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best practices for content curation

Best Practices for Content Curation

Today we cover some of the best practices for content curation. If your new to curation you’ll want to check out a few of our recent episodes or visit the curation resources section of our site. You can listen and download above or watch the video down below. Also subscribe to our podcast in Itunes.

Best Practices in Content Curation:

  • Own the platform
  • Always attribute your source
  • Add great insight or commentary
  • Keep a schedule
  • Find awesome sources
  • Consistently surprise your audience

Here’s a brief overview of each one of these but we go into greater detail in today’s show.

Own the Platform

Why this is a best practice for content curation is without own the platform you are not able to monetize right away. Also as time goes on when you own the platform you get the benefit of all the curated content.

This builds not only your authority but also your digital footprint. This helps with allowing you or your company send the right signals to the search engines. We cover this in a little bit more detail in the post linked above but also in today’s show.

Attribute Your Source

This is not only a best practice in content curation but in life as well. Have you ever come across someone who you know consistently is taking ideas or concepts from someone else, but they never credit that other source? If you have then I bet in your eyes they lost some credibility  This works the same way when you curate content.

The general rule is be very liberal in your sourcing and make it plain as day without hiding links, sources, and attribution. in some ways this is one of the most important best practices in content curation.

Add Great Commentary

This is where curation shines, without great commentary in some ways you just adding to the noise. I will add one caveat to that though. Sometimes just the sheer act of your curating something is value enough. The best well known example of this is the DrudgeReport.com. Very seldom is there any commentary other than a link but the act of the site highlight that particular story is the value in the curation itself.

Generally though it’s better to add your own thoughts and ideas or at a bare minimum why you chose to curate that piece of content.

Keep to a Curation Schedule

This is a best practice for any marketing or inbound strategy but is a must for content curation. The main reason why is trust and authority is built overtime. The more that you become reliable and are seen as someone who is consistently creating value the more trust and authority you will build with your target market or niche. So keep to a schedule when you curate.

Find Awesome Sources

This one is huge. If you want to be a star curator and really make curation work for you follow one simple rule. Don’t curate content, stories, videos, etc. that everybody else in your market shares. This might be something that’s hard at first but the more you get away from those stories the more valuable your curation becomes. We talk about this a little bit more in the episode.

Surprise People or Your Audience

This is another big one. People like surprises (that’s also why the previous point we talked about is important).

How do  you surprise people with content curation? One simple way is to curate content they would never come across but they would find tremendous value. Usually this means your stepping outside of your core market and looking at other verticals or niches to find good ideas. Then you take those good ideas and you relate them to your market or your niche.

Best Practices for Content Curation Wrap Up

That’s about all for this episode, sure there might be a few more best practices and the best way to get those is to subscribe to our podcast in Itunes or you can subscribe to your RSS feed. You can also follow us on YouTube.

Is Content Curation an Ethical Content Strategy?

The question over the ethics involved with content curation is not a new debate. It’s been going on for years, and I expect it to go on for years to come. Regardless of that continuing debate, one thing is certain; it’s a strategy that content marketers will continue to use and explore. But can they do it with a clear conscience? My answer is, yes, if you follow some straightforward, ethical guidelines that start with understanding what content curation is and what it is not.

“I Once Heard a Story About…”

So, what is content curation? Well, have you ever heard someone tell a story that wasn’t their own? We do it all the time. The stories that other people share about their own experiences can be powerful illustrations to back our own viewpoint or experience. There is nothing wrong with that. Everyone does it. Many instances in history and media support the practice. And, as long as credit is given where credit is due, it’s a legitimate tool.

Content curation does a similar thing. A content curator borrows a story or idea from someone else and presents it in a way that highlights a point that the curator believes is important.

curation and stories pull quote

Done in this way, proper content curation is ethical. In fact, when done well, it is appreciated by readers and content producers alike.

Curation is not piracy. Unlike content curation, pirating is illegal and can get you into some serious legal trouble. And, unfortunately for those who find themselves mixed up in it, the legal problems are not the only major dilemma they bring on themselves. Their reputation is also likely to suffer, and in the land of internet marketing, reputation is everything.

Pirating VS Curating Content

So, what’s the difference between curating content and pirating? How can you be sure that what you do remains under the label of curation and doesn’t cross over to pirating? Well, though the two may seem very similar, where ethics are concerned, they are actually vastly different.

Pirating is stealing. It describes taking content word for word or concept for concept, whole or in part, and publishing it. There’s no other way to put this—it is simply wrong.

Content curation, on the other hand, is not stealing. It is ethical because it involves only using carefully selected parts of the content, adding relevant commentary or insight, or highlighting specific parts of it, and always assigning credit to the content’s originator. In other words, you add to the discussion involving the content.

The difference is not even subtle; pirating is stealing and it is unethical. This includes article spinning, where words or ideas are stolen from somewhere and changed just enough to make it appear to be original content. It rarely does appear to be original, which hurts the reputation of those who practice article spinning. Not only is it clear that they are practicing piracy by stealing the original content, but they are also taking efforts to cover that fact; something that is not held in high esteem by many people, including the search engines who may block such content.

Content curation, on the other hand, is not done in the shadows of the digital marketplace. It is an honest endeavor that adds value, offers fresh perspectives, and enhances the ecosystem of ideas that is the digital landscape.

So is Curation Unethical?

Because it does get confused with piracy, I think that an end to this debate is still a ways off. Some content producers will always have a strong reaction when they see their content curated. Some appreciated it; others do not. I believe, however, that the digital world has evolved enough that this is no longer a question about whether content curation is an ethical strategy. I believe it is more about whether you are doing it right. If you are, then, in my book, you’re in the clear.

I also have a follow up post here shortly discussing the traffic issue in curation, so stay tuned for that.

Doing it right image by bigboy.

Does Content Curation Help Your SEO?

Here’s a question we get often… does content curation help in my search engine optimization (SEO)?

This was something we really worried about when first we first started curating. We didn’t want to be penalized by the search engines when we upped our curated content. The main reason why was some of our best converting offers come from search traffic… so we beyond a doubt we didn’t want to send the wrong signals.

What we found surprised us quite a bit and I can unequivocally say that curation helps in your SEO efforts.

In fact, within a few hours after we started curating we saw search traffic.

Here’s How We Set Up Our Curated Site…

We set up curation within the directory structure of one of our main domains, in essence when we released our curated site it just looked like we upped our content output.

A good example of this in action is how we curate at youbrandinc.com (which is our main site) and our curation site is youbrandinc.com/marketing-news/. When we started curating here we also saw search traffic within hours of releasing our first curations.

Pretty amazing if you think about it. Still, we were surprised that some of our posts were within the top 10 of rankings for key phrases and key topics.

Why Does Curation Help?

Here’s the top 4 ways that Curation can help with your SEO…

  1. Search engines need signals – When you curate content from credible sources it shows that you have a trusted and authoritative site.
  2. It adds life to your site – Search engines love more and more content. When you curate you typically are adding 4-10 posts a day, more content equals a more living and breathing site.
  3. It keeps your site relevant – typically you’re curating things that are cutting edge in your market. When you curate in any market you’re typically sharing the latest trends, news, and tips. The search engines pick up on this and see your site as relevant to the market.
  4. Curation helps build authority – The more authority you have (in real life) the more trusted your digital content becomes.

Most of the curated content that we created included a few sentences of the original article, commentary of a few sentences  and a link back to the original source.

A Little Behind the Scenes

We also released this curated site with the Curation Traffic Theme before it had some great features we’ve recently added, such as microformats, the ability to limit the amount of links that went to the original source, and speed enhancements.

I mention that because I believe that if we released those same sites today it would have been even more successful (looking at it just from the SEO perspective).

Even without a tool like Curation Traffic I still feel curation can play a good central role in helping you build the SEO profile of any website or domain.