Effective content curation is like being the editor of a niche magazine that publishes only the best, high-quality articles that appeal to a specific audience. Ineffective content curation is like spam. You put a little of everything into the mix – especially trending viral stories! – and hope something sticks with somebody. Or, you just regurgitate what someone else has already said and post a link.

The problem with either of these approaches is that they devalue your brand. They also can ding your SEO score. This is why content curation sometimes gets a bad rap. 

Original vs. curated content

There’s so much content out there! Content curation can be a useful service to help your audience make sense of it all and also is central to driving social media. That’s not to say you shouldn’t produce original content relevant to your brand and industry. You should. Original content is how you drive prospects to your website and convert leads. It’s how you rank higher in search. It’s how you build your brand voice and establish credibility with customers.

However, content curation has real value too, especially for companies new to a space, in that it’s a good way to align with experts in an industry and show that a company has its finger on the pulse. It also allows a company to showcase different sides of an issue and take a stand. It can help demonstrate that a brand is part of an industry community and is relevant in important conversations. 

Do’s and don’ts of content curation

But, as I said, there are certainly good ways and bad ways to do content curation. Here are a few tips to consider:

  • DO remember that your role as curator is to always add value for the reader
  • DO preface a link to a curated article by adding more context and sharing your opinion as to why the audience should read it and find it relevant
  • DO provide the key takeaways of an article up front to make it easy for readers to skim and decide if they want to read further
  • DO make it obvious that this is curated content and not your own; don’t go into plagiarism territory, please!
  • DON’T do content curation just because you don’t have time to write original material
  • DON’T go too broad afield – content curation is more effective when it’s tailored to a specific audience 

Good content curation in action

  • Adobe’s CMO.com does a great job of curating articles of interest for chief marketing officers, breaking down broad areas like “news” and “insights” by subtopics like online, branding and research for easy navigation. The site intersperses curated content with original content by CMO.com writers and CMO.com-exclusive contributors.
  • Upworthy is a stellar example of curation that actually creates the brand voice. Upworthy only surfaces feel-good stories about people making a positive difference, an approach that is exactly aligned to its mission to get people to “pass on things that matter.”
  • I think we do a pretty good job here at Suite Seven with our monthly Sweet 7 round-up articles we ourselves find interesting and think our marketer-clients will too. Note how we give the reader a brief summary of the article and then add our two cents as to why we’re highlighting it.
  • There are a number of tools that allow you to curate all kinds of content – stuff you and your select sources publish – into an online format that can be shared with your audience on a scheduled basis. I have a venture capitalist friend who uses paper.li to send out a weekly article round-up to his Twitter followers. It has a nice user interface that resembles an online “newspaper.” 

In today’s social media environment, it’s almost a given that you, as a marketer, will engage in some form of content sharing and curation. To gauge what kind of curated content resonates most strongly with your audience, we suggest watching your analytics to see what’s getting clicks and shares and comments. You can then use this data determine if and how you need to tweak your content strategy to better meet your marketing and business goals.

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