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When it comes to using content curation on social media, the saying “everyone is doing it” is actually true. According to curation giant Curata, best-in-class marketers use a content marketing mix of 65% created content and 25% curated content, and nearly every business is doing some kind of curation. In fact, the company’s benchmark back in 2014 showed that only 5% of businesses didn’t use curation tactics. So if curation is a basic need for marketing - why isn’t every company using it to its full potential?
What is Content Curation, and Where Does it Happen?
Many brands use content curation on their owned and operated websites and blogs to promote industry news stories, but social media is the marketing platform where curation happens most. Social media content curation takes place when a marketer filters through all of the interesting content online and shares the best news, video, images, etc. he/she finds online on a company’s social networks. As Rohit Barghava writes in the Content Curation Manifesto, marketers who curate content “will bring more utility and order to the social web. In doing so, they will help to add a voice and point of view to organizations and companies that can connect them with customers – creating an entirely new dialogue based on valued content rather than just brand created marketing messages.”
Content Curation Benefits
Beyond the value content curation offers your customers, it can also benefit your brand. When customers view you as a leader in the industry, they’re more likely to purchase your products and services. B2C brands can use their curated content on social networks such as Pinterest and Instagram to earn new followers and showcase their personalities with viral-worthy posts. Great marketers add a piece of their own brand on the articles and images they share with comments, CTAs or links back to their own company sites. See the image above from Curata as an example.
Well-curated content attracts readers and often generate a lot of social interactions such as likes and retweets. An example? Expo Comic Mx embraced content curation to get better results from its Facebook page. The brand posted a photo featuring a happy Stormtrooper family using the photos of Kristina Alexanderson. That photo has garnered more than 13K likes, 756 comments and more than 7,000 shares.
Curated content can be collected and re-used (always crediting the original source) many times over. Once you have a good amount of this content, you can even use it to create your own original content. Additionally, curated content can be a great way to break the ice and start building relationships with other influencers on your social networks.These relationships can result in future occasions for link building, social shares of your own original content and even collaborations. In other words, curation can jumpstart your influencer marketing. You can see this relationship dynamic explained in the image below.
Five Types of Curated Content
Today we have influences; in the past we had other curators who knew the right sources to share with the masses, in places such as libraries, museums and universities. Today there are five types of curated content.
- Aggregation consists of curating the most relevant content about a topic into one single location. This is the most common form of curation and the basis of most content curations services available for use or purchase.
- Distillation takes the overall “noise” about a topic and reduces it to its core concept. The best cases of social content curation can be catalogued into this definition.
- Elevation happens when curators draft a more general insight or trend from a large amount of daily content.
- Mashups merge different content about a topic to create a new original point of view.
- Chronology is historiographical content curation. Typically this method consists of presenting a timeline of curated information to show the evolution of a specific topic.
Who’s Doing Curation Well?
Brands and individuals that best embody curation best practices for the types of curation listed above include the following:
- AJ Kohn on Twitter
- Guy Kawasaki and George Takei on Facebook
- Joanna Lord on Pinterest
- Starbucks on Instagram
- YouTube itself on YouTube
Keep in mind that you shouldn’t flood your social media pages with curated content without also focusing attention on your own brand. There must be a balance of both created and curated/shared/re-tweeted posts.
How Do You Find the Best Content?
Now that you know you need compelling, timely content to get your name and products out there (and have seen examples of how to do so), it’s time to start thinking like a publisher and develop a content curation strategy that your full marketing team can agree on. Within your social media strategy, you should plan to include that magic 65/35 curated content/owned content split.
But don’t plan to manually sift through content yourself if you can help it; the research could take hours. Identify top blogs, influencers and individuals to follow. Monitor RSS feeds of relevant sites, and ensure your greater team is involved in screening content for relevance and value. Place curated content alongside your created content on a content calendar. That way, you can enjoy an overview of your curated/created content distribution ratio and track if you have focused on central theme enough.
Content Curation Websites for 2017
- BagTheweb - BagTheWeb helps users curate content with “bags” to collect, publish and share content from any website.
- BuzzSumo - BuzzSumo isn’t your traditional curation platform, but it can be very helpful. Buzzsumo allows users to type in any keyword or domain and provides an ordered list of the top shared content around that topic. You can sort by date range, content type (guest post, infographics, videos, etc.), set alerts, see influencers view backlinks, and more. Because the pieces are already so popular, it’s likely your audience will enjoy them as well. Here’s what we got for our first three results when we typed in “content marketing:” The first example has 4.2k shares.
BuzzSumo has a free version, with the paid version starting around $99/month.
- CliClap - Sometimes it can be difficult to convince your marketing leadership that curation can do great things for your company. Enter CliClap, which deafens this argument by giving users the ability to add their own CTAs to any piece of curated content. The product is currently in beta and is free at the time of this blog.
- Curata - Curata helps marketers maximize their content curation efforts with web-based tools to easily find, organize and share online content. Curata is aimed at large B2B enterprises, with plans starting at a hefty $349/month, but it can be useful for B2C businesses, as well.
- Feedly - Feedly is a simple CSS reader combines everything elegantly so you can read and share content from your favorite sites. You can easily organize content into boards and flag content to read later and take the strain out of curating content manually. Feedly comes in free and paid versions - all of which are very affordable.
- Flockler - Drawing from social media and the web, publishing videos, photos and text, Flockler allows you to curate for a particular subject, event, person or business. It ranges from 49 EUR to 499 EUR per month.
- Paper.il - Paper il crawls the web linked to your topic and works for social media sites, online newspaper ads and email newsletters. Once set up the curation is updated automatically.Free and paid versions are available.
- Pearltrees - Collects, organize and share everything you like on the web, including videos, files and more.
- Pinterest - Most people know Pinterest for its nifty ability to allow users to organize weddings and parties based on images of products or inspirational items. As mentioned previously, Pinterest can be a great place for B2C brands to show off their style and personality.
- Pocket - The average person spends about 10 hours a day in front of a screen, according to the Nielsen Company. A lot of this time is spent on news and social media sites. Pocket goes beyond bookmarking to keep these resources right at your fingertips.
- Scoop.it - Create a topic of interest, Scoop.it crawls the web for related content that you can select and curate for your online magazine.
- Shareist - Shareist lets you create your own custom curation website. discover, create, organize and share content that matters to your audience through scheduling, repeating and recycling posts.
- Storyful - Storyful was founded by journalists who wanted to separate the news from the ‘fake news.’ It helps publishers and marketers find social insights and content.
- Yourversion - YourVersion joins blogs, tweets, articles and videos on your chosen topics in one place.YourVersion automatically organizes the bookmarks by topic for you.
Choose a few platforms that work best for you / your business. You don’t want to choose so many that you’re overwhelmed, so focus on only what’s helpful and can help you save time--not those that add extra work or make curation more confusing.
- Curation is king on social media. If you haven’t started doing it, now’s the time.
- Don’t forget to add the element of ‘you’ / ‘your company’ to every post.
- Always credit your sources!
- Always add value, and make an effort to connect with your followers. Don’t get lazy!
- Remember that curation applies to all content formats, visual content included.
- Leverage social media management and content curation tools to simplify the process.
- Build relationships with influencers along the way!