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Content Marketing

Published February 24th 2021

How To Stay Top-of-Mind For Your Audience With Content Curation

It’s tough getting your business or brand to stay top-of-mind for your audience. But with strategic content curation, you can become the go-to industry source they’re looking for.

There’s one problem, though: So. Much. Content. Those three words probably sum up the internet as a whole. As days pass, more and more content gets published, good or bad.

In fact, in a recent post on the Skyscraper Technique BuzzSumo found that, compared with 2016, we have published a staggering 64% more content over the last year – and that's based on a pretty conclusive analysis of 1.7bn articles.

This is a serious blow to digital marketers everywhere. They have to compete more strenuously for the market’s attention and have an advanced content ideation strategy just to keep up with their competitors.

Every piece of content your competitors create is another item to compete with. Furthermore, every piece of content that even non-competitors create is also competing for the attention of your audience.

But what if it’s actually the opposite?

What if you could use all that non-competitive content to your own advantage? What if all content could become stepping stones in creating an entirely solid piece? What if you can use other’s work legally, and still get big benefits for your own business?

My friends, we are talking about content curation, a not-so-new concept that top marketers have been utilizing for years now. Proper content curation can yield extremely big results that might surprise you.

In this article, we will be covering:

  1. Ways to distribute curated content
  2. Types of content curation
  3. How to find content to curate

This is all in an effort to teach you how to leverage other people’s content to stay top-of-the-mind for your audience.

What does content curation mean?

To some, content curation means carefully selecting, commenting on and distributing the highest quality content created by others.

But the content curation process can also involve creating owned content that is inspired by the quality content of others.

Heidi Cohen makes an important distinction between content aggregation and content curation.

Aggregated content simply involves distributing a compilation of content (ie. a list), but when you curate content you are adding an additional layer; your own unique opinion or perspective.

Why is content curation important?

Content curation gives you the opportunity to raise your brand awareness, assert yourself as a thought leader and, most importantly, build strong connections with your audience.

In many ways, content curation is about community – especially when you’re sharing other people’s ideas.

Communities have each others’ backs. Your own content will naturally do better if you’ve got a network of people personally vouching for it. And they’ll do this for one of two reasons:

  • Because of the value you add to their lives
  • Because you have done the same for them

Remember ‘Like for like’ requests on Myspace or Instagram? Or link trades by way of guest posting? 

Well curating content is not too dissimilar – you’re still sharing someone else's ideas and driving engagement their way – but the key difference is you’re not demanding they reciprocate.

By being sincere about your reasons for sharing someone else's content, and thinking beyond the transaction, you’ll naturally build up strong connections which will pay dividends in future. 

When you’re done sharing, you can then turn your curation into conversation. Discuss what it is you found interesting about a certain piece of content, give feedback to the creator or ask them questions in a public forum. This softly-softly approach is a brilliant way to build a strong network.

Content curation can therefore lead to all kinds of positive outcomes, whether that be reciprocal links, content collaborations or ongoing engagement. 

Ways to Distribute Curated Content

Before we get into the “how-tos” of content curation, let’s talk about the methods you can use to publish curated content.

The primary distribution channels, by order of difficulty, are:

  • Social Networks: This is probably the easiest way to distribute content. Curating here also helps you keep your social followers engaged with regular content.
  • Blog: if you have a personal or company blog, use curation to produce blog posts
  • Video: Using platforms like YouTube or Vimeo, you can produce videos of curated conten

This article will focus on curating for the social network and blog channels, but the principles can be applied to video as well.

Types of Content Curation

Social Media Content Curation (aka Just Plain Sharing)

It doesn’t get much more basic than this.

Sharing an article on your social networks is the simplest and easiest way to begin curating content. And you’re probably already doing a version of this.

It’s important though that you remember that every piece of content you share on your social channels should be a reflection of the kind of value you want to bring your customers.

So you want to do more than just click the share buttons on an article, you want to say something valuable about the content you’re sharing. Add commentary, highlight a specific point in the article, or just introduce the topic to give your audience a reason to click through.

Mari Smith is a master at curating social media content:

Mari’s post, one day after publication has 40 shares, 24 comments, and 105 reactions! And, it builds and reinforces Mari’s brand, as the “Premier Facebook Marketing Expert.”

While this is the simplest form of content curation, it’s also the easiest way to look “spammy” to your audience if you’re not giving value with every curated content share.

Newsletters & lists

When Hubspot bought The Hustle, a business and tech newsletter with over 1.5m subscribers for an eye watering sum, it made everyone sit up and take notice. A newsletter? Valued at $27m? That must be some quality content curation.

The Hustle curates business and tech news stories, but with a humorous twist; injecting human perspective and personality into each digest.

Newsletters are clearly a super effective way to build an engaged audience around curated content.

In fact, there are a growing number of hugely successful content, marketing and SEO newsletters around right now that are doing this brilliantly.

Some awesome newsletters we've found include:

BuzzSumo also has its own newsletter, The Monthly Buzz, where you can see the most shared content and top trends of the month.

Now on to lists. You can create lists to reference multiple sources of information rather than just one.

From a social media perspective, it’s as easy as finding several pieces of content you can link to, then listing out those links, with your own opinions overlaid.

Easy, right?

But how can you apply this same thing to your blog content?

Actually, lists can be one of the biggest evergreen content types on your website. As long as you see new things you can add to your list that can provide value to your audience, you can continue to update it and keep it fresh.

Here's an example of a list post by Jason Acidr, featuring 100+ Advanced Online Marketing Strategies. This list is certainly super helpful, but is more an example of content aggregation that content curation.

If Jason added his personal opinions or preferences to each piece of featured content, this would shift it to a content curation piece.