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Content Marketing and Content Curation – Where to Get the Right Content and How to Use it

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Answering the question what content curation really is, one may find it difficult to define precisely. Part of the problem lies in the fact that not all people who consider themselves content curators know exactly what they are doing. If you get a bunch of different links related to different topics, marked as interesting, without any context or comments, would you feel this content is curated content?

You shouldn’t, because this is just some bundled content many people from the targeted field simply refuse to notice, for it holds no true value for them.

How to curate content then?

What Content Curation Really Is

Content curation means finding valuable content related to the chosen topic, putting it into context, expressing your opinion about it, and presenting it the right way. It usually involves sifting through plethora of content in order to find the most relevant pieces of information, so that they can be organized around a very specific topic. Considering the highly limited attention span of modern audiences, curation becomes a valuable skill, especially if you rely completely on such content.

You may think that all activity on social networks is a kind of content curation. Most of it isn’t. Most people tend to share random interesting content without even making a comment on why they chose to post it, or they write one single “mysterious” sentence, or song lyrics, and that’s usually it. This is not content curation.

Curating content includes choosing a topic and finding the best content of the day, week or even month, and then sharing that content with comments, descriptions, additional links, and other material. Google Plus is an excellent network for content curation. You can create different circles entitled, for example: SEO, Photography and Book Savvy. Each week, you choose the best content from these three domains, share it with the appropriate circles, with accompanying opinions and comments on the matter.

Content curation doesn’t need to include social networks, it can be done via blog posts as well, or e-books and similar material. What matters is that you always specify the original source, link it to your post, etc. Lists are a good way to curate content, and so are videos. For example, fail compilations from around the web have become very popular, as well as cat compilations, because people want the funniest of the web, but don’t have enough time to look for it themselves.
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Why Is It Important?

By curating content, you help you audience discriminate between important and trivial content. No one has the time to sift through information to find what they need for every single field they have an interest in. It’s tiresome, and takes up a lot of their free time and energy they could invest in something else. If you make it your job to find worthy information for them in the field your business belongs to, you become valued in their eyes, and so does your product/service.

Content curation helps curators themselves develop as professionals. By gathering content, sorting out current and correct information and making sense of it in a context, curators develop their skills and stay informed about the latest news in the field.

You can make your company’s pages the leading authority on topics related to your business field. If you are a go-to source for a topic, you will be perceived as the best product/service provider in your niche.

Also, listening to what others in your field have to say is usually of utmost importance. Ann Handley, chief content officer at MarketingProfs said for Curata:

“I use it to listen … to see what else other people are publishing. What are the hot buttons for marketers? It’s a way to prospect socially through your content to create more content that’s engaging.”

Since you do not always have a whole bunch of original material available to you, content curation can be of great help when it comes to inbound marketing. Serving your audience with content from all around the web that they would be interested in can sometimes prove more effective than coming up with your own, original one piece of content.

The Stages of Content Curation

Content curation is a process which requires commitment and all stages are equally important parts of it. Going through them, you will develop a routine, improve your organizational skills and become increasingly better at content curation. The stages are as follows:

Creating Audience Groups

If you are using content curation, you most certainly want to promote yourself or your business as a go-to source of quality content and useful information. Inbound marketing is all about getting the audience come to you, and is there a better way to do it than providing what they need, when they need it, even if there is no direct and obvious gain for you? You/your company gets perceived as generous and oriented towards customer satisfaction, which is the exact image you want them to have if they should buy your products and pay for your services.

However, not all types of audiences need the same type of information. Two completely different age groups could be your potential buyers due to totally different reasons. For example, if you’re selling smartphone apps, both teenagers and people aged 40-60 could potentially be interested. The difference is that teenagers want to text, chat, and browse for fun, while the other age group is more interested in apps related to currency exchange, banking, taxes, etc.

Of course, you are going to curate content on social networks, meme websites and chat platforms to teenagers, and a completely different kind of content on taxes, banking and housing for the other group.

Searching for the Best of the Web for Each Group

Now that you’ve defined your audience groups, you should make a list of up to 5 topics for each group. If you have more than 2-3 groups, lessen the number of topics.

There are a number of places where you can look for good content, organize it and prepare it for “sense making”. You can usually organize the content according to the topic, which is very useful when you are covering several topics at once. Here are some of my favorites:

StumbleUpon

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The downside of StumbleUpon is that the content is not always fresh, which means you probably won’t be the first to curate it. However, the reason I put StumbleUpon on the list is because I managed to find some golden content there which is always valuable no matter the date published.

You browse the web pages others added according to interests you chose to follow when you join. You can also browse lists, content liked by other people or trending content. I usually browse all interests as it gives me great sources.

The thing I like most are the lists. As you can see on the image, they are quite handy. You can share them on social networks, but I would recommend for sorting out content. After you finish with sorting out, use the pages for creating blog posts, lists or posts to be shared with corresponding circles or lists.

Scoop.it

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Scoop.it dashboard allows you to include different sources, such as RSS, blogs, different social media accounts (add as many as you want), as well as to include parameters such as keywords and time parameters to get great lists.

What I like most about it is that you can find such a valuable insight into content curation by following what other curators are up to. Not to mention finding more invaluable pieces of content.

If you want further detaila about Scoop.it, you can find a like/dislike list of features here.

Storify

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Storify is similar to scoop.it in that it allows you to gather media from all around the web and create your story. You can share or embed your story as you like, and this is a good solution if you need to get everything done fast, though with ScoopIt you can also share your lists and add comments to put what you’ve gathered into context, which is great. All in all, a good thing to know about. A brief tutorial is available on Youtube.

Alltop

Content aggregation services can be of great help when it comes to content curation for inbound marketing. Especially if they are selective, and do not let just about anyone in.

On the downside, the topics can be too broad at times and not specific enough for your needs, especially if your business is in a small niche.

RSS Readers

Of course, you can always turn to RSS readers, especially if you already know which websites contain the type of content you need. I used Google Reader for a long time, but now it’s not available anymore. You can choose any of the free RSS readers, it will do the trick. You can also combine the usage of a reader with Google alerts for specific keywords. Not to mention all the filtering options Google Search provides.

Making Sense of the Gathered Content

In my experience, it works best if you use Google Plus or your blog. By sharing content with specific circles, I target my audience well, adding the comments that suite the purpose perfectly and attracting their attention. Blog posts containing list or those conceived as lists are also a great idea.

When annotating content, you can pull out the essence, express your opinion, and ask questions, anything you find suitable. Today you can focus on one topic, tomorrow on another, making sure the topics are right for your audience, and that your posts would make them check out your page.

Do not include calls to action or promo-material too often, because it drives the audience away. Create balance, and post your promo-material twice a week or so, making sure it’s supported by the content you are curating.

And remember, what you leave out is as important as what you include.

Sharing with Others

Throughout the article, I’ve talked about sharing the content you discover. There are many good ways to do it, as I have mentioned already. What I need you to remember is that you need to connect all communication channels you’re using. If you post on social networks, post on all those where you have an account. If it’s your blog, promote it on the social networks you are using. Maximize the impact by coordinating your channels.
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Content Curation and Inbound Marketing

In this day and age, curation of content is one of the essential parts of inbound marketing efforts as it helps you gain trust and become information provider without using up your entire budget for fresh content creation.

Nobody needs more articles way too similar to those already written. We need truly fresh information and people to bring order to the existing content.

We need good content curators. Perhaps you should become one.

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