Content curation is a valuable strategy for all content marketers. More than simply re-sharing content, curation is a way to provide extra value to your followers while highlighting your own industry expertise.

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 created by others that you select to share with your own audience. This could be a valuable blog post from a company in your field, expert advice from a relevant thought leader, or anything else that you think your audience will appreciate and enjoy.

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

This curated content definition isn’t complicated. In fact, every retweet is a very basic kind of content curation. But to get the most value out of content curation, you’ll have to step it up a notch.

Benefits of content curation

1. Fill gaps in your content calendar

As part of your content marketing strategy, you should be posting content to various social networks multiple times per week.

The bulk of that content will likely be produced in-house. But if your social media content calendar has some gaps, curated content is an easy fix. Sharing valuable content from others is a low-budget way to maintain a regular posting schedule.

2. Provide value to your followers

Your followers follow you for a reason. They want to know what you think about your area of expertise. They want to learn from you and improve their own lives or skills in some way.

But not all the wisdom you share has to come straight from your own keyboard. You’re not the sole authority in your industry, and you shouldn’t pretend to be.

When you carefully select content to share with your followers, you provide them with additional value by giving them access to multiple perspectives.

Remember, your relationship with your followers can’t be purely transactional. You have to provide value. Sharing curated content shows you care about providing information and resources rather than just building your list and making sales.

3. Establish yourself as a thought leader

How do you establish yourself as a thought leader by sharing other people’s content? Simple. By sharing only the best content out there so your followers know that when they come across a resource on your feed, it’s worth reading.

As we’ll explain below, you can (and should) also add your own insights when sharing curated content.

Your take should always be clear. Just an introductory sentence or two adds a ton of extra value. If you can add a unique perspective, it will also help build your reputation as someone who really understands what’s happening in your field.

4. Build your network

Sharing other people’s content is a great way to get on their radar, especially if your post sends some extra traffic their way.

If you find someone’s content really valuable, be sure to tell them so. Let them know when you share their content with your followers. But don’t ask for anything in return. (It is super-annoying when someone you don’t know emails to say, “Hey, I shared your content! Can you pay me back with a link?”)

Instead, tell them what you found most valuable and that you’ll be following their work to see what they have to say in the future. Over time, this will allow relationships with other leaders in your industry to grow organically.

These relationships will be much more valuable than a transactional link trade with someone who feels obligated to return a favor.

How to do content curation the right way

Before you share a piece of content with your audience, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who should I share this with?
  • Why would this help them?
  • Is this a trustworthy source?
  • Is this unique and worthy of sharing?

To help you answer those questions, make sure that you…

Know your audience

Audience research is the first step in an effective content marketing plan. It’s also the first step of effective content curation. In order to share valuable content, you have to know who you’re targeting.

One way to figure out what your audience might be looking for is to create audience personas. This will help you think about your audience as real people and allow you to consider thoughtfully what kinds of curated content might be most helpful to them.

Remember, this is not just content sharing—it’s content curation. Your role as the curator is to choose only the most valuable content to share on your channels. Be selective. Know what your audience wants.

Before you hit share, make sure you understand exactly how this piece of content will help them.

Then, pay attention. Keep an eye on the engagement levels for your curated posts. You’ll learn what kind of content really resonates with your followers. Focus on more of those resources in future posts.

Add your personal take

People follow you because they want your take. Simply retweeting content or resharing a Facebook post without comment is not that helpful to your followers. They want to know what you think about the resource you shared.

You don’t have to write a lengthy explanation. Just one or two short sentences explaining why you think the content is valuable is great. If you can add your own unique insight, even better.

Link and tag the original source

Remember: content curation is all about sharing content. Not stealing. Content curation is not content scraping. It’s not plagiarism. You should not do either one of those things. They are unprofessional at best and illegal at worst.

When you share content from others, make sure you link to the original source and tag their social accounts.

If you share content from others on your blog as well as on your social channels, share only a short preview and link through to the original source for the whole text, as Pocket does in this curated list of great stories about dinosaurs.

As we said above, content curation can help build your network, but only if you respect and do right by the original content creators.

Fact check content before sharing

You can’t believe everything you read on the internet. Before you share content with your audience, make sure you understand it. Make sure it’s true. And make sure the account you’re amplifying is a credible source.

We’ve got a full blog post full of research tips that can help you do some fact-checking before you share.

Schedule curated posts in advance

Unless you’re sharing breaking news, curated content posts can be scheduled in advance. This allows you to maintain a regular posting schedule without having to be at your desk 24 hours a day.

