Be honest. Don’t you wish creating fresh, hot new content every week was easier than it is?
I know I do.
No matter how many cool copywriting tricks you’ve got up your sleeve, when deadlines start breathing down your neck, no one is 100% immune from the dreaded blank page blues.
Looking for a way ease the pressure of having to constantly produce stellar content, in early 2012 a bunch of smart Internet folks came up with the idea of content curation. The basic idea of content curation is that, no matter who your audience is, there is already so much good, relevant content being produced daily.
These days, content curation is common practice now, and forms part of any professional content marketing plan. The problem is, there is most definitely a right way and a wrong way to do content creation.
The wrong way can end up making you look like a spambot, scraping random junk from the Internet and slapping it up for your audience. Not only is this a no-no according to Google, but you’ll trash the hard-earned trust you’ve built up with your readers.
So what should you do instead? Glad you asked…
How to Do Content Creation the Right Way
In the grand scheme of marketing, content curation is vital to any content campaign because it can help you get incredible content pieces to share with your audience, as well as helping you figure out new topic ideas.
Remember, when you curate content, you are only looking for content to gain inspiration from, not to copy. Use content curation as a way to inspire yourself and enhance your own individual content strategy for your clients.
Content Creation vs Curation: The Ideal Mix
A few years ago, the accepted wisdom was that the ideal ratio between created and curated content was 80/20, that is, 80% created content, and 20% curated content.
According to more up-to-date research, and depending on the industry, a mix of 65/35 (with original, created content still forming the larger proportion) seems to be a more acceptable ratio in 2017.
Convince&Convert even go further to show what it looks like to be a “curator,” “balanced” on social media, or the danger line of a “self-promoter,” very useful information for the content curator:
Keep in mind that, within this balance, your curation should be focused more on your social platforms than on your own blog, which is where only your original content should be featured. Your blog is your online real estate – why put someone else’s content there?
To produce that ideal mix, though, you’ll need some smart tools to help you.
The Top 17 Content Curation Tools for Smart Marketers
Here are some of the top content curation tools you can use to help boost your content starting today.
Trap.it pulls in relevant third-party content from all over the web, including industry research, insights and trends, which can be organized into topic-specific libraries for instant reference.
Trap.It is also an “intelligent” curation tool, which means the more content you curate the smarter it gets, so you’re never lost for inspiration. Best of all, you can distribute the curated content you’ve “trapped” across all social platforms to engage your audience without spending hours on the web.
Feedly helps you to curate blog content that can be used as resources for future posts or give you great ideas for upcoming content. Feedly is also great for following authorities and influencers in your industry, so you can stay on top of the hottest conversations and create content based on the latest trending topics. It doesn’t pull images, but the lack of visuals doesn’t diminish the importance of this tool.
Like Feedly, Pinterest is great for keeping up with celebrities, pop culture icons and leaders in your industry. Depending on your niche, Pinterest is also fantastic for collecting useful “hacks”, tricks and tips you can build your content around. Save these ideas to boards on your account, and work with them to curate excellent content for you and your clients.
Quora is fast becoming the go-to platform for finding out what people want to know. You get expert, authoritative opinions and answers to questions ranging from what it feels like to be a CEO to how to apply to the best colleges, and almost everything in between. Quora is a gold mine for insightful perspectives on hot topics you can use as the basis for a wide range of content. Just set up an account, and then search your keywords to find excellent content to store away for future use. You can also set up your account to be notified about articles relevant to your field, so you can get more articles and interesting ideas in your inbox.
Used by more than 2.5 million marketers, Scoop.it just might be a content marketer’s dream come true. This powerful curation platform allows you to search for content according to keyword, share curated content directly to your social channels, and embed everything you find on your page. What’s more, the platform also offers predictive insights and an accurate ROI measuring tool that helps you get the most from your curated content. At Express Writers, we love the CEO of Scoop.it, Guillaume Decugis! I’ve recorded a podcast on the Write Podcast with him talking how to fit curation into your content marketing strategy, and we even had him as a guest on our Twitter Chat #ContentWritingChat talking content curation principles.
BuzzSumo is a smart marketer’s “pro tool” when it comes to content curation. BuzzSumo keeps you up to date with the latest trending topics in your industry by sending automated alerts every time new content in your industry is published. Use BuzzSumo to search for content by topic, and share it directly from a simple dashboard.
I absolutely love the “Content Research” tab, to research and interact with the people sharing our content, and to hunt down hot topics.
Ideal for the marketer who wants to streamline content curation and share better material, BuzzSumo is a simple, no-headache tool.
7. MyCurator for WordPress
This tool is perfect for those who use WordPress for their website and blog. MyCurator allows you to quickly and easily curate content, fetching relevant articles, videos, and other content from all over the web, with an option for automated posting to your site. There are also bulk curation tools for collecting multiple pieces of content for large or serial projects.
