You have no doubt heard time and again that you should curate content as part of your content marketing plan – but why should you put time & effort toward sharing someone else’s content?
While it may seem counterintuitive, content curation can pay off big for your company’s marketing in several ways.
Posting content from other sources gives the impression that a company pays attention to industry news happening beyond your own office – which is true? Furthermore, if you post a ton on social media, but each post points back to your website, followers will start to feel spammed & may even unfollow you. Readers are more forgiving if you only champion your own content on your website / newsletter, but sharing others’ quality content through those mediums can win you some extra brownie points as well.
Curating content can also take a load off the content creation team. If you are trying to share a lot online but only use your own content, one of two things might happen:
- You will end up linking to the same stuff over and over again, which decreases followers’ incentive to check your newsletter, website, or social media properties; or…
- Your content creation team should churn out a bunch of new content on a tight timeline, which will cause the quality of said content to plummet & seriously overwhelm the team.
Clearly, neither of these scenarios is ideal – but there is good news: Curating content could help you avoid both of them.
Here’re some tips on how to do it right:
Before you start looking for articles to share, you have to determine how and where you are going to share it.
This decision could be closely tied to your motivation for sharing curated content – for instance, are you trying to encourage more social engagement & increase your follower count? Then sharing curated content on social media is a good plan.
On the other hand, if you are looking to build your website’s link profile, you could include curated content on your own website by posting a summary of the piece, and then linking to the original article. However, if you link to untrustworthy websites / content, this plan can backfire & actually lower your website’s profile — so proceed with caution.
Often companies would try to keep their followers informed of breaking industry news, but they do not always have the bandwidth to write an article on each news items themselves. In this case, they could reserve a spot in their newsletter for a piece of curated content, or feature curated articles in a separate sidebar with a headline like “other stories from around the web.”
This decision would be influenced by where you decide you share your curated content.
For instance, Twitter is great for simple retweeting and sharing, while Facebook is bigger character count gives you room to offer more in-depth commentary on the content you have curated – allowing you to add value & demonstrate your thought leadership. If you want to include a curated article in your newsletter or link to one on your website, you should plan to craft some sort of summary and/or commentary on it, as you would do for one of your own articles.
You can use content curation to create meatier content for your website / blog, like a roundup or top 10 list on a particular topic. To do this, collect several helpful links / quotes that all focus on the same topic, add a short summary for each item, and you will have a blog post before you know it.
For an instance of this, check out “Content Curation Tools: The Ultimate List,” a list compiled by Curata, a content curation software company. Longer-form curated content like this is valuable to readers because you are doing all the legwork for them – rather than having to spend hours Googling a topic, readers could simply skim your single blog post.
Curata claims “enlightened” content marketers curate 25% of their content. At our company, Right Source, we suggested a similar 80/20 rule – that is, sharing 80% of your own original content & 20% curated content. The way is that followers will be more open to promotional messages about your company if they see that you are also regularly sharing helpful & non-promotional information.
Some companies aim for a higher ratio basing on their marketing goals, but we have found that trying to share one piece of curated content for every 4 or 5 original posts is a realistic & achievable goal for most of our clients. Starting small – like posting one curated “article of the week,” or giving one of your 4 monthly newsletter slots to a curated story – can set you up for greater successes.
4. Select a point person (or software)
One person (even if that person is an intern) should be given the main responsibility of curating content so it is clear who is in charge of finding articles. If you have the budget for it, you can purchase software such as Curata / PublishThis to automate the first step of finding content.
Even if you do not use dedicated content curation software, you can still use online tools such as Pocket to find & save content for later as you browse the web.
5. Vet the content as if it is your own
Even if you did not write the content, the articles you share reflect on your company, so before you want to post anything, read everything the whole idea through.
The value of content curation is that a human being, and not an algorithm, has read the article and used his or her good judgement to determine that it is worth sharing and reading. If you are not doing this, then there’s no difference between your content curation & an automatic aggregator – and that completely defeats the aim of content curation.
On a related note, double check the date to make sure it is still current. How will it look if you share an article that was published when people were worried about the Y2K virus? Not good. Make sure the article is from a reputable source and website that will not negatively impact your brand / your SEO. In addition, figure out if you need approval from anyone further up the marketing chain of command before you share a curated article.
Curating content is only one piece of a successful content marketing and social media plan – but it is an important one. Curating content the right way can boost your company’s brand & ease some of the burden off the content team, all while exposing your audiences to more industry news than ever before.