Content curation is the act of collating and sharing online content which is relevant and appealing to the followers of the curator. Since the Internet spouts content every hour of every day, no one has the time or desire to sift through it all searching for useful information. Like any trusted media outlet, well curated online content aspires to earn the respect and trust of those who follow it.Content Curation

By sharing third-party content you are engaging in a broader conversation with your online community. This also establishes you and those you represent as champions of your industry.

I've heard people call content curation lazy, efficient, cheating, brilliant, rehashing, and the future of marketing. None of these descriptions is wrong, necessarily, but the contradictory nature of all these opinions proves that we are in the early stages of understanding how to properly manage content. Done right, your business will reap the rewards. Do it poorly, and content curation will simply be a waste of everybody's time.

Narrow your scope

Presumably, you've followed the practices of good content marketing, proper social media strategy, and you have an engaged community. You know who your customers are, and what they need from you. Focus on them! Remember that content is only as good as your clients and customers perceive it to be. Cull material from the social media blasts that roll your way every minute of the day, selecting only the choicest morsels from your most trusted resources. Put all those shares, retweets, and pluses to good use.

Next, condense the material into a couple of sentences which will summarize the author's theme and approach. It is also vital to link back to the original post. This is an acknowledgement of the authority of the original source.

To select the links you want to feature, ask yourself the question 'Is this interesting to me? Does it approach the subject with a unique perspective?' More importantly, did you bother to read the whole article? Let's face it, if you didn't, why should anyone else?

Add your own voice

You aren't offering anything to the discussion by simply posting links and summarizing the copy. You have a responsibility to your followers to pass on opinions and observations that will further your position, and enhance the conversation. Curated content should also serve as a complement to your original content, allowing you to update your blog and draw attention to content offerings like CTAs. This is a way of establishing your authority on the subject.

Nobody wants a steady diet of vanilla, so pull content from a variety of sources. You need to share a mix of editorial approaches in an effort to ensure the widest readership. This is another way of demonstrating your authority, by proving your versatility.

The ultimate goal

You don't always need to create new content to earn respect and gain new leads. You need to become an expert in what your community wants, and give it to them. There are plenty of people in your same field who are toiling away at the keyboard, churning out good, exciting copy. Giving them their due, and enhancing their message with the strength of your support and comments, will benefit everyone. This is what content curation is all about.

Are you a content curator, or considering it? What do you feel are the best practices that make it valuable? Or, do you still see it as a lazy rehashing of yesterday's copy? We'd love to have your input.

Gary Locke
By Gary Locke

A semi-professional hyphenate and the Content Editor for CommonPlaces. He has enjoyed a long career in theater and multimedia, and still hopes to one day drive the Batmobile.

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