Content Curation: Brief Summary
Content curation can be summarised as the process of finding and collecting pre-existing online content, before sharing it with or presenting it to an audience. Typically, content curation efforts will focus on a specific topic, which the curator believes will be of interest or value to their audience, who may be website visitors or social media followers.
There are multiple possible motives behind content curation strategies. However, it is commonly associated with content marketing efforts, with the goal often being to provide an audience with access to regular fresh content. This, in turn, helps to develop an audience, generate loyalty and position the curator as an expert in their field.
Content Curation: Detailed Summary
Content curation is a widely used online marketing strategy, where a publisher collects and shares pre-existing online content. In many ways, it is an editorial discipline, with the curator sourcing and sharing the best content they can find, and this will usually be related to a particular topic that is of interest to their audience.
The concept of content curation is not too dissimilar to the kind of curation that occurs in museums or art galleries. While curators in those settings find and select the artefacts, display pieces or artwork that they believe will appeal to visitors, a content curator selects content that they believe will benefit their audience.
Content curation can help marketers, websites, social media channels and individuals to fulfil their audience’s demand for regular fresh content. However, most audiences have specific expectations and want useful or interesting content. For this reason, the best content curators are strategic, rather than adopting a scatter-gun approach.
With this in mind, a significant part of any content marketing strategy involves finding content, organising it properly and identifying the pieces that are most relevant, or which will hold the most value. It is also important that curators develop a steady stream of content, in order to satisfy modern users’ expectations.
In many cases, the content curator or publisher will add value to their shared content, and this will often take the form of a short comment, summary or introduction. Doing this serves a number of purposes, including providing justification for sharing the content and explaining to the audience what they will actually get from viewing it.
Aside from the traditional model of individual curators selecting and sharing content, a similar concept also exists within online forums and similar communities. This is sometimes known as collaborative curation. Here, individuals share online content with their online community, and the community then provides feedback. A good example of this is Reddit, where content is either ‘up-voted’ or ‘down-voted’ by users, affecting its visibility on the platform.
Tips for Effective Content Curation
The first step for any effective content curation strategy is to establish some clear aims and objectives, and to answer some key questions. What are you hoping to achieve with your content curation efforts? What is the target audience? What are they interested in? Who is responsible for finding content? Who makes decisions about what gets published?
From there, it is important to create a system where you discover new content, read through it fully, organise relevant content and then share it at an appropriate time. Each piece of content that you share or publish should have a clear purpose. You should understand who you are hoping to reach by sharing it and what you think they will get from it.
Where possible, you should try to add value to the content you share too. This could be as simple as adding a short description of the content, explaining why you are sharing it. However, it could also be a comment on the content itself, either adding your own insights to it, or explaining why you like the content. In some cases, you may even choose to strategically share content you disagree with, in order to generate discussion, or spark debate.
Although you want to take content from a variety of different sources, it can be useful to try to find some ‘go-to’ resources, where you can reliably find high-quality content on the topic or niche that you are focusing on. This can help to make curation easier and can be especially beneficial when you are struggling to find enough content.
It is also worth giving some consideration to when you will share content. You want to maximise the number of people who actually view the content you share, so avoid quieter times of the day. It is also best to try to maintain a consistent schedule, so that your established audience knows when to check back for more content.
Finally, it is imperative that you adopt quality control measures. Many content curators fall into the trap of collecting and sharing too much content, reducing the average quality in the process, or watering down genuinely useful and interesting content with low-quality or less relevant content. If you do share content that your audience dislikes or has no use for, you risk losing their trust, which can then damage your wider content curation strategy.
Benefits and Limitations of Content Curation
Arguably the single biggest benefit associated with content curation is the ability to provide an audience with an abundance of online content for a relatively low cost. This is especially true when compared to the costs involved in hiring employees to create fresh content, or outsourcing content creation to a third-party.
For consumers of online content, content curation help to make it easier to find interesting articles, and can provide them with a single source to turn to for their other content needs. Meanwhile, for marketers and/or content curators, it can help to attract a larger audience, which may then continue coming back for more.
One of the knock-on effects of content curation relates to the mutually beneficial arrangements that can exist between content creators and content curators. Many content creators will signal boost social media posts from curators who have shared their original content. As a result, both the creator and the curator gain visibility.
In terms of limitations, content curation relies upon the existence of relevant content and marketers have no real ability to influence this. If a marketer needs a piece of content to cover a specific topic or serve a specific purpose, it may be easier to turn to a content creator, because clear instructions can be provided and content can be tailored.
It is also worth noting that content curation does not necessarily allow a marketer, website or business to establish its own voice, because they are largely relying on other people’s work to say what they want to say. Moreover, sharing external content may not be as effective for boosting website hits or building brand awareness as content creation.
Content curation is a useful marketing strategy, which has both advantages and disadvantages when compared to content creation. Although it relies on the existence of relevant, high-quality content and limits opportunities to tailor content to a specific audience, it tends to be less costly and can help to establish credibility.