With social media and content marketing growing as a powerful way to engage with consumers, there has been a growing demand to feed the content cycle to ensure that businesses are constantly providing valuable, informative content to their fans and followers. Creating original content is an important part of this process, and another popular tactic is to curate content from around the Web. Content curation is the process of identifying content created by other sources and sharing it with your fans and followers. But there are some important things to keep in mind when curating content, so use these five tips to make sure you’re properly and effectively using this tactic as a part of your content marketing mix.
1. Identify Meaningful Topics & Sources
To get started with a content curation strategy, it’s important to start with your audience in mind. What topics and content formats that relate to your business will they find meaningful? You can find content related to your business, such as industry trends and statistics, tips and how-tos, informational or entertaining videos, or community-related sources to curate.
For example, a local bakery could curate content from a variety of related sources on a range of topics that their audience might find meaningful, such as party ideas, wedding planning tips, baking best practices, serving ideas, and local events. Or, an automotive business could curate content from top auto blogs, do-it-yourself sources, coverage on industry trends and events, and enthusiast sites. Once you find blogs and websites that produce relevant content, consider bookmarking these sites on your browser or adding them to an RSS reader such as Google Reader. Then, each day you can easily look through various posts identify ideal ideas to share.
2. Curate Strategically Across Sites
With most social media and content marketing strategies, a variety of sites play a part. So make sure you’re curating content strategically across all your sites. For example, you can schedule tweets and Facebook posts that link to interesting content, but try not to inundate your audience with the same content posted on all your sites at the same time. You may also want to include content curation into your blogging strategy by quoting and linking to interesting content you want to comment on. For example, a local plumber might quote a statistic about the average reduced household costs of installing a new water heater in an article about the benefits of updating your home water heating system. Think strategically about all your content marketing efforts and what content you can share from other sources.
3. Always Link to the Source
When sharing content from other sources, it’s critical to always link to the source you are citing, whether you are quoting a source on your blog or sharing information on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Google Plus. Links are an important currency on the web, and content creators appreciate their content being linked to on blogs, websites, and social media sites. Plus, consumers expect to be able to follow a link to read more information when they see something interesting shared on a social site. So make sure when you’re curating content online that you’re always linking to the original source.
4. Quote & Cite Carefully
When quoting or citing someone else’s content, it’s important to only quote a small portion of the work, typically only about 10-15% of the whole article. Always identify the source of what you’re quoting and link directly to the original source when citing another work. Offer your own commentary or thoughts about the subject or content you’re quoting to make sure you’re adding to the conversation.
It’s not ok to copy and paste someone else’s content in its entirety onto your blog or website (unless you have their explicit, written permission to do so). Not only is this copyright infringement, it’s also a poor SEO practice, as your site could be penalized by Google for having duplicate content.
5. Share Infographics Wisely
With the popularity of sites like Pinterest and Tumblr for sharing images online, infographics have become a hot commodity in content curation. Most of the time, the creators of infographics expect them to be shared on other blogs, websites, and sources that will link back to the original source. This strategy can help a website build inbound links, boosting its relevance in search. So, if you discover an infographic you want to re-post on your site, check to see if it has a copyright notice on the bottom that restricts the resharing of the unique image first. If there aren’t any restrictions, find out who created the infogrpahic so you can cite and link directly to them, rather than the site you discovered the infographic on. Typically, the creator of the infographic will have their logo at the bottom of the infographic and there will be a link back to the creator from the website that has shared the article. For example, if you find an infographic on a site like Daily Infographic, don’t link back to that site; instead, link to the site of the image’s creator or better yet, to the image cited on their website.
Using content curation can be a great way to fuel your content marketing efforts, but it’s important to make sure you’re balancing this approach with creating fresh, original content as well. It’s also critical to make sure you’re curating purposefully and respectfully to help you avoid copyright infringement.
Are you curating content in your social media marketing efforts? What’s your favorite source of interesting content to share? Have any questions about content curation? Tell us in a comment!