My friend Keri recently started producing a line of natural sprays and lotions using essential oils, and she knew she needed to get serious about marketing if she wanted her homemade products to catch on. So, she reached out to me about a content curation strategy.

For months, she had been singing and dancing on TikTok, going live on Instagram, and writing long, emoji-filled self-introductions on Facebook. But the hours each day she put into building a presence online wasn’t transferring into a massive uptick in sales. Instead, she was wearing herself out.

I recommended she stop being a one-woman show. She could curate content from a variety of online sources to augment her own content, enhancing her brand and saving a lot of time. Plus, she could extend her digital reach beyond just social media to include strategies like creating a blog, sending emails, and even having her own website. Managing all these platforms won’t be as overwhelming if she includes the content that others create.

“But won’t people think I’m just copying from other people?” she asked me. “I thought I had to be original.”

I was happy to inform her that the best practices for curating content are clear: You don’t have to produce everything yourself. Whatever reels, posts, blogs, or other content you choose to feature on your various online platforms will be a collection of your making. 

Creating a content curation strategy allows you to build your brand and share your values — without exhausting yourself with endless content creation. 

Introduction to content curation strategy

Good news: None of your potential and current customers expect you to create 100% of your content online. In fact, you can position yourself as one of the top thought leaders by combining your original content with the creations of others. To accomplish this, you need a plan.

A content curation strategy requires forethought. It’s vital to plan your posts rather than the old “spaghetti against the wall” trick of throwing it all out there and seeing what sticks. The more intentional your digital marketing strategy, the more valuable it will be.

With my friend Keri, for example, I encouraged her to have a big-picture perspective so that she fully understands her brand, target audience, and goals before she starts developing her content strategy. By spending time planning instead of aimlessly scrolling, she — and you — will be more likely to find success.

Understanding the importance of a well-defined content curation strategy

Here are three main reasons why planning a content curation strategy is worth your time.

A strategy helps you develop a consistent brand, which will help you gain followers — and customers

When you have consistency in the kinds of content on your blog and social media — or what you send to your email list or include on your website — people will know what to expect. If they like what they see, they’ll engage with your content. This action puts them at the beginning of a customer journey with your business. 

In Keri’s case, she told me she wanted her products to be a part of self-care rituals for her customers. That made it easy for her to curate content that focused on self-care. As she continued to focus her various online platforms on her brand values, more people noticed. With time, they’ll see how her sprays can help them care for themselves.

Curated content saves you time

It’s easy to underestimate the time it takes to think up topics for truly valuable content, let alone create it. Besides, it can be challenging to come up with so many different things worthy of discussion. When you curate content from other excellent sources, you can maintain a high level of quality on days when you’re busy doing other things. 

You can become a thought leader in your industry and niche

Is Keri a leader in the self-care industry? No, not yet. But others are. She started filling her social media posts with her insights on posts by people like Brené Brown, Jay Shetty, and Tony Robbins. And this is the magic: This strategy is, in effect, putting her on a level playing field with these celebrities. 

She’s now collaborating with a friend who owns a spa to produce blog posts about self-care rituals. She can include this content on her website and create helpful emails with links.

It’s as if curated content says, “Hey, I was talking to my friend, and they made a great point I think you’ll appreciate.” 

How it enhances your content marketing efforts

Adding valuable content created by others lets you post more often and stay top of mind. But that’s not all. Content curation strategy helps you stay ahead of your competitors with your outreach. 

Marketing strategy is all about forward-thinking. Instead of scrambling to fill your social media feed, write new blogs, and figure out what to include in your email campaigns,  you can create a thoughtful plan for posting that will take about an hour a week. With a clear strategy and posting schedule, you’ll know what you’re sharing, and you can schedule campaigns at the best time and on the most appropriate platform.

Top tips to develop a content curation strategy

Crafting effective content marketing strategies takes time. But by creating a content calendar with a clear plan of the types of content you’ll post, you’ll never be in posting crisis mode. That peace of mind is definitely worth the effort.

