7 Easy Ways to Curate Content (& Drive Traffic)

Content Curation: How to Use Other People’s Content

Content curation involves using the  unique taste and understanding of their your target audience that only people can provide to create new and value added content. The curator carefully selects from the mass of content available and presents it in an easy to consume format.

This process highlights other people’s content as well as your organization’s older content in the context of your brand to support your marketing and business objectives.

7 Ways to curate other people’ content

Here are 7 ways to achieve content curation success with other people’s content by presenting the information in a way that highlights your brand and point of view to attract your audience. (Note: Many of these suggestions are ripe for crafting magnetic headlines! )

  1. Offer link love. While these curated posts come in a variety of formats, they help the creator of the content by linking to their original content. You can curate the top articles from your weekly reading or collect interesting videos or photographs on a topic. Each link requires a comment explaining why you believe it’s worth your reader’s time. This type of article can be a regular feature in your blog or enewsletter. For example, Gini Dietrich does a weekly round up of three things worth checking out called “Three Things”on Spin Sucks. Alternatively, email newsletters such as SmartBrief on Social Media and Who’s Blogging What provide curated articles in their field. Think of this type of curation as being a targeted, pre-Internet clipping service like the ones shared within companies. BTW, don’t underestimate the value of doing this type of curation for your organization. Content marketing tip: Ask colleagues or readers to submit their favorite posts of the week along with their comments.
  2. Collect a “Best of List”. Use this format to gather the top information on a topic. It’s a great approach for covering an event or conference by gathering quotes and/or tweets and adding your own perspective. Employ the content that you have available. If you only have comments or reviews, then use those. (Here are thirteen tips to write amazing list posts.) The goal is to provide new, interesting information which your audience will like. This is a great way to get non-promotional content for retailers. Here’s an example where I curated quotes from Content Marketing World 2012’s rockstars and added my own insights.

    Content marketing tip: Include a few of your blog posts with a short blurb in your newsletter. This is a great way to extend your content marketing offering.
  3. Round up posts. Gather input from a variety of people, preferably experts, by asking them short easy-to-answer questions. These posts have the advantage that participants will often comment and share the content on social media.  Here’s an example of a post where I collected definitions from seventy-two experts.Content marketing tip: Ensure that participants know about the published piece by including their names in your social media shares as well as sending them an email highlighting the column. Don’t forget to share the love by linking back to their website or blog. As an added bonus, include an image of the expert. (BTW-Don’t change their wording without their permission even if it’s only to fix their grammar.)
  4. Research review. These posts can be a collection of facts (with the sources), a set of charts, or a combination of charts and explanation. Be warned these articles take time to prepare. In addition to gathering the most important information available, you need to discern what the research means and translate it into plain English for readers. When charts and explanations are added, more work and writing is required. Here’s a research round up of social media facts where I showed the chart, stated the facts and provided insights.Content marketing tip: Make sure you source the research and related charts. Take care when using data from different sources since it may not be comparable.
  5. Create a Top 10 List. These articles are link and social media bait. It’s a great way to attract attention of those on the list. You can do this for the top blogs, experts or products. Here’s Hubspot’s Top Thirty Nine Inbound Blogs.
    Content marketing tip: 
    Let those who are on your list know so that they can promote the list for you. This is powerful if they’ve got a strong follower base.
  6. Add commentary to someone else’s column. Note this form of curation walks a thin line between curation and plagiarism. (Check out Digiday’s Brian Morrisey commentary on this practice.) It involves using part of a third party’s content and extending it by adding commentary. While this type of curation has become more popular with publishers like Gawker and Business Insider, you must pay attention to the original content creator and publisher’s fair use terms (i.e.-Creative Commons). For example, this blog only allows others to use one paragraph without prior permission and requires a link back to the original article. Here’s an example from Gawker that references an article on BuzzFeedContent marketing tip: Make sure that you add value to the content in the form of additional commentary and provide a link back to the original article.
  7. Leverage second rights. Get other content creators to share their content with you after ten to fourteen days. (So they can to capture the search benefit of being the initial publisher of the content.) As a curator, you can modify their title and/or use a different image to match your branding. The amount of change depends on your house rules and their permission. You should link to their website and keep all of the original links in the article.Here’s an example of PR Daily’s republication of my article on Dr. Seuss’ 7 Social Media Lessons. Compare it to the original below which was focused on Christmas and the Grinch. Note that PR Daily (with my permission) used my second title, changed the image and cut out my introduction after the initial sentence.
  8. Content marketing tip: Always ask permission to use other people’s content and to allow you to make any modifications.

