You know that posting on social media is important. Maybe you’ve even found social media tools that you love. But how do you come up with something to post on social media on a regular basis?
Knowing how to curate content efficiently can change posting on social media from a chore you dread into a useful strategy for connecting with your target audience.
Curating content can even be enjoyable.
And when you consider the fact that 72.3% of the United States population actively engages with social media, it’s clear that mastering the art of content curation is key to thriving in today’s digital marketing landscape.
What is content curation?
What do you post on social media?
If your answer is that you only post directly about your brand — from promos to links to your blog posts — you may be surprised to learn that you’re doing social media wrong.
Of course, your followers engage with you to learn about your brand. But that doesn’t mean that they only want to be spammed with direct advertisements. Think of social media, instead, as a way to have a conversation with your target audience.
Through social media, you can communicate more than just what you do or what you sell. You can also communicate:
- Who your target audience is
- What you value
- What things matter to your brand
Content curation is the art of communicating these other details to your audience by organizing and presenting content within your industry or expertise. When you curate content, you find digital content that’s valuable and relevant to your audience, even though it’s not directly about your brand. These pieces of content may include:
- Blog posts written by other brands that would be relevant to your audience
- YouTube videos your audience may enjoy
- News articles
- Other social media posts
Knowing how to curate digital content is critical to creating a sustainable social media strategy for your brand.
What are the benefits of curating digital content?
There are a number of reasons to learn how to curate content. When you curate information, instead of just relying on the content you create yourself, you can improve audience engagement, post more frequently, schedule your posts ahead of time, and remain relevant to your audience, all while spending less time on each individual post.
Improve audience engagement
Content curation allows you to improve audience engagement. This happens for two main reasons.
The first reason is that when you curate information from all over the web, you become a go-to resource for your audience to learn more about a given topic. Instead of trying to locate information from a bunch of different sources, your audience will know that they can come to you for a wide berth of content.
The second reason is that it spices things up for your audience. Hearing the same thing from your brand day after day can get boring. But when your audience can expect a variety of different things from you, the content stays fresh.
Post on social media more frequently
When you curate information, instead of only posting original content, you’re able to post on social media more frequently. When you consider how often you’re expected to post on each social media channel, the ability to post more frequently without increasing your time commitment is important for your long-term social media success.
In fact, brands that are good at content curation can post multiple times per day. When you know how to engage your audience with relevant content, you no longer have to struggle to find something to say.
Schedule content ahead of time
One of the hardest things about social media is the need to keep to a posting schedule.
When you curate content, a substantial portion of the content you curate will still be relevant weeks or even months later. Knowing how to curate content that’s evergreen allows you to schedule a lot of posts ahead of time while leaving gaps for things — like links to your brand’s blog posts — that you know you’ll have down the road.
Keep in mind that just because you schedule content ahead of time doesn’t mean you can’t move content around. Evergreen content pieces can always be bumped back, if necessary, to make room for a more timely piece.
From social media trends to breaking news articles, there’s a lot of content that is timely in nature. Curating digital content effectively allows you to capitalize on these timely events.
Posting about events in real-time as they’re happening, or getting in on the latest social media trends, keeps you relevant to your audience. By curating a variety of evergreen content and timely content, your audience will have the feeling that you’re always on your A-game, even though you don’t have to directly engage with social media on a daily basis.
Spend less time on each social media post
The final — and perhaps most exciting — benefit of knowing how to curate digital content is that instead of starting from scratch every time you go to post, you spend less time on each individual social media post when you curate some of your information.
Curating content gives you more time to post more frequently without having to adjust your social media time investment.
How do you curate digital content?
While the benefits of curating content are numerous, knowing how to do it is a different story. But don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be difficult. By having a plan in place, you can curate quality content quickly and easily.
Finding content to curate
The first step to curating content is to find content that’s relevant to your brand. The best content is factual, informative, and useful to your target audience. For this reason, it’s best to stick with sources you trust, especially for news or topical content pieces. While click-bait articles may initially drive engagement, they’ll ultimately erode your customers’ trust in your brand.
