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Dos and Don’ts for Curating Content, to Grow an Audience | Practical Ecommerce

Discovering and sharing useful and interesting content from sources outside of your business can be a good, low-cost, and easy way to meet content marketing goals.

Content marketing aims to help your business attract, engage, and retain an audience of potential customers.

As these potential customers read or watch the content your company shares, they begin to like your company and see it as an authority. Over time, they will recognize the value in the content your business shares. They may even feel indebted to your company. When it is time to make a purchase, they will consider your products and services.

In this way, a good content marketing plan will include original pieces that your business produces, publishes, and distributes. This owned media should be the basis for your content program.

But you can summarize and link to curated content to achieve the same goals at a relatively lower cost and with relatively less effort, since discovering a good article should take less time than writing one.

Find Compelling Content

Content curation is similar to curating for a museum or gallery.

At a gallery or museum, the curators oversee or manage the collection and display of works of art and historical items. These curators search the world for the most interesting pieces to share with their audience of visitors.

Content curators sift through the many hundreds or even thousands of articles on the internet, collecting the most interesting and relevant items to share in blog posts, on social media, in videos, or in newsletters.

The content your company curates should be focused on one or more of the topic clusters. Initially, this will probably require a lot of research — reading blogs, news sites, and social media posts.

In the early stages of content curation, you are as interested in finding sources as you are in finding articles or videos; a good source might generate many worthwhile, sharable items over time.

When you do discover a good source, add that source to Feedly or a similar tool to easily check for updates.

Finally, try to find rare content. Linking to the same The New York Times article found on a million social media feeds is not as good as discovering a real gem, perhaps from The Pudding, and being one of the relatively few folks sharing it.

Interpret Content

Your company could gain traction by automatically posting items on your social media profiles without ever having read or interacted with the content. But this is not content curation; it is regurgitation.

Instead, when you curate content, add meaning and context that makes it relevant to your audience of potential customers.

Here is an example. Imagine you own an online shop featuring hard-to-find tour shirts, posters, and similar merchandise from the underground music scene. Your customers are emerging and rare music aficionados. They are passionate about the topic, and they tend to shun mainstream acts.

You want to curate a post you found on The Pudding, titled “The Largest Vocabulary in Hip Hop.”

An interesting post from The Pudding looks at hip hop music through 2012 and compares the number of unique words used in an artist's first 35,000 lyrics.

An interesting post from The Pudding looks at hip hop music through 2012 and compares the number of unique words used in an artist’s first 35,000 lyrics.

Which of the following is the better curated social media post?

Great article on The Pudding, “The Largest Vocabulary in Hip Hop,” #hiphop

Or:

Aesop Rocks and many other indy rappers are far more lyrical than Shakespeare, more literary than Moby Dick, a The Pudding report shows. #music

The second option, “Aesop Rocks…,” offers much more detail. It’s a better post. The more you can do to interpret the curated selection for your audience, the better job you’re doing as a curator.

Share

The content you curate can be shared on your site, on social media profiles, in groups, or as a video. Curated content can even be collected to create new content.

Ask yourself, “What am I trying to accomplish?” As an example, imagine that a direct-to-consumer ecommerce brand wants to increase the size of its audience. To do that, it has started a Facebook Group.

Although this company has a robust blog, it doesn’t want to just post its own content in the group. So it links to valuable, non-competitive posts that are relevant to the group’s topic.

Then once a week, the company creates a short YouTube video calling out the top five resources in the industry. That list includes four curated items and one of its own blog posts. The video is shared on YouTube and in the aforementioned Facebook Group, where it helps to grow the company’s audience.

Measure Results

Like all of the marketing your company does, content curation should be measured and analyzed. In so doing, you will ensure that you’re achieving your marketing goals and creating an opportunity to improve.

Monitor how often your curated content is shared and commented on. In effect, your audience will be voting for the content they like best.

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