Content creation for digital marketing can take a long time. As a content creator, you have the difficult task of writing, editing, designing, and distributing interesting and relevant content to your audience on a regular basis. That’s a pretty tall order, especially if you’re a one-man (or woman) marketing department.
We’re going to let you in on a secret: you don’t have to create all of your own content. No, we’re not recommending you hire a freelancer—and we would never suggest you plagiarize or steal content.
This trick is quick, legal, and totally free: content curation.
Just like a museum curator selects, cares for, and displays artifacts from history, you can collect and share pieces of content with your audience. Your blog is like a digital museum, preserving and promoting the content you think is most valuable for your readers.
Today’s blog post is all about curating content for your digital marketing strategy. We’re covering what content curation is, how to do it, and some ideas to get you started so you can save time on your digital content strategy.
What Is Content Curation?
Content curation is the practice of collecting content from other sources and sharing it with your audience. As long as you cite your sources and give them appropriate credit, you’re not breaking any copyright rules.
The term “content curation” usually refers to the practice of sharing content on social media. When a business shares an interesting episode of NPR, a relevant news article, or posts from their followers, that’s content curation. The business didn’t make the podcast, article, or posts, but they shared it believing their audience would find it interesting or useful.
But content curation goes beyond Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. You can curate content for all channels of digital marketing.
Your emails and blog are prime channels for sharing curated content. Collect news stories, blog posts, photos, and other pieces of content your audience might find interesting. Add the curated content to your emails, or make an entire blog post featuring recent industry news.
And don’t forget, once you’ve written your blog post, you can turn that into other forms of content.
6 Handy Tips for Content Curation
Before you start your content curation process, there are a few key tips to keep in mind. Follow these rules to save time, avoid any copyright disputes, and ensure your curated content stands out from the crowd:
1. Cite your sources and images.
Give credit where credit is due. If you use quotes from another source, leave them in quotation marks, attribute them to the author or publication, and include a link to the original. Never try to pass off another person’s writing as your own.
The same goes for images. Note where you obtained your images, giving credit to the photographer when possible. Write a note underneath the photo like “Photo Source: John Smith” or “Photo: @JohnSmithInstagram” to let readers know it was not your image.
2. Don’t do it all at once.
Content curation is easy to do in small bursts. You might even be able to work it into your regular schedule of checking the news and scrolling social media. Keep a running document on your computer or phone where you save links to relevant pieces of content.
Whenever you stumble on a piece of content you’d like to curate for your brand, take the time to add it to your document. These can be podcasts, blog posts, or articles you’re consuming for your own personal enjoyment—as long as you think your audience could benefit from them, too.
It takes less than a minute to copy a URL and paste it into a document. Then you can return to your reading. Ta-da! You just curated some content in under 60 seconds.
3. The more recent, the better.
When sharing curated content, try to stick to recent articles and news stories. You don’t want to mislead your audience by sharing an old piece of news that is no longer relevant or accurate. If you decide to share something older, frame it as a “throwback” or “an oldie but goodie” so your audience knows it’s not recent news.
4. Follow certain hashtags and keywords.
Hashtags make it easy to keep up-to-date with industry news. You can follow certain hashtags on social media so new content with those hashtags appears in your timeline, just like posts from people you follow. You can also set up Google Alerts to notify you when certain words or subjects appear in the news. You’ll get your curated content delivered straight to your inbox or social media feed, saving you even more time.
5. Look at what your competitors are doing. . .
Get some inspiration by looking at what similar brands are curating. Look at their sources—you might discover a new website full of content related to your industry. Use them as a reference to see what niches are (and aren’t) filled in your industry. Does your target audience respond well to memes and casual content, or do they prefer no-nonsense, data-driven stuff? Your competition will give you an idea of what’s successful in your industry.
6. . . . and do it differently.
Why should your audience read your monthly roundup of industry news instead of the competition’s? In a sea of original and curated content, what makes your blog posts and emails worth reading?
Maybe you have a knack for picking hot news articles before they trend. Or maybe you add insightful or funny commentary to the pieces you share. Or you could share longer, more thorough collections of content than your competition.
Think about the kind of content your audience wants, look for any gaps in the market, and set yourself apart from the competition.
5 Ways to Use Curated Content Outside of Social Media
Now that you know the basics of content curation, you’re ready to start implementing it in your digital marketing strategy. We’ve come up with 5 ideas for using curated content in your blog and emails—methods that will save you time on content creation, while adding variety and value to your communications with your audience.
1. Collect the most interesting news stories from your industry weekly, monthly, or quarterly.
Remember that document where you keep links to industry news articles? Now’s the time to revisit it and turn it into curated content. Pick 3–7 articles you think your audience will be most interested in. Write a short summary teasing each article, and include links for your audience to read more.
You can turn this into a blog post, an email, or both. Though your audience will be directed away from your business’s website, they will associate your brand with reliable, interesting content. Your readers may come to count on you to help them stay up-to-date on your industry.
Try headlines like “Hot Off the Press! May’s Biggest Music News” or “What’s Going On in the Auto World? 4 Stories.”
2. Add an industry news section to your email newsletter.
Don’t have time to make a whole blog post about news articles? Don’t worry. You can easily add a section to your regular email newsletter featuring the occasional piece of industry news. When you stumble on a piece of content you think your audience will appreciate, link to it in your newsletter along with a short summary.
3. Create a list rounding up your favorite products, programs, or resources.
Are there any particular products or programs you find yourself using a lot? Maybe you already recommend them to your customers when they ask for your expertise. Make a list of 4 to 10 products that could benefit your customers, write a short description for each item along with the reasons you recommend it, and publish your new blog post.
Even though these kinds of posts direct your audience to other businesses' websites, you’re still establishing yourself as a generous, helpful brand and an authority in your field.
Consider blog post titles like “6 Things Every Work-From-Home Writer Needs to Survive” or “My Top 10 Must-Have for Parents of Toddlers.”
4. Assemble a list of inspirational or interesting quotes.
Sometimes you don’t want to share an entire blog post with your audience. Maybe the tone doesn’t fit your brand voice, or maybe only a portion of the article is relevant to your industry. In that case, you can curate quotes rather than entire articles.
You can easily curate a series of quotes into a blog post. Collect at least 5 quotes or pieces of advice relevant to your business. Write a short introduction for each quote, letting your reader know why they should trust the original writer. Arrange the quotes in a numbered list, and you have a new blog post!
Example headlines might look like this: “9 Writers Share the Best Copywriting Advice They Ever Received” or “5 Quotes About Gardening That Will Inspire You to Get Your Hands Dirty.”
5. Use the P.S. of your emails to direct readers to interesting news stories.
Coming up with a fresh and compelling postscript for every email can be difficult. The next time you aren’t sure what to include in your P.S., try directing your readers to some curated content. Did your business recently show up in the news? Is there a blog post you want your audience to read? Put it in the P.S.!
Your postscript might sound something like this: “P.S. Did you see any familiar faces on the news lately? Click here to watch our feature from Monday night’s news!”
Curated content will save you time in digital marketing, but it can’t account for all your online communications. If you’re struggling to find the time to create and curate content for your brand, Sigl Creative can help. Schedule a call today, and our team will help you create unique, relevant content that nurtures your existing audience and draws in new readers.