While finding good sources may sound intimidating, there are actually a number of places you can find content relevant to your brand. Look for information being presented by people your target audience will appreciate while avoiding featuring your direct competitors.
You can pick a day to curate content, though it’s often easier if you follow relevant resources. Then, when interesting content pops up in your feed that you think your readers would appreciate, you can either post it immediately or add it to a list of evergreen content to schedule down the road.
You can even just have a spreadsheet with links to content you want to schedule. When the time comes to prepare and schedule your social media content, you’ll have done a lot of the hard work already.
Follow resources on social media
When you think of locating quality sources, social media might not jump to the top of your list. But following relevant social media channels is a great way to source ideas for content your audience might be eager to engage with.
YouTube is an especially great social media channel to follow resources on. Video content posted on social media generates 1,200% more likes and shares than text and image content combined. You can get in on that activity by curating videos from relevant resources even when you don’t have the time or resources to make your own video content.
Similarly, TikTok offers short-form video content that can easily be shared on sites like Twitter or Instagram. Cross-platform content creation keeps content feeling fresh for users who may not engage on all social media platforms.
Sign up for newsletters
Another way to find great content to curate is to subscribe to newsletters relevant to your brand. For example, if your brand sells protein bars, you could subscribe to fitness newsletters since that content would be directly relevant to your brand without being a direct competitor to you.
The great thing about subscribing to newsletters is that the information is delivered directly to your inbox. Along with finding great content, you can also use newsletters as inspiration for your own upcoming emails. This makes subscribing to newsletters a win-win for your content marketing team.
Leverage news sites
News topics can provide great inspiration for social media content. When you follow news sites, content is delivered directly to your inbox and links to the relevant article. If you find an article that you think your audience would find interesting, you have the primary source at your fingertips.
While some news sites require subscriptions to read articles in full, most allow you to read a few articles for free each week and provide newsletter subscriptions at no cost. By reading the newsletters, you can be strategic about what articles you read in full.
Conduct internet searches
While having content delivered to you via subscriptions is great, to master content curation, you also need to know how to curate content on-demand. Keeping a list of content ideas will get you ahead of the game, but it may not be enough to prevent you from needing to hunt down content ideas. One way to do this is to conduct internet searches.
The first tools at your disposal are search engines. Conducting searches can help you find top articles, research, and news stories. The key to this, however, is that you have to know what to search for.
An easy way to find content is to search for a question you think your target audience may ask and then review the top answers Google returns. You can also use the “People also ask” section on the first page of results to get a better sense of the questions buzzing around the kind of content you’re hoping to curate.
Another option is to type a generic search term into Google News or Scholar. Both of these subsections of the major search engine can help you curate higher-quality articles. They also consider the date of publication more than Google itself, which means you’ll have more timely content available for your subscribers.
Use content curation tools
Another way to curate content on-demand is to use content curation tools.
While some tools are just there to help you schedule your content, other content curation tools can directly help you locate content for your target audience. For example, Google News Alerts can alert you any time there’s a new story about a specific topic.
Presenting your curated content
Just as a museum curator must know how to find pieces and how to make them look aesthetically appealing, a content curator is responsible for knowing how to curate content and how best to present that content to their subscribers.
While it’s occasionally okay to re-share content with minimal personal contributions, if that’s all you ever do, your audience will eventually leave your social media pages and follow the people providing all your content instead. Presenting your curated content in a meaningful way ensures you are more than just a middleman for your audience; you’re a valuable part of how they consume content.
Here are some tips for presenting your curated content in a meaningful way.
Summarize the content
One option is to summarize long or technical content for your subscribers and then link to the source where you got your information.
This strategy is one of the easiest to implement and can be useful for subscribers who are scanning for news articles and just want the most important information from the content you’ve collected.
Using the acronym TL;DR (too long; didn’t read) works as a shorthand to let readers know that you’re summarizing the most important parts of a longer piece of content. Then, all you have to do is write a quick summary of significant points, link to the content, and post.
