Undoubtedly, content reigns supreme, a point we can all concur on. Yet, it’s incredibly time-intensive! It’s hard to count the numerous days I invested in producing top-quality content for the AdEspresso blog in its early days.
The effort was, without question, worthwhile.
However, looking back, I wish I had dedicated more effort towards curating content to foster audience engagement and community growth.
Don’t get me wrong. To grow your business you’ll need to produce your own (quality) content to generate SEO traffic and build brand awareness. Content curation is not a replacement for a solid content production strategy.
What is Content Curation?
Content curation is a systematic process that involves discerning, selecting, interpreting, and delivering the most relevant and high-quality original content that already exists on a given subject, with the ultimate goal of satisfying the needs of a specific audience.
Content curation strategy requires a fine balance between understanding your audience’s interests and being able to identify content that can resonate with their needs.
This process begins with a comprehensive search, scouring myriad sources such as blogs, articles, podcasts, social media, or any form of digital content.
This is followed by a careful selection process, where the curator sifts through a sea of information to cherry-pick the most relevant, informative, and engaging pieces.
The next step involves providing insightful commentary or context to the chosen content. This step accentuates the curator’s role as a subject matter expert and gives an added layer of personal touch, thereby creating an enriching user experience.
Here, the curator may offer a unique perspective or further explanation, making the information more relatable and valuable to the audience.
Finally, this well-chosen and thoughtfully interpreted content is strategically distributed to the target audience using a content curation tool. This could take place on various platforms like newsletters, websites, or social media channels, depending on where the audience is most engaged.
In a world overloaded with information, content curation cuts through the noise, offering streamlined, valuable knowledge that effectively addresses users’ needs.
Hence, content curation is not merely about gathering information; it’s a dynamic practice of transforming scattered data into digestible, valuable, and meaningful insights for an audience.
It’s important not to confuse Content Curation with Content Aggregation. If you want to really add value to your audience and have a solid content marketing strategy, you should not randomly aggregate a bunch of links.
Being a content curator means hunting the best blog posts, ebooks, podcasts, and any other kind of content, and sharing it with your users adding your own comments or unique point of view.
Why Curate Content?
The internet offers a wealth of information. The challenge is to make it straightforward for your audience to engage with the content that serves their interests best. By curating content, you stoke the fire of engagement, enabling you to present more pertinent information to your followers.
Still, have reservations? Consider the following reasons to incorporate content curation into your strategy:
Recoup precious hours: Compared to creating original content, content curation is a less time-consuming and cost-effective alternative.
Boost your content timeline: If you lack the resources to constantly produce original content, curated posts can bridge the gap and still captivate your target audience.
By offering high-quality content from across the web, your followers will view your brand as a knowledgeable leader. They’ll appreciate the effort you put into internet exploration on their behalf.
Maintain relevance: Thoughtful selection of curated posts will demonstrate your grasp of trending topics relevant to your audience.
Even if the content isn’t originally yours, it is still useful and keeps you informed, aiding your brand’s growth.
Forge connections with influencers: Amplifying their content will put you on their radar. Similarly, sharing user-generated content can strengthen your brand’s credibility and increase your overall engagement.
Excellent content curators understand the value of collaborations with influencers in relevant niches.
Incorporating curated content into your strategy can ease internal resource burdens and diversify your social content, keeping it fresh and engaging, compared to repetitive organic or sponsored posts. This curation approach gives your online presence a fresh perspective.
Benefits of Content Curation
Content curation is a great addition to your content marketing and social media strategy. Consistently sharing with your audience great curated content will help you all across the board:
- To create a more interesting newsletter
- To constantly have something interesting to share on social media
- To share with your audience time-sensitive news
- To position yourself as a thought leader and the go-to resource for industry expertise
- To build great relationships with influencers and other companies in your space
Overall Content curation can be a very effective addition to your content marketing strategy no matter if your goal is to build a community, strengthen your personal brand, promote your company, write blog posts in a snap, or, as you’ll see in the examples below, even monetize your skills at curating content.
Yes, there are a lot of people actually making money out of their curated email newsletters.
How to curate content effectively
This is a huge topic and I’m gonna write a more in-depth post on how marketers can effectively curate content.
However, here’s a quick overview of the steps to get started:
- Get Inspired – Check great examples of content curation to get inspired (You’re in the right place… keep reading).
- Find your sources – Create a list of the best blogs, tweeter accounts, and influencers to regularly check out to discover great content.
- Organize your curated content – Organization is everything in content curation. You can use bookmarks, Notion (That’s what I’m using), a Google sheet, or specific content curation tools. It’s up to you, just pick a system and stick to it.
- Content Calendar – Hopefully you already have a content calendar for your marketing activities. Decide how often you want to share curated content and make sure you stick to a consistent schedule. The same content could be shared with different frequencies on different channels.
- Distribution Channel – To reach as much of your audience as possible, I recommend distributing your curated content on multiple channels. Start small, with a couple of channels, and then add new ones over time. You could share once per week in your newsletter or daily on social media. You could even make quick YouTube videos with your top 5 picks of the week!