1. Define your content goals and audience

The first step to all marketing efforts, including content curation for social media, is clearly understanding your content goals and target audience. If you have a marketing team, schedule time to sit down as a group. If it’s just you, turn off your device: It’s time to focus!

Clarify your content objectives and target audience

Many small and medium-sized business owners make the mistake of thinking their products and services are “for everyone,” but that’s just not true. The more narrowly you can focus your target audience, the easier it will be to craft a message that truly resonates with them. 

Think beyond simple demographics to consider their hobbies, interests, and pain points. Let’s go back to Keri and her body sprays. Sure, everyone could enjoy spraying essential oils, but who is she targeting? These are people who want to invest in their well-being. They are primarily women with growing children who are looking for quick ways to care for themselves. 

Mrs. Schultzy's Energy Clearing Spray product photography
My friend has branded her essential oil sprays for women who enjoy astrology, energy work, and other high-vibe concepts — information she can use when choosing curated content for her social media pages. Image source: Instagram.

Doing a deep dive into your target audience makes creating your marketing content objectives easier. Use your content strategy to sell your products and help meet their needs. 

Align your curation strategy with your goals

Every time you share content, it should be with a purpose. That purpose needs to align with the bigger-picture goals of your business. As you begin brainstorming your content curation strategy, consider messages and themes that can help you meet both short- and long-term goals.

For example, if Keri wants to grow her email list, she could offer her Instagram followers a 30-day self-care challenge. They can commit to an act of daily self-care by sharing their email address, allowing Keri to use both her email messages and curated social media posts to offer suggestions.  

2. Identify relevant and reliable sources

With your target audience in mind, search your social feeds for content creators sharing quality blog articles, videos, images, memes, and general wisdom. You may personally know some business owners who have excellent blogs. Be creative as you brainstorm whose messages you want to share, and create a list of people you want to connect with.

The process gets much easier and faster when you have a go-to list of sources for your curated content.

Find credible sources of content within your industry

Start with every industry expert you know and follow them. Look at their websites, read their blogs, and follow them on social media. Look not only at the blog posts they share or for quality content your prospective customers might like but also note how they manage their social media accounts. 

Investigate the content creators they share and consider what themes they choose for their content curation strategy. This may inspire you as you begin developing your voice and think about your answer to the question, “What is content curation?”

Diversify your sources for a well-rounded curation

Don’t stick to the obvious thought leaders as you develop your source list. One benefit of content curation is the ability to surprise your audience in a way that stays on brand and holds their interest. You’ll gain trust in your industry by introducing new people and ideas. Be open to something new!

3. Curate a mix of content formats

Be mindful of the format of the content you share in curated posts. One meme could be funny and relatable, but five memes in a row can get boring. Keep your prospects interested with a variety of different content formats.  

Include various content types

When creating your content calendar, plan to switch up your content types. These different formats include:

  • Blogs and articles
  • Images
  • Videos
  • Live videos
  • Infographics
  • Links to webpages
  • Testimonials
  • Countdowns
  • Contests
  • Challenges

When you are mindful of switching up the format, your content curation strategy will inevitably be more robust.

Healing Outloud Instagram page
Healing Outloud is an influencer with 193,000 followers — notice his three most recent posts are curated. Image source: Instagram.

Cater to different preferences and engage with your audience

If you’re unsure which format will get the most traction, first recognize that quality content is always more important than the format. Always consider what will resonate with your target audience first, then consider the different formats as they fit into your content marketing strategies.

One way to determine the best content format is to perform what is known as A/B testing. This is common both with email marketing as well as social media marketing. Send or post similar messages but with different formats, and see which one receives more engagement. 

When you employ this kind of scientific strategy to understand your audience, you’ll start seeing clear trends to guide your posts in the future.

4. Add value with insightful commentary

While it’s sometimes fine to just post content from another creator, you’ll provide more value to your followers if you add your insights. Think of the current trend in social media of the split screen with original content on the left and a person responding on the right. Often, the person on the right is just nodding and pointing for emphasis — and that’s easy enough for you to do, too.

