Content Curation: A Short Summary
Content curation is the art of discovering, collecting and presenting content that revolves around a given topic. Unlike creating content, curating content doesn’t rely on sourcing new material for a website or social media profile. Instead, curation is all about providing a brand’s audience with information from a variety of sources. The goal of curating content is to add value to the user experience so that an organization can build audience size and loyalty. This approach uses already-existing content to provide valuable information or insights and to create buzz around a certain topic or audience need. The right content can convert casual readers into brand loyalists.
Content Curation: The Full Story
Strong curation of content has become important because online audiences expect a wealth of varied, quality content from the organizations that they follow. Even conservative estimates say that billions of new pieces of content are created on Facebook alone every month. Social media users are accustomed to seeing hundreds of new pieces of content online every day.
Organizations must outsource to meet the immense audience demand for content within many niches. This is often done by hiring outside writers to complete internal content. Curating content requires a different financial and time investment. Instead of hiring someone to create original content, business leaders task an employee with finding great content to share. Leaders at small organizations sometimes choose to hire marketers to complete curation instead, but doing so can be expensive.
Sharing found content makes for smart SEO strategy as well. Content curators aim to impress the original content creator so that a post or resource gets shares from as many credible sources as possible. Getting a content creator to share a social media post or blog can build the audience and prestige of the organization that displayed the curated content. It can also supplement an organization’s existing back-linking efforts.
Who Are Content Curators?
Content curators are an important part of an online marketing team because they know how to leverage outside content to grow a brand’s audience and online reputation. Curation relies on outside sources for valuable content that encourages audience interaction. Instead of requesting copy from a vendor or internal source, content curators scour the internet to find the best articles, studies, infographics, videos, blogs, photos and social media posts. Curators are responsible for organizing all content so that it can be accessed as needed for blog and social media posts.
Guidelines for Establishing Content Curation Goals
Creating goals for curated content is the first step in employing this marketing strategy. Business leaders need to think about
- the end goal of curation,
- the type of content that should be found, and
- how the success of curation efforts will be measured.
Examples of end goals include increasing sales conversions, gaining page likes or getting content creators to link back to an organization’s blog.
Picking the right topic to build content around is the first step in setting content curation goals. Experts recommend evaluating potential topics for curated content according to three criteria:
- Audience interest. Choose a topic that makes sense given the audience. Think of what the audience values and wants to know.
- Competitive landscape. Take a look at the competition for a given topic. If thousands of marketers are targeting the topic, it’s probably not the most beneficial choice for curation.
- Content landscape. Determine if there is enough content on a given topic to warrant curation.
Setting frequency goals is also important. Businesses generally need to make a few dozen social media posts per day across different platforms. While some of this content should be original, it’s fine if 50-75% is curated. To make curating content easier, marketing leaders can create a social media calendar to determine when and where posts will be published.
Guidelines for Finding High-Quality Content
Consistent, high-quality content sets professional curators apart from amateurs who share content on their personal sites. Content curators must vet all items that they plan to share with an organization’s audience to ensure that all information is accurate. Fact-check all data, statistics and news stories shared. If inaccurate information is shared, issue an apology with corrected information as quickly as possible.
Curators also go a step beyond verifying content accuracy by weighing the content source’s overall reputation. A curator may find an insightful blog but be unable to share it because the host website is known for posting stories that contain inaccurate information. In terms of content curation, organizations are judged by the websites they associate with.
Diversity is key in curating content as much as it is in creating content. Curators should avoid sharing only one type of content, such as videos or blogs. Instead, share a diverse body of content. A variety of photos, infographics, videos, blogs, long articles and listicles should be used to keep an audience engaged.
Guidelines for Sharing Content
Curators who work with content have the same basic charge as curators who work in art museums. While finding content is a key part of a curator’s job, the task doesn’t end there. All content should also be logically organized and tagged so that it’s easy for users to find the content they’re looking for. Short, engaging commentary and hashtags should be used on all curated posts.
Use a content management tool to organize and schedule posts. Establishing a regular posting schedule helps build confidence with the target audience. Scheduling posts ahead of time can lighten the curator’s workload as well.
Tools such as Prezi allow curators to create a visual display of content around a theme. These presentations can be used internally to organize curated content for future use. They can also be shared with website visitors, allowing for point-and-click access to an array of relevant content.
Curators should make editorial comments on posts that highlight why the particular piece of content is of value. Great content with commentary that clearly communicates value can drive social influencers to repost or share it. This helps organizations grow their online audiences without the added cost of paid influencer marketing.
Guidelines for Analyzing Curation Success
One of the best ways to benchmark curation success is to take a close look at sales numbers. Look at how many click-throughs each blog post or piece of shared content has created. If possible, determine how many of those click-throughs led to sales conversions.
Another way to determine curation success is to look at social media analytics. Evaluate how many likes, shares and comments a given post received. Assess how much audience engagement curated posts are driving. Both active and passive interaction with curated posts can be telling. Organizations that use mailing lists should also track email signups garnered through curated content.
A Final Note on Content Curation
Curated content helps expand an organization’s organic reach because it starts a conversation. Organizations that use content curation strategies find multiple inroads to their audiences. That makes this marketing tactic indispensable for organizations that need to compete in an increasingly saturated digital space.
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