It can be difficult knowing how to approach your audience sometimes. On the one hand, it’s important that your content always be fresh and relevant. On the other hand, you want to show that you recognize viral trends that appeal to your audience.
The fact is that, while original, branded content is an important element of any successful content marketing strategy, you can go a long way toward communicating relevance by employing the responsible use of content curation.
What Is Curated Content?
To put it simply, curated content refers to articles, images, videos, and other types of content media that you find in places outside your own brand, website, or social channels. It isn’t stolen, forged, rebranded, or plagiarized.
Content curation is the compilation, organization, and sharing of high-quality content that isn’t your own. It’s useful content that’s relevant to your industry. And it’s generally produced by high profile thought leaders or experts in your industry, that you trust.
Think of curated content the way you do a Works Cited section of a term paper. You use it to add relevance and to reinforce your argument. In marketing terms, that argument is that you are aware of the types of content that appeal to your audience.
Responsible selection of curated content shows that you understand your audience. And when people believe that you understand them, it goes a long way toward building trust.
A key difference, however, between content curation and a Works Cited section is that, quite often, the curated content comprises a significant slice of the content presented. In many cases, the content is presented with a short, original commentary.
How well does that work?
Well, look at the Huffington Post. They have practically elevated the concept of content curation to an art form. And they have discovered the fine balance between curation and branding.
You’d barely know that they get a vast amount of their content from outside sources. It’s because they go to a tremendous effort to present the content in a way in which it practically becomes their own.
Using Content Curation To Your Advantage
No one expects your blog (or website, or social media channels) to become HuffPost overnight.
If you’re already creating content your audience wants to consume, take your cues from the experts regarding content curation. You’re certain to see increases in engagement and you will gain a better gauge of the types of content that resonate with your audience.
At that point, you can branch out into different niches (like HuffPost) or you can stick to what you know best. By driving your brand message with highly-targeted content that appeals to a specific segment of your online audience.
So how do you use curated content in a way that lets your brand message shine through?
It really is a matter of balancing it with high-quality, original content.
You want the content you curate to take on your own voice and appeal specifically to your audience. In order to accomplish that, you need to add your voice to it.
- Editorial commentary on articles
- Witty captions for images
- Detailed descriptions of curated videos
These are just three simple examples of how you can add your voice to curated content without infringing on the rights of the original creators.
Curated vs. Aggregate Content
One reason why so many marketers shy away from curated content is the problem of repetition. If people see the same content too often, it loses its impact. That is where original branding comes into play. You want to get the most mileage out of your content, but you want it to stay relevant.
Aggregating content is the process through which original content is distributed, largely over a network of social media channels, blogs, and websites owned or partnered with a specific brand. While you should be concerned about repetition, you can use different types of curated content to aggregate relevant material to all of your followers across social media. This gives you the opportunity to deliver the same message multiple times while maintaining an atmosphere of originality around it.
Remember, people are looking for different things on Pinterest than they are on Instagram or Twitter. Different kinds of content will appeal to those unique audiences. If your goal is to drive original content, you can successfully aggregate that content with something that is already familiar and has proved popular or viral on a given social network.
Selecting The Right Curated Content
While being aware of current trends is a key element of successful content curation, most marketers and business owners have neither the time nor the budget to scour the Internet investigating these trends. Fortunately, there are a number of useful tools out there that can help you determine what content to use and how to use it effectively.
With that said, I would urge you to not put the processes on autopilot. Thoroughly examine your options and decide how to proceed based on what you know about your audience or ideal avatar.
Remember that no one will ever know your customers better than you. Use your best judgment on what content will have the broadest appeal and trust what you already know about the people who are most likely to consume and engage with it.
Coupled with high-quality self-produced content, curation is a fast, easy, and cost-effective way to deliver high-quality content that is relevant to your audience.
Finding the right balance between curating and creating content can be a challenge. So use both content creation tools and resources, alongside content curation tools, to master that balance.
Over time, you’ll drive better engagement, build more trust, and, ultimately, grow a strong, profitable network of fans and followers across all your social media platform.
Do you currently employ a combination of originally created content and curated content to grow your business? What other content curation strategies or tips have you found to be successful – share with us in the comments below.