Spundge is similar to Pinterest in that you can set up keywords and find great content that is relevant to you, saving it for later. However, Spundge does something different from Pinterest in that, over time, it learns what you are interested in, tailoring your results to meet your needs. You can also search social media channels, filtering content by keyword, social engagement, time, location, and language send out your curated content in RSS form, essentially creating your own “newswire” of all the latest, highly relevant content for your audience.
Learnist lends an authoritative twist to content curation because it helps people learn from industry leaders and experts. You will be able to curate authority content, and even learn new information about your industry from the people who are driving it forward and making things happen. Learn how to manage your time from productivity experts, or how to make the perfect cappuccino from a top barista, all while collecting stellar content ideas!
While this tool doesn’t act like most of the other content curation tools I’ve mentioned, SlideShare does provide you with the chance to learn from others and share your knowledge. You can look through various Slideshares of those in your industry to gain new information and curate content, and you can share the best ideas with your audience.
Storify is an awesome visual tool that can help users create storyboards for their content campaigns by utilizing content curation. You can either be the one doing the creating, offering people content to curate, or you can look through the storyboards and curate content from others. In addition, you can also get a WordPress plugin for Storify.
Whether it is a blog list post, a grocery list, or a simple to-do list, everyone has some sort of love for lists. They are great at helping you keep track of things, organizing information, and they are perfect when it comes to content curation.
List.ly helps you can gather your information together in useful lists, and which readers can then up-vote or down-vote each part. This can help you find content that will be more impactful, and which content you might want to stay away from. Again, just like with Storify, there is a handy WordPress plugin for List.ly.
This program gives you access to over 200,000 RSS feeds, which makes it easy to find and curate virtually any type of content you need. All you have to do is search your chosen keywords, and you can skim through several different resources, cherry-picking juicy content along the way.
Pocket is a handy little app when you’re just getting started with your curation efforts. Pocket installs a button on your browser, so when you come across an interesting article, video, or image, you just hit the button and put it in your “pocket” for later. You can also access your content offline, so you can build your library while you browse and access it whenever you want later. A very welcome added bonus is that when you sign up to Pocket, you get daily emails showcasing the most “pocketed” content from around the web.
Triberr is a great way to help connect with industry leaders and curate their content. The most valuable feature of this app is that you get access to groups based around a specific area of interest. In addition to engaging topic-specific content, you also get exposed to insider lingo, up-to-date info on what’s hot and what’s not in your niche, and interesting angles and opinions on your topic. You can find your area(s) and join the tribe to begin curating great content, and you can share that content when you find something useful.
I’ve actually had content clients walk in from my interactions on Triberr. There is real value in the audiences here!
16. Post Planner
This tool helps you to share your curated content on Facebook at some of the best times. It promises that it can help you get viral content by just spending ten minutes each day on the program.
It looks at your Facebook page and decides what dates, times, and content pieces will work best for you, giving you the maximum reach with your content and blogs. This can help boost Facebook engagement, and get those curated pieces out to your audience.
Curata is another intelligent content curation tool because it makes sure to find articles and content that meets your interests. It goes throughout blogs around the Internet and tailor makes content lists for you to look through. Curata gives you the chance to look over the curated content, annotate the pieces, and curate the best content for your industry needs. This tool is especially handy if you happen to be very busy – like all good content marketers always are!
4 Simple, Key Practices to Make Sure You’re Always Doing Content Curation Right
To ensure that your content curation helps rather than hurts your brand, follow these best practices:
1. Only publish content in your area of expertise
Anything else is irrelevant and will look to your readers like you’re just pushing out any content to populate your platforms. Also, this should go without saying, but I’ll say it: only publish content you’ve thoroughly read. You should know what you’re promoting before you hit that promote button.
2. Make it your own by adding commentary
If you’re going to curate content, take it the extra mile by personalizing the content with commentary, insights, or pulling quotes from curated content to develop your own unique content (with ample citations, of course). According to our podcast with curation expert, Guillaume Decugis, this is one of the primary tenants of good content curation!
3. Focus your content curation on social media channels
Curated content will perform better on social channels than it does on blog.
4. Use curated content for inspiration and conversation-starting
If you’re relying on curated content to populate your accounts, you might be better off hiring professional writers to help you create content than you will be to simply keep curating. Ideally, you want to rely on curated content less than you appreciate. Think of curated content as a source of inspiration that you can use to improve your own custom content rather than a crutch you need to keep your accounts functioning.
The Best Content Curation Tools Result in More Effective Curated Content
Content curation tools take a great deal of the grunt work out of curating content. In doing this, they also allow you to enhance your content strategy, gain inspiration from industry leaders, and shuck (just a bit of) the burden of content creation.
While content curation is an integral part of any good content strategy, it pays to put in the time and effort needed to do it well.
In addition to keeping your content relevant and unique, this will also ensure you stay far away from Google penalties and plagiarized material, which is great for you, your readers, and the authors from whom you’re curating content.
Still overwhelmed with curating excellent content? Our Strategists know how to plan out a month of content, including how to curate topics. Check out our Content Strategy services!