Content curation is the icing on the cake of your content strategy.
It can help fill out and bind together your content mix, while increasing your brand's visibility. Similarly, when you curate from credible sources, it increases your brand's credibility and gives you a strong voice in industry conversations.
Like the process of icing a cake, content curation can also take a lot of time. When rushed, your curation strategy can look sloppy and be ineffective in achieving your content goals.
I've read a few posts recently that chalk up content curation as an easy, offhand way to keep your Buffer or Hootsuite queues full. With this kind of messaging, it's no wonder why people aren't seeing the results they want from their curated social media content.
I wanted answers for how content marketers could be more effective and efficient with their content curation, so I turned to the best in the biz.
Peg Fitzpatrick, author of The Art of Social Media, is one of the most passionate social media experts I've had the pleasure of speaking with. Peg gave me a heap of great advice, which I narrowed down to five key tips for getting more out of your curated content.
1. Be Organized and Develop a Process
"A disorganized social media manager would be a very bad thing," Peg advises. If you want your audience to follow a consistent path on your content journey, behind-the-scenes organization is essential.
Work with your team to build and implement an editorial calendar that will act as the base of your social content. From there, build your curated content around it, taking into consideration your original content as well as the goals you need to achieve.
Organization almost entirely depends on process. If content curation is an important part of your content strategy, it needs to be an important part of your team's processes.
Take the time to organize and truly understand your content strategy (and what it's made of and how it's executed) before building out your curated content mix.
2. Create a Well-Balanced "Content Diet"
When you think about it, your content plan is like a "well-balanced diet" (a great analogy from Peg). You know the essentials that you need in order to get your daily amount of nutrition (or results), and you fill it in with the right food (or content) at the right time.
Peg suggests taking a similar approach to preparing your social content (which helps tremendously with point #1 - staying organized).
Establish which pieces of content you need, considering the format, source, subject, and so on in order to meet your goals. Then, figure out the optimal times to post on your unfiltered social media platforms to build your curated content "diet".
Find the gaps that your original content can't fill, and fill them in with curated content. Once you start to effectively fill the gaps in your content mix, you're pretty much guaranteed to see more from your curated content strategy.
3. Dedicate Chunks of Time to Content Curation
This is the number one time-saving trick for social media/community managers. Pick a chunk of time that makes sense in your content organization cycle, and curate all of your content at once.
Peg does this on a weekly basis:
"One of the best things that I do is I [curate content] in chunks of time. You know you're going to have to post a certain amount of times per week-if you waited and did that every day, then every day you're spending so much time finding things."
Once you've spent your time pre-scheduling your content for the week, you'll have more free time to optimize your content mix, monitor the performance of your social content, and measure your results.
4. Use the Right Tools to Find Curated Content
Aside from setting aside a weekly chunk of time dedicated to content curation, you can also cut down on curation time by finding all of your curated content in one centralized location.
There are few tools that Peg suggests for conglomerating all of your favorite content sources:
Feedly: Feedly allows you to aggregate the RSS feeds of multiple content sources into specific folders. Making one-stop at Feedly will allow you to see the most recent posts from your pre-approved content sources, which you can then scan and schedule as you please.
BuzzSumo: BuzzSumo is a tool that allows you to find the most shared content and key influencers in an industry. Perhaps one of the best use cases for BuzzSumo is for content curation. For instance, I fuel Uberflip's content curation strategy by regularly searching "content marketing" in BuzzSumo, and will vet and schedule the most shared pieces of content. If my target audience has already demonstrated interest in certain pieces of content, I know it's less likely to flop from a social engagement perspective.
Pinterest: Peg uses Pinterest as a sort of testing ground for her own curated content: "I can check to see if [my pins] are popular on Pinterest, then I'll share [that content] other places." Even in the B2B space, there are some great niche boards on Pinterest that contain excellent evergreen content. Pro tip: Pinterest is a particularly good place to find infographics, given their long, skinny format and visual nature.
5. Be Consistent in your Curation Efforts
Once you have your processes, strategy, time and tools in order, it's important to maintain consistency in your content curation strategy.
As Peg pointed out, the amount of content that's being tweeted, posted and shared isn't going to slow down any time soon, which is why being consistent with content curation is so important.
Figure out the right balance of curated-to-original content that you need to make your goals, set aside the right amount of time to curate it, and execute your strategy.
Curation is a Key Component of your Content Strategy
Industry best practices dictate that curation is key for growth, credibility, and rounding out your content marketing strategy. However, content curation is only going to achieve these things for you if you're doing them well.
Get organized, go in with tools and a plan, and take the time you need to make content curation the icing on the cake of your content strategy.