25 Tips, Ideas, And Tools for Better Content Curation
Have you ever made a mixtape for someone you 💓? Remember going through a few hundred songs and choosing the best few to include- how every song on the list had a reason for being there?
We’ve been curating all our lives. Content curation is no different. As a curator, you sift through the content overload that exists on the web, to gather information and present it in an organized fashion for an audience that derives value from such information.
But marketers are often confused about what to adopt as their curation strategy: whether it makes sense, how to split effort between creation and curation, and how to derive value from content curation?
This post helps you manoeuvre your way through those questions to understand:
- How to devise a content curation plan that works
- Ideas for curation that you can incorporate in your plan
- Tools that help with content curation
Why content curation makes sense
While the oft-repeated justification for curation being an important part of your overall content marketing strategy is a worthy one, the value in content curation comes from how it contributes in three aspects:
Solve content overload: Content curators help readers get to worthwhile information faster because they sift through hordes of content pieces and only present facts that are useful to the audience.
Provide content expertise: They organize information and present it in a cohesive manner. A blog or content destination might cater to a number of topics; curators help in picking specific aspects and presenting all the information in an organized fashion, in one place.
Present multiple perspectives: Solely creating content for your site presents a limited view about the topic: maybe one or a few writers from your team. On the other hand, curation brings a lot of different perspectives to the fore-building diversity in viewpoints.
Quoting Barry Feldman, “The most important benefit of curation, done really well, is building trust with your audience. If you’re a thorough and thoughtful curator of high-quality content that’s truly useful to your customers, you earn their trust by continuously demonstrating that you have a firm grip on the challenges they grapple with daily.”
Getting Started With Content Curation
Here are some aspects you need to keep in mind while building your content curation plan, in order to establish that kind of thought leadership in your industry:
Define a set of goals
Just as a content creation plan is attached with goals, objectives, and means to evaluate success, a content curation plan should be just as defined. You need to explicitly define what you want to achieve through your curation efforts:
- Do you want to drive leads back to a site?
- Are you looking to monetize through advertisements or sponsorships?
- Trying to build a knowledge bank about a topic?
Finalizing on goals before you start curating helps in ongoing evaluation and lets you tweak your approach along the way, to reach those goals.
Pick an area and build credibility
Content curation focusses on adding value to existing content by building on it, not just arbitrary sharing of content. In order to truly add value and not turn into another outlet of content purge, you need to pick an area or set of topics that you want to focus on. The value of a curator lies in the way they streamline information and add value to their audience. Your ultimate litmus test should be:
Does the reader trust me enough to come back every time he wants to know more about this topic?
Don’t confuse it with syndication of content
When it comes to curation, what you leave out is just as important as what you leave in. Since the thumb rule for curation is to sift through a LOT of content and present only the points that add the most value, you need to be careful to pick the most important parts.
Find your golden ratio
Marketers are often divided about the ideal creation to curation ratio. Though the 80-20 rule is what most marketers swear by, identifying your own mix depends on a number of factors such as the nature of your business, the size of your team, and your content schedule.
Identify influencers in your industry
The first step towards becoming a thought leader in your space is to follow others who have already made a mark, to understand what makes them tick. Identify credible creators in your space and incorporate their work in your curation efforts.
Decide how often to curate
Actively curate from your sources twice or thrice a week and stick to a schedule. This adds a rhythm to your curation efforts and shows your audience that you are serious about curation.
Curate, not plagiarize
Always give credit to the original publisher as the goal of curation is to present useful information to your audience, not claim to be the creator of it.
Have a few credible sources of content
Once you have zeroed in on the influencers in your space and understood the kind of content they create, finalize a few trusted sources that you can go to for curation. Adding more than just a few blogs to your list of trusted sources is important to maintain some variety. It helps to set up alerts for all these sources so you wouldn’t have to check them manually for new content every time.
Promote it across channels
Curated content, just like content created in-house, needs to be promoted in order to be discovered. Identify channels that are frequented by your audience and share them to increase reach and awareness.
Add your own perspective
It’s alarming to find the number of posts only that fail to distinguish between sharing of content and content curation. The real value of curation comes when you, as a curator, go through a number of sources of content and pick the ones that cohesively build a story that is worth telling. Add your perspective on a given piece of content instead of just sharing it to your blog or social network.
Automate to the extent possible
Find ways to simplify the curation process so you don’t end up spending more time doing the prep work than the act of curating itself. Use tools that help in bringing you content from your industry, allow easy editing, and enable quick sharing to your blogs or other content destinations.
Content curation ideas
Now that we’ve tackled the what of content curation, how about tackling the how? Here are some of the ways you can organize content to maximise value for your audience. Choose the ideas that closely match the objectives you want to achieve through curation.
