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April 25, 2014

A Guide to Content Curation

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These days, you can’t really call yourself a content marketing expert unless you know more than a thing or two about content curation. Content marketing as we know it involves a basic set of responsibilities including content creation and distribution. On the other hand, content curation is all about discovering, aggregating and gathering relevant, top quality, shareable content and bringing it to the attention of a larger audience.

Content Curation: The Trend That You Should Follow to Preserve Your Competitive Edge

Some trends are ephemeral, while others are here to stay. Content curation can be listed in the latter category.

Let’s make two things clear: content curation doesn’t mean that you should feel encouraged to steal someone’s intellectual property and use it to your best advantage. Secondly, at the same time, the fact that you tend to share all forms of more or less interesting content that you stumble across doesn’t make you an expert in content curation.

When you curate content, you actually succeed in identifying, analyzing and sharing web writing and bringing it in front of a well-determined segment of public in an optimized, targeted manner. If you’re bored or want to feed your readers who are craving for accurate, quality information with one article on a daily basis just to prove that you are active on social media websites, we’ve got news for you: you are not curating content, you are sharing data randomly.

Knowledge is power, but only when the right information is delivered to the right person. A scientist will never bother to read an article about makeup trends and a housewife doesn’t care one bit about molecular chemistry and the newest breakthroughs in this field of activity.

How to Master Content Curation in 5 Easy Steps

1) Define Your Target Audience: Ask yourself the following questions: who would want to hear from you? What kind of news would make your audience tick? Remember that content curation implies an increased focus on the needs and demands of your audience.

2) Integrate Content Creation in an Ampler Content Marketing Strategy: Don’t decide to curate content just because it’s cool and everybody else is doing it. Make sure content curation can become a valuable component of your content marketing strategy. According to i-Scoop, content curation serves different purposes and can help you and your business in countless ways by:

  1. Allowing you to become a trustworthy filter and a reliable provider of freshly squeezed information.
  2. Enabling you to be perceived as a thought leader. In a few words, a thought leader is an influential expert in a certain field of activity who knows where great information can be found, provides timely answers to people’s questions and displays the highest levels of popularity.
  3. Allowing you to keep your team members in the loop and giving them the chance to perfect their very own content creating strategies.

3) Identify the Best Sources of Information: If you want to master content curation, you have to know your sources. This requires time, effort and lots of research. You can’t just intoxicate your audience with low-quality content coming from more or less reliable sources. Stitching different pieces together won’t help you solve the puzzle in this manner. Do your homework properly to identify the truly competent content creators who deliver stellar pieces that are actually worth your while.

4) Analyze, Classify and Add Value to Any Content Piece That You Want to Curate, Then Share It: You are not a robot, so don’t act like one. Don’t just copy paste content from a reliable source and consider the job done. Analyze the overall content piece, extract an excerpt from the original source and then expand on the same topic using your own words.

5) Select the Best Tools and Channels to Use and Curate Content.

Can Content Curation Hurt Your SEO Strategy?

In this context, a few questions still remain unanswered: How can you copy an excerpt from an article success ully? Can you do it? How can you share content without violating copyright? Of course you are allowed to share excerpts by someone else, as long as you do it the right way. After all, content curation is defined as being a post where you add your thoughts about a few paragraphs from an article, provided you include a link back to the original article and a credit link back to the author.

But what kind of steps does the “right way” actually involve?

Curata sheds some light on this matter. According to an infographic introduced by this source, in order to let content curation support your end goals, you have to follow these basic steps.

  • Make sure the excerpt only represents a small percentage of your original text.
  • Provide fresh content and present facts from your own perspective.
  • Remember to give seo credit to the original source.
  • Don’t try to take credit for somebody else’s work or compete with content creators by publishing a new piece that is identical or very similar to the original one.

Content curation won’t hurt your SEO efforts, as long as you don’t abuse it. If you rely on this particular strategy just to follow your optimization ambitions, chances are that you will upset Google, jeopardize your link building strategies and your good name. Instead of obsessing with SEO, you should think about content curation as the secret ace up your sleeve enabling you to become an expert in your field of activity.

Play your cards right and do not miss out on this amazing opportunity. You can definitely build stellar pieces while using small fragments of other people’s work as a cohesive nucleus. Content curation is not a dangerous practice as long as you don’t cross any boundaries and don’t lose your own voice. This statement is also backed by Search Engine Journal in an article indicating that content curation does not go against an existing SEO plan as long as the fragment of text “borrowed” from a source is accompanied by enough original material.

So as long as you are not a cheater who is always eager to cut corners by plagiarizing anything, anytime, anywhere, your decision to curate content shouldn’t affect your rankings, your reputation or your optimization strategies.

Content Curation versus Web Scraping: What’s the Difference?

First of all, 100% legitimate content curation tactics have nothing to do with web scraping, which represents the purest form of stealing in online environments. Content curation works to your best advantage by helping you attain your marketing goals fast and risk-free, without disappointing your readers and attracting penalties from search engines.

What Are the Best Tools That You Can Use to Curate Content?

These days, you can find a multitude of web-based free and paid content curation tools that could come in handy. Storify, Scoop.it, List.ly, Bundlepost and Curata are only a few of the most popular and attractive options at hand.

