What is Content Curation?
Content curation is the process of finding and sharing content that is valuable to your readers and followers. We curate content because most small businesses and solopreneurs don’t have a large enough team to create original content on a daily basis.
You may have heard the term curator in the context of a museum. A museum curator may have varying responsibilities depending on the size of the museum, but the curator generally selects the items for display and may be involved in the design of the exhibit. They carefully consider their audience and what kinds of objects will attract interest and create excitement.
Content curation works in much the same way. It is not blindly sharing articles and blog posts, but reading, examining, and selecting content that will solve a problem your audience deals with. To curate content successfully, you must apply the same high standards of grammar, substance, and style to the content you curate as you do to what you create on your own site.
Why Should I Curate Content?
It’s nearly impossible to create enough content to keep a social profile active. That’s why so many marketers curate content from other writers.
When you curate others’ content, it helps you build relationships online and get the attention of influencers who notice when you boost their posts. The more you promote others, the more willing they will be to share your content when the opportunity arises.
Your audience will benefit from different voices and perspectives, as you can share content that covers separate facets of the same concepts. If you’re a food blog, you might share curated content from both a nutritionist and a chef for two very different points of view. You’ll serve your audience well when you curate content from diverse, yet complementary sources.
How Do I Discover New Content?
How do you find the best content? There are a few tools that I use to discover, save, and post content.
This graphic shows you my process. First, I find content with Feedly and Flipboard. I go through both very quickly and save the articles I want to read and/or share to Pocket. When I have time, I go through Pocket, read the articles, and send the ones I want to share to Buffer.
I like this process because it doesn’t require large chunks of time for content curation. I often have a few minutes here and there, so breaking the process up into three steps helps me work within the time I have.
Let’s start with the discovery process.
Content Discovery Tools
This is my go-to discovery tool. It’s based on RSS feeds, which have been around for a long time. You don’t have to understand how RSS feeds work, all you have to do is go to Feedly.com, set up a free account, and enter a search topic.
Here I’ve entered the search term gardening. Feedly adds the hashtag and generates a list of blogs and websites that cover my topic. I can then follow the ones that sound interesting.
Feedly allows you to create topics within your account to separate sources. For example, I have some baseball sites that I follow, so I have a separate feed for that. Organizing sources in this way helps me stay on task when I’m looking for marketing articles and read about my hobbies and interests later.
Once you’ve added your content sources, all you have to do is go to Feedly.com — I added a bookmark to my toolbar — and read the articles from your added sources. Feedly will also show you recommended related sources, which is a great way to find new writers and blogs.
You can scroll through the articles very quickly and mark them as read or save them for later. If you mark as read, they will disappear depending on how you’ve set your preferences.
I like to go through the sources fast and skim headlines, then save the posts to read later. That’s where Pocket comes in.
Flipboard has a much more visually appealing interface than Feedly, especially on mobile devices. It has both discovery and sharing features; you can share, or flip articles you find interesting into magazines you create around selected topics.
Other users can follow your magazine and you can follow theirs. Flipboard will suggest articles based on your behavior on the site, and you can add your own topics to follow that will appear along the top.
Here you can see my Recipes topic feed. If I just want to look for recipes, I can go to the topic, and they will also appear in my For You feed. The Daily Edition gives you current, newsworthy stories that may or may not match your topics.
To share a post to a magazine you’ve created, click the Plus icon and select the magazine you want to flip the post to. Or you can share directly to Facebook or Twitter. Click the title of the post and it will take you to the article on the source site. That’s how I get content from Flipboard to Pocket, as there is no built-in integration. Flipboard would prefer that you flip your content into a magazine on their site rather than sending it to another app, so they don’t make it overly easy to share to other apps.
Read More About Content Marketing and Social Media
Tools to Help You Save Content
Pocket is another free service that integrates with Feedly. Go to App.GetPocket.com and set up an account. Once you’ve logged in you can start storing content in Pocket.
You’ll want to add the Save to Pocket browser extension for each web browser you use. Just do a Google search for the browser you use and you’ll find it. Once you install the browser extension, you can save any page on the web to Pocket.
Pocket also has free mobile apps and the mobile experience is excellent. You can share to any social network from either desktop or mobile.
Evernote is another excellent tool for saving content you want to keep or share later. It’s far more advanced than Pocket with options to tag and create notebooks.
Evernote does have a free tier, but it’s limited. The Web Clipper browser extension makes it easy to save articles for later and you can organize them using tags and notebooks.
The Evernote Web Clipper will save your content in several different formats: a screenshot, the complete article, simplified article, full page, or bookmark. I usually save the full article. It’s not easy to find, but you can share directly from Evernote as well, although Pocket makes it much easier.
Content Sharing Tools
Buffer and Hootsuite
Buffer is my choice for social sharing. I’ve written about Buffer extensively in this post, so I won’t go into detail here. Hootsuite is another social scheduling tool that works in a similar way to Buffer. It allows you to schedule posts to the various social networks.
For both Feedly and Pocket I use the free versions, but I do have a paid Buffer account because I need to be able to manage more than there social networks.
Content Curation Best Practices
1. Only Share Quality Content.
I know that sounds obvious, but I’m as careful with the content I curate as I am with my own writing. What I mean by that is that I share only content that is free of typos, misused words, poor grammar and spelling, and other mistakes. I’ve passed up more articles than I care to count because of a misplaced apostrophe in a headline or body text. It may sound trivial, but this is an area I’m a stickler for, and it’s in keeping with my brand to only publish or share clean copy.
2. Never Share Without Reading.
I read everything I share. It’s tempting not to, but many times I’ve read to the end and found something I don’t want to appear to endorse. It may be a product I don’t like, advice I don’t agree with, or I may find the post overly promotional. When you post someone’s content, you’re in effect endorsing it, so be sure it resonates with your brand and standards.
3. Thank Others Who Share Your Content.
Whether it’s a simple retweet, Facebook share, or a link to your latest blog post, it’s gracious to thank the user for sharing your content. When I get thank yous from those whose content I share, it makes me want to share more.
This post has been updated. It was originally published in 2016.