5 Frequently Asked Questions About Content Curation

blog author
Chris Murvine
CEO | Founder

Speak with digital marketers anywhere about the ins and outs of a successful inbound marketing campaign and they’ll all tell you one thing: “It all comes down to content.” And because the pressure is on for marketers to create compelling content, a copywriter’s job is more important than ever.

And although a copywriter's job is to create a wealth of quality and compelling content that is sure to speak to your ideal buyers, there are other factors that often lead to supply not keeping up with demand.

Rather than pushing a good writer to their breaking point by asking them to shift focus from quality to quantity, many digital marketing departments implement a content curation strategy to supplement their own creation efforts.

Read on to learn the basics of content curation and how it can help your company in its inbound marketing efforts.

Unless you’re an experienced curator, chances are you're somewhat fuzzy on the details of content curation. Let's get started.

What is content curation?

Content curation involves finding and republishing existing content from outside sources that fits with a specific topic you would normally write about yourself.

A simple example of curating content is sharing a blog post an industry leader wrote on one of your social media pages. Ideally, you'd include a brief summary of your own thoughts about the piece, providing your followers with some insight into your own company.

A more time-intensive example would include taking that same post from the industry reader and writing up a comprehensive response that includes links and quotes from the original along with additional value that you've put time and thought into. You can then post this to your own blog and share via social channels.

Is content curation stealing other people’s work? When is curation plagiarism?

Content curation is not plagiarism because curation necessitates adding value. Unearthing valuable content, rewording it, and publishing it under your name is not curation. This is stealing. To curate properly you must give your reader something he or she cannot obtain by reading the original post, something extra.

For example: say you’re curating a post about cooking eggs. The original article outlines all the ways to cook an egg (one chef claims to have mastered the 100 best ways). When writing your own article, you may certainly share these 100 ways, but you must add something more. Perhaps you supplement the article by adding survey information about which methods are most popular, or by providing your readers with the nutritional variants of each method.

To ensure that your hands remain clean, give credit where credit is due. Be up front about the author of the original post and link back to him or her in your article. It’s plagiarism if you don’t cite the author, link to the source, or if you try to pass the work on as your own.

Who actually benefits from content curation?

When content is curated, all involved reap the rewards. Not only does the curator save time and resources by using what’s already on the web as inspiration, but the curator’s company benefits through increased traffic (more content=increased visibility) and consumer engagement.

It also takes a certain amount of confidence to share someone else's work when your goal is to generate qualified leads through your own thought leadership. Sharing someone else's creation shows your company is humble enough to recognize there are others in the industry who also know their stuff.

This extends the benefit onto your potential customer as well. Not only do they appreciate and respect your company for sharing the best information regardless of who produced it, but they are able to get more information about a given topic leading them to become more informed and move themselves down the funnel.

What’s more, the benefits of content curation extend back to the original writer when they gain a valuable backlink to their work. Down the road, this could end up leading to a mutually beneficial relationship and more collaborative work.

How do I select a piece to curate?

Before beginning the search for a quality article, make sure you know precisely what it is you want to write about. It should go without saying, but make sure to select a topic that is relevant to your audience.

The next step is to gather all the information you can about your chosen topic. There are a variety of ways to do this. The easiest place to start is a Google search or checking out specific companies or industry publications that you know hold expertise in your chosen topic.

If you don't have a topic in mind, you should still visit industry blogs and publications for inspiration. While you're there make sure to sign up for email updates and follow them on social media so you can make note of relevant articles for future curation use as they're published and distributed.

When perusing articles, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does the topic of this post match my own?
  • Is the author of this post credible? (Investigate the company he or she works for and search for other material he or she has written to decide.)
  • Does this article invite me to engage with it? (Does it offer a chance to provide a different viewpoint or provide additional information?)
  • If you can’t answer yes to each question, keep looking.

So how do I actually curate something?

Once you have selected a piece to curate, the next step is to make it your own. To do so, begin by summarizing the original work. Focus on the information relevant to your chosen topic and leave out unnecessary details. What does your reader want to know most?

Either within or after your summary, add your thoughts. This is where curation becomes creation. Do you agree or disagree? Be clear about your stance and tell your readers why. Credit the original author within your summary and again at the end of your post. Lastly, make sure to insert a link back to the original post.

We've got more ideas for building a successful inbound marketing strategy for your business. Contact us to start a conversation.


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