Another way to do this is through an email newsletter filled with links to other blogs. Include a short introduction about why you like each of the blogs, and you’ll have succeeded in integrating the content of others into your own brand’s marketing strategy.

5. Maintain consistency and frequency

The main reason why a calendar is such an essential part of any content curation strategy is that you need to post regularly and often to keep the attention of today’s fickle customers. When you have a plan, it’s easier to connect every day — and even throughout the day — because you know in advance what content you want to share. 

6. Incorporate content curation tools and platforms

Along with following social media accounts with high-quality, interesting posts and stories, you can use content curation tools to help you find a worthy piece of content. Some require a paid subscription, but others are free. These tools include:

  • Feedly
  • Pinterest
  • Post Planner
  • Bundle Post
  • Klout
  • Pocket Social
  • Belatrix
  • Hootsuite Syndicator

Use these tools to subscribe to RSS feeds, which automatically offer blogs on topics that interest you and your followers. Reach out to the content creator to see if you can share their work on your website or through your email list. 

Then, you can use tools that allow you to schedule Facebook posts. This work can be accomplished in about an hour, and you’re set for the week for a variety of platforms.

7. Attribute and give credit to original sources

While most creators already add their brand or logo somewhere in the piece of content, it’s essential to always give credit where credit is due. Never try to pass off someone else’s work as your own or try to edit out their name or branding. 

There’s also no need to: When you curate content, you’re not trying to act like you did it all. Your customers will appreciate your curation skills as you expand their horizons. The more diverse and interesting accounts you offer on your page, website, and email newsletters through a curation strategy, the better. 

8. Promote and share curated content

From a reader’s perspective, curated content is just an extension of the content you create. So, you should treat all content the same. Make your brand’s image consistent through your website, emails, and social media, while promoting and sharing your curated content on your different platforms. This way, prospective customers will know what to expect from your brand. 

Leverage social media and other channels to amplify curated content

Each platform has its strengths, and knowing this will make it easier for you to provide appropriate and valuable content for each group of followers. However, you can select certain pieces of content that can easily transition from one platform to another. Do this for the content you create and your curated content, too.

Encourage engagement and interaction with your audience

This equal treatment also applies when encouraging your followers to interact with whatever you post. When you post curated content, ask questions and encourage viewers to comment on what they’re seeing. You can ask for feedback through email or create a comments section on your blog, too.

Then, reply to comments, when appropriate, to let your target audience know you are interested in having a conversation rather than a one-way lecture. The opportunities to create and strengthen relationships are perhaps the best benefits of these public conversations.

9. Measure and analyze performance

After a month or two, you’ll want to schedule a time to see if what you’re doing is working. The only way to know this is to look at the data. Pick a few key performance indicators to measure your social media performance in relation to the business goals you set when you first created your strategy. Look at the analytics sections of your email marketing platform, and see how your website is performing through Google Analytics.

When you set aside time to identify what is working, you’ll be better positioned to build on your success in the next quarter of the year.

10. Evolve and adapt your strategy over time

No marketing strategy — including this content curation element — is written in stone. So much of marketing involves experimentation, so remain optimistic even if you do not see the results you had expected. You can always change your strategy to try something new.

That said, recognize that it can take time to grow a social media following, just as it takes time to grow an email list. Be patient and consistent as you work toward strategies that are connected directly to your goals.  

Unlock the power of effective content curation

Think of a curated content strategy like how a museum curates an art exhibit — which is what I told my friend Keri when she first hesitated about integrating other creators’ work in her effort to market her new products. No one faults the museum for not making the work; instead, they are grateful that they know where to go to learn and be entertained with relevant content they care about. 

To begin the work of trying this marketing strategy, do your research. Start following content creators whose posts you appreciate. Notice if they create all of their content or if they also curate some posts. See what you can learn from their style, and consider what goals they have for their strategy. Let the work of those who are currently more successful at this inspire you to be a success, too.