By including the source where you got your information, you not only display transparency to your readers but also provide them with what they need to follow up on the topic. This encourages them to check your sources if they have questions while also positioning you as an authority on the topic.
Offer a content round-up
Another option for presenting curated content is to offer a round-up of resources for your readers.
For example, if there’s a hot news topic in your industry, you can write a short blurb explaining your brand’s stance on the topic and then include a list of resources for people who want to learn more about the topic.
Or, if there is a charity that your brand contributes to, you could not only include information about the charity but also a round-up of resources for people who are looking to help.
You can also sort curated content by topic.
For example, around the holidays, you might have a topical post where you mention the holiday and then include a few curated pieces your audience would find interesting. For each piece, you might offer a brief summary or teaser of the content, as well as a link.
Going topical is a great way to present a bunch of content pieces in an interesting format. You can include images on the topic and a catchy header to bring topical content curation to the next level.
Use insights from your earlier content
This is a great strategy if you’ve already created content about a topic. For example, if you previously wrote a blog post about the ten best children’s books about dinosaurs, and a new dinosaur book comes out, it’s perfectly appropriate to review the new book and then link to the article you’ve already written.
Including content you’ve already written when evaluating new content makes you seem like an active participant in an ongoing conversation.
Offer your opinion
It’s easy for brands to stay safe and toe a neutral political line. But when building your brand, sometimes it’s okay to be a bit controversial. When you take a stance on a major issue — especially when it’s something your audience cares about — it shows that there are real people behind your brand. This can boost your trustworthiness.
The key to offering your opinion on curated content is to ensure that the opinion you offer makes sense for your brand.
For example, if you sell textbooks, it makes sense to offer an opinion about a new educational law in your state. On the other hand, if you are a real estate agency, offering an opinion on an educational law doesn’t make a lot of sense and may unnecessarily alienate a portion of your audience.
Following social media best practices
The final step to curating digital content is to follow social media best practices. This includes knowing what to share, knowing how to share it appropriately, and segmenting your content based on the channel you’re using.
Know what to share
Your audience doesn’t want to read junk. So when you’re curating content, one of the most important things you can do is actually read the content before you share it. And, only share high-quality content your readers will care about.
Knowing what to share and when to share it isn’t an exact science. But a good rule of thumb is that if you find content compelling and on target for your brand, your audience will probably find it compelling as well.
Another way to know what to share is to follow social media trends and pay attention to what your audience is talking about. This can help you stay timely and share the right content at the right time.
Understand how to share content appropriately
Before you share content, you need to know how to share content appropriately.
While the appropriate way to share content may change based on the social media channel that you’re using, one thing that never changes is the importance of following content curation best practices like citing your sources and putting your information in context.
“Fake news” comes from quotations being taken out of context and news articles not being sourced appropriately, leading to a treasure trove of misinformation. Avoid contributing to this by ensuring that everything you share with your audience includes appropriate citations and nuances.
After that, sharing your content appropriately may mean getting up-to-date on relevant hashtags, using multimedia content, and keeping your content to the right length for the social media channel you’re using.
Segment your content by channel
The final social media best practice to follow is segmenting your content based on the social media channel you’re using.
Instagram, for example, thrives on picture-based content. In that case, topical content curation with lots of images could work, but a summary of each article on a topic would not. Similarly, Twitter might be a great place for TL;DR-style content summary posts, while Facebook might be better suited to long-form summaries and collections of content.
Improve your social media presence by knowing how to curate content
When you know how to curate content, your social media presence isn’t just a soap box for you to stand on. Instead, it becomes an informed conversation with your audience. Instead of just being you speaking at your audience, content curation allows you to stay in touch with things going on in your industry and share that industry knowledge with your subscribers.
Get started today by finding social media channels and newsletters to follow. The more content you consume, the easier it is for you to find intelligent ways to curate that content and present it to your followers.
To get your biggest fans and most loyal customers to create content for you, recruit them as brand ambassadors.