[guest post by Owen Hunt]

Thanks to Pinterest and similar companies, many people are turning to content curation as a solution for online content organization and sharing. Content curation not only yields fruits where promotion does not, but also offers a cheaper option. Do not listen to naysayers who think that content curation is just more noise to an already messy internet environment. Beth Canter, who runs the successful blog called Beth’s Blog: How Nonprofits Can Use Social Media, defines curation as “the process of sorting through the vast amount of content on the Web and presenting it a meaningful and organized way around a certain theme”. It is not just a haphazard way of collecting and sharing content.

Here is how you can curate content in a way that keeps your audience excited.

Know your audience

Plunging into content marketing without identifying your target audience can be your greatest undoing. Content marketing is a time-consuming activity. No content curator can dare waste time on something that does not focus on the target market. That is why identifying the audience is a critical step. There are many ways of doing this including conducting user surveys, using Google analytics, getting feedback through automated mail and checking Facebook insights.

Choose relevant topics

When you are deciding what type of content you want to curate, it is a matter of both your intention and what the audience wants to hear. Why do your services or products exist? What does your market want? Let your content topics focus on that mission. Three factors will guide you in choosing the ideal topics:

  • Content landscape
  • Competitive environment
  • Audience preference

Identify sources

Content curation topics are only as good as their sources. Once you have the topics ready, your next concern should be where to get the content. Note that failure to attribute these sources amounts to a serious offense called plagiarism. You will be surprised that the content owners are more than eager to share what you have!

Social media has proven to be an excellent source of content. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have wonderful sources of content. Google has not even indexed a lot of this information. Online databases with archived content are equally reliable. For example, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) ran PubMed is a popular source for medical research content. You can also get targeted information from RSS news feeds. Some publications offer content that is too broad, but they also have feeds for specific categories. Examples in this area include WordPress and the New York Times. Other good sources for content curation include Google alerts, Google news, online forums and crowd sourcing. Or you can use Flowreader to get all your content organized into easy-to-read feeds.

Share the content

Sharing the content is without doubt the most exciting stage of content curation. The fact that there are countless options makes it even more scintillating. For example, assume that a funny picture shows on your Facebook newsfeed. A friend just shared it. You may think it would excite your audience. When you click “share”, you in essence curate content. Of course, here are many other forms of sharing. Popular options include email newsletters and blogs.

Whichever method you use, remember to incorporate a schedule tool to make the process effective. Hootsuite, WordPress and Mailchimp are reliable tools. Use them to schedule your content weekly or monthly.

You cannot afford to let the benefits of content curation bypass you as you struggle to keep your audience excited. Content marketing strategists are increasingly turning to this method for its powerful brand engagement capabilities. The feedback loop introduced by content curation can be a huge asset to the marketing department and an easy way to introduce SEO into your site. If you are not curating yet, you need to adopt it for a smarter and more cost-effective way of growing your audience. If you need help with SEO services, you can use a company like SEO Chicago to get started.



**About the Author: Owen Hunt is a freelance content marketer with a love for producing excellent, high-value content. You can find him online at @owenhuntwritin1