Put together data for an industry or topic
Using data to support your story makes it more credible. However, it isn’t easy to carry out these in-depth research pieces on your own. What’s the next best thing? Pick a topic of interest for your audience and collect all the data around it that you can get your hands on.
An important thing to keep in mind though, is to only include data from credible sources. Here are some cool examples to get you started:
Bonus tip: Present facts about an industry in a visually appealing manner by making infographics that also allow easy sharing.
Gather advice from influencers in the industry
Another useful way to curate content for your readers is by creating a high-value post filled with advice from the greats. While it is easy for larger brands to have access to influencers and feature their success stories as full-fledged interviews, there are a lot of small businesses that couldn’t dream of having that one-on-one consultation. Pick an area of value and curate a list of ‘What Would An Influencer Do’.
Cover an event or convention in detail
There are a number of industry events happening every year across the globe. These events are usually frequented by top influencers and successful entrepreneurs that have made it big in their industry. Without a doubt- there’s a world of knowledge to be gained there!
A great value add you can make to your audience, many of whom are unable to attend these events due to a number of constraints, is to curate a list of the top learnings from a major event in your industry.
Something like this one, that covers the top advice and insights from last year’s Social Media Marketing World Conference in San Diego.
Put together a list of reviews for tools
There are a number of tools that make our lives easier. From marketing automation to fitness, you name it and there’s an app or tool that promises to help. How do you know which one to trust?
While reviews are a great source of information, making a decision to purchase requires you to look at more than one or two reviews. A useful idea is to collate reviews from different sources and industry experts so your audience can access it at one place.
This is a great post with reviews on competitive intelligence and benchmarking tools. The especially useful part is that it presents an externally published review for the tools along with a commentary by the author based on his own experience.
Be visual: User generated curation
How about getting your audience to contribute to your curation effort? Visual platforms like Instagram and Pinterest are great to run contests and fun initiatives that get users to contribute using a particular hashtag.
ASOS’ #AsSeenOnMe is a great example of user-generated content for curation. Customers are encouraged to post their pictures using the hashtag and the most popular images are curated on the ASOS website.
Best practices for an industry/ topic
Twitter chats and LinkedIn group discussions are great sources of information to stay updated about current trends from your industry. There’s a lot to find there: right from news on the latest tools to advice from industry experts. How about collating a list of the most valuable comments or responses for a thread related to your industry?
The weekly Content Writing Chat held by Express Writers is an excellent source of information but if you can’t make it for the live chat on Twitter one week, you still have their recap post that features the top answers for the week.
Content Curation Tools
A great tool to find content across topics of interest, Flipboard’s design is easy on the eyes and perfect for a long work commute. A great new addition to Flipboard is the storyboards feature. Titled ‘What’s your passion’, they’re a lot like Pinterest boards and let you pick areas of interest, customize them further by adding specific keywords, and build custom digests filled with the latest content for those topics.
A platform for people interested in curating visual content, what is unique about Pinterest is the way it allows users to collaborate on ideas through shared boards.
Feedly pulls content from predetermined sources that are presented as newsfeeds based on a user’s likes and interests. It acts as a live news feed as the content across the selected sources is updated real-time. A recent addition to the app is Feedly Teams, that allows easy collaboration and sharing.
Using Paper li lets you curate and publish content on topics of your interest to your network. You just select your area of interest, frequency of the newsletter, layout and design etc. during set up and top content for these topics is curated automatically.
With a convenient plugin that allows you to publish to your blog in three clicks, EpicBeat is ideal for curators looking for content across topics and industries. The added advantage with EpicBeat are the numerous content insights that help with content selection.
You can filter content by engagement on specific networks, overall popularity and relevance, and a host of other parameters to choose content that resonates with your audience.
A great app to store interesting content you find on the web, Pocket is like a notice board for all the interesting content you come across on the web. The best part about the app is that it allows offline viewing as well. Save whatever you like, read and curate at leisure.
Our social networks are a storehouse of content just waiting to be consumed. Storify does just that- a social curation platform that allows you to weave stories by finding content for entered keywords on popular social networks like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc. All you need to do is connect your own social account to your Storify page to pick and curate the content you like.
Though Sniply isn’t a curation tool per se, it’s great for fulfilling the ultimate goal of curation which is to drive conversion to either an immediate or external goal. Adding Sniply to posts helps in driving traffic without interfering with the reading experience.
We hope these tips, tools, and ideas help you with your content curation strategy. Quoting master curator Robin Good, “A curator doesn’t just write on a topic he has decided to cover. His task is decidedly much more complex, difficult, challenging and time-consuming. For curators, quality trumps quantity a million times over. High-value content collections can be made to be appreciated and shared for much longer time and by a greater number of people than the majority of articles and blog posts published today.”
Whether you’re a blogger interested in curation or a seasoned curator with a few blogs under his belt, EpicBeat’s curation tool can help discover and publish the right content to your audience in seconds.