These curation options provide a variety of ways for spotlighting other people’s content. If your time is limited, use researchers to do the legwork involved in collecting and vetting articles and references.

Have you used any of these seven forms of content curation? If so, what did you learn?

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen

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Here are some related articles of interest:

Content Curation-12 Ways to Add Value

Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mtl_shag/96574209/


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17 Responses to 7 Easy Ways to Curate Content (& Drive Traffic)

  1. Tried some of these strategies for surejobz.com – works! #4 above is a good one. BufferApp and HootSuite makes life easier for me though.

  2. pamelamuldoon says:

    Fantastic list, Heidi! Love the visual examples and look forward to implementing a few of these. Have you ever used the WP Plugin Curation Traffic? Makes it easy to implement #6: http://curationtraffic.com/

  3. Quincy Carter says:

    This actual just happen to some of my review post at http://veryberrygame.com . After talking to the author he was kind enough to follow more of these guidelines. So now we both win.

  4. carlos says:

    Outstanding summery and I very much needed this guideline. Much prosperity to you!

  5. suzen pettit says:

    and here it is. I’m excited at the contribution your great blog will make for make for my audience. http://www.omaginarium.com/blog/?p=1027

  6. suzen pettit says:

    wow Heidi, i just stumbled on this while preparing my next blog for a series I’m doing on driving traffic. I’m also bound and determined to drive a lot more traffic to my own site over the summer and really build my list..you have so many things I havent thought of. I’m going to link to it in my post and send to you…thanks so much

  7. I just thinking…Maybe people with English as a second language can benefit from content curation and make their life easier and might autsorce less.

  8. JFK Jeff says:

    Heidi, have to spend some time reading this, but the Item on Beyonce caught my attention. That is my daughter Lauren Yapalater who created that post at Buzzfeed. Even got an animee created from it from unknown Oriental company.

  9. JessieZubatkin says:

    Great article Heidi – i enjoy how you talk about using curated content outside of the RSS feed.

  10. This is great, Heidi! As I was reading, I thought, “How long did it take her to do this?” Man! Lots of great work.

  11. Alex Robinson says:

    Thank you for this helpful article, Heidi. In your view would it be alright to end a post with a list of linked articles to suggest additional reading? The list might include the article’s name (linked), author, site name.

    • HeidiCohen says:


      I think that adding a list of related articles at the end of a blog post or other content is helpful if they’re relevant to the reader. It’s the same logic behind linking to sources and relevant articles and examples. As long as the article is referenced properly, it’s fine.

      Understand that hand selecting the articles can be time consuming and automating the process can yield less than optimal results.

      Happy marketing,
      Heidi Cohen

  12. Jeff Ente (Who's Blogging What says:

    Heidi- Great article and thanks (of course) for mentioning Who’s Blogging What. One essential requirement that I feel runs across all of the ideas that you suggest is to really get to know your audience. What media are they consuming other than yours? Do they need to know ‘what’ happened? Or do they want some background and ideas for moving forward? Also, segment your suggestions. Not everyone is interested in reading about every subject, so do some work for them and make it easy to find the articles that they really want (or need) to see. Thanks!

    • HeidiCohen says:

      Jeff– You make important points. Any content creator or curator should consider what else your reader is consuming and how. You should know who your peers are. Further content curation should provide a service to the reader by organizing the content. Happy marketing, Heidi Cohen