Content curation is like most other aspects of online marketing: Under-utilised.
While it’s great to know the basic formula behind successful content curation—especially how make your followers look to you as “the source” of great tips, information and material—there are more ways you can use curated content, especially while you are attracting your own audience.
I’m sharing many of the ways I create and curate content, see how many you recognise from the Yarn Academy site.
And there are many tips for making sure you make the most of your curated content—all while becoming the source.
1) Look to Affiliate Marketing
Q: How do you ensure you don’t deprive someone of income opportunities when you use their material in your own posts?
A: Become their affiliate.
There are a few key points to observe, when you do this.
Number one: Build your affiliate marketing round a theme: One that is top priority for your followers and subscribers. Not around the person (even if your curated post proves what an expert they are in a particular field).
Number two: Select your products with care. Make sure you are really promoting top-notch products tailor-made for your readers—ones they will genuinely thank you for and be thrilled to hear recommendations about.
Find them great deals. Introduce them to top experts who can help them in areas peripheral to your main specialty: For instance, if you are the person who helps her reader take great photographs and you’re all about color, light, composition and subject, introduce her to Len the Lens Man and explain why a particular specialty lens can aid greatly in helping her compose the perfect photograph.
Your theme could be “accessories,” and even though your readers would unhesitatingly say you’re all about great composition, careful and selective content curation would make you the go-to person for photography accessories—the person they rely on to tell them what to buy—and how to use it.
“Using accessories to get the best photo composition” is then the theme you stick faithfully to, like glue.
And if both you and the person/company you are sending your readers to, through your affiliate link, make money from it (win-win) so much the better!
2) Be the Middle Man (or Woman)
Act like a sieve and filter out the 98% of empty, derivative, shallow content that is floating around the web on specific topics, bringing your readers the 2% that’s pure gold. Make this a basic principle and rule for yourself.
Be the expert who saves people time. Put real research and time into finding the best person/article to say what your reader needs to hear next.
That’s when your curated content goes from “interesting” and “valuable” to “essential” and “priceless.”
3) Build Your Content Curation Monetisation Around a Theme
This is worth repeating. Your curated content will only have value when it is used to support your central marketing plan in a focused manner.
Otherwise, your material is merely “interesting.”
4) Make Sure Your Material is Share-worthy
It doesn’t matter if you are writing a one-hundred-percent original article or including in your carefully curated content from someone else: Do your best to make sure that the finished piece is share-worthy.
To achieve this goal, your curated content needs to be:
- Timely (what they need—right now)
- Relevant (both to what is going on in your niche culture and to your central, narrow-focused theme)
- Focused (stripped down so you are presenting the essence—the main benefit or point—of your curated piece: What it’s all about)
- Interesting (well-written, with absolute clarity)
The key rule? Share this content because YOU are excited about it! Your filter should be “I couldn’t put this any better, myself!”
And on top of all that, do make sure you actually ask your audience to share it and suggest how. (Provide an anchor-text link or button in addition to your written command.)
5) Use the “List” Format for Special Purposes
Many pieces of content contain both great writing and great ideas. Your job is to pick the best piece to illustrate or elucidate your theme topic of the day. You save them time by filtering and zero-ing in on the point or benefit.
But if you are truly focused on saving your “information overloaded” readers and followers time, you can take it even further than that—curate lists.
Example: A simple list of “10 Best Christmas Gift Suggestions for Authors.”
Lists are extremely popular—and one of the main reasons? Because they are “quick.” You skim through them in seconds, zeroing in on only the items that catch your attention (i.e. that fulfil your need quota for that moment).
The key lies in sticking to your topic and your overall marketing theme, as well as doing the legwork for your readers.
Make sure there are no derivative suggestions; or suggestions that are too generic.
Be specific. Don’t just present “10 Best Christmas Gift Suggestions”—give your audience the ten best suggestions for their niche focus (i.e. “for Toddlers”).
If you save people time while introducing them to the “best,” you will be remembered—and returned to.
6)Use Great Headlines
It doesn’t matter how wonderful or finely-tuned your curated content is, if you don’t grab your reader or visitor with a punchy headline, he or she won’t click and read.
(The ideal win-win situation occurs when you find great content with a deadly-dull title and make sure it gets read: Your readers are happy with such a great “find” and the original author is happy you are increasing her traffic.)
Always remember that great curated content is only as good as its packaging—and that includes, besides relevance, theme and timeliness, great headlines and calls to action!
7) Choose your Theme/Topic Carefully
What’s currently going viral at an insane rate? Narrow that down to “what’s going viral in your niche.”
Then look for indicators that a topic is about to go viral—for example, it has just started to go viral on one particular social network or bookmarking platform. Then fast-track it to mainstream via your Facebook feed, as well as on your blog.
Choosing the right topic and fitting it into a focused theme is a major part of becoming a successful content curator—a “source” that people will go to first to hear the “best” tips, recommendations or information.
8) Promote Your Site with Email Newsletters
Don’t neglect using emails to drive people to your site to read your curated content.
One way is to put out an email newsletter—and include top curated content within it, so that you leave readers wanting more. (Then suggest they visit your site!)
If you are curating small segments—a paragraph here; a quote there—you don’t need to ask permission. If you want to curate an entire article within your newsletter, however, it is essential you do ask permission.
But your best strategy is to ensure your newsletter contains outstanding nuggets of information—and keep it short. For each item, direct people back to your site, if the “taste” has left them wanting more,
9) Consider Curating Reviews
Another successful formula: Bringing your audience the best (i.e. most relevant and specific) reviews on a particular product or topic.
