Content curation is the creation of significant and appropriate content relating to a specific topic or niche. This terrific marketing tool filters news and information and uses it to compile only very relevant information which is used to develop a business. Forbes has called it one of the most trending web developments. Companies use content curation to compose precise information that's relevant and interesting for their customers.

Curation is not limited to marketing people and big businesses, even ordinary people are using this tool, due to the huge amount of information pertaining to specific subjects that's proliferating on the web. Thus, it has become a tool that saves time for surfers on the web as well as a useful device for professionals. Here in short is how it's done: identify a specific audience and provide them value by way of content that is only relevant to them. You will need to go through lots of content and dig out only the most interesting, trendy and relevant stuff for your audience.

Advantages of Content Curation

  • Gives Audience Value: If the content you are curating is of high quality, it will provide value to your audience. This is particularly so when they find content after you have pointed it out to them.
  • Proves You are a Leader: You will prove yourself to be a leader when you demonstrate your ability to separate the valuable from the useless and show what great information sources you have. You will display thought leadership if you add your own valuable comments to the curated content. People like to follow leaders, subscribe to them and buy from them.
  • Helps Build Trust: Content curation helps build trust. Your audience will trust you when you provide them quality content. You become a trusted source, which is vital for sales promotion.
  • SEO Gets Better: The right kind of content curation helps SEO also. Search engines like new, unique content and it need not be your own. Penalty for duplicate happens only when such kind of content is found on your website. If readers appreciate the content and share it on the social media, your website will get traffic and backlinks.

Kinds of Content Curation

  • Aggregation: The most common kind of content curation, aggregation means actively gathering content that's most relevant to a topic and composing a single post from it.
  • Elevation: When a general insight is created by a curator from a bunch of articles that he/she has collected.
  • Chronology: When a specific topic is laid out in a historical timeline, it's called chronology curation.
  • Distillation: Here the writer distils or refines the material relating to a particular subject and makes it into one, relevant post.
  • Mashups: When a writer takes varied content that talks about one topic and gives his/her own viewpoint on it.

What Subject to Choose?

Here are some tips to select the correct subject to curate:

Describe Your Brand

You have to ask yourself some questions before you decide the topic on which you will write, like, for what features does your brand want to be known, what keywords you want to include in the content you curate and your brands viewpoint. When you get the answers to these questions, you will know what topic you have to write on. For example, IBMs Smarter Planet teaches tech pros about more intelligent systems and American Expresss OpenForum provides a useful platform for business owners.

Explore Your Topic

If you stick too much to your niche when you curate, you may run out of material that's interesting enough for your readers. If your writing is too broad it may include stuff that's irrelevant and may even go out of focus; it wont be the kind that will engage your target readers. You have to strike the perfect balance between niche content and related elements without going overboard.

Make Use of Your Expertise

A well-curated piece is not just a summary/rewrite of someone else's writing. It must have something original which adds value to the conversation. Select a subject in which you can add some of your expertise.

Who is Your Audience?

You have to know exactly who your audience is. You must know their needs, their goals, pain points and more. Only then will you be able to produce something that they will appreciate.

Follow the Big Guns

Follow the thought leaders in your sphere. Check out how you can offer your readers something different. If the subject you have chosen has been written about a trillion times you need to write something unique that will help you stand out.

Where to Share Your Curated Content

  • Twitter: The number one choice on the social media, it offers terrific resources, but the idea is to set up effective filters to find the right articles. TweetDeck is one of the best tools for filtering.
  • YouTube: Any content curation expert cannot ignore YouTube, the second biggest search engine in the world. More than 100 hours of videos are uploaded every minute, which means you will find plenty of resources ready for you to share on your social media accounts.
  • LinkedIn: LinkedIn, the biggest professional networking site in the world has introduced a Channels category, aimed to become a big hit with content curators.
  • Facebook: Facebook is a very challenging platform to find the correct resources. Follow feeds from influencers and industry bloggers and make a specific list so you can change your feed when your curated content is ready.
  • Google+: Google Plus 'rich keyword search capability allows you to easily connect with videos, infographics and images and its links are terrific for your social media campaign. You have to only type your question in the search bar and automatically filtered results give you a flow of posts.
  • AllTop: AllTop is a popular website that's something like the biggest RSS feed in the world where daily thousands of sites are set up in extremely narrow categories. Its advantage is that it enables you to access little known but quality content.
  • Pinterest: Pinterest can be used nicely as a place to manage, sort and maintain curation resources. The social media platform is not just a place to display great visuals of up market clothes or home decor.

Content Curation the Right Way

Use an Assortment of Sources: Curate content from lots of varied sources otherwise your readers will think you are not a very knowledgeable person. You may also step into an unethical area if you use content from just one or two sources. When you curate from many sources your readers will also get exposed to a variety of sources and they will view you as a well-read, authoritative person.

Don't Copy/Paste Entire Content: Furthermore, if you copy-paste an entire article from another website you'll be guilty of committing piracy if you haven't received permission from the original creator of the content.

Attribute, Link to Original Creator: You must give credit to the original content creator and thus show your readers that you are an ethical curator. In this way you'll respect the original writer and probably send them traffic -- something which content creators truly like.

Use These Tools for Curation

Storify: Users gather updates from the social networks and produce a new story that's social, interactive and dynamic. This tool helps you to get content from bloggers, journalists, editors and ordinary people.

LikeHack: Aggregates, curates and deliver stories and topics which interest you. This tool will aggregate your Twitter and Facebook blogs, curate and highlight the things that matter, deliver trending stories via e-mail, web app and provide a personal search engine for your entire content. With Curata you can discover, organize and share tools. It has lots of features to suit large organizations whose volumes of content are high. It will scan, rewrite and publish.

Compendium: This platform helps companies to collect and create unique content for distribution to marketing channels. Its interface and features will please social media network marketers no end.

Pearltrees: Basically it's a shared visual library. Collect enables you to gather photos, web pages and notes and transform them into pearls. Organize help to organize categories into Pearltrees which can be synchronized on all devices. With Discover you can explore and collaborate content that is already organized by persons with comparable interests, while Share enables you to share the things you have in your library.

Symbaloo: it aggregates all the kinds of content that you value, like blog posts, images, videos etc. It's for free.

Summing Up

In marketing circles are talking enthusiastically about content creation these days. The biggest hurdle that businesses face is making the time to produce such content. There are several other misconceptions that are doing the round and I hope that this post will clear up some of them. You can use it as a guide and if you have something to add or comment upon, please don't hesitate to do so.