And Why Curating Content Will Save You Hours
If content marketing is part of your strategy for 2018 (if not, why not?) then the idea of constantly creating blog posts, videos, podcasts, interviews, white papers etc etc might feel naturally a little overwhelming. But you don’t have to do it all by yourself. Curating content (collecting and sharing third party content) is going to be your new best friend and it’s going to save you hours.
Why Curate Content?
If you are serious about your industry and staying abreast of changes, thinkers and discussions happening around your business then you are going to be consuming a lot of relevant information yourself to stay on top of your own learning and development. Some of which you will formulate into your own ideas and opinions, but much of what you find can be shared with your audience as it is. But why would you want to do this?
- To double or treble your content output, without spending a lot more time on it. Boom. In a nutshell. More for less.
- To set yourself apart as an expert. By aligning you or your business alongside expert articles and opinions you are effectively positioning yourself alongside them.
- To be a source of knowledge. Let your audience know that you have your finger on the pulse and remain at the heart of your industry, so they will come to you first for information or opinion.
- Because it’s helpful. By just providing valuable, helpful content and information to your audience you are helping to solve their problems and assisting their growth. Why wouldn’t you want to help your audience? If that is not part of your business strategy, then it should be.
- To grow your network. Sharing and supporting other content providers is a great way to get closer to them and grow your own professional network. The law of reciprocity suggests they might share your content in return. Which is nice.
- Because it’s inspiring. There is so much more to know and understand about almost every element of our environment both professionally and personally. Being inspired and inspiring others is pretty awesome. It does good and feels good. Pass it on.
How to Curate Content
Developing a system from the outset will help this to become a simple and seamless process. It shouldn’t feel overwhelming. The idea is that this helps to support and develop your content marketing strategy, not replace it or take up too much of your time.
But the quality of what you curate matters. Some basic rules still apply; your content (whether created or curated) should educate, inspire, entertain or amuse. That’s should be the goal. Or don’t share it at all.
Before you start spending hours mining the internet for shareable content, I think it’s a really important exercise to define your business values to ensure that what you are sharing is aligned with your beliefs. You should stand behind the content you share. It matters who creates it (the source) and it matters what their agenda is.
Remember when President Trump shared Britain First content across the Twittersphere? Don’t be that guy (ever!). Know your sources and check your sources.
Five Step Process for Content Curation
Follow this five-step process for content curation. You can download a Content Curation Workbook below that will help you to follow this process along:
1. Establishing Your Values
What is the ethos of your business? What are your values? How do you want to be known?
You can use the workbook to brainstorm some key words or phrases that represent you.
This matters because you should ensure that the content you share reflects your beliefs so you need to be focused on what matters to you. Sharing IS a form of endorsement so only share what you stand behind. Be clear about your values.
2. Developing Themes
Brainstorm themes that relate to the values of your business. What areas of interest does your business touch? What subjects matter to you?
These then become a fascinating range of topics that you can have an opinion on when it correlates to your world. Think also about themes that touch the edges of your industry and where they overlap with others. This is where it becomes exciting. So much is connected.
3. Defining Sources
Brainstorm sources and influencers that create content that reflect your values and fit your themes developed in the two steps above. Who or what sources are you happy to endorse and support?
Make a big list and then sort them under the themes you created in the previous exercise. These are your go-to places for content.
4. Mining the Sources
Practically, what you need to do is some or all of the following to get notifications or an automatic feed of content to review:
- Create google alerts on key words (be quite niche here or you will be inundated). I suggest you have them sent once per week rather than daily or you will be overwhelmed.
- Sign up to newsletters from content providers that are on your list.
- Subscribe to RSS feeds from content providers that are on your list.
- Add source news feeds into your social media scheduling tool (if you use one) – don’t allow them to automatically post. You are storing them up for the day you define as your day to review.
- Bookmark sources to your browser to review content on your allocated day.
- Send yourself links when you read articles online that would be interesting or inspiring for your audience.
5. Managing a Library of Content
OK, this is where you need to be organised and ruthlessly efficient right from the start.
For any kind of emails or alerts you subscribe to (including the ones you send yourself), I recommend either using a specific email account or setting up a few mail rules so that as they arrive they go directly into a folder. You can then simply ignore until your scheduled day to work on curation. This will stop you becoming overwhelmed and inundated with emails, feeds and notifications.
There are online clipping tools to help you do all of these but most are quite costly. If you set up email rules and allocate a day per week or month to review and curate then it can all be managed quite easily for free.
How and Where to Use Curated Content
Here’s what you can’t do – copy and paste content into your newsletter, website or social media platform. You cannot and should not pass it off as your own. That’s plagiarism and it’s not OK. And it defies the purpose of the exercise, which is to align yourself alongside respected sources, share the knowledge, be the source of many streams of content, and generally sprinkle some love. Be generous with your credit of others’ content.
What you can do is introduce content and link back to its original source. That’s fine and fair play. And we are all about that.
You can use curated content in a couple of key ways – providing additional and varied content and inspiration in your customer newsletters (my favourite way actually), and by sharing across your social media platforms.
Both these methods should however, supplement content you have created yourself. Don’t only share third party content or it appears as if you don’t have opinions or value of your own to offer. It also means you aren’t maximising the opportunities that hosting your own content can offer (but that’s for another day).
Most of all you can have a lot of fun with curated content. You can share ideas and values that expand a little on your remit as a business. It’s great to be niche, but it’s cool to see how things are connected. Content curation is an excellent way of showing and sharing those connections. Have fun!