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Content Curation: How to Use It and Why It Should Be in Your Content Strategy

Sometimes words get an unjustified bad wrap, and content curation is one of them. Often wrongly conflated with repurposed, content curation is actually one of the most common forms of social sharing on the internet, and frequently it’s done tactfully to the benefit of both the original creator and the curator. So what is content curation, and why is it so valuable for your B2B business? We’ll tell you all about it and how you can start doing it the right way.

What is Content Curation?

Anytime a member of your organization finds, qualifies, and shares third-party content that’s valuable for your prospects and clients, they’re doing content curation! Blog posts, videos, whitepapers, even tweets can benefit your audience, and there’s no reason they should miss out on good content just because you didn’t create it. Gauging content and whether it’s valuable for your audience is where content curation makes its mark. 

Content curation is more advanced than the automatic results Google, Spotify, and Twitter provide users. Great content curation is more valuable because humans, not algorithms, drive it. Real humans with knowledge of the content matter, the industry, and their audience can understand the context and interpretation of content, plus provide additional insights that will be useful for your audience. No algorithm can do that.

Before thinking of digital content curation as frivolous or lazy, consider that curators are well established and well-received in other areas. A sommelier, museum curator, interior decorator, and even DJ are people who curate something produced by others to the benefit of their audience. Even news outlets are content creators. The value of curation is obvious, and using content curation as part of your B2B digital marketing strategy is just as profound.

Content Curation Plays a Major Role in the Pillars of Social Media 

Considering the major activities that we engage in with B2B social media marketing, curated content plays a more prominent role than you might think. Below is a fundamental breakdown of the foundation for a digital marketing and social media strategy.

B2B Digital Marketing Strategy Makeup

  1. Branding and Self Promotion (Original Content): When you post about our brand, offering, PR, or anything other original content that serves as self-promotion.
  2. Inbound Content (Original, Curated): Your B2B inbound marketing strategy is built around original content, but curated content can supplement and complement your original content for more results with less effort. Curating content will also help your audience begin to see you as a broader source of industry information and a server of valuable insight.
  3. Follower Share/Highlight (Curated Content/Engagement): Engaging, highlighting, and sharing user-generated content (UGC) from your followers is an amazing way to promote audience engagement and build relationships. Plus, this content is 100% curated and takes minimal effort from your end to accomplish.

B2B Social Media Content Strategy Mixture

The bits that make up the three parts of your B2B digital marketing strategy are what you should be fine-tuning to determine your ideal mix of B2B social media content. Success in social media often comes down to finding the right combination of original content, curated content, and social engagement that’s right for your audience. So let’s break down the three broad categories we covered in the above strategy.

  1. Original content is made by you. It is original and offers the best reward, but often is the most costly and time-consuming type of content you can post. That’s why you should be using original content for the high-value self-promotion, branding, and inbound content you produce that drives your audience down the marketing funnel.
  2. Curated content is created by someone else. It’s sourced and filtered from the massive amount of existing content on the internet and is useful for supporting your content strategy as a more economical component. Great original content from non-competing voices in your industry can help grow your brand authority, while highlighting UGC helps humanize your company and build trust with your audience.
  3. Social engagement is the final piece of the pie. There is a big difference between a B2B social media company that only uses one-way communication and one that engages with other voices on the platform by reacting and commenting on other posts. Creating two-way communication online through your social media helps showcase your B2B company as an active participant in the ongoing industry conversation.

The question is, how much time should you spend on each of these? There is no one-size-fits-all answer. The perfect mix varies from brand to brand, but an excellent place to start is with equal parts original content, curated content, and social engagement. Review the engagement on your posts, reactions, and the rise and fall of followers. Experiment with your content by doing more of what seems to work the best and less of what gets a tepid response. Over time you will find the ratio that gives the best ROI for your B2B social media.

Avoid the Most Common Social Media Marketing Mistake

The most common mistake of B2B social media marketing is treating your profile as a megaphone for marketing and promotional messaging. Nobody wants to be friends with the person who only talks about how great they are and is constantly trying to sell you something. Social media is one of the few ways B2B companies can easily connect and interact with their audience. Don’t drive them away by only talking about yourself. 

Curated Content is a Powerful Tool for any B2B Content Strategy

Curated content is cheaper, faster, and sometimes more specialized than the content you could create from scratch. For example, high-quality blog content takes 8-10 hours spread over 1-4 weeks, according to experts such as Buffer’s Alred Lua. And that’s just the tip of the content iceberg. Content curation is a powerful addition to your toolbox, tactfully curating content will save your business time and money and could produce better results than if you tried to do the same through original content.

But that’s not all. Curated content can help fill your content calendar while showcasing third-party opinions that give credence to your company’s ideas and positioning—allowing you to provide more content, and thus more value, to your followers. Adding value through content curation encourages more followers, increases trust in your brand, and encourages more engagement from your followers.
Authoritative curated content can also improve your SEO for your social media accounts, which often link back to your website, sharing that “link juice.” It also associates your brand with other trusted authorities in your industry. That trust will build with your audience, too, as they see you have your thumb on the pulse of the industry trends and views. 