Storify is free and very easy to set up. It enables users to identify and stitch different stories together while also expressing their own point of view on the matter in question. Curata is not free, but it definitely represents a smart investment for companies that plan to identify and share a great deal of relevant, pertinent content coming from respectable sources. This extremely practical software solution spots, organizes and even distributes content on people’s websites and blogs.

Bundlepost lets users implement RSS content feeds based on relevant keywords, analyze the gathered excerpts and decide which ones should be shared. It involves a little bit more work, but it also allows users to profit from more options. On the other hand, Scoop.it simplifies your mission and lets you get in touch with content creators who would be more than willing to “do business” with you. You just have to follow the right people; the rest is easy. Most of them will just knock on your door and ask you to feature their content on your board. How simple and convenient is this?

Egg or the Chicken? Foundations First!

Which came firs t- the egg or the chicken? Scientists point towards the chicken. Well, in this case, original content is the chicken that lays golden eggs. Don’t try to come up with a content curation plan before polishing your own web writing skills. Invest time and money in your own pieces, then try to see what others are doing and how you could use their best work to your own advantage, in a totally legit manner, to take your content marketing strategy to a whole new level.


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Julia McCoy is a bestselling author of So You Think You Can Write, podcaster and an expert content marketer. She’s also the founder and CEO of Express Writers, a leading online content creation agency, with more than 60 content writers and strategists. Julia leads her team to serve hundreds of worldwide businesses with the highest-quality content for their online presence. Follow Julia's blog.

15 Responses to “A Guide to Content Curation

    avatar Dylan says:

    Something that ties in really well with content curation is watering hole marketing. There’s a really good and free guide on how to use that along with content curation to supercharge your inbound marketing: http://marketing.superfluity.co.uk/acton/fs/blocks/showLandingPage/a/6965/p/p-002a/t/page/fm/1

    avatar SAK says:

    awesome info about content and SEO tactics

    avatar Ritesh Reet says:

    Great Article Julia. That’s right that factual information must be accurate, so that it can’t mislead any visitors.

    Keep sharing such informative articles.

    avatar eric roberts says:

    Hi i use scoopit at the moment but i am treading very carefully and watching Google, one minute Matt Cutts says one thing then he changes his mind a couple of weeks later. I was also in MY Blog Guest and found myself penalised, so as i say i am watching my back with everything i do. thanks eric roberts

    avatar Julia McCoy says:

    I cannot stress enough how blog writers should ALWAYS check the domain age/rank of the guest blog before they jump on an invitation to guest blog. Eric, I got an invitation from MyBlogGuest on LinkedIN, saw the crappy DA they had, and did not post. No penalization because I double checked.

    avatar Cole says:

    I ended up switching content curation tools after I tried Zimilate – http://www.zimilate.com. You can save almost anything, including web pages, images, files, notes, etc. I also like the fact that you can organize collections of content any way I want, both hierarchically and with tags.

    Zimilate also saves the entire webpage to the cloud, including all the images and other assets, so you don’t have to worry about it disappearing. Plus instead of showing random images from the page, Zimilate creates a thumbnail of each saved webpage, which makes it fast and easy to locate content visually. You can also search the full text of anything you save.

    One of my big frustrations with other tools is I end up reading almost everything on a mobile device and there was no easy way to curate it. With Zimilate, if you email a link to a webpage from your mobile or tablet, it saves the entire webpage for you, which makes curation simple and easy. You can also email images and files. If you email a link to evernote, all you get is the link, which means you can’t search for it and if the webpage vanishes into the ether you’re SOL.

    Lastly, Zimilate recommends other similar, relevant collections from other users. Instead of bookmarking or following other collections, you just drag and drop them to add them to your own, and then you can browse and search the combined contents. Worth checking out, I like it much better than evernote.

    avatar Bill says:

    Cool, I just started using Zimilate as well. Definitely worth checking out IMHO.

    I’ve always wanted to put a label on what I do. Now, I know: I’m a content curator. The content I curate is usually from my associates in the same niche.

    Really nice post, because no a days link-building doesn’t have so many advantage as every one says content is king. So content is king then content management is also necessary.

    avatar tonii clark says:

    Content curation is what I need for my blog,good read.

    avatar Uma says:

    Great writing on content curation. I’m especially impressed by the tools that you have suggested. And finally, your summary is true. one should polish their web writing skills before stepping into content marketing.

    Great article, Julia and you highlight some very crucial points when it comes to content curation.

    One thing which as a marketer you should try and do it, provide “a voice” on any curation activity which you undertake. That not only saves you from Google’s penalty, but also gets your opinion out to your audience (which is a huge value add on top of an existing piece of content)

    Netcurate.com is one such platform allowing you to put a take on stories which you curate for your audience.

    Nice post Julia. We’re honored to have you include Curata in here as well as a screenshot of our self-learning content relevancy engine. Thank you.

    Lots of comments about how to optimize the impact of curation in the most ethical manner. Here’s an eBook on Content Marketing Done Right that may be of value for your readers on this topic: http://bit.ly/CMDoneRight (includes tactical steps for ethical curation)

    avatar JY says:

    I like Zimilate. I never used it before until couple of weeks ago, I have totally got used to use it and can’t leave it when I do some research from internet.

    avatar Sally Mitch says:

    Nice information. In curating content, I agree with this article that you need to identify your target audience. Article should be fresh and unique for the viewers to read it. Through sharing to social media you can gather visitors on your article.

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