Content Curation 101: How to Get Curated Content Right
By Kristen Dunleavy January 7, 2016
Have you ever shared an interesting link on social media? Congratulations! You, my friend, are a content curator.
Content curation happens when you sift through the vast world of content, find information you deem useful, and share it with your audience. The actual content you share is created by someone else. You’re just organizing it and presenting it in a neat little package. Curated content is everywhere – from your favorite playlist to your news feed to your jelly of the month club.
Marketers love curated content because it gives them a quick and easy way to keep their audience in-the-know. If you’ve ever thought about curating content yourself, I’ll explain why it’s a good idea and how you can curate content the right way.
Why you should curate content
You want to become a valuable resource for your audience. But what happens when you don’t have time to write an ebook or a detailed blog post? That’s where curated content comes in. If you already stay on top of news in your industry (and why wouldn’t you?), you can save the articles that your audience will benefit from the most and present them as a news round-up or a curated email newsletter (more on that later).
Position yourself as a thought-leader
Imagine being the first person who delivers breaking, relevant news to your audience. When people know they can depend on you for the news that matters most to them, they feel they can trust you. They’ll keep opening your emails, visiting your website and maybe even make a purchase or two because you’re the go-to guy or gal in the industry.
Share valuable content with your audience
As a business owner, one of your many jobs is to keep your followers educated so they can make informed purchases. If you’re a massage therapist and there’s a new study out about the benefits of massage on mental health, you’d want to share that with your audience ASAP – right? They get to learn something new, and you might get a new paying customer.
The do’s and don’t’s of curated content
Ready to jump on the content curation train? Not so fast. Here are a few best practices to keep in mind.
- Don’t overdo curation: If the majority of the content you share was created by someone else, you may be going overboard. Use content curation sparingly – one blog post or email newsletter per week is enough. Curated content is not a replacement for your own original content!
- Do add your own take on your curated content: Why should people care about the information you’re sharing? Tell people why this is big news and give your opinion on what it means. You can always expand on the topic in a future blog post.
- Don’t pass off other people’s content as your own: Your high school language arts teacher could smell plagiarism from a mile away, and so can your followers. Don’t even try it.
- Do curate with caution: There’s a chance that some of your followers could mistake you sharing an article about dogs wearing pants for you endorsing the practice of dogs wearing pants. Miscommunication does happen, so think before you share. (For the record, I do not endorse dogs wearing pants. Sweaters, on the other hand…)
- Don’t share articles just for the heck of it: Everything you curate should be relevant and useful to your audience.
How to create a curated email newsletter
Now that you have your best practices in check, you’re ready to create some curated content of your own. A curated email newsletter is the perfect place to start. It can help keep your subscribers engaged, especially when time isn’t on your side.
If you use an RSS feed or just enjoy getting lost in the abyss that is shared Facebook articles, you probably bookmark articles that you want to read later. Going forward, bookmark with your subscribers in mind. Better yet, create a newsfeed where you can collect links just for them. Tools like Feedly and Paper.li make it easy to keep track of up-to-the-minute articles.
Once you have an assortment of articles bookmarked, you can start organizing them into a newsletter. Pick your top three to five and consider them for one of these three types of curated email newsletters.
Daily, weekly, monthly, seasonal and yearly newsletter round-ups let you give your subscribers a heads-up on all the important news they may have missed. Whichever type of news round-up you choose, be sure to include a few sentences summarizing why your subscribers should care about each article.
TheSkimm is a newsletter that delivers their take on the daily news. Here’s how they do it:
Articles relating to a common theme
Aside from being newsworthy, you can group your curated content together based on common themes. For example, a travel blogger could share a collection of articles related to European travel. A craft blogger could round up their favorite kids’ crafts. A financial advisor could share a few articles about goal-setting. Themes give you the chance to tie your curated content together in a way that makes sense to your readers.
Here’s a newsletter from Tablet promoting their favorite hotels for tropical getaways.
Collection of valuable resources
People love it when experts share their secrets. Why not share some of your most trusted resources with your subscribers? If you’re a health coach and you want to help your subscribers keep their New Year’s resolutions, you could point them to a few of your favorite diet and exercise apps that you rely on to keep you on track. Think about the blogs you read and tools you use regularly and create a curated newsletter around them.
In Nomadic Matt’s welcome series, he includes an email that points new subscribers to his most trusted travel resources:
Curate your own content
Remember how I said that curated content is created by other people (i.e., not you)? Well, I lied – kind of. While the term curated content typically refers to content from outside sources, you can curate your own content too. If you send your subscribers newsletters with your latest blog posts, you’re already curating your own content. You can also accomplish this with a “best of” newsletter that showcases your most popular content from the last month or year. Check out Jones Design Company’s year-end blog post round-up.
Want to create your own curated newsletter? Log in to your AWeber account to get started. And if you dig curated content, stay tuned. We have a big announcement coming soon!