It may sound like the latest cyber-buzzword, but content curation is fast becoming a marketing staple for many companies who aim for a successful online presence.
Honestly, when I first heard the term “content curation,” I imagined dusty old relics, like what you might find in a museum. But as you know, that’s far from the reality of what curation is.
According to the website EContent, they describe content curation as follows:
… the act of discovering, gathering, and presenting digital content that surrounds specific subject matter.
In other words, you take content created by others and present it to your own audience. Your audience benefits from the information. You build your reputation as someone who is on top of your industry. And the original creator gains a bigger audience. Everyone wins.
Content curation can be intimidating. A good curator separates the wheat from the chaff, and there’s a lot of information to wade through to find the good stuff. But if you use it as a way to share valuable information with your clients and the dream prospects you eventually want to land, you’ll have a powerful tool that positions you as a marketing expert in your niche.
Here are three simple ways you can start curating content as a surprisingly effective self-marketing tool:
1.) Sign up for marketing gold nuggets
To find articles that are worth sharing with your target audience, go to places known to have outstanding content. Where you go depends on what kind of information your clients and prospects could benefit from.
Choose the most reputable information you can locate, both in general marketing and within your niche. You can find a comprehensive list of valuable sites on Alltop, where you can discover many of the most popular and reliable sources for a variety of industries. Websites and blogs listed there have hundreds or thousands of social media shares and subscribers.
The key here is identifying those sites with social proof. If thousands trust a site for authoritative information, you can be assured that you’ve found content worth sharing.
I’ll give you a personal example to illustrate this point. My target audience is luxury adventure travel marketers. Most of them are looking for valuable information about content, social media, and email marketing.
Searching for information that key people in these markets will find useful and actionable is my next step. To do that, I look through travel marketing and news-related sites like TNooz and Travel Marketing Report. But I also search through ones that have practical, no-nonsense marketing information from Direct Marketing News’ daily bulletins, Copyblogger, and HubSpot.
Another place to find content gems is by signing up for Google Alerts, tailored specifically to alert you to news in your niche. For instance, my scheduled Alerts include “Adventure Travel,” “Colorado Travel,” “Travel and Tourism,” and “Hospitality.”
2.) Scan what you find and summarize
When you curate content, you don’t just share the link. You also share your take on it. By doing this, you’ll start to build your expert status as a content marketing and curation consultant, which in turn will make you more appealing to your niche prospects.
Set aside some dedicated time to look at the Alerts in your inbox. Start by skimming the headlines and the leads, or the opening lines, of each article. Some sites will provide that in the body of the email. For others, you’ll need to click through to the site.
Skim through the articles for information worth passing along to your prospects and followers. Don’t get too bogged down in studying them in great detail. Just get the general idea of what the author is writing about, enough to see if it has at least one interesting idea or action item your audience can use.
Take some quick notes on what you read. These will help you add your own take — an intriguing summary of the article or an eye-catching tidbit you can add to your post to entice readers to click on your link.
Now it’s time to …
3.) Share and engage!
Once you’ve found content worth passing on to your clients and prospects, the next step is to share it.
It’s important to find the right social media site to post your valuable content. That could be Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, or even a social bookmarking site like Reddit, Delicious, or Tumblr.
Once again, where you share depends on where your audience is. I found that mine, the adventure travel industry, is primarily on Twitter.
Of course, with this platform and its 140-character limit, I don’t have much leeway in writing my own descriptions. Often, if I use the automatic share button on the article’s page, much of that limit is already taken up. It’s perfectly fine to post and share the link as is. But you may see better results by carefully crafting a tweet meant to capture the attention of your target audience.
If people start favoriting, retweeting, sharing, or “+1-ing” your link, that’s the perfect time to engage in a conversation with them. It’s how I’ve built most of my email list and have gotten the attention of several of my dream clients, who started following me on Twitter.
The next step here is to share more valuable and targeted information with these companies. Perhaps contact them directly. Begin building a relationship that will lead to future work with them!
Do you use content curation and sharing in your self-marketing efforts? If you do, share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below. If not, give it a try and see how easy it can be to look more authoritative to your potential clients.