Content curation – the art of posting content from other people in addition to your own – has been a viable strategy for a few years now. With any strategy that lasts more than a year or two, webmasters start getting antsy. Is Google making rumblings about hurting the technique in some way? Have they already penalized it or removed some of the benefit you would get from it?
You save time. Each post you curate is a post you didn’t have to write. That’s time you can spend making the posts you do write that much better.
You fill your queue. If you’re writing 7 posts per week, you can curate an additional 14 posts and make your social accounts and blog that much more active.
You become an authority. By curating content from great sites, you become the go-to source for industry information. Users will begin to trust your opinion on the industry as a whole, because you seem to have a good grasp of it.
You earn links. People like to see their content featured as good content or as expert opinions. When you present their posts in such a light, they will typically then link to you to share that boost to their own reputation, which in turn boosts your own.
You can cover topics you wouldn’t normally cover. Sharing a post allows you to segue into a tertiary topic while still remaining relevant.
You can cover specific long-tail SEO keywords that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to without looking like you’re really reaching for topics.
Through it all, no, Google has not made any rumblings as to banishing curation to the shadow realms. If anything, they probably like it, because it cuts down slightly on the massive library of content they need to keep track of on a daily basis. As long as you’re not doing something to trip copied content flags, you’ll be fine with curation.
So, how can you properly implement content curation?
There are actually a few unique approaches to content curation, which vary in how you go about presenting the content you’re curating. It’s not just a simple matter of sharing what you find blindly without adding value.
Content Aggregation. This method of curating content is the most typical, what you think of when you think curation. Just become a hub for all things in that industry, much like a subreddit might. Apply a basic filter to keep out the worst content, and you’re good to go.
Content Distillation. This is a type of content curation that involves picking only the most important, relevant and useful content each week and sharing “top 10” style roundup lists.
Content Elevation. This type of curation uses a wide net of posts as backup for theories about industry trends. You might see that 26 different blogs wrote about the importance of infographics this week, and so you may conclude that infographics are on the rise, and write about that, linking to the 26 posts as backup.
Content Mashing. Also known as “stitched content”, this is a style of curation where you take two or more pieces and curate them together, to form a unique point of view in the space where they intersect.
Content Chronology. This type of curation involves digging into the history of an issue and creating a timeline of posts covering that issue.
Once you have determined your approach, you need to find sources of data and monitor them for posts to curate. Some will be givens, such as the biggest names in your industry. Others may be more contingent on finding the right content at the right time on smaller sites. Either way, your goal is to find a wide range of content to fuel your curation efforts.
Curation is not copy and paste. You’re not just clicking a share button like you would on Facebook. Instead, you need to study the content you curate carefully and figure out how you can add value to the post. This will depend somewhat on the method of curation you’re using, but is important regardless of method.
Abstraction. When you read an academic or scientific paper, often times there is a 1-2 paragraph “abstract” that distills the essence of the paper, including the topic, the methods and the hypotheses. You can use this method when you curate posts; write your own abstract for the post and link to it. Think of it as an expanded version of writing a meta description for the post.
Summary. Similar to abstraction, a summary covers more of the information, including the conclusions. In order to keep the user focused on visiting the content, a summary will exclude the data supporting the conclusions. Where an abstract explains the How and Why without including the What, a summary includes the What but not the How or Why.
Quotation. This is just like citing a particular post in a blog post normally; use a quote and link to the source. In this case, rather than using your own content to add value to the curated content, you’re using the curated content to add value to your own.
Analysis. Add value to the content you’re curating by sharing it first and encouraging the reader to come back. When they do, go over what you thought, addressing each point of the curated content and explaining your perspectives, whether you agree, and what you might conclude if you disagree.
The end result of proper curation is the goal of becoming a resource. You’re not standing on your own two feet; you’re standing on the backs of your contemporaries. It’s like a mixture of the “backs of giants” metaphor and riding coattails. The key is to add enough of your own value that it doesn’t seem like you’re just cheating.
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