Content curation, the act of finding and sharing articles, infographics and resources, with your audience, is a great way to attract visitors and share relevant data with your community. By sharing information that is relevant to your audience, you can become a “go to” news source or authority in your niche. Your audience will not only get your unique opinions and expertise, they will see the value of your blog. Readers are more likely to champion you when they know you support others who can provide trustworthy information. And they will be more likely to get involved, knowing that they can become a possible resource for your readers as well.
So how does one go about curating great content? Here are 5 steps for sharing relevant content with your target audience.
1. Find Great Content
First off, I’m assuming you have a pretty focused niche blog. If not, you’ll need to get started with that first and come back here when you’ve blogged for a little while. Next you will need to find content that complements your blog. Start seeking relevant blogs and subscribe to them via email and RSS. Reviewing these feeds as frequently as you can allows you to find the best data as it’s posted. Create Twitter lists, join Facebook groups, add circles to Google+ and begin tracking the best information
Don’t just stop there, though. Take the time to review major news outlets as well, particularly any reliable ones that cater to your niche. For example, search Mashable if you write about social media. Or you can go to a site like CNN.com, select search, enter a keyword and select CNN Stories (this will filter out iReports submitted by visitors). One thing to keep in mind, however, is that you may get any and all references to your keyword, even if it’s just casually mentioned in a non-related article. For example, “Facebook IPO” will get more targetted stories than “Facebook.” Keep SEO in mind as well with regard to your audience, when searching for terms. While Google has removed their keywords tool, you can suss this out by using whatever SEO tools are still in use, such as the Yoast WordPress SEO plug in, and seeing what has an effect on your Google analytics.
In addition, try to choose a topic that is complementary to your niche. For example, if your niche is Healthy Eating but you do not create your own recipes, you can create a weekly link up to favorite recipes from around the blogosphere. If you write about best blogging practices, you can create a weekly column of news that affects bloggers, such as trending new social media tools, Facebook’s latest changes and which bloggers got penalized this week for commonly used practices. If you recall when we discussed niche targetting, I said that certain tools should complement – not replicate – your content. This rule applies here, helping you provide additional content to your readers.
2. Choose Your Curation Format
This is your chance to be creative with how you present your resources: you can invite others to jump in, adapt traditional journalistic practices or do something more creative. For example, after writing a post with a few quality links from relevant articles, you can put up a linky allowing readers to add their articles. InLinkz and Linky Tools are two popular link generators that let your audience submit posts.
For something more traditional, you can also a tool like Paper.Li, which allows you to create an online newsletter that follows different resources across the web, pulling contributors from Twitter, Facebook, Google+, YouTube and blogs. Simply select sources on your topic and it will generate a newspaper for you with the latest items your contributors have published.
You can set up a weekly link round up of the news in your niche. For creating a list of relevant content, use Storify, which lets you organize news into handy formatted links. I highly recommend this tool which allows you to search through all the major social media outlets, Google and other online sources for stories related to your topic. Drag and drop selected articles in the desired format (for example, Tweets) and then hit “Publish.” This app also enables you to notify people that you’ve quoted them in your story – a nice courtesy. For an excellent example, see how it’s used on the tax blog, Avalara, to showcase weekly tax news. It even employs a “Slideshow” option for a visual look at these topics.
When curating content, make sure you adequately link and credit the authors. When quoting a source, post the exact quote, use quotation marks when necessary and directly link to the source site. Always make it clear that you are citing someone else’s work, and only post a few lines – 2 or 3 sentences at most. Before linking to any sites, however, make sure to read that site’s content policies. For most sources, this works fine, however, I recently wrote an article for pay and gathered some information from “Consumer Reports.” Their content policy specifically states that you are not allowed to quote from their website for any commercial purposes whatsoever, so I removed that information from my research and post. Remember that personal blogging and blogging commercially – often meaning any kind of compensation – can have very different rules, and you need to be careful when going from one to the other when curating content.
If you’re still confused and really want to use a source, send them an email asking them to clarify their policy and why and how you’d like to link to them. Once you have accurately given credit, you can then make commentary on the topic. Be aware, though, that if you going to write something derogatory, you may be contacted by the source and asked – or even threatened – to remove it. You have to make sure that you’ve abided by the rules in the first place if you wish to argue your right to post and link content.
4. Create a Regular News Posting Day
The end of the week is a perfect time for a news wrap up. On Friday or Saturday, you can simply curate a run down of the week’s news in your topic as demonstated above with the Avalara blog. This is ideal because weekends tend to be a better time to share on social media.
You can also after a regularly occurring event as a reporter on the topic. I recently attended a weekly Eco Friendly Twitter party and, afterward, created a post based on the event. In “Pinkwashing: What it Means and Why It Matter,” I wrote about what I learned and compiled a list of resources for readers learning more. The host was grateful and put my post in her newsletter. In addition, because this took place during breast cancer awareness month, anyone interested in pinkwashing could find my post. Boosting not only the sources but also the event during a key time of year was mutally beneficial – I spread the word for the host, and she spread the word about my blog. Content curation like this is a great benefit to others and your own blog.
5. Get There Early
Getting a jump on the day’s news trends can help you post early about a hot topic. Set up a daily Google alert for the topics you are most interested in, but also keep scanning the news and press for current events as well as what’s trending on social media. Then, don’t just curate the content but write an editorial on it from an interesting opinion, using all your skills in writing an attention-getting headline and crafting an excellent. This will serve two purposes:
It will give you an edge on an interesting topic that you can blog about right away which you can then revisit on your regular news posting day.
It can increase traffic by giving your post a leg up on the search engines – the earlier you post about it, the better.
Those are the basics of content curation: find matching or complementary content to curate, choose a format, avoid legal issues, post it regularly, and get there early. If you have any additional suggestions or ideas that have worked for you, please share in the comments.
Gina Badalaty is the owner of Embracing Imperfect, a blog devoted to encouraging and assisting moms of children with special needs and restricted diets. Gina has been blogging about parenting, raising children with disabilities, and allergy-free living for over 12 years. She’s blogs at Mamavation.com, and has blogged for major brands like Silk and Glutino. She also works as a copywriter and brand ambassador. She loves engaging on social media, travel and cooking gluten-free.