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The Complete Guide to Content Curation in 2024: Tools, Tips, Ideas

Content curation is more than sharing. It’s about finding the best content your audience wants so that they keep coming back — to you.

Michelle Martin February 23, 2022
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Content curation is a valuable strategy for all social media marketers. More than simply re-sharing other people’s content, curation is a way to provide extra value to your followers while highlighting your own industry expertise.

But that’s the key to successful content curation: Value.

See it, like it, share it. It’s that easy, right? Big nope.

Here’s how to curate content that’s relevant to your audience and serves your goals.

Bonus: Download our free, customizable social media calendar template to easily plan and schedule all your content in advance.

What is curated content?

Curated content is content from other brands or people that you share to your social media accounts.

Examples of curated content are: Sharing a link to a blog post, creating a roundup of quoted advice from industry experts or even simply sharing someone else’s social media post.

That’s a simple definition of curated content but in truth, there’s a lot more to it.

Just like a museum curator’s role is to choose the most important artifacts and artwork to display, your role as a content curator is to select only the best content to share with your audience.

Benefits of content curation

Save time

What’s faster: Ideating, writing and designing a brand new social media post, or clicking “share” on something valuable you recently read? (Like this article, right?)

The road to a winning social media strategy isn’t a fast and easy one, but not everything you put out there has to be an original opus.

Curating content saves you time. And money, since you often don’t need additional team members like designers or writers to help create it. Curated content helps you remain visible on social media every day without the extra content creation expenses.

Build relationships

Networking is key to business success both online and offline.

When you curate content, let the original creator know you’ve shared it. Tag them in your post to catch their attention, or send them an email or message.

Now, how you notify them is important. We’ve all gotten those emails like, “Hey Michelle! I shared your totally amazing article here (x). Wanna shout me back with a link?”

No, random sir, I do not.

Those kinds of messages give off the vibe that you’re only looking for links to boost your SEO and you’re not interested in genuine connection. Pass.

Instead, say you’ve shared their piece in a comment or message, mention what you liked about it and move on. Don’t pitch anything or ask for a return favor.

You never know who you can start a conversation with and where it may lead.

You don’t need to do this for everything you curate. Only the people or companies you really want to build connections with. It’s an easy way to break the ice.

Diversify your content calendar

Sure, you need to develop your own voice and opinions as a content creator and brand, but no one wants to exist in an echo chamber all the time. The same goes for your audience.

Sharing differing opinions (respectfully) and new ideas from other industry experts adds variety to your platform. It can open the doors to great conversations and forge connections.

You don’t need to share every hot take for the engagement factor. As with all content, share what your audience will find useful. By sharing the best content in your industry, you’re offering your audience the value of multiple perspectives.

Position your brand as a thought leader

While creating original content is vitally important for thought leadership, so is content curation. Curating the best stuff shows that you’re in the know about your industry and its trends.

It’s the “show don’t tell” way of saying, “Hey, we know what we’re talking about and we’re also pretty dang smart.” Without bragging.

Kinda like this amazing curation of all the best social media stats you need to know for 2024.

5 Content curation best practices

While effective content curation doesn’t require the mental effort of nailing a moon landing, you still need a strategy. Here are 5 things to remember every time you share something.

1. Know your audience

Okay, this is true of any marketing strategy, so do I really need to say it?

Yes, because it’s that important.

When curating content, put as much thought into its alignment with your audience as you do when you create from scratch. Before you schedule curated content, ask yourself:

  • How does this piece of content help my target customer?
  • How is it relevant to the problem(s) they’re having?
  • Does this align with my target customers’ perception of my brand?
  • Is it worth it? Can I work it? Can I put this link down, flip it and intersperse it into my social content feed? (Don’t listen to 00s music while curating.)

If you can’t answer those first 3 before sharing, try taking a step back and referencing your content strategy. You have documented buyer personas, right? No sweat if not. Grab our free buyer personas template and hop to it.

2. Credit your sources

Always give credit where credit is due. Tag and link to the original creator and never pass off curated content as something you made yourself.

Not only because it’s plain wrong, but plagiarism ain’t a good look for your brand, either.

You can tag creators with an @ on platforms that allow it, such as Twitter or Instagram.

If you’re sharing a compilation from a bunch of different sources, say that with a small preview, then link over to the full article, video, etc. Be sure to credit all sources in the full piece.

3. Add your own thoughts

You don’t have to do this for every single piece you share. But try to add something useful to most of the things you share. It doesn’t have to be long, just a sentence or two introducing the share and why you think your audience will find it helpful.

Or, take a quote from the piece and create an image to go with your share. This helps stop the scroll with an eye-catching visual and, subtly, associates your brand with the expert you’re quoting, in the eyes of your audience.

