Content Curation: 7 Steps to Success

What is content curation, and why should you care?

Content curation curator

What is curation:

Content Curation is the act of discovering, gathering, and presenting digital content that surrounds specific subject matter.
~ EContent Magazine

In the world of blogging, content curation is the artful use of other people’s content, to provide value to your readers, while simultaneously providing value to the originator of the content.

Why you should care:

Done right, and done well, there is no easier to way to provide high value content to the people you are trying to communicate with through your online marketing efforts. Done poorly, there is no easier way to damage your online reputation.

How to do Content Curation Right

Let’s break it down to just 7 simple steps:

  1. Know your audience
    Before doing anything else, you need to know who you want to talk to, and what type of content those people will find valuable.
  2. Search for content
    Google is your friend. Use it well. Use it wisely. Search for blog posts and websites that your audience will find interesting and of value. You may want to avoid using (and this promoting) the content of a direct competitor, but even this “sin” is forgivable from time to time.
  3. Start your curated article with a catchy, SEO friendly title
    It’s usually best not to directly copy the headline of the article or web page you are curating, but obviously, the title of your piece must be highly relevant to it.
  4. Introduce the article in your own words
    Write a sentence or two to introduce the content that you are curating. Name the source, name the author (link her name to her profile on the original site, or her own site), and explain to your readers why you think that they will find the article interesting.
  5. Quote from the original content
    Quote a few sentences, a paragraph, or at most, a couple of very short paragraphs, of the original article. Do not overdo the quotation! Your goal here is to provide enough of the original content to provide useful information to your readers—enough for them to decide independently if want to read the original article, on the original page—or if they are satisfied with the snippet that you’ve provided for them.
  6. Comment of the article
    This is where your curation skills matter most. Provide either a short summary of the rest of the article (in your own words), or provide an opinion of the article. Remember that your ultimate goal is to prove YOUR value to your readers.
  7. Link back to the source
    Content curation is all about adding value. That includes, not only adding value to your own audience, but also adding value to the originators of the content that you are curating. One day someone may choose to curate your content! You want to provide a shining example to that content curator of how it should be done.

Potential Pitfalls in Content Curation

There are two major pitfalls to avoid when curating content for your own blog.

  1. Providing poor quality content
    There isn’t much point in curating content that your audience won’t find valuable. Avoid poorly written articles. Avoid articles that lack depth, or that repeat content that is so easy to find that your readers will find it useless or boring.
  2. Plagiarism
    Plagiarism is when you take credit for someone else’s writing. It is unethical, dishonest, and it will blow up in your face in numerous ways. Your online brand is your online reputation. It should not be taken lightly or squandered. Always link back to the original article and the original author. Never quote more than the minimum necessary to convey the key message of the article you curated. Search engines like Google are constantly improving their algorithms to detect duplicated content—and they can punish plagiarizers by demoting them in their page ranking. Don’t be that guy.

You are curating content that you located elsewhere. Don’t hide that fact, celebrate it by linking back to it. It’s what you should expect when your own content is curated by another blogger.

…and remember, good bloggers do more than just curate other people’s content. They create original content of their own too. For a few more tips about doing that, read my article about content creation.

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