The term “curation” might conjure an image of a white-gloved person carefully preserving the past by maintaining ancientbooks, famous paintings or archeological artifacts for a museum. But the idea of content curation for social media is rooted much more firmly in the present. If your organization is producing blogs or similar social media feeds, content curation can be an essential means of sharing current insights and establishing thought leadership in your field. Developing a solid game plan for content curation will go a long way toward optimizing the efficiency of your work and maximizing its impact.
Content curation defined
Content curation is the process of finding, collecting, and presenting engaging digital content on a particular subject through your social media feed. The subject, of course, depends entirely on your organization’s expertise and business goals—for example, you might focus on new advances in supercomputing, emerging research in biotechnology, or the latest trends in graphic design.
One of the great benefits of content curation is that it lets you present your audience with captivating, relevant information without requiring you to create all of it on your own. Curating content from elsewhere lets you keep the conversation going in a very cost-effective way.
The challenges of content curation are deciding what kinds of content to include and finding efficient ways to collect it. With thousands of new articles, videos, images, statistics, and other pieces of content appearing every day, selecting and gathering material can be difficult. Following a few simple rules, however, can help with those efforts.
1. Know your audience
To build a following and establish thought leadership, you must include content that will attract and engage your audience. Look beyond just the subject matter and consider the type of content you are presenting. Would your customers prefer to read an article, listen to a podcast, or watch a video? In some cases, the subject could dictate the best approach: Would seeing a new microchip design be easier than reading a press release about it? Your own marketing efforts could be a guide in answering these questions. What are the most effective deliverables that you produce?
2. Capitalize on new content collection tools
Conducting daily, individual Web searches for material would be a time-consuming task that could easily erase the cost-saving benefits of content curation. Instead, consider using one or more tools designed to do some of the discovery and collection work for you.
For example, there are readily available applications such as Google Reader that let you gather RSS subscriptions from your favorite blogs and publications, and organize articles in one place. Other mobile applications like Flipboard or Zite allow you to define your favorite news categories and then present you with articles in a magazine format. In fact, Zite enables readers provide feedback on articles received, which helps the app hone future content it recommends. Plus, some applications let you easily collect articles and other types of media that you encounter throughout the day. With applications such as Instapaper, you can save content from the original sources with just one touch.
3. Follow a research schedule
Just like going to the gym, you’ll never get your content feed in shape without making a time commitment. Fortunately, today’s content collection tools can help significantly reduce the amount of time devoted to finding and collecting what you need. Instead, you can focus on your value-add: selecting the most engaging content and presenting it, along with your commentary, to your audience. Spending only 30 minutes per day could be enough.
Curating content for social media can be a very efficient, effective way to keep your customers engaged and maintain thought leadership in your field. By using content curation to supplement your internal content-creation efforts, you can continuously share information, highlight trends, and provide insights while controlling your marketing costs. And if you curate the right content, expect customer eyes to stay glued to your social media feeds and larger audiences for your own messages.