- Analytics – It’s important to measure the impact of your content curation effort. How many users are interacting with it? How much traffic are you driving to the curated content? Tools like bit.ly or JotUrl can come in handy here. These statistics will also help you understand what content your audience prefers.
Ok, enough said. Let’s get to some great examples of how content marketers around the world are leveraging content curation.
Email Newsletter Content Curation Examples
Newsletters are a great way to distribute your best-curated content. They are also one of the oldest forms of curation.
You have two ways to go here: A purely curated newsletter or a mix of original and curated content. Both can be successful. Personally, I prefer the latter.
Let’s see some examples of both approaches.
Produced by the esteemed American Marketing Association (AMA), the industry-leading body for those working in the marketing sector, My AMA Daily is a unique daily newsletter that makes use of cutting-edge artificial intelligence technology
What sets My AMA Daily apart is its use of AI technology to foster an ever-evolving understanding of its readership’s preferences and habits. As subscribers interact with the newsletter over time, the AI learns to curate content more closely aligned with their specific interests and send super relevant content.
This commitment to personalization ensures that each issue of ‘My AMA Daily’ becomes increasingly relevant to its readers, rendering it a valuable resource in the dynamic field of marketing. This service is provided free of charge, underlining AMA’s dedication to empowering marketing professionals with the latest insights and developments in the field.
Moz Top 10
How not to mention among our examples of content curation Moz Top 10. This long-lasting curated newsletter lists 10 of the best SEO content around in every issue.
The value here is 99% in the curation process. As you can see there’s little text added to each of the posts selected. SEO is a crowded space with a lot of content published every day.
The real value of this newsletter is picking only the 10 blog posts that are worth reading.
Hiten Shah’s Product Habits
Hiten Shah needs no presentation. Neither does his amazing weekly newsletter with top curated product posts: Product Habits.
This newsletter is more content-rich compared to Moz’s. Hiten adds a good amount of personal thoughts to every post he curates to reinforce his position as a thought leader in the product space.
Being a content marketing genius, Hiten knows the advantages of content repurposing. The posts he curates are not only the core of his newsletter but they also land on the News section of the website for those that don’t want to wait for the next email.
Morning Brew and its sister newsletter Marketing Brew are two other great content curation examples.
The real value for readers is the original content of the newsletter, but in every issue, you’ll also find a section dedicated to top marketing or business posts they’ve curated.
PS: Morning Brew is also one of the finest examples of a business entirely based on sharing relevant content over email for a very specific audience. Every content marketer should check out their referral program which was key to their stellar growth.
Lodging Interactive’s Hospitality Social Media News
Lodging Interactive is a full-service marketing service that’s geared specifically towards hotels and resorts. Their biweekly newsletter quickly summarizes the recent social media changes that are relevant to hotels and resorts, detailing what the changes are and how they will affect the hospitality industry in particular. They link to posts from social media and technology experts who first break the news and then elaborate more.
This is directly relevant to their audience. It works so well because they’re taking generic information and putting a valuable, relevant spin on it that their readers won’t find anywhere else.
Their newsletter, as a result, demonstrates clear expertise, because while they curate news, they share their own actionable knowledge of how it will affect businesses in their specific industry. It also helps to establish a relationship early on with their clients and show the value of a marketer who knows their stuff, both of which will help them sell their services more effectively.
Social Media Content Curation Examples
Even if you don’t realize it, every time you’re sharing an interesting blog post on social media, you’re curating content. And of course, social media should be a pillar of your curation strategy.
Madewell – Pinterest
The imaginative board curated by the fashion brand Madewell serves not only as a wellspring of travel inspiration but also as a dynamic showcase of its authentic product range. It’s designed to captivate its audience by intertwining the allure of the brand’s promoted lifestyle with the thrill of possible clothing purchases. By doing so, Madewell effectively sparks enthusiasm among their consumers, inciting interest in both their brand ethos and their unique fashion offerings.
Curated contents are the bread and butter of Pinterest. The social network’s main purpose is basically curating the best images for other users’ inspiration. Maryann is likely not a content marketing expert. She just has a great eye for great interior design images and her audience seems to agree.
Mari Smith – Facebook
Facebook’s algorithm prefers original content over curated ones. That doesn’t mean you should hold back sharing relevant content with your audience as long as you’re adding your very personal point of view.
Her content curation efforts always pay back with a lot of engagement on every post she shares! Still, most of her posts are original content, as Facebook’s best practices recommend.
Guy Kawasaki – Twitter
Marketing legend Guy Kawasaki has 1.4m followers on Twitter and while he’s not shy of publishing his own original content, he also shares a lot of curated content to beef up his content marketing strategy.
He’s another great example of how curating content should not be your primary focus on social networks but just the cherry on the pie for your editorial calendar.
Porsche – Instagram
Instagram is not one of those social networks that makes content curation as simple as hitting the retweet button. Yet top brands are leveraging User Generated Content to spice up their Instagram presence with great pictures.
