8 Ways Curation Can Supercharge Your Social Media and Content Marketing Impact

By Michael Gerard


Image by Markus Spiske via Flickr CC0
Image by Markus Spiske via Flickr CC0

Do you feel as if you’re in a constant battle with the content beast to come up with ideas for your next ebook, blog post, newsletter or social media post? Have you ever considered curating other people’s content?

In this article, I’ll show 8 ways that companies use content curation to boost their content marketing and social media activities.

Why content curation?

As great as your own content may be, there are three reasons why you should consider sharing other people’s content:

  • Free Content: You will be able to produce more content by sharing, in an ethical manner, what other people have written.
  • Value for your Audience: Your audience will thank you for bringing the best of what the Internet has to offer for their unique topic and interests.
  • Influencer Marketing: The writers of the content that you curate will appreciate you sharing parts of it on your site and channels, assuming you give them proper attribution and a link back to the original article. If you’re using a curation platform, you should ensure that the software doesn’t use no-follow tags on the links that go back to the original source of content; otherwise you’re cheating the original contributor out of their well-deserved search engine link juice.

There are many ways to find the best content out there to meet your audience’s needs, as well as many tools that can help streamline this process; however, I’d like to focus this article on great examples of content curation in action that you can emulate for your own company.

1. Curate news for your web site

Long gone are the days of corporate web sites dedicated solely to product specifications and press releases – at least for today’s more content-marketing-driven companies. Instead, best-in-class marketers have begun embedding news updates directly within their own web sites. These aren’t simply syndications of the Wall Street Journal. Instead, a curator will tailor this news to the company’s target audience.

The Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) uses this type of curation on their web site. The “Featured” section of this site contains content written by their staff. To supplement this content, they are regularly curating content from sources across the Internet, and placing snippets of this content in the section called “Industry News”. All curated news snippets have a clear link back to the original content source as part of ethical content curation.

2. Curate content for your blog

One of the most important factors for a successful blog is to publish posts on a consistent basis. However, it’s quite a challenge to create great, original content day in and day out. Demand Metric, a global market research and advisory firm, uses content curation to complement the original posts in their Analyst Perspectives Blog. The team at Demand Metric does a great job of adding their own commentary as part of the curation process. Providing your own insight and comments about content that you curate is a great way to demonstrate thought leadership on a topic, add additional value for your audience, and create context for the curated piece.

When curating someone else’s content, start off by introducing the author and clearly indicating why your audience will gain value by reading what this individual has to share. Then, offer a quote from the piece that is hard-hitting and representative of the content’s value. End your annotation process by commenting on what the author may have missed, or what would have made the post or article even better.

3. Create your own publication with curation

Many marketers have begun to break free from the confines of their own corporate web sites, choosing to build microsites or destination sites. These stand-alone publications provide a laser focus on specific topics for a segment of their customers. Key drivers for building a microsite include establishing thought leadership in a specific domain, increased engagement with prospects, and, of course, lead generation. Below are examples of curated microsites at both large and small companies.

IBM created the Big Data and Analytics Hub, a subset of their corporate website, to develop thought leadership in the big data space. Although IBM certainly has the resources to create all of its own original content, their marketing team realized that curating content from across the Internet would add credibility, increase value for their audience, and help them to better connect with the big data ecosystem across the world.

Verne Global, a green data center based in Iceland, took a different strategy than IBM. They created an entirely separate, stand-alone publication named Green Data Center News. The only references you’ll find to Verne Global on the home page of the site is in the far right of the header bar and in a small banner below the fold indicating that Verne Global is a “sponsor”. How does a single data center with a small marketing team support such an endeavor? That’s right, they use content curation.

4. Feed the newsletter beast with curated content

Newsletters offer a powerful method to communicate with your audience on a regular basis, providing them with valuable content and keeping the relationship fresh. For example, the best bloggers promote their content at least weekly. Content curation offers a great opportunity to feed the newsletter content beast. Carefully select relevant and newsworthy articles to share with your subscribers each week or even each day. This will show that your company has a pulse on the industry.

DPT Laboratories is a contract development and manufacturing organization. They offer curated content to their audience as part of newsletter outreach.

5. Curate content on social media

Content curation has been a part of the fabric of social media for quite some time now. Any good social media practitioner knows the benefits of sharing other people’s content; for example, on Twitter, by retweeting or editing existing tweets. It’s valued by your audience, builds your personal (or corporate) brand and benefits the person who wrote the original social post.

The Child and Family Guidance Center posts curated content directly to their LinkedIn page.

6. Curate on Pinterest

Whole Foods Market was one of the first adopters of Pinterest, proving it understands how the visual elements of its products can make a big impact with its audience. The site is curated by Whole Foods global community managers, who create clever categories for their products. By uniquely bringing together groups of content that might not traditionally be placed together in the normal food shopping experience, the site inspires its audience to get into Whole Foods stores and get cooking!

Brands can mimic this curation method by organizing curated content in a way that is helpful for their audience.

7. Create an infographic with curated content

The most common and successful type of infographic is one that includes an abundance of data and research. However, many companies don’t have the time or budgetary resources to conduct research on their own. Another advantage of content curation is that it can help you source content (e.g. research and data points) to include in an infographic.

WebDAM created this infographic by curating several marketing statistics from different reports and articles. Instead of simply listing the statistics, WebDAM added value for readers by grouping and organizing these statistics into categories such as “what to expect” and “trends in the marketing mix.”

When curating for an infographic, be sure to take content from a variety of sources and cite these sources as well. You can either cite sources within the infographic after each snippet of content, or at the end of the infographic, as seen above.

8. Improve the customer support experience with curation

Satisfying customers has been a long-time objective of organizations, and more recently this trend has extended beyond the confines of product offerings. Content marketing, including curation, is now quite frequently used to engage customers after the sale. Just ask any customer support person or sales rep with a renewal quota about the importance of sending news clips to their customers just to stay in touch and build some good will.

Lenovo is a great example of curation in action to improve the customer experience. Lenovo has included Lenovo Companion app with all of their Windows 8.0 and 8.1 PCs and tablets to provide quick and easy support for their customers. Within the app they also provide exclusive content from Lenovo and from across the Internet (i.e., curated content) that will help their buyers stay up to date on the latest and greatest technology trends.

Integrate Content Curation into Your Marketing Strategy

Content curation will never replace great, original content; however, curation will continue to increase in importance as part of a solid content marketing strategy. Some of the best content marketers use a mix of 65% created, 25% curated and 10% syndicated content. These marketers use curation across their owned media and promotional channels. As a result, they are building thought leadership, gaining credibility with their audience and increasing lead generation and revenue for their organization.

If you’re interested in curating content, download Curata’s Ultimate Guide to Content Curation for more tips and stellar examples of curation in action.

What do you think?

Are there some categories of content curation that I missed? Do you have some of your own examples of curation in action? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below.

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