Content Basics: What You Need to Know About Content Curation

Creating new content is tough - after all you're busy running a business!

Along with customer service and on-time shipping, content creation needs to be a priority. It is one of the best ways to boost your website's authority and ranking.

But there are times when you just can't get to it - I understand.

What you need for those times you just can't get to it is a quick way to keep your 'content train' moving forward.

The good news is, there is a way to create something quickly - it's called content curation - pulling together content from other sources that your audience would benefit from.

Content curation certainly isn't a new concept, and your business can benefit from this handy technique.

First, let's take a closer look at this video from my friend Russ.

The first thing I notice here is the misuse of the word 'aggregation'. I'm pretty sure they meant 'curation'.

What's the difference you ask?

Aggregation, in most forms, means an automated form of gathering and sharing content, usually by keywords. It's like an automated news feed that you'd show on your website around your main keyword. You don't do anything to get that content, it just automatically shows up.

Curation, on the other hand, is mostly all done manually. You pick out the content you want to share, and you then put it all together in one little package (typically a blog post) that you then share with your tribe. (read more about the differences here)

It's OK to Curate Content

For one reason or another, a lot of small businesses don't seem to be taking advantage of this form of content, which I find rather surprising. We are inundated with curated content on a daily basis, yet most business owners shy away from building these types of posts on their own sites. Why?

First of all, I think small businesses are scared because they don't know what's OK and what's not OK.

After all, no one wants to commit plagiarism.

But the fact is that content curation is perfectly legal and acceptable...so long as you do it correctly and give credit where credit is due. After all, there are plenty of websites that cite external sources.

Secondly, I think a lot of small businesses have an idea that it's bad to reference any other website in the same industry. This is most likely due to the fear that they don't want to send traffic to a competing source. I understand why many would think this way, but I think that's an insecure way of thinking. If you believe in your mission and your product, that should show through in your other content, your website messaging, and your reputation. Customers that are familiar with your brand (even just in the short time they've spent on your site) will look at these other links as a way that you've enriched their knowledge about the subject at hand.

Don't be afraid to link out, especially if the content on the other end is great.

And thirdly, I think there's a small knowledge gap. If you're new to digital marketing or just started a small business, chances are you don't know the best ways to go about content aggregation.

That's ok, I'm hoping to solve that today.

Video Example: Recipe Curation

One of the first things that Russ shows us is an example of curation revolving around recipes. I want you to take special note of what he said in the video: he didn't create any of the recipes in the shared content.

Next, I want you to notice how much text there is under each recipe. If you noticed, there's naught but a sentence or two under each high quality image, but here's the most important part: he linked back to the original source of the content. Additionally, he never claimed to have created the recipes, which would have been plagiarism.

I would also like to point out that you don't necessarily have to purely curate content, either. If you wanted to, you could add a few of your own unique recipes to the post to improve the quality of the content.

Reference the original post, then tell how you made it better.

Just think how powerful these types of posts can be. While it may take a fair amount of time to find the highest quality recipes, you don't need to reinvent the wheel or spend hours actually writing the content.

That's what's great about curated content - you can create a curated blog post in a short amount of time (if you know how to pull industry data from multiple sources, which I'll discuss next).

Tuning Into Your Industry

Yeah, that example is great for a recipe site- but you sell products or services. You need a way to find content that relates to your industry, right?

Most people, given this task, would probably go to Google and start looking for information.

Google searches are a great way to find new content, there are a few better ways.

First, I highly recommend finding the top blogs in your industry. Not only does it help you keep an eye on the competition's performance, doing so will also help spark new ideas for content.

Another great site for finding out what others are talking about in relation to your industry is Buzzsumo.  Do a search for a few of your keywords and this site will show you content related to that topic - and also how popular that topic is!

Second, follow news and media sources related to your industry. For example, if you run a tech news and security blog, then check out the tech section of any of your favorite publications.

Is there a website, magazine, or Facebook page you typically go to to keep up with the latest industry-related news? Probably.

This is also one place you could use a Google search - but with a twist. Plug in your keyword and click the 'News' tab. This will give you the latest news about that topic. Sometimes you can find some good info in there.

Thirdly, I highly recommend adding as many relevant sources to your RSS feed aggregator. That way, you don't have to spend hours performing menial, mind-numbing and tedious Google searches to find cool new posts. Once you find a relevant source, add it to your RSS and take a peek once or twice a day for the latest news.

Print: While it may not be possible to aggregate content from a print source like a newspaper, it will still help you understand what's happening in your industry. For instance, if you run a cooking site, you might read a headline or article detailing the latest research on saturated fats and non-saturated fats. Then, you might turn to other sources to aggregate content for a post about the healthiest natural fats, such as avocados, Omega-3's, and coconut fats.

Advanced Tip: I use feedly for my RSS feeds. I can set up multiple feeds by topic, and browse them on my phone in my spare time. If an article catches my eye, I can save it to a special folder for a future blog post idea, or another folder that will automatically add it to my social media (via products like Buffer and Zapier).  I do nearly all my social media this way, all automated, and I learned it all from this course.

A Final Word of Caution

Before I close, I'd like to offer you a word of caution: make darn sure that you don't plagiarize other people's content. Believe it or not, most other websites don't mind curation-type posts, because it generates an organic back-link for their site (which has SEO value for them).

You have to give credit where credit is due.

I'd even recommend sending a link of your new post to the people you cited - they may like and share your post to their audiences as well!

Something Borrowed, Something New

Even though content curation posts may seem simple, they've been performing extremely well for years (especially on social media). It's a nice way to mix up your content creation to give your audience something new to digest - and they'll love you for it.

Lastly, remember that you don't only have to pull the content together. Rather, it should also be your aim to improve the content, which can be done in several ways. You can offer your opinion, add credibility with other reputable sources and citations, or correct any errors you saw in competitors' content. Doing so will help improve your credibility, and it certainly doesn't take as long to put together as some types of long-form content.

About 

Will Hanke owns Saint Louis' top independent Internet Marketing firm, Red Canoe Media. In addition to helping some of St Louis' most recognizable brands with their online marketing strategy, Will also is an Amazon bestselling author, speaker and teacher.

One Comment

  1. Angela May 10, 2017 at 7:22 pm

    I’m intrigued that you mention RSS feed. I’m not all that familiar with it but never see it referenced much anywhere and assumed it was outdated. Is it used by the average internet user or is it more for those in your line of work?

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