The simplest way to schedule curated content posts is to create them in real time as you come across valuable content on the web using free tools like Hootlet to create and schedule your post right from your browser with just a couple of clicks.

On that note, let’s look at some more content curation tools that can help you to find, collect, organize, and schedule content to share.

10 content curation tools and software

1. Hootsuite

It probably won’t shock you to know that Hootsuite is one of our favorite content curation tools. The Hootsuite dashboard helps you find relevant content to share and schedule your curated content posts to fill gaps in your content calendar.

To find content using Hootsuite, create streams based on relevant keywords in your industry. You’ll then have an automatically updated feed of content to choose from when you want to create a curated content post.

For even more access to shareable content, add the Hootsuite RSS Syndicator to include RSS feeds in your Hootsuite dashboard. The syndicator also has tracking features, so you can mark content as favorites, assign articles to team members, and track what you’ve shared.

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

Get the template now!

Once you find content you want to share, create a post and use the Hootsuite Planner to find the perfect time to post it.

2. BuzzSumo

BuzzSumo helps you find the most popular content based on keywords relevant to your industry. You can also specifically seek out content that gets the highest engagement over time, to make sure you’re sharing content with lasting value rather than just hopping on the latest trend.

BuzzSumo also helps you identify influential people in your industry so you can check out their latest content and see whether it could be valuable to your followers.

2. Twitter Lists

You probably follow people on Twitter for many different reasons. It’s possible you’ll spot content you want to share with your followers by just scrolling through your Twitter feed. But Twitter Lists can help you seek out share-worthy content with intention.

Create a list of people who post valuable content relevant to your audience so you can scroll through it whenever you’re looking for content to curate. You could even create multiple lists for different types of content, so you always have options to work with.

Here’s how to set up Twitter Lists within the Hootsuite dashboard.

4. Pocket

Pocket is a great resource for saving content as you surf the web. Every time you come across an interesting article, video, blog post, or other content, you can add it to your pocket account.

You can add and access content from multiple devices, including your computer and your phone. You can also access your saved content from any device.

Then, when you’re ready to create some curated content posts, you’ve got a collection of material all ready to share, and accessible anywhere.

5. Instapaper

Instapaper is another great resource for saving content as you browse the web. It has the additional benefit of allowing you to highlight and comment on text in each article you save.

This is a really helpful feature. It means you’ll never forget why you saved an article, or exactly why you thought it was worth sharing. It’s easier to remember the most striking thing about a piece when you’ve just read it.

Making some notes when you save the content can make it much easier to create your curated post later on.

6. Google Alerts

Rather than seeking out content or finding content as you surf the web, sometimes you want the content to come to you.

Set up Google Alerts for keywords relevant to our industry. You’ll get an email notification every time Google finds new content with those keywords on the web.

Then, set a filter on your incoming emails so the alert notifications skip your inbox and land in a folder. You now have a ready source of up-to-date content to comb through whenever you want to create some curated content posts.

If you’re using the Hootsuite RSS Syndicator, you can also add Google Alerts to your Hootsuite dashboard.

7. TalkWalker

TalkWalker is a social listening tool. It has an alerts function that is very similar to Google Alerts: you set up keyword preferences and TalkWalker alerts you to new content posted on the web.

TalkWalker Alerts offers a few additional benefits. First, TalkWalker also includes social results, whereas Google only provides web results.

Second, TalkWalker allows you to focus by type of content. So, for example, you could set your filter to send alerts only for blog posts. This can help ensure your alert provides only the types of content you’re most likely to share.

Rather than setting up TalkWalker alerts to go to your email, you can also set up TalkWalker as a stream in your Hootsuite Dashboard.

8. UpContent

UpContent automatically crawls the internet to find the content that is most likely to appeal to your target audience. You can then filter content based on factors like influence and shareability.

UpContent also allows you to add notes on content for sharing, making it a good solution for curating content with a team.

9. Trendspottr

Trendspottr helps you find trending content to share with your audience. It uses real-time intelligence to predict trends, so you can share content before everyone has already seen it.

10. ContentGems

ContentGems is an app in the Hootsuite App Library that is specifically designed to help with content curation. It creates a stream of content for you to choose from when you’re ready to create a curated content post. You can customize your content streams using advanced searches and preferred social signals based on your chosen interests.

Hootsuite can help with your content curation for social media. Find content to share, schedule it to publish on your social channels, and track your success—all from one dashboard.

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