Content curation can be a good and a bad strategy for a blogger – depending on how it’s done. If you do it right, it’s a recipe for success, if you do it wrong it can turn into a disaster. If you’re not certain that your current strategy works, this post can help you evaluate and optimize your methods.
What is Content Curation
Content curation is the practice of periodically scanning valuable sources of content which then can be rewritten and reorganized to provide more value to readers and directly contribute to your strategic goals.
Content curation includes the identification and regular scanning of valuable sources of relevant information, such as blogs, websites, newsletters, and physical media as newspapers, specialized magazines, journals, etc.
Such source scanning shouldn’t be random, though. It’s important that you have your agenda, which you follow through by delivering high quality posts on predefined topics. This means that you must know what you have to write about – whether it should be the newest new in your field, research showing the benefits of a product, or information related to a specific topic, which you’re currently focusing on.
It’s important to highlight that there’s a big difference between content curation and the practice of scraping. While you in both cases look after something valuable to benefit from, in the case of scraping you simply steal content from a source. If you, however, engage in content curation, your focus is on getting updated on a specific topic and collecting knowledge, which you then develop further in order to make it fit your goal and to provide more value to readers than competitors.
How to Get the Most Out of Content Curation
As mentioned in the beginning, depending on how you do it, you can end up with very different results. If you simply steal others’ thoughts, chances are that you not only won’t be able to engage the public but might also get punished by search engines for scraping or similar sins. If you, however, use source scanning as a method to develop your own knowledge on a subject in order to be able to deliver an expert stand point, it turns into one of the musts for every professional – continuous learning and keeping updated on what’s new in your field.
Here are the musts of content curation if you’re aiming at success:
Choose Your Sources Carefully
Both online and offline sources can easily be evaluated in terms of quality. Especially physical newspapers, magazines, and journals are known for specializing within a niche and following the journalistic standards of the niche. Thus, all readers know what they can expect of them. If you, for example, choose to take a look into a scientific journal, you know that you’re looking at theories that have been tested one way or another. If you choose a magazine as Forbes, you know that you can stumble upon a variety of articles that can either have some scientific merit or be valuable as the newest gossip on the street. It’s then up to you to evaluate what is worth exploring further and using on your site.
When it comes to online sources, such as blogs and websites, it’s a bit more difficult to judge their trustworthiness. Not impossible though. You can use tools as the Moz Bar to check for domain and page authority, which can tell you a lot in terms of whether others trust the content of the site or not. You should also check the social signals as likes, shares, and social media followers. It’s not always that people on social media can be trusted but a massive amount of followers and a lot of interactions usually point towards a certain level of trustworthiness.
Some specialists advice that, when evaluating a website, you should also look for things as security protocol (https), security seal, e-trade mark, etc. It’s important to point out though, that such security elements aren’t always used by reputable content websites, where no personal information is collected or payments are proceeded – as they aren’t necessary.
Last but not least, check the content’s quality. A lot of mistakes, broken language, or simply meaningless sentences are the clearest sign of a low-quality site.
Be thorough when evaluating sites as not doing it well might undermine all your further efforts.
If you want to be successful with content curation, you must understand the three pilars of providing value: timeliness, thoroughness, and validity.
Whatever content you publish should be current, the timing of publishing should be carefully considered, and the way it supports your strategy at a given point in time should be taken into account. This is important as content that is no longer current or relevant for your target group – or your strategy – can hurt your standing more than not publishing at all.
Furthermore, you should make sure that what you publish isn’t superficial and can pass a good fact-check. Publishing content for whose validity you cannot guarantee is a sure way to discredit yourself as an information source. Publishing superficial posts can also affect your blog negatively as it will be stamped as a waste of time – which it in fact also will be.
Last but not least, in order to provide value you must create content that solves your target groups current problems and answers the questions they need answered now. Only this way you can deliver relevant posts which are well accepted and followed by your target group.
Deliver Quality Every Time
Some bloggers get simply carried away by guidelines as “post frequently” or “post at regular intervals of time”. Even though there are many good reasons to follow such guidelines, a successful content curation strategy depends much more on you being able to find and publish information which is worth the effort to read it. As there are countless information sources online, chances are that no one will give you a second thought if you wasted their time once.
Think therefore a bit less about the SEO value of regular updates and skip publishing a post as long as you can’t guarantee it’s quality or aren’t sure how it should fit your strategy.
Many bloggers misunderstand the concept of thinking strategically when it comes to content curation. Instead of making the same mistake as many and focusing on the corporate agenda – or your private one as a blogger, try to create a strategy out of your target group’s needs and desires which can then be aligned with the corporate strategy. The reason you have to do this is that this is the only way to make sure that you deliver value. Remember that followers aren’t a given. If you don’t live up to their expectations, they’ll leave you.
In order to develop a working content curation strategy you should employ some pure marketing tools as data collection via for example links to specialized topics in newsletters, competitions, questionnaires, surveys, etc. depending on what fits best your situation. After collecting all relevant information, you can proceed with planning a content strategy that will optimally serve your target group’s interests and will deliver the most value to them.
For example, if you’re blogging about teenage problems and you found out that your target group is most interested in dealing with pimples and least interested in boyfriend troubles, you should obviously focus on pimples and minimize the boyfriend topic posts.
Don’t forget to align content and marketing strategy!
Evaluate and Optimize
It might be a nice feeling that you’ve done your research and you’re ready to launch your successful content curation practice but it’s not real. You have to be aware that
continuous research, evaluation of results, and strategy adjustments are necessary for success.
You should continue gathering insights about your target group, scanning for potental new target groups, monitoring results, and adjusting your strategy accordingly.
You can identify new trends or potential target groups by researching your target group, following the media (including social media), and keeping an eye on competitors.
To monitor results and analyze them in-depth you can use a free tool as Google Analytics or another free or paid tool of your choice. You should pay attention to metrics as Site Content in Google Analytics showing you detailed analysis of your pages’ performance. You can see how much time users spend on the page, how many bounce, and how much the page is worth.
You can afterwards filter out less successful topics or post forms to adjust to your target group’s current interests. This tactic combined with following trends and only publishing high quality, relevant content is a recipe for success.
One Last Word of Warning
Content curation is not in itself enough to make your blog a hit. In order to make your content popular you’ll need to employ marketing tactics ensuring that you reach out to your target group and make it easy for them to find your posts. You do that by advertising, posting on social media, engaging in SEO, etc.
Content curation gives results only after you’ve welcomed users to your site.