What is ‘curating content’?

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Hey Brandi,
I've heard the phrase ‘curating content' when I've been reading up on content marketing. What is curated content, and can I use it for my business? 

Curating content is the process of finding the best content about your subject and sharing it with your customers in an organized way. You're saving your customers time and giving them the best information available. It may seem counter-intuitive to share stuff from other sites, but in fact, it increases your trustworthiness.

It's easy to get started with curating content. When you read something great, share it! If you find a consistently good source, bookmark it, subscribe to their newsletter, or add it to your RSS reader.

Plus, curating content can help you extend your network. When you share your favorite content with your clients, you're also supporting those content creators. They may follow you back, or (even better), share your content with their readers too. Network expanded!

Curating content can also be a real time saver. While curated content will never replace your own voice, it can help fill your channels. A good rule of thumb is that 80% of your social media should be educational content. (The other 20% can be promotions.) Curated content is a great way to get to that 80%.

Finally, curating content can light the creative spark you need to create more content of your own. You may see holes in what others are saying, have a counter-opinion, or your own related experiences to share. You can even combine curated content with your own; for example, if you'd like to share a counterpoint, you can share the link to the original article, provide a synopsis, and then add your own commentary about why you know (or believe) something different is true.

Tools to Curate Content

There are lots of tools out there that can help you curate content. From Curated.co (which can build you a website of curated content and send a newsletter) to Revue (which focuses on creating a newsletter that sparks conversation) to ContentGems (that helps you find more content faster). Don't think you need one of these splashy tools to get into curating content.

In fact, my process involves 2 free tools – Pocket, and Evernote. Pocket has an easy to use browser extension that allows you to save articles to read later. I save articles from email newsletters that I receive, that I find on social media, or even that I find when I'm searching for my own answers.  I save all the articles that I want to refer back to later. (As you can imagine, I've got a lot of stuff in my Pocket!) I use the tagging feature to remind myself what I wanted to do with the content – share, review, counterpoint.

As I have time, I go through Pocket with Evernote open. I use Evernote to begin drafting my content reviews, counterpoints, or inspired-by articles. Both Pocket and Evernote have great mobile apps, which make it easy for me to save or review content, even when I'm not at my desk. Talk about a time saver!

Now, this isn't to say that the paid tools mentioned above aren't great. Just make sure curating content is working for you and your audience before you invest in a specialized tool.

Have questions about curating content for your business? Drop a note in the comments or contact me!

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Curating content helps you connect with your audience, participate in conversations, and share expertise. It's also a great way to build social media content without driving yourself crazy creating original content.