Content curation is one of the most talked about strategies in social media. Whether you have heard of the 80/20 rule or read “Jab, Jab, Jab Right Hook,” or any other article about building your social media calendar (ahem, we hope you read ours!), you probably know the importance of curating content. But while many people employ some form of content curation, not everyone maximizes the benefits they can actually see from this strategy.
Let’s start at the beginning though for any newbies who are kick-starting their social media strategy with us!
Social media content generally comes in two forms: content you create and content you curate. The content you create is anything that drives people to your products, services or websites. It could be your latest blog post, promotion for an upcoming sale, your podcast, your videos, etc. In general, if you write, design or in any way create something, then it’s created content.
Curated content, on the other hand, is anything you share that is not created by you but is still beneficial to your audience. Content curation is finding, organizing and sharing relevant information to your audience with the intention of adding value.
That last piece is especially important for content curation. Well curated content is valuable to your audience, not just in its content, but also in your opinion or thoughts on that content. If you’re curating content well, you’re adding your own value to it.
When you consider the two different types of content, the benefit to curated content is clear. It takes far less time to gather curated content than to create content.
This is huge if you’re a busy solopreneur. We all know that creating content is time-consuming and when you’re running your own business and handling everything that comes with it, you might not have the time to create as much content as you want.
So what do you do when you have social media pages that need content and you don’t have the time to create enough content to keep those pages consistent?
Ding, ding, ding! You curate content!
Curating content saves you time and keeps your social media pages looking active and engaging. As an added bonus, you’re giving your audience the ability to learn from a diverse list of resources. They’ll be able to access a well-rounded view of your industry, because of you.
Curated content also breaks up the monotony of talking solely about you and your business.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, no one wants to hear anyone talk about only themselves. Curating content diversifies social media content so that you’re not just speaking about you.
These are the most popular content curation benefits but there are actually a few more benefits. And these lesser-known benefits are actually the most important ones, the ones that will help you actually be recognized as an influencer and a thought leader in your space.
It’s one thing to share other people’s content. It’s another thing to add your own thoughts, opinions and context to it. This makes it a unique fit for your audience and it helps to share someone else’s content in your own words and it can encourage a conversation.
Entrepreneur Rand Fishkin demonstrates this extremely well with this tweet. He shares news about Instagram, adds his own context and then makes it fit to his audience, Twitter followers, by talking about Twitter’s efforts in that area. The tweet curates content but includes his own thoughts and sparks conversation. That is how you establish yourself as a thought leader.
If you begin adding your own context and value to another thought leader’s content, then you’re in a perfect position to open up a dialogue and actually engage with that thought leader. While most industry experts will “like” a curated tweet or respond with a “Thanks for sharing!” comment on Instagram, there’s little room for follow up engagement in those situations.
But when you add context and tag the original creator, you’re enabling a conversation and who knows? You may even impress the original thought leader with your take and start building a deeper relationship!
It’s normal to focus in on only what you’re working on or your specialty but if you want to lead and influence your industry, you’ve got to know what’s happening in every part of it. Curating content means reading and consuming tons of content around your industry on a regular basis. When you know the breaking news first, you’re going to see the trends before they even start to become widespread and you’re going to be the person who can communicate them to your audience.
It may sound counterintuitive that sharing other people’s content can bring more eyeballs to your own but it actually often works that way. For one thing, sharing more people’s content (and tagging them) puts you on their radar. They’ll be more likely to follow you and check out your content.
It also sparks the Law of Reciprocity. The Law of Reciprocity is one of the principles of persuasion and it’s the idea that “If you do something nice for me I’ll do something nice for you. I feel obligated to reciprocate.”
In terms of curating content, if you support someone by sharing their content, they’ll be more likely to share yours as well. Now we’re not saying that you should just start sharing content because you want other people to share yours! Only share content that will be valuable to your audience and that will support them. But pay attention to who’s content you’re sharing and how you’re connecting with them. It’s a good bet that if you keep supporting someone, they’ll do the same for you.
Curating content is a fantastic way to test topics, ideas and learn what content intrigues your audience without actually having to create the content. Measure what curated content generates the most engagement. Are there certain hot topics that your audience loves or are there certain questions you’re hearing in response to that curated content? All of this can be research for your own content creation.
Now that you’re beginning to see the true benefits of content curation, you may want to start incorporating it more into your social media.
An RSS feed is an easy way to receive the most up to date content from your favorite sources. Most of your favorite sources will have RSS feeds that you can subscribe to so that you are always up to date.
Edgar users, you can automatically add RSS feeds of your favorite content straight into Edgar. You can choose to send them “Pending” so that you can review the curated content and add your own hot take to them before adding them to your schedule.
You can also use an aggregator for those RSS feeds. Feedly is one of our favorites. Feedly compiles newsfeeds from your chosen news sources into one place so you can quickly find plenty of options for curated content.
Pocket is another web-based tool that allows you to quickly save any article or website for later reading. If you stumble upon any content that may be interesting for your audience, you can save it to your Pocket app for later reading and sharing.
Twitter lists are another smart way to curate content. Separate your lists by topics, influencers, industries or publications. When you’re in need of content to curate, just scroll through your different lists to find some new ideas.
Of course, don’t forget that it’s not only about sharing other people’s content. It’s about adding context and thought leadership to it. Add something valuable to the conversation. You can test different variations and headlines and enhance the content you’re sharing with your own hot take.
(Pssst Edgar makes this super easy with our variations tool!)
Hopefully, content curation is already a core part of your social media marketing strategy. Make sure you’re seeing all the benefits of it though! If you’re not seeing all of them, try adjusting your strategy and reviewing how you’re curating content.
And if you need help, turn to Edgar! Our RSS feeds make it easy to find great content and our variations tool makes it easy to share your own context to it. Try Edgar for free for two weeks here.
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