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Think about the content you share for a second. Is it all your own content? If so, that needs to change. As much as your audience may love you, they want to see a variety of content.
This is what we call content curation. It’s simply sharing the content from others similar to you on social media. Sharing others’ content is one of the best ways to show that you’re not all about you, and that you value a variety of perspectives beyond your own.
If you are already curating content, are you doing it correctly? Is it the right content for your audience?
Let’s take a look! By the end of this post, you’ll be a pro at content curation.
Marketers borrowed the word curate from museums. Curators are the ones who strategically choose collections of art that appeal to a specific audience to feature in their museums.
When you apply that concept to social media curation, the definition looks like this:
Content curation involves:
To help you get started, here are a a few freebies to download:
There are many reasons a team will turn to using curated content for social media.
Social media requires a steady stream of professional, reputable content.
Twitter alone should have about 15 unique posts a day (typically).
By utilizing great curated content, you’re able to fill those gaps more easily.
Since you’re not being slowed down by creating every piece of content yourself, curation is a great way to still have a content marketing strategy in place without investing a huge amount of money and time.
Once you get to know your audience and curate only the best, most share-worthy content tailored to them, you’ll be recognized as a trustworthy and dependable specialist in your area. In other words, they’ll trust that you know what you’re talking about.
Especially in the early stages of your content initiative, it’s important that you figure out exactly who your audience is and what kind of content they like to devour and share. The only way to do this is by experimenting with several different content types, and the last thing you should be doing is creating all of that content.
By curating and tracking performance, you quickly pick up on what your audience finds valuable, in what format they like to consume, from which sources, at what time of day, etc.
For audiences that are more mobile and social, content curation is a great way to start and maintain a conversation every day. It also allows you to be present with your audience without making it all about you.
Behind the scenes, the relationships you build with other influencers in the space by showcasing their work is a happy byproduct of content curation.
Remember that analogy I made about the kid who stole homework and claimed it as his own? That’s all wrong. It’s more like the kid collected and compiled the best work from multiple kids’ homework, printed out copies for everyone, and shared it as a study aid.
As a curator, when you share someone else’s content, you are giving it more exposure and doing so in a favorable light. You are saying, “Hey, check this out. The message in this is totally on point.” And the original content creators will remember this!
When done right with proper attribution, curation creates symbiotic relationships.
So, what does quality social media content curation look like? Get an idea with these seven examples. Every one of these posts does the following things:
Now that we’ve covered how awesome and beneficial content curation is, it’s time to implement it into your own strategy. First off, you’ll need to locate and find curation worth sharing. It’s one thing to share content, but it’s another thing to share good content.
So where do you find this magical content?
If you’re looking for more options, check out this list of tools from Curata. With tools like Feedly and Storify, you can create different categories of content and save time! In the social media world we have no time to spare, so curation tools are here to help.
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You can’t share junk.
No one wants their social feed filled with garbage, so simply publishing posts for the sake of needing to do it is a bad idea.
Find the best content, the content you enjoyed, the content your audience members are sharing and talking about, the content that is actually helpful.
That means you have to actually read the stuff.
You have to be willing to go past the headline and make sure the content you’re going to share is well-written, well-thought, and (here’s a pet peeve of mine) accessible if your audience member doesn’t have a subscription to a website. Nothing is more irksome than following a link to a piece of content I can’t read unless I subscribe. Unless you know your audience is mostly subscribed to a site, share that content by linking, summarizing, commenting on, and quoting it in your own standalone blog post.
If a tool makes it easy to fill your content curation schedule with recommended content without you having to read it, be careful. You’re trusting them to curate for you and your audience is expecting you to be the tour guide in the library, not someone else.
As a content curator, it’s your goal to share content that your audience will enjoy and benefit from. The purpose of the content core exercise is to understand the difference between what you do, and what you need to talk about.
Visually, the content core looks something like this:
At the center of your content is what you do.
These are topics we should definitely write about and be searching for to help our audience understand a correlation between our tool and their needs.
As we move away (ever so slightly) from our content core and focus on what our target audience really wants to hear about, we improve the effectiveness of our content marketing and better focus in on our target audience’s needs.
Keep this in mind when you are searching content through various sources. There are plenty of tools out there that will help you with curation, you just have to figure out what your audience wants to read about then decide which sources will work best for you.
Here are some examples of strong sources:
Content Marketing Institute also put together a killer list of curation sources.
Does your audience prefer videos or blog posts?
How about quizzes or polls?
Identify what resonates with your audience and try to curate your content types around that.
But how do I know what my audience likes?
Look back no more than six months into your social news feed history.
Look for trends in what you’re audience responded to.
If you see a 35% increase in engagement when you post videos, focus on curating video content posts.
Look to your audience, they’ll tell you what they want to see.
This can’t be stressed enough.
Any content that you curate needs to come from a reputable source.
No one wants to read poor, boring, or inaccurate content. So, no matter what industry you’re in, check your sources.
A great way to check and see if your content is coming from a reputable source is the MozBar plugin for Chrome.
The browser extension will score the website’s Domain Authority, giving you a better idea if the site you are on is a reputable one. The higher the score, the better, although sometimes new sites will have low scores (until they have time to build authoritativeness).
Ask yourself the following before you schedule an article:
To create a solid workflow with curation you’ll need to get set-up with a few tools. Here at CoSchedule we primarily use BuzzSumo and Feedly, but be sure to test different tools to find what work best for you.
