in an Instagram Story. Include particularly popular curated pieces in your email newsletter. Different segments of your audience likely have different content consumption preferences, so cross-promoting helps you reach more people.

Content Curation Tools and Technology

To streamline your curation, try these tools to discover, collect, organize and share content:

  • Feedly: Easily follow RSS feeds from your favorite blogs, news sites, YouTube channels and more. Organize content into collections and boards. Integrate with social media scheduling tools to seamlessly share.

  • Pocket: Quickly save interesting articles, videos or other content you come across. Tag and categorize saved items to easily curate into themed roundups later.

  • Flipboard: Like your own personal magazine, Flipboard allows you to curate and share the best content you‘re reading across the web. Comment on articles with your insight to start meaningful conversations with others.

  • Anders Pink: Powered by AI, this curation tool auto-discovers relevant content from around the web in real-time. Fine tune content alerts based on keywords and phrases. Great for industry news roundups.

  • Scoop.it: Research, curate and publish the best content to establish your brand‘s thought leadership. Suggests content based on specific topics and enables team collaboration.

  • Quuu: Taps into hand-curated content suggestions sourced by real people. Integrates with your social media scheduling tool to automate posting.

Examples of Excellent Content Curation

See how these brands are curating content to engage their audiences:

  • The Moz Top 10: Leading SEO software company Moz rounds up the 10 most valuable articles about SEO and online marketing in a bimonthly newsletter. Includes helpful context for why the content matters to readers.

  • theSkimm: This hugely popular email newsletter curates and summarizes the top news stories of the day for busy female millennials. The tone is conversational and the format is super skimmable.

  • Dave Pell‘s NextDraft: Dubbed "The Day‘s Most Fascinating News from Dave Pell," this entertaining daily email newsletter features the top 10 news stories of the day with witty commentary.

  • Brain Pickings: Maria Popova curates "interestingness from the world of culture, science, art, and beyond" in her highly regarded weekly newsletter. Pieces are thoughtfully selected and paired with Popova‘s unique insight.

  • Vox Sentences: Vox‘s evening email newsletter sums up the day in news with blurbs on the 3-4 top stories followed by a bulleted list of key headlines and links for further reading.

Bringing It All Together

Effective content curation brings together the best content from top sources and thought leaders in your industry. But more than just a roundup, good curation should also highlight your brand‘s unique insight and point of view.

The best curators view content through the lens of their audience‘s needs, interests and pain points. They offer context and commentary to translate what the content means for their specific audience. So always keep your audience top of mind when selecting which content to curate and how to position it.

Consistency is also key. Make curation a regular part of your editorial calendar, whether that‘s daily, weekly or monthly. Over time, your audience will come to rely on you as a go-to source of information on your area of expertise.

When measuring the impact of your curation, track key engagement metrics like views, likes, shares and comments on curated pieces. Note which topics and formats generate the most interest. Pay attention to audience feedback.

You can also gauge impact through qualitative measures like unsolicited praise from curated sources, new relationships formed with influencers/thought leaders, interview or speaking invitations, and brand mentions.

By following the best practices laid out in this guide and keeping your audience needs at the forefront, you‘ll be curating content like an expert in no time. You‘ll strengthen your brand authority and provide a valuable service to your audience – making content curation a win-win for all.

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