It’s a given that many web design, marketing, and SEO experts claim that an essential component of your content creation strategy is to develop unique content, but how do you do so in an online marketplace already over-saturated with information? Coming up with unique and appealing content can often be a tall order, which leaves many marketers and content creators reduced to becoming content curators instead. After all, nearly every topic under the sun has already been talked about, blogged about, been the subject of a meme, or has had an infographic created about it. This means you may find yourself reading through the content of others to come up with ideas for your own, eventually cobbling together a variety of ideas into one piece to publish on your own site, blog, or social media account. If you do find yourself in this position, don’t despair over your writer’s block or inability to create content that is truly unique. You are in a boat that is neither small nor sparsely populated.
What is a content curation?
Content curation is the collection, dissemination, and publication of existing content in a streamlined and meaningful way. As a result, the collected content is produced in a cohesive way that lends value to a particular subject. Curated content is typically not unique, but the finalized format or way in which it is presented is certainly so (or should be).
Why is content curation important to online marketing?
When you are pressed to produce content for your email newsletters, social media networks, or company blog, you may find yourself facing an impossible task, simply because you cannot come up with anything new. While original content is important to online marketing, you can produce original content by rehashing existing content in a new and unique way. Curated content is important because you can collect, collate, and publish that mix of ideas and information that has the most relevance to your subject matter or the most importance and value to your readers and users.
How can you successfully curate content to cater to your audience?
Regardless of what subject you are creating content for, there undoubtedly exists content that has already discussed it (sometimes to the point of death). Turning this collection of content into a successful body of work for your audience requires the application of a few strategies and tips that are easy to apply. Here are 15 ways you can succeed at content curation:
- Develop an outline first. If you simply start sorting through the overabundance of information already online for what may be relevant to your subject, you will soon find yourself with too much information and too little cohesion. Create an outline first that defines what you want to say and how you’d like to say it, and then find information that follows those guidelines.
- Use snippets rather than entire pieces. When you are collecting content to include in your reworked article or blog, avoid using entire pieces from a single source. Even if the source content is truly stellar, you will have too little of your own tone and style included in the work if you are using too much of someone else’s. The main takeaway from other content should be reduced to a few key quotes or sentences, allowing you to rewrite them in a way that makes them your own.
- Use content that is extremely share-worthy. A large portion of the content online is largely unshareable, meaning you don’t want it included in your own content simply because it has already been seen (and rejected) by the masses. The most successful curated content is that which has seen a lot of travel during its lifespan.
- Leave out the sales pitch. Many marketers use curated content as a cover for a sales pitch, thinking (wrongfully) that already successful content will improve the chances of success for their wind up and delivery. Unfortunately, these types of pitches often hit the dirt long before they reach the batter. Online content should always avoid a sales pitch and focus instead on delivering meaning and value to the users.
- Know who your audience is and what they are looking for. You can’t create or curate content for an audience that you know nothing about. You should learn as much as possible about your target audience before beginning the content curation process, so that you can collect and publish information that is best suited to meeting their needs, answering their questions, solving their problems, or addressing their desires.
- Acknowledge and link to the original source. Unless you are using little more than a few words from someone else’s content, make sure you include a nod to the original creator. Not only will this give your readers something more to explore, if they choose to do so, but it can also garner you some authoritative backlinks from elsewhere on the web. Furthermore, it lets your readers know, if they do happen to find the original source on their own, that you aren’t simply plagiarizing the work of others, which can dramatically decrease your credibility.
- Make sure the content is interesting to you. No matter how much you might try, you simply cannot curate content that is interesting to your readers if it isn’t interesting to you first. If you find it useful, entertaining, appealing, or engaging, your readers and users likely will too.
- Restrict the content to a single subject. It might be tempting to offer up curated content that covers a broad spectrum of information, but that can easily backfire on you. Readers and users are looking for in-depth information that covers a single subject in detail, not a superficial gloss-over over several different subjects in a single session.
- Use high quality content from little-known sources. A great way to curate awesome content is to find smaller, lesser-known publications that produce superb content. One of these benefits to this strategy is that you’ll be curating content that is curated less often, providing your readers with more valuable, and less visible, information.
- Don’t get ahead of yourself. Keeping your content topical and relevant is vital to the success of any online content. If you are curating content for publication online, you don’t want to prepare content for publication that is destined to fail simply because it will be out-of-date or no longer trendy when you’re ready to release it.
- Proofread your content before you publish. This tip is especially important if you are reposting someone else’s work or distributing content that has large segments copied and pasted from the work of others. You want to make sure the content you produce is topical, relevant, accurate, and grammatically correct before you hit the “publish” button. All it takes is a simple spelling error to turn away some potentially valuable readers, so make sure you proofread everything thoroughly before you publish it.
- Find your niche. There are already plenty of content curation sites on the Internet that address a broad subject range and deliver information to a wide and diverse audience. You can become more popular and authoritative if you find a niche, especially one that is in need of quality content curation, and stick to it.
- Find your voice. In addition to finding a niche that suits your content curation needs or that of your audience, finding your voice is equally important. Some online users visit specific sites simply because the author or content creator (or curator) has a personal style or tone that is extremely appealing to the reader. Wit, sarcasm, and humor are great ways to infuse your own unique voice into your content, even if the bulk of it is curated from others and revamped with your own individual personality attached.
- Share the wealth. Don’t limit your curated content to publication on one platform or network. Share it across several different networks, groups, platforms, or other collections of recipients so that it will receive the most visibility and potential shares.
- Find the right balance for the amount of curated content you publish. You want your readers to know you’re active and you want to provide them with meaningful and valuable information, but there is a line that can be crossed that turns your consistent content curation into annoying spam. Too much and your audience becomes blind to your content; too little and they lose interest because you give the appearance of neglecting them.
Regardless of which tips and strategies you apply to your content curation techniques, keep in mind that it is not intended to replace content creation. Amazing curated content works just as well as content that is truly original, and you shouldn’t allow yourself to become complacent in the content creation process because you have so much existing information at your disposal. Apply just as much diligence and effort to your curation efforts as you would that of creating original content.
Justin Soenke is a trend-based serial entrepreneur and thought leader in the areas of cyber-security, web design, SEO, social media, eCommerce and managed IT. Justin has overseen the creation and success of over a dozen companies in the technology, security and media sectors, and is the contributing source for his SB Design Blog, SB Tech Blog and SB SEO Blog among regular contributions to many outside blogs and websites, all for our clients.
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