Feedly is one of the most popular tools for content curation. It allows you to sort, aggregate and classify information from hundreds of sources. With Feedly, you can find content and organize it with categories.
I’ve personally created categories such as blogging, content marketing, and social media. This way when I find multiple pieces of content, they can be organized more efficiently.
It’s easy to get started with Feedly:
And that’s it! After you’ve created categories and start adding content, you’ll soon have a huge list of content that you can go back to and share.
BuzzSumo is a bit different kind of tool than Feedly.
One thing they both have in common, though? They’re great for doing content curation.
Unlike Feedly, Buzzsumo has social integrations that allow users to see how often articles have been shared across social sites.
So, say I wanted to look up the latest blog posts on content marketing.
Type your query into the search bar:
From there BuzzSumo will start to filter in results based on the keywords you used.
You can filter content in a variety of ways including content type, date published language and domains.
Now let’s say I found this great article from Convince and Convert. I read it through and realize it would be great for my followers.
But I don’t have time to send my social messages.
You can save the article for later by clicking the save button:
If you’re a CoSchedule user, you’ve got one more option to help you curate content for your social media channels.
This tool will let you schedule your content right into your marketing calendar. No longer will you have to have 17 tabs open on your computer trying to keep track of where you put one article. Nor will you have to worry about if one day is overscheduled on one social channel.
Instead, you can see everything all in one place:
When you’re using the chrome extension, there are a few things we would suggest doing to help organize your content even more.
You can select a date to schedule the post and label it a specific color to categorize it on your CoSchedule calendar.
4. Use Best Time Scheduling to make sure your curated content posts at an optimal time:
Here’s the big question most content marketers have:
How much of my social media content should be curated, and how much should be my own?
Kevan Lee from Buffer did a fantastic job of digging up some great recipes:
Back in 2011, TA McCann recommended his own personal rule for social curation. It’s a proportionally based recipe, so you would keep the proportions the same when planning, whether you’re going daily or weekly.
Essentially, five are from others and five are from you. It’s an equal balance.
What I like about the 5-3-2 approach is that last bit, though, the inclusion of something personal. The 5-3 content pieces are all relevant to your niche and to your audience, but by including the 2, you personalize your brand to your audience and make them care about you.
You’re not just a content machine; you’re a personal being.
This mixture (from content marketers Andrew Davis and Joe Pulizzi), mentioned by Shai Coggins, is based on the idea that you have to take it easy on self-promotion, and that self-promotion has to be heavily outweighed.
However, it is rather light on content creation, proportionally speaking.
This one is tricky, as Coggins points out. You have to be sure you have a clear line between self-serving and non-self-serving content that you create.
Instead of the five-to-five recipe above, it’s a five-to-one recipe, and that isn’t going to provide much in terms of benefits (e.g. not enough time to create lots of original content, new networking opportunities, etc.).
Coggins recommends a different recipe than the 4-1-1 approach.
While you can’t exactly plan social media engagement on your marketing calendar, you can make it part of a daily habit. I like that Coggins added engagement to the mix because it really is a part of the entire social media kingdom.
In Coggins’ recipe, it’s less about the ration (basically one-for-one) and more about making sure you have all the components in the mix (yours, others, engagement).
On the Hootsuite blog, the rule of thirds is posited as a viable approach. Like the 5-5-5+ approach, it’s less about ratio and more about components.
The Rallyverse blog has a different take on social media curation.
You can see, once again, there is a difference between your helpful content and your promotional content. That’s a key difference in several of these recipes.
Buffer uses a simple approach when it comes to social content curation.
Buffer is a well-established brand and is a thought leader in their industry. That’s something to keep in mind: Your curation recipes may change as you become more established (more on this in a bit).
Well-known blogger Michael Hyatt doesn’t follow a specific approach to the T, but he instead follows a philosophy that places generosity and helpfulness before everything else.
Hyatt sees content marketing as a kind of relationship bank, and his recipe draws on that analogy.
I love his concept; it helps clarify that when you market to people, you are drawing against the goodwill you’ve established by being helpful. It’s perfectly fine to do that, but you have to remember to stay out of the negative.
Hyatt admits he doesn’t have the data to back up his approach, but instead finds it is a guideline.
Not written in stone, of course.
As mentioned in the Buffer recipe, your approach will depend on how established you are as a content marketer, as well as what you want to achieve.
Hyatt is clearly well established, yet he wants to maintain a relational approach to people. If you are less established, it’s important to share and participate, in a higher degree, with the content of others. It’s how you get noticed.
Once you are established, you may want to start exhibiting authority by sharing more of your own content.
One key element, though, can be found in all of these recipes: Hardcore marketing and promotional social messages should be the lowest amount in any recipe you ultimately use.
Content curation without proper attribution and a link to the original content is theft.
Content curation is not where you get your content or try to pass of large chunks of content as your own. If that’s the approach you take, you’re doing it wrong.
Hopefully by now, you’ve de-assumed some of your assumptions around curation. Now it’s all about proper implementation. Follow these tips to make the most out of your content curation strategy:
Portions of this blog post were originally written by Erica Kim, Breonna Bergstrom, Halle Klingman, and Julie Neidlinger. This content was most recently compiled and updated on Jun. 20, 2018.
June 20, 2018
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