Getting Content Curation Right: 8 Best Practices And 6 Examples To Follow For Success
Soon as we shipped EpicBeat’s Three-click Content Curation feature, we were asked one question in particular more than a few times.
“Is it right to post someone else’s content on my website?”
As some of you know, we have deliberately shied away from dishing out legal advice in our responses, directing you instead to third-party content that’s authoritative and sound. However, we think it’s time for us to opine with our own learnings on the road to building this feature.
‘Course we realize how important it is to understand the nuances of ethical content curation so you can make the most of this content marketing technique used by 82% marketers across the globe.
This guide of sorts (sans the legalese) brings together best practices from the industry, tips from been-there-done-that experts, and covers these two broad areas.
- Best practices you should keep in mind when curating content
- Examples of curation done right
Again, the guide does not offer legal advice. Rather, it is our own internal compass for curating right and in style. It attempts to give you — the reader and eventual curator — key takeaways from our learnings and some rules-of-thumb to bear in mind when curating content on your site. We urge you to continue in that spirit.
Content Curation: Not just Ctrl-C + Ctrl-V
Curation is never about copying a chunk of text from someone else’s article and posting it on your site. Even if the text is accompanied with links to the original source, never transfer the content as it appears on the source to your own page.
Take the time to read through a piece of content you find valuable, pick up the aspects that would matter to your audience, and recreate it in your words.
At Epictions, we believe in the intrinsic value of content. It lies at the heart of what we do both as a business and as people.
If there’s one piece of advice we always give novice curators who are beginning to build a faithful audience, it is to respect the effort put in by the original author and only use their work as a foundation to build something of greater value. We can’t stress this point enough.
We’d also like to stress that we do not own the rights to any of the content housed on EpicBeat unless explicitly indicated by us. Just like Google, we offer a search-as-a-service tool and ensure all that great content is more accessible and easily discoverable by you.
Prominently link to the original source
Always link to the author and the original source. Using a color for the linked or copied text that stands out from the rest of the article is a great way of calling attention to it and declaring to the world you have nothing to hide.
Worrying too much about driving traffic away from your site because of the backlinks to the original author and site shouldn’t be your concern at all. In the long run, what will bring back the hordes is your unique perspective on a topic. In short, be original even when curating someone else’s work.
Titles and headlines must be ‘you’
Curation done well incorporates more than a few perspectives and articles in a post. Instead of using the original title, it is best to create a new and more interesting one that captures the essence of your own spin.
Be careful with images
Ever noticed the Tools menu on a Google Image Search page? That menu filters results by usage rights (click Tools under the right of the Search bar to see the permissions I have selected) letting you steer clear of the ones that are are heavily protected by copyright laws.
The same is true for images you see in articles you wish to curate. A popular practice for adding images is to go with a thumbnail instead of the whole picture. An alternative, more time-intensive option, is to replace the image with a royalty-free one that says the same thing as the original.
Include multiple articles and sources
Interesting and share-worthy articles that you enjoy and curate take effort and a lot of thought to create. Instead of relying on a single source or website for all your content, choose a few relevant articles from different sites that cohesively tell a good, swanky new story worth sharing.
Add value with original commentary
Your website is your domain.
Literally. In that you own the domain. Okay, bad joke.
It is your platform to voice your opinion to your audience. While it is understood not all your content can be your own creation (hello, Guest Posts), it must carry your unique voice, your perspectives on topics of import – ones you know you can comment on.
Ethical curation is about taking what matters from the original post, adding your thoughts on top, and sharing something that’s not come out of a copying machine.
Keep bookmarking, reading, and thinking
They save content pieces (and time) when you’re skimming through a list of articles (as on EpicBeat) that look promising. Now, did you know we connect your Pocket to your EpicBeat? You didn’t? Crawl out from under that rock and check it out!
Draw inspiration from a rich set of sources
Inspiration comes in many forms and from the unlikeliest places but instead of waiting for it to come around and hit you in your face, have a repertoire of topic-specific quality sites and authors as your go-tos.
EpicBeat’s Alerts are just the handiest for curators interested in the latest and greatest from their muses. Get all relevant content delivered to your inbox and check them out when you have the time. It’s really that simple.
This Nieman article that extensively details legal and ethical aspects of online content curation is one of the most authoritative sources on the matter. If you’re looking for more clarity on dos and don’ts, look no further.
Curation Done Right
Here is a curated list of curated content that show how to curate right, ethically and legally speaking, and be crowd-pullers. These blogs, newsletters, and websites exemplify the ethos of quality content curation and are ideal for you to get your gears in motion.
Sidebar: This is a personal list in that it is biased to my personal preferences and loves. If you have suggestions for the list or think I have been blind to worthier examples, tweet to me and I will take a look at them.
Give advice that is forceful, thoughtful, and useful
I’ve read more than a fair share of articles about ideal writing practices. Most pieces complement the author’s advice by displaying the nuances that they’re professing in the article – some are terse and focus on stating the facts while others adopt a lighter tone.
However, one of the best pieces I have come across (and recently) is this useful playbook that curates eight powerful writing tactics from a variety of sources. Each tactic is accompanied with relevant examples that highlight it and make it easier for the reader to understand it better.
Share your verdict on tools that make life easier
Marketing automation has made it easier for marketers to reach out to and engage their audience efficiently. However, there are so many tools out there that it becomes difficult to know which one is right for you.
Robin Good’s site neatly categorizes free tools that are useful to communications and marketing professionals. From content discovery to web design, he lists features of each tool along with his own verdict on it.
Give your opinion on news that matters
On any regular day, my inbox witnesses a lot of junk in the form of boring newsletters and promotional e-mails that never get read. The Next Draft newsletter is not one of them.
Dave Pell’s daily commentary on all things quirky, thought-provoking, and controversial is a welcome addition to my cluttered inbox – one that I look forward to reading almost every day.
Subscribe to the newsletter here. Right. Now. See how forceful advice works?
Pick the best from the rest
I’ve always had an affinity for long-form content. Tell me to create a short 500-word piece and I’ll struggle. Give me a 5000-word essay (like this one) and I’ll rub my palms in glee.
Truth be told, long-form content works a lot better. But when there’s so much to choose from, how to find the ones that are worth your time?
Anna Dubenko’s Tumblr page features the best long reads worth squinting over. The Feature lists carefully curated articles from different sources with a little snippet introducing each piece.
Curate anything (as long as you’re passionate about it)
Who said content curation is restricted to textual content? What if the thing you’re most interested in and know your audience wants is art or music or fashion? Can you imagine them reading through reams of words? Nah!
What Kate Wore is a stellar example of obsessive dedication to a page that is a fashion catalog and a little piece of history rolled into one. It gets a top score in Ethical Curation as the curators include image credits and license info from the original on each picture, showcased in all their glory on the site.
Make it a labor of love
I decided to keep the best for the last. Maria Popova’s weekly newsletter, Brain Pickings, is a beautifully orchestrated list of stories that speak to the soul (and the soulful amongst us).
She picks inherently interesting pieces across genres and types — philosophy, biography, letters and even children’s books — that beautifully express an idea or an emotion, adds her own commentary on top, and thoughtfully weaves in quotes from the original piece.
The newsletters often leave you with ample food for thought and end up, more often than not, in a trip to the nearest bookstore.
So, there you have it. Best practices and case examples of content curation that help add value to your site and brand. Check out this post if you’re interested in learning more about proven strategies, tips, and tools that aid quality content curation.
If this is enough and you think you’re all ready to start curating, EpicBeat’s got your back.