If you want to present an entire review in a blog full of curated reviews, however, observe the following precautions:
- Ask permission—and get it in writing
- Choose only short reviews and give yourself a word or line limit (e.g. “Reviews consisting of one paragraph and no more than seven lines.”)
This is especially important if you are not focusing on one review per post, but are planning to present multiple curated excerpts in one post: (E.g. “7 Reviews: Pros and Cons of The Jimmy Buck Cordless Lawn Mower”)
- Keep the reviews strictly on topic (e.g. only on a particular item; or only your true “best of”)
If you don’t want to present an entire review, pinpoint only the key take-away sentence from each review you are quoting. (That also saves you from having to wait for permission.)
10) Plan Every Element of Your Content Curation
Another crucial element to successful curation: Making sure it fits into a specific marketing plan. Don’t “wing” anything.
For example, if you decide to run your seven reviews on the Jimmy Buck Cordless Lawn Mower, ask yourself: “How does this fit in with my theme? My topic? My monetization strategy? My followers?”
Then ask yourself: “How can I make this work for me even more successfully?”
That sort of discernment thinking and analysis will quickly lead you to ideas such as:
- Starting a specific review blog as a go-with to your gardening blog
- Starting a specific review section
- Becoming known for always reviewing new niche products on a certain day (e.g. “Review Monday”)
- Changing your focus over to only curating reviews for a main product niche you are promoting
- Scrapping the whole idea because reviews really don’t fit in with your audience and theme
The point is: Any one of the above listed ideas could be the one that resonates with you. Just make sure that whatever you do or decide, it fits in with your central marketing plan and goals, as well as with your audience.
Know why you are doing what you do—at every step and with every piece of curated content.
11) Use Content Curation Aggregators and Platforms
Not only will this save you time in finding the right material, these platforms often allow you to record and analyze stats, when you use their engines.
12) Look for Niche-specific “New” Sources
Don’t just rely on common news aggregators and sites for “quick” curated content. Your posts should never be about “finding something quickly” for your readers.
Take the time to research and uncover new sources. Introduce your visitors to new authority figures—perhaps a local expert in your community; or take out paid subscriptions to topic-specific authority journals.
Better yet—promote that journal! Become an affiliate and enjoy introducing your niche members to its rich resources.
13) Get people to Curate Content for You
One way to do this: Host a Blog party.
Pick a topic; then invite specific bloggers who are expert in that topic to contribute a brief post or tip on your single theme (e.g. “Worst Podcasting Mistake I Ever Made.”)
Now that really IS a quick way to get a really juicy post packed with high-end, quality “guest authors” for your blog: And because you are positioning it in this format, you are avoiding potential Google penalties for “guest-blogging” while aligning yourself (and your site) with niche “greats.”
14) Spotlight Other Experts
Featuring others (individually) is a great way to let them speak for themselves—in their own words—by including excerpts from their own sites.
Just make sure you capture what your expert most wants your audience to know—what she is passionate about and what her mission is.
Make your “spotlight” a regular feature. We humans are creatures of habit and by featuring your “guest” at regular intervals (e.g. on the first Monday of every month, or every Saturday) you will “train” them to check in—to see who this week’s special guest is.
15) Make the Most of Links and Anchor Text
Don’t just leave your curated anchor text or links in a jumble of letters or five-hundred-character mega-marathon-length titles: Change them up so that they become irresistible in their own right—especially when yours is the original content you have submitted for sharing!
Use keywords. Use catchy or descriptive phrases.
Make the most of the opportunity to increase your shares.
16) Pay Attention to Timing
Don’t just announce your new post (original or containing powerful, curated content) on social media: Be strategic.
- Find out when your best audience is live and active on each platform
- Be there to post, in person: Don’t leave it up to pre-scheduling apps
- Thank, comment, answer, reply—be there to hang out with them too
17) Use Noticeable Social Share Buttons
Don’t just rely on a call to action: Include large and noticeable social share buttons—with all your content, curated and original.
18) Don’t Get Complacent
Once you’ve found great places to pick up fresh content to curate, get into the habit of regularly visiting—but don’t get overly comfortable.
Keep your eye out for new and unusual sources of news to share.
On the other hand, don’t kill yourself looking for “secret” places where you can find great content to curate: Fall back on old favorites like Google Alerts and Twitter Lists.
Also use Twitter Advanced Search to shortcut finding specific materials, using keywords and/or proper names of experts you’d like to quote.
19) Always Invest in Original Graphics
Spice up your posts with original graphics. Keep the graphics always in the same style so it “brands” your curated posts.
What happens with same-style original graphics is this is… people start to look for them and trust your post just from your graphic style—it’s like a visual cue.
And on top of that, you’ll never have to worry about being sued for using a graphic that is not yours—actually a rising threat, when it comes to reprinting other people’s photos or illustrations.
20) Be Smart about Making it Easy to Return to Your Site
Do set your original source links to open up in a new window. If you do this, you increase your chances of having the reader return to your site by about sixty percent.
Don’t do this, and you risk having your reader continue to follow links through your source’s site, leaving you far behind.
21) Install Google Analytics
Using Google Analytics should be a “given” for any online blog or website: However, Analytics for curated content is unique because you are counting clicks for someone else’s content.
You can actually use Analytics to gauge the effectiveness of your curation skills by monitoring not just clicks/traffic but return visits.
In other words, are visitors coming back? Are they returning to your site for more?
To find out, check out “Behavior” under your Google Analytics “Audience” tab. Look for “Frequency and Recency.” Then under the drop-down, click the radio button for “Return Visitors.”
It really is as simple as that!
Bye for now,