4. Schedule curated content in advance

You’re curating content to save time, right? (Plus all those other juicy benefits.)

Well, scheduling your content — curated and otherwise — is the ultimate time-saver. You don’t need me to tell you it’s convenient. But, scheduling your content also allows you to see where any gaps are and fill them. Including when you may have forgotten to schedule an important campaign post that needs to go out on a certain day. (Definitely 0% speaking from experience.)

And the best thing to fill any upcoming content gaps? Sharing curated content, of course!

A social media management tool like Hootsuite will help you plan and schedule your content in advance, analyze your performance to inform future strategies, and prove the ROI of your social media to The Powers That Be. Oh, and it can even determine the best time to post on each of your channels, based on your unique metrics.

5. Offer the right content mix

Pad out your social calendar by mixing in different types of content — including curated posts.

Don’t worry about it overshadowing your original content. In fact, you should be sharing more posts than you create. A good ratio to aim for is 40% original and 60% curated content.

But, spend the bulk of your time making sure that 40% is high-quality, actionable and fully original. Your original content is what will attract your audience the most while your curated content is what keeps them engaged.

8 content curation tools and software

The top tools content marketers need for curation success.

1. Hootsuite

Not to hoot our own horn, but not only can Hootsuite help you plan, schedule and analyze your curated posts — it can also find the content for you.

Hootsuite Streams allows you to track keywords, topics or specific accounts and see all new content posted. You can leave a comment or share relevant content right from the stream for super-quick content curation. Literally nothing on this planet is easier than that.

Here’s a demo of Streams in action:

2. Google News Alerts

An oldie but a goodie. Type any topic or name into Google Alerts and get an email notification whenever there’s news about it.

Google Alerts content curation tool

You can use Google Alerts to track mentions of your own company name or (cheekily) your competitors. Or, keep informed of general news in your industry with terms like “social media marketing.”

3. Talkwalker

Talkwalker takes social listening and dials it up to 11. More than indexing social platforms, Talkwalker gets deep into it with over 150 million sources. Websites, blogs, forum posts, product reviews buried on obscure websites — you name it and Talkwalker will find it.

The best part is they have a Hootsuite app, so you can curate great content easily right inside your Hootsuite dashboard. Discover and share everything from top publishers to unique user-generated content.

Content curation dashboard

4. Curate by UpContent

Another powerful content discovery tool, Curate by UpContent finds the highest-quality material for you to share across all your channels.

This app allows a lot of customization, such as changing calls to action, URLs and the ability to add custom images to keep curated content on-brand.

Curate by Upcontent content curation tool

5. Hootsuite Syndicator

Hey, hey, it’s another Hootsuite service. Syndicator allows you to monitor RSS feeds and share articles right inside Hootsuite. And, you can see what you’ve shared before so you won’t have to worry about duplicate content.

Plus, remember Google Alerts? You can pull those into Syndicator, too.

Check out everything Syndicator can do in under 5 minutes:

6. ContentGems

ContentGems is a simple, straightforward tool for tracking topics and discovering great new content. Its power lies in that simplicity: Fewer distractions = more focus on the content itself.

The best part is ContentGems is free to use, and you can even use it with a free Hootsuite account. Everyone can benefit from curated content automation, from side hustler entrepreneurs to the Fortune 500.

ContentGems content curation tool

7. Filter8

Like ContentGems, Filter8 is also free to use, including with a free Hootsuite account. It discovers content based on topics you set but a really neat feature is the ability to sort results by popularity. This way you can find top-tier content, or sort by least popular to find hidden gems to make you stand out, too.

By default, Filter8 shares posts you select in a compiled magazine-type format. But you don’t have to use it this way. You can use it to discover new content then copy the URL and schedule that via Hootsuite like all your other pieces.

Filtr8 content curation tool

8. TrendSpottr

Last but very not least, TrendSpottr. There are actually two versions: A free TrendSpottr app and TrendSpottr Pro.

As you may expect, the Pro version offers a few more features, like being able to track in multiple languages for global brands and discover what they call “pre-viral content.” Sometimes I like to think of myself as pre-viral.

A useful feature is the ability to see other recent posts from a brand or influencer right from the main results page. This can dramatically speed up time spent collecting content.

Content curation tool Trendspottr

Hootsuite is here to help with all your social media content curation tasks. Find high-quality content, schedule it to auto-publish at the best times and track your success — all from one dashboard.

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By Michelle Martin

As an ex-agency strategist turned freelance WFH fashion icon, Michelle is passionate about putting the sass in SaaS content. She's known for quickly understanding and distilling complicated technical topics into conversational copy that gets results. She has written for Fortune 500 companies and startups, and her clients have earned features in Forbes, Strategy Magazine and Entrepreneur.

Read more by Michelle Martin

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