Content Curation: 19 Definitions

Content Marketing Experts Define Content Curation

While every marketer must have content marketing, their biggest challenge is producing sufficient content, given their budget and staff resources, that attracts and converts prