Effective content curation involves a bit more than just copying and pasting someone else's content or adding a link on your own web page to another piece of online real estate. While it may not necessarily be an art, there is a science to making content curation work for you. Ultimately, the most successful curated content takes the best data from a variety of sources and cobbles it together in an information-packed, streamlined, and highly valuable piece of content. In other words, you want to separate the wheat from the chaff, of which there is no shortage, and turn it into an artisan loaf of wonder bread.

the most successful curated content takes the best data from a variety of sources and cobbles it together in an information-packed, streamlined, and highly valuable piece of content.

An April 2017 blog post by Cheryl Joy provides the most accurate description of content curation that you will ever find. She describes it as making a mixed tape for someone you love. You go through dozens, sometimes hundreds, of songs to find the ones that are perfect for that special person, and each one has a significant meaning. In terms of content curation, your audience is that special person, and the data you cull from hundreds of sources and then piece together in just the right way, that's the mixed tape you have made for them.

Why You Should Be Using Content Curation

Before you can begin your content curation journey, there are some things you should know and some things you should define first. The most important aspect of curating content is knowing why you are doing it, and the answer shouldn't be because you are lazy and it's much easier to steal other people's work than creatively curate your own. 

There are five primary reasons why you should consider content curation for your online presence, be it a website, blog, social media platform or some other exit on the information highway:

  1. When you curate content, you are exposing yourself to a variety of different viewpoints on a certain topic or theme. By examining existing content for key points to include in a curated piece, you spend time looking at a subject through someone else's eyes. This gives you the opportunity to see more of the big picture in terms of value, relevance, and engagement as they pertain to the chosen theme of your own content. You may find out that what you thought were the most valuable pieces of information are actually secondary to more relevant and meaningful concepts or ideas, or that your subject is so in demand that you could create a series of curated pieces of content.
  2. Curating content gives you the chance to develop ideas for additional content that you may not have previously considered. For example, you may have begun your data-diving with the intention of collecting a list of the ten best tips or worst mistakes for content curation. Halfway through your research, however, you find yourself diverting your subject toward describing why it makes sense to utilize curating as part of your content creation strategies.
  3. By curating content, you are able to take only the most useful snippets of information from other material and present it in a more focused, streamlined, and organized way. Some content may bounce from subject to subject in a single post, yet manage to provide several relevant or valuable points during the roundabout ramble around the topic. Users still want to know those valuable pieces of information, but they don't want to take the arduous journey into chaos to find them. When you curate content around a specific subject, you can pull those important points out of the chaos and present it to readers in a cohesive and highly usable format.
  4. Your reputation, credibility, and expertise can receive a significant boost with effectively curated content. When you know what users want and are able to provide it in a piece of well-written and high-quality content, you are establishing yourself as a trusted source of topical, timely, and value-rich information. Because most users are accessing online data while they are on the go, they want to save as much time as possible. You help them do that when you give them salient and streamlined information that addresses specific wants or needs. They reward your efforts by sharing, linking, and returning to your content as long as you continue to do so.
  5. Curating content allows you to continue providing valuable content to your readers when you are pressed for time, unable to create original content, or need something subject-specific that may be outside your area of expertise. Whether you are working against a deadline, have encountered writer's block, or want to provide valuable data on a topic you possess only superficial knowledge of, content curation provides a solution for any of those particular roadblocks. Continual content production is important to your online visibility, and curating content lets you stay visible by substantially reducing the burden of creating material to provide to your users and visitors.

Keeping music as the analogy, become the 'hottest DJ' for content - show your readers the very best content out there ie; current, rare, exciting, different. Become the 'go to' for your audience's information.


Quick Tips to Keep in Mind When Curating Content

Now that you have a good idea why content curation can be an effective part of your content creation and marketing strategy, how do you get started? You can find a variety of information providing tips and tactics for making the most of your content curation efforts, but here are some essentials to always keep in mind.

  1. Avoid plagiarizing. Many content curators use a rule of thumb for how much data can be taken from a single source before it crosses the line into plagiarism. Set boundaries for yourself and stick to them, and always credit your sources if you quote them verbatim or pull a substantial amount of data from their content. You are not the creator if it isn't in your own words, so don't claim to be.
  2. Chose a small handful of credible and authoritative sources rather than casting your net far and wide to find points of interest or key takeaways for your curated content. The accuracy of data is always important, so make sure you are getting your facts from trustworthy sources (and credit them where due). By using a small number of reputable sources, you will also make your curation efforts much more manageable.
  3. Curate regularly, but don't make it your primary method of providing information to your audience. Many users visit specific content because they like the writing style, appreciate the way information is presented, or enjoy other aspects of the content or content creator. Your audience wants to hear from you, so don't let curated content take the place of your own voice, style, or personality.
  4. Keep each piece of curated content focused on a single subject or theme. Users want specific information about the topics they search for, and you can gain trust and boost your reputation by consistently delivering focused, comprehensive data.

Content curation has several clear benefits for your content marketing strategies, and it can provide you with a significant return on the time and effort you invest in doing it. Incorporate curated content into your content creation plans and see how it can pay off for you!