It’s not all about the audience, either. Your industry peers and business network benefit greatly, as your shares and comments encourage reciprocity from your trusted industry acquaintances.

How to Judge Content for Curation

Not all content is created equal, and you should avoid tossing out links to anything semi-relevant to your industry and audience. Content curation works best when you review the content critically and feel confident associating your brand to the content you share. When assessing original content for curation, start by reading/using/watching the content completely. Then review it and start asking these types of questions:

  1. Does it come from a trustworthy source?
    1. Have they been around for a while?
    2. Does the content cite legitimate sources?
  2. Is this worth sharing?
    1. Does it add new information or interpretation to the topic?
    2. Is this something my followers would find valuable?
    3. What will this help my followers do, and how?
    4. Do I have insights I can add to this information? (Avoid no comment shares)
  3. Is this content that would make new prospects want to follow your social media?

If you can’t come up with good answers to these questions, you probably shouldn’t share the content with your audience. But, even poor content can point you in the right direction. You may be able to share one of the sources the content cites or find similar, higher-quality content that you can feel confident sharing with your audience.

Content Curation Tips: Here’s What to Do

A vital tip to successful content curation is developing a cluster of high-quality content creators who match your industry and target audience. Start by finding a wide variety of sources of different types to curate content. Below are some different types of sources you should try and track down. 

  • Industry Blogs
  • Online/Physical Publications
  • Podcasts
  • Seminars
  • Social Media Accounts
  • Tools/Apps/Web Apps
  • Tradeshows
  • Videos

But don’t stop there. Always be on the look for new sources of content. Ask yourself: what is your competition and the rest of your industry doing? Who do they curate? Identify areas where they find success or failure and learn from their mistakes to make improvements for yourself.

  • Buffer
  • CoSchedule
  • Hootsuite
  • SproutSocial

Use Content Aggregation Tools. There is a lot of content online, so it’s helpful to use one or more aggregator tools to help you sift through online content to find your diamonds in the rough more expediently. Here are some valuable tools and services for aggregation.

  • BuzzSumo
  • Feedly
  • Flipboard
  • Google Alerts/Tends
  • Instapaper
  • Pocket
  • Quora
  • RSS Feed
  • Scoop.it!
  • Twitter Lists

The best curated content is evergreen. Most of the content you want to curate should be evergreen, not a blog post that won’t be relevant in a week, especially because you’ll be scheduling it to fit into your social schedule. So, schedule curated content in your social media calendar when you find it. This approach can help you slowly and organically fill your social media posting schedule with high-quality content. Here are some social media scheduling services that can make this easier for you. 

Do right by content creators. Tag and credit original content creators on social media. Nothing draws the ire of your audience like stealing (often called freebooting) content, and that’s not what you want to be doing. If possible, link the original sources. To build interest, add a preview, insight, or quote, but don’t share the most critical piece of the original content.

Share in different places. Curated content isn’t only meant for social media. Sharing curated content through email, Quora, forums, Facebook groups, or on your company website are all great options to expand your reach and visibility using curated content.

The number one golden rule is to always ask for permission. If permission is somehow not possible to get, always attribute work appropriately, and be sure to accommodate a request to take down someone’s content immediately. Adding your insight or content to the curated piece will typically make it far more interesting and steer your curated content on the right side of Fair Use. 

Going the Extra Mile: How to Take Curated Content to The Next Level

Curated content is best when it provides a complement to the original content, not just a repost. Therefore, you should never think of content curation as repurposing someone else’s original content for your benefit. Make your content curation additive to improve the experience for your audience. By adding your perspective, additional sources, and insight to whatever content you curate, you can create added value for your followers. If you do this well, your followers will end up asking you to add your opinion on someone else’s content. 

Another common way to curate content through original work is by organizing curated content from various sources on the same topic together under one umbrella. Pooling together industry expert sources like this can help you create a unique and useful collection of interesting perspectives in one place, each supplemented with your insight. Coordinating these high-quality sources can serve as an excellent knowledge base for your company internally or your audience. 

Another way to step up your content curation is by getting your users involved. Fostering UGC through submission requests with a hashtag or survey allows you to aggregate data and varied perspectives in one place for others to see. This type of content is often very easy to create if you have a sizable following, and people are often interested in learning the perspective of their peers.

As you experiment with ideas like these, you’ll springboard your original content. For example, you might be able to provide additional information of value to a blog the creator didn’t have. Sometimes you can combine different types of curated content with your original insight into another medium. Such as taking multiple blog posts about a subject and using them with your original insights to create video content.

Don’t be afraid to try new things. Keep trying new ideas to find out what works. Over time refine your content curation by sticking with what works and throwing out what doesn’t.

Get Help Curating the Best B2B Content for Your Social Media

You may not have the 8-10 hours to create high-quality original content for your website or social media. You may not have the time to get started building a content curation system either. Bold Entity can help. Get help with your content strategy services and all your B2B digital marketing needs with Bold Entity. We can help you curate content, create engaging original content, and provide social media management and monitoring services to help your build online awareness and authority for your brand.

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