There are many types of content a business can create to attract, engage and convert customers: Evergreen, Repurposed, Curated and Co-Created.
Of those content types, curated content offers numerous benefits that many companies are not taking advantage of. While content curation has grown in popularity since we first started writing about it in 2010, the question remains: Does it belong in your digital marketing mix?
The practice of collecting and filtering information and then adding value to it has been around a long time. Classic blogging often follows this “oreo cookie” format of sandwiching an excerpt of someone else’s information with your own. Doing so on a continuous basis is content curation and is as old as blogging itself.
I think there are three main reasons for the increased popularity of content curation for marketing:
1. Efficiency – There are numerous content curation software providers that tout the benefits of scouring the web for themed content and pulling it into a blog where it can be curated according to how the brand wants to be known and useful to a particular audience. Doing this manually is extremely labor intensive, let along writing 100% original content on a regular basis.
2. People Filters vs. Search Engines – While search engines are superior at indexing large quantities of data, sorting and presenting the most relevant information, they do not add value outside of discovery. Curation brings the “human” into the equation in ways that algorithms are hard pressed to match in terms of filtering and especially niche organization, adding context and perspective to content.
Even search engines like Google rely on human quality raters to augment their algorithmic efforts to determine the best content. Curation is based on that type of filtering and as a result, people want it.
3. Information Overload – More information is created digitally every day than ever before and many consumers feel lost in a sea of data and content. Thoughtful curation of content stands out as readers connect with the personality and perspective of the curating source that brings them useful information from a variety of sources with context and perspective.
With the popularity of content curation comes tools to make the business of discovering, organizing, annotating and publishing curated content efficient and scalable. There are many content curation software tools to choose from and many will serve most marketers’ needs. But what features should you look for in content curation software?
- The ability to pull data from a variety of sources in real-time and the ability to pre-filter with keywords, topics and suggest related topics
- Bringing discovered content into a queue that allows you to moderate what gets published and add your own commentary to is useful’
- The option of auto-publishing everything that is discovered according to topical filters, specified sources (sites, people, publications)
- Search engine friendly features like being able to have unique title tags from on-page titles and embedding author rel tags to the original content author
- Exporting to a newsletter, syndicating to other blogs
- Built in social scheduling and amplification by auto posting to social accounts like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+
- Integration with short url services for customized URLs and tracking
- Web analytics for curated content performance tracking – ideally through a dashboard
Besides sourcing, filtering, scheduling and publishing, content curation software should also make it easy to promote content, interact with readers via comments, feature top content, top engagers and social shares. Amplification of content is essential to extend reach.
Measurement in terms of subscribers, engagement, distribution, inbound links, social shares and a tie-in to analytics like Google Analytics makes curation software useful as well.
To my knowledge, no content curation service does all of these things, so I am looking forward to seeing suggestions in the comments. But here are some tools to start with:
Free tools: Storify, paper.li, pearltrees, list.ly and scoop.it
Paid tools: Curata, Curationsoft and publishthis
Original or Curated Content Isn’t the Question – It’s About Thought Leadership
Neither curation or original content will become all things to all people. Original content to be curated needs to come form somewhere and for companies that want to take a leadership position in their industry, a commitment to creating original content is a necessity. Leaders have opinions. They have interesting things to say. Market Leaders do not have a problem with creating original content.
That said, augmenting original content with curated content is perfectly effective. Getting the most out of content curation means understanding what’s possible and best practices. You can be super sophisticated with a multi-channel scheme, or basic. For example, with Online Marketing Blog’s original content published 3-4 times a week, we curate industry news each Friday. People love to see what stories we’ve picked as worth reading and our commentary about those stories.
With thought leadership goals in mind, it’s reasonable to start out by curating industry news and resources to become the “go to source” for all things relevant to the topics your target audience cares about. As the community grows, an evolution into a original content and curated content mix will provide the quality, leadership and efficiency that brands need to succeed.
Content Curation Skills & Integration
Curation tools are powerful and essential for social content sourcing and creation. Curation is also very useful for surfacing real-time trends and the appearance of topics across multiple media, channels and platforms.
A human curator definitely brings the skills needed for modern content editing, but obviously, there’s more to editing than sourcing, annotating and promoting content. Storytelling and connecting brand narrative along with creative execution is increasingly important for the corporate editorial function. Those are skills not always present with curators, but maybe they should be. Integration between original and curated content is essential for optimizing customer experience.
How are you using content curation in your digital marketing? What are your favorite content curation software, platforms or tools?
Ryan Biddulph says
Curation rocks Lee because it gives my readers a change up. Variety, the spice of life and blogs 😉 Thanks for the share.
Lee Odden says
Yes it does, especially when you can add value and do some creative repurposing (with credit of course)
Dadie Host says
Lee Odden please accept my thanks and congratulations on the success of
your recent work. I think your article is a great motivator for many
students who need a little extra push. Our schools are doing a good job
with limited resources, and they appreciate all the help we can give
them. Thanks again for such uplifting coverage.
Lee Odden says
Great Article about how curated content needs to be done!
Lee Odden says
I appreciate the comment Guillaume. I need to dig in to scoop.it again and compare.
As for autoposting that would be for brand content fed to brand staff and/or advocates. It’s garnish, not the meal 🙂
Guillaume Decugis says
Kind of an automated syndication of your own blog/content then? Makes sense in that case. Thanks for clarifying, Lee.
Suraj Rai says
Hi Lee Odden,
Nowadays every one use internet and spend lot of time for making online money. But few people know how to achieve goal of online marketing. You really shared some good points about content marketing that were difficult to discuss. It helped me to increase my knowledge about content marketing. Your all suggestion is nice and helpful to everyone. Thanks to share such useful tips. I am going to follow these are suggestions to give new height on online business.
Mark Evans says
Lee – I think curation will become a major theme as brands look for more efficient ways to do content marketing. Another interesting curation player is Pressly (pressly.com), which lets brands created destinations featuring their own content, curated content and social content. The destinations can be embedded on websites, mobile and newsletters.
Lee Odden says
Thanks Mark, we’ve covered brand social hubs here before with examples from Titleist, Intel IQ, WhiteHouse and IBM. http://toprankblog.wpengine.com/2013/06/brand-social-media-hubs/ Thanks for sharing the link to Pressly
David Jackson says
Awesome insight into content curation! Thank you
Nice Editorial about content curation this is a great help to
us, as a new in content curation. and it seem’s content curation
would be great for me .
PYS UK says
Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you writing this article plus the rest of the site is also good.