Porsche is just one of many brands whose content curation strategy includes republishing their users’ pics on social channels.
Content Curation Website Examples
Zest is a Chrome-based extension for marketers that allows them to share and discover industry content. This content is diverse, too; you can see videos, whitepapers, articles, and infographics, making the tool even more valuable.
In order to keep overall quality high (and flagrant self-promotion low), all content that will be featured on Zest goes through a manual approval process. This ensures that only the best of the best is being shown in the feeds, which is exactly what readers want to see.
Simply put, Zest’s entire existence is based on not only curating the best content in their industry but actually having other people do the curating for them. All they have to do is approve it. If that’s not genius, I don’t know what is.
Even tho’ it can be overwhelming to have so many great marketing articles one click away every time you open a new browser tab, Zest has become my favorite curated source of marketing news.
Brain Pickings’ tagline is “an inventory of the meaningful life,” and it’s a great example of curation for the purpose to entertain.
Creator Maria Popova puts together entertaining and interesting articles that contain a collection of assorted quotes or theories from other people. Think poems, songs, and more. She even gets creative with this, as some of these people are great thinkers or writers dated back several centuries. She’ll often tie this in with relevant artists or individuals from today’s time, bringing things full circle.
Sparktoro’s Trending is a section of the site that shows readers the top topics in the marketing industry. The tool compiles tweets from thousands of online marketers and prioritizes them based on the traction they get.
Here’s how it works for readers. They see a feed of different topics, and can click on the ones that interest them. If they click on the topic title, they’ll be taken right to the article discussing it.
If they click on Share Insights, however, they’ll see screen below. They can still access the article, but they’ll also see top tweets about the subject and other similar articles. This gives readers a big-picture view of what’s happening and how it’s being received in the marketing world.
This strategy compiles not only great articles, but the immediate social response to those articles to add additional context to the conversation. This alone makes the tool worth using, and it sets it apart from competitors.
Hootsuite’s Research Curation
If you write content that is statistic-heavy, this may be a strategy that you’re already using. Hootsuite is a great example of a site that focuses on research curation in some of their posts. An example is their post on the best times to post on social media.
In these articles, they analyze massive amounts of research and data from third parties. They can compile this data into one hyper-valuable blog post, infographic, or video (or all three).
They give credit where it’s due, which gives the originating sites powerful backlinks and a great platform with lots of readers. Hoosuite, in exchange, has created one exceptionally valuable blog post that readers will keep coming back to for a full and comprehensive look at the data.
This is a great strategy if you want to provide actionable data to your audience, but you don’t want (or don’t have the resources) to run your own case studies.
GrowthHackers is a great example of community-based curated content website. It’s been around for almost a decade now and the community grows stronger and stronger every day, making sure only the top blog posts make it to the first page.
It’s a win-win situation for everyone. Marketers get exposure to a large community and receive a lot of traffic if their post is upvoted. Regular users enjoy only the best of the best of marketing news every day.
INC’s Expert Curation Posts
Big names and influencers can be powerful driving forces, and if someone sees their name on an article they’re more likely to click. INC’s expert curation posts like this one utilize that benefit to their advantage, compiling articles that feature knowledge from multiple influencers and experts that readers will be excited to learn from. They’ll compile these quotes and contributions into a single original post and publish it online.
This strategy can take a little more time and effort than some of the others on the list; you may have to hunt down the experts to get original quotes and their permission. It also still requires you to publish your own content.
That being said, it can get more clicks to your site, especially when those influencers start sharing, and build relationships with powerful industry peers.
Best Practices for Content Curation
Content curation can be utilized in several ways, yet certain principles should remain constant, ensuring proper and effective use. These guidelines include:
✔Avoid curating images without possessing their rights. Copyright issues are significant, and there’s a high likelihood of legal complications if you’re caught using someone else’s images without their consent.
✔Always attribute the original source. Giving due credit enhances your credibility, fosters good relationships with other content creators, and makes your content appear well-researched. It’s beneficial for everyone involved.
✔Include your unique perspective or summary. Rather than simply duplicating the original metadata or introductory paragraph, provide your interpretation in your own language. If you don’t, your readers may find no incentive to engage with your content.
✔Start with high-quality content. If the content isn’t engaging by itself, your sharing it won’t magically make it appealing to your audience.
✔Develop a routine of saving content to simplify your curation process. Whether you run a weekly blog, or a newsletter, or need to maintain an active social feed, routinely saving valuable content is better than scrambling for it at the last minute before publishing. This habit will ensure that you don’t overlook any worthwhile material. Tools like Instapaper can facilitate this process.
The practice of content curation offers numerous advantages, and its adaptable nature can suit a wide variety of strategies.
The seven sites mentioned previously have each employed curation distinctively, providing us with an array of inspiration for devising the strategy most suitable for our needs. The choice you make will largely be determined by your business type, objectives, and target audience. As long as you’re contributing meaningfully to the conversation, you’re on the right path.
I’d love to hear from you in the comments about other outstanding examples of content curation that have sparked your inspiration!