Content curation is an increasingly important part of content marketing. It complements the creation of original content, and done well it allows you to position yourself as an expert in your field. This week in SMToolbox we take a look at content curation and how tools such as Hootsuite and Oktopost now suggest content for you to curate and share.
The Three Stages of Content Curation
To be an effective content curator takes time. There are three distinct phases to effective content curation in my view: to discover content, to select content that is of value to your audience, and finally to add value to the content.
1. Discover content
There are a wide range of tools you can use to discover content. These might range from carefully selected Twitter lists, news lists, searches of most shared content, to content recommendation tools. I also personally find content to curate from more traditional newspapers and magazines. I also like to follow specialist journalists who are experts in their field. In the last few weeks, we have seen tools such as Hootsuite and Oktopost add content suggestions to support you in content curation.
2. Select content
You need to decide if resources are relevant, if they are unique and if they are of value to your audience. In doing so, you will draw on your own expertise and judgment. This is a very important stage if you are curating content rather than simply aggregating content. In my view this is where you add value to your audience by being selective. If you are not finding original or relevant content you risk wasting the time of your audience. If you curate content that adds value to your audience, they will trust your judgement and it will enhance your authority.
3. Add value to content
You can add value simply by providing some context about why you have shared it. You can also provide a summary of the key points, so that your audience can decide if they want to delve deeper. You can provide links to related articles. You can also provide a personal perspective on the content. Your commentary adds value and makes what you share unique and original.
Content Curation and Suggestion Tools
Only a few months ago a list of content curation tools would have contained tools such as Scoop.it, Curatr, Pinterest and many other tools that allow you to find and curate content. In recent weeks we have seen more tools recognize the importance of content curation and add features to support this activity with suggested content.
Hootsuite Suggested Content Feature
Hootsuite has launched a beta version of its Suggested Content feature within the Hootsuite dashboard for Pro and Enterprise customers. In essence, Hootsuite analyzes your posting history on Twitter and recommends articles that may be relevant and interesting to you and your followers. It then creates a list of messages for you pointing to this content and scheduled at what it determines to be your optimal posting times.
You can then run through these scheduled posts to review, and then delete or publish as appropriate.
Hootsuite say they will learn what you like and provide more precise and relevant content for you over time.
I can see how this will help time-pressed content curators to quickly create a schedule of relevant content. However, I do have my worries. I have outlined above the three essential steps to content curation. These take time, and I worry that many people will simply accept the Hootsuite suggested schedule and we will see a mass increase in retweeted content that has not been carefully considered, selected or had value added to it.
Oktopost Suggested Content Feature
Proving that great minds think alike, Oktopost have also recently launched their suggested content feature. Oktopost is a social media management tool similar to Hootsuite in many respects, but whilst it works across social networks it has a specific focus on helping B2B businesses to manage their LinkedIn activity effectively. It is one of the most sophisticated LinkedIn social media management tools, allowing you to manage LinkedIn Groups and participate in LinkedIn group discussions.
As with Hootsuite, this new feature looks at your past content, but it also looks at the content you shared which led to conversions (such as the completion of lead gen forms). It then suggests other similar content and an optimum schedule in much the same way as Hootsuite. The tool also aims to learn from the posts you share and to create more accurate content suggestions over time.
Other Content Discovery and Suggestion Tools
Scoop.it remains a popular content curation tool which allows you to curate content by creating a topic board and posting content to the board. Scoop.it also allows you to add a commentary to content before you post it to your board. Once you have your content board Scoop.it will suggest other content that you can scoop or add to your board. See the image below.
The suggested content features of all three tools above are similar in many respects to Postplanner, a Facebook tool for finding relevant and trending content. You can search for trending content within your industry area on Postplanner and sort to view the content with the most likes or shares.
You can also use tools such as BuzzSumo to search for the most shared content across all social networks in a particular topic area. You can search by content type and by date - for example, the most shared content in a topic area yesterday. You can also search for the most shared content by a specific author. See my most shared content as an example.
If you want to track content from a range of blogs that you follow you can use Feedly. The site will gather post data for you and allow you to browse through summaries of posts or save them for later viewing. Feedly also uses social sharing to filter content and will show you by default the most shared items at the top.
There is a wide range of content discovery and curation tools available to help you with your content curation. However, to be an effective content curator, make sure you remember that content curation is not content aggregation. As a good curator, you need to use expertise and judgment to select content that is relevant to the audience and add value. This will build authority and trust in your content curation.