How To Use Content Curation To Deliver Fresh Ideas Without Added Resources

How To Use Content Curation To Deliver Fresh Ideas Without Added Resources

More content marketers should act like museum curators.

Museum curators pick an exhibit theme, carefully select the artifacts, and organize them into a story that visitors will want to consume.

By adopting a similar strategy, you — and, ultimately, your audience — will reap the rewards.

You will create more quality content without having to create new content.

You will tell unique stories shaped by others’ content.

You will position your brand as a thought leader without having to write draft after draft before the author-executive signs off.

You will become a trusted and helpful resource by digesting content from multiple sources.

Curation can take your content marketing further without an additional investment of resources.

What is a content curator vs. a content aggregator?

Being a successful curator requires first understanding the difference between a curator and an aggregator.

Think of it like this.

When people reshare or repost others’ content on social media without commenting, they are aggregators. Their audience assumes the “reposter” is interested in the content, but they don’t know what’s particularly interesting or helpful about it.

In this LinkedIn post, I was an aggregator, sharing a post from Christina Nicholson on the value of public relations. I didn’t help my audience understand the topic even though they couldn’t discern it from the opening line, “I’m handing over thousands of dollars to her … and she has no idea where I came from.”

Ann Gynn shares a LinkedIn post from Christina Nicholson that says "I'm handing over thousands of dollars to her ... and she has no idea where I came from".

When people comment on or write an introduction to the shared or reposted content, they act as curators. They let their audience know why they found the content valuable or how it might relate to them.

In this example, Nigel Brown curates an article about RFID (radio-frequency identification) in retail written by Tony D’Onofrio for Loss Prevention Media. Nigel summarizes the highlights and links to the original article.

In this example, Nigel Brown curates an article about RFID (radio-frequency identification) in retail written by Tony D’Onofrio for Loss Prevention Media.

So be a curator, not an aggregator, and your audience (and brand) will thank you (or at least appreciate your content.)

Here’s how to be a content curator.

Pick a topic

Though curating allows you to develop more content with fewer resources, that doesn’t mean you can scrimp on quality.

First, identify a theme or topic about which you could curate content and that your audience will find valuable. It could be a synthesis of industry news. It could be takeaways from scholarly content. It could be a compilation of takeaways from your brand’s content. It could be a deep dive into a topic for which you don’t have subject matter experts on staff.

When you decide on the theme, fill in the blanks in this sentence:

We will curate content about _________________ to help our audience _______________.

Select the tactic

Now that you have your theme and general benefit, you’re ready to pick the tactic. You can create something new or select an existing vehicle that could benefit from curated content. It might be a podcast, newsletter, blog, video series, or social media post. You could also combine several formats.

Will you curate a blog article? PageTraffic Buzz does this. It publishes an article entitled the Top 10 Digital Marketing Articles of the Week.

PageTraffic article entitled Top 10 Digital Marketing Articles of the Week.

In this edition, Navneet Kaushal highlights the key takeaways from 10 articles, including this one, A Comparison of the 10 Best Email Marketing Tools. The author gives credit and links to the original source while summarizing what readers can expect — the features, pricing, and performance of each tool.

Navneet Kaushal highlights the key takeaways from 10 articles, including this one, A Comparison of the 10 Best Email Marketing Tools.

Will you give your take on a single in-depth article or podcast episode? Nigel Brown did with the LinkedIn post mentioned earlier in this article.

Will you curate content your brand or a sister brand already published?

Marketing Brew’s newsletter includes content from elsewhere in the Morning Brew media world. In this May 13 newsletter, it gave its spin on an article about Taylor Swift’s impact on a $60 clothing item originally published by Retail Brew.

Marketing Brew gave its spin on an article about Taylor Swift’s impact on a $60 clothing item originally published by Retail Brew.

Will you create a newsletter with a roundup of interesting or news content?

The Daily Skimm curates entertainment, news, and more in its newsletter. In this edition, it curates a quote from Ryan Reynolds about Taylor Swift naming his children. Then, it digests the news topic of the day (Michael Cohen’s testimony in the Trump trial). In the first two paragraphs, it connects to content from AP News, Axios, Politico, and CNBC.

Daily Skimm shows quote from Ryan Reynolds about Taylor Swift naming his children. Then, it digests the news topic of the day (Michael Cohen’s testimony in the Trump trial). In the first two paragraphs, it connects to content from AP News, Axios, Politico, and CNBC

You also could curate more long-form content, such as an e-book combining content from your brand and third parties on the same topic. The possibilities are vast.

Once you know what the content will look like, you can better understand how much or little needs to be curated. For example, a weekly curated blog article of 1,500 words might require several sources and more time to create than a four-minute podcast segment (about 600 words) discussing a single curated source.

Also, decide how frequently the curated tactic will be distributed and set expectations on the timeliness of the incorporated pieces. If you write an industry newsletter or do a hot topic segment in your podcast, you’ll need to curate more timely pieces than if you curate an in-depth e-book about the topic.

Now, you can create a content curation calendar and list the total number of curated items needed and how frequently you’ll need it. It’s OK to use a range for the quantity, but don’t sway from the frequency.

Search for content

Now that you know the topic, you’re ready to set up the curation process.

Starting from scratch each time or hoping you’ll stumble upon some content to curate isn’t a strategy and will lead you to end the strategy quickly because it’s too time-consuming. You should establish a system that can easily scale. Start by documenting everything on a spreadsheet or other tracking system

Use SEO strategy

Pull the keywords from your SEO strategy. Given it’s likely a lengthy list, you’ll need to test and refine it. Pick five to 10 phrases that are more likely to consistently deliver good content for curation. If they don’t prove fruitful, swap them out for other keywords.

You want the curated content to feel fresh. Depending on your topic, that could be content from the last week, month, or year. It rarely means content from two, five, or 10 years ago. In Google searches, after you search for your keywords, click the “news” tab at the top of the search results page. It will display more recent newsier items.

TIP: Set up a Google Alert for your primary targeted words.

You also can follow a similar search process on YouTube to uncover relevant videos.

Make bookmarks your friend

When you find websites or other content resources that could provide a steady stream of articles worthy of curation, bookmark them and add them to your tracker. Sometimes, they may have relevant content that isn’t ranking well yet. If you don’t go directly to their URL, you will never find that content.

Don’t forget to use the search features on these go-to domains to discover content that may not be showing up on their front page anymore.

Sign up and follow

Subscribe to newsletters, podcasts, and videos that cover your topics. They can offer a plethora of resources that you could use or put you on a new path for further research.

TIP: Set up a separate email address for the subscriptions to avoid an overflowing inbox.

I like newsletters because I can quickly read the content and cut and paste it into my notes. But audio can work, too. In those cases, I use a free tool, like YouTubeTranscript, to get text so I can do it more easily.

Venture into social media, too. These platforms can be helpful in a couple of ways – finding people and hashtags relevant to your topics. Follow those go-to sources who share links and breaking news on your topic. Track the most relevant hashtags to see what content surfaces.

Use a tool

Generative AI can give you an assist, too. Enter prompts that use your key topics or questions into a tool like Gemini or another that provides real-time information. Ask for the original sources and verify those sources include the content.

Although I haven’t used paid tools in a while, many are available to expedite the curation process:

  • Curata allows for creation, curation, organization, annotation, and sharing content.
  • Feedly uses RSS feeds to track designated topics and trends.
  • Scoop.it lets businesses create hubs to create, curate, share and use content elsewhere.
  • TagBoard works for hashtag curation on social media.
  • Huzzaz operates as a video curation platform.

1 more idea

If you curate content on more intellectual or researched topics, use tools like Google Scholar to find academic articles.

Give credit (it’s due)

As you go about curating content, make sure to track the sources. Giving the original sources proper credit is a must if you want to avoid plagiarism (or even the perception of plagiarism.) In your content, note the original source by name in your content and link to the curated article, podcast, or video whenever possible.

Tell a curated story

Third-party content can prove a valuable resource to broaden your content strategy and deliver more for your audience with fewer resources. But the content only serves as the building blocks. You, like a museum curator, still must figure out how to design it cohesively to craft a story that your brand wants to tell and your audience wants to consume.

All tools mentioned in this article were suggested by the author. If you’d like to suggest a tool, share the article on social media with a comment.

Register to attend Content Marketing World in San Diego. Use the code BLOG100 to save $100. Can’t attend in person this year? Check out the Digital Pass for access to on-demand session recordings from the live event through the end of the year.

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute


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