Curate Content Like You Mean It!: A Guide to Engaging Content Curation

Show your enthusiasm by curating engaging content and your customers will show theirs.
Imagine you’re a pizza lover for a minute. Not too hard to imagine, is it?

While searching online for recipes and other mouthwatering content, you stumble upon the Facebook pages of two rival pizza bloggers: Mario and Tony.

Mario posts links to boring web content and leaves dull, uninspired comments, if any at all. He’s an expert in mindless sharing.

Tony posts links to unique articles like “The Secret to Insanely Delicious Sauce” and includes fun comments like “Give this recipe a try if you’re a tomato junkie.” He curates by collecting, sharing, and adding context to engaging web content.

Which blogger would you be more apt to follow? C’mon, the answer’s obvious. Even if you hate pizza (is that really possible?), the more enthusiastic and enterprising Tony is clearly more worthy of your time.

What does the above scenario demonstrate? That you should tweet about Italian food every day? No, it shows that sharing exciting content and adding context (a.k.a. content curation) is a surefire way to engage your online audience. And an engaged audience is a loyal, interested-in-your-brand, gonna-buy-your-stuff kind of audience.

The State of Curation
It Really Works
Pizza pie aside, content curation is an effective way to connect with your customers and increase brand awareness.

According to a recent infographic from marketing software company Uberflip, 85 percent of brands surveyed use content curation to establish thought leadership. 80 percent said it “enables them to increase brand visibility.” Noticing a trend here?

Content curation benefits you by benefitting your audience. Mitchell Kapor, the personal computing pioneer, once said “getting information off the Internet is like taking a drink from a fire hydrant.” You’ll do your customers a big favor (and keep them from getting drenched) by sorting through the endless amount of information available online and presenting it to them in a meaningful way. They’ll see you as a trusted, go-to brand and will be more apt to pay attention to you when you bring up your awesome product or service.

The Time Is Now
If there were ever a time to step up your content marketing efforts and participate in proactive content curation, it’s now. According to a recent survey of more than 1,300 digital marketing professionals, 90% of respondents said content marketing will become more important over the next 12 months.

Don’t –I repeat — don’t write content marketing off as some passing Internet fad. This isn’t Chuck Norris jokes or Friendster. Content marketing has actually been around for centuries and it’s not going away anytime soon.

No matter what industry you belong to, it’s pretty much guaranteed your competitors are already doing content marketing. Heck, even mimes are using content to connect with customers and they don’t even talk!

You can outdo and out-enthuse the competition by posting better content and adding valuable insight.

Curation: What It Is/What It Isn’t
It’s clear that content curation is a must-have marketing strategy. Time to get started then, right?

Hold up. Before you get curation-crazy, it might help to know exactly what curation is and what it isn’t.

Curate, Don’t Regurgitate
According to Susan Gunelius in a July 2012 blog post for Forbes, “Well-executed content curation isn’t just a regurgitation of content that was already published but rather a personalized retelling of a story.”

Take a cue from Sue. If you’re just slapping up any old content you find online and adding useless comments (e.g. “Hey, read this article. It’s good.”), you might as well not post anything at all.

The point of curating content is to show customers that:

  1. you’re an expert
  2. you’re enthusiastic about whatever it is you’re doing
  3. you’ve got something to say

Boring content and pointless comments accomplish none of these objectives.

Think of it this way: If you don’t care about the content you’re posting, why on earth should your audience?

Get Social
Okay, so curation isn’t mindless sharing. Got it. What is it then?

According to the Macmillan Dictionary, content curation is “the process of analyzing and sorting Web content and presenting it in a meaningful and organized way around a specific theme.” That’s an apt description, but not the most electrifying.

John Battelle, CEO/founder of Federated Media Publishing offers a more colorful description in his summary on the purpose of social media marketing:

“Social media marketing is about brands acting, well, social, “said Battelle. “Which means they need to show up to the party with a nice bottle of wine, if that’s what the party calls for. They need to come ready to have a dialog, and add value to the event.”

If social media is a party, you better put on your proverbial party hat, pop open a bottle of your finest bubbly, and start chatting. You won’t add value if all you do is hang out in the corner and mutter a few words now and then. You’ve got to be social, and content curation can help you do this.

According to Jonathan Fields, author of Career Renegade: How to Make a Great Living Doing What You Love, content curation can help you “…deliver the coolest content experience possible.” You’ll be the coolest (and most successful) brand at the party if you curate great content.

Establish Thought Leadership
Whatever business you’re in, you need to prove to your audience that you’re excited to share great content and know what you’re talking about. If you sell tennis rackets, you should be up-to-date on all things tennis. If you’re in the real estate business, you better be pumped up about the housing market.

Think about it. Experts keep up on industry trends and have a lot to say about their prospective fields. By sharing relevant content and offering quality commentary, you’ll position yourself as an expert. You’ll be like that one friend who knows where to get the best burritos or find the cheapest plane tickets.

Curate with Conviction
Content curation is incredibly effective, so it must be incredibly hard to execute, right? Wrong.

If you’re really an expert in your field and really care about what you’re sharing, content curation shouldn’t be bang-your-head-against-the-wall difficult.

All you’ve got to do is:

Track down content that your audience will actually find interesting
Add your own spin
Not quite rocket science, is it?

Curation certainly doesn’t have to eat up your time. According to a recent infographic from Atomic Reach, it takes just five minutes to curate an article whereas it takes anywhere from 40 minutes to 3 hours to produce an original piece of content.

You’re saving so much time by curating preexisting content, so why not take an extra minute or two and add real value to your posts with relevant commentary?

Let your audience know your content is worth checking out, ask questions, offer your opinion – just make it a point to care about what you’re saying. That extra effort will go a long way in earning your audience’s trust.

Enhance Your Efforts!
So, you know what content curation is and how to do it. Great! Now, how’d you like to take your content marketing efforts to the next level and show your customers you really know what you’re talking about?

Keep the following tips in mind and you’ll be a Curation Connoisseur (now that’s a cool title to put on your business card) in no time.

  1. Post regularly

You want to show your audience just how excited and knowledgeable you are about fitness/coffee/marketing/whatever, don’t you? Well, you’ll look more like an enthusiastic expert if you curate great content on a regular basis.

  1. Share via several platforms

Found a fantastic article or video that ties in perfectly with your brand? Share it on multiple networks and reach as many customers as possible!

  1. Engage with your audience

Sharing great content and adding funny/insightful/helpful comments is well and good, but your job doesn’t stop there. Be sure to engage with customers who comment on your content. Show off your expertise and “we care” attitude even more by answering questions, offering your perspective, etc.

Turbocharge With Tools
Content curation isn’t brain surgery, but it does take effort. If you’re really serious about curation and plan on doing it several times a week, you’ll definitely want to invest in a content curation tool.

Content curation tools gather relevant web content for you, saving you from having to spend your waking hours Googling. With the ability to find great content easily, you’ll be less stretched for time and more apt to add insightful, enthusiastic comments.

This lengthy list, compiled by You Brand Inc. CEO Scott Scanlon, is just a sampling of the content curation tools available on the market. There are plenty more out there, and certainly one that will help you engage customers, establish thought leadership, and reflect your position as a hip brand.

Out-enthuse the Competition!

Your social media destiny is in your hands. Don’t blow it by mindlessly sharing “stuff.”

Build long-lasting relationships by posting great content and adding your own perspective. Enhance your efforts by posting regularly, sharing on several platforms, communicating with your audience, and using a content curation tool.

Curate like you mean it! Out-enthuse your competitors. Go the extra mile in your content marketing efforts and your customers will take notice.

Now, who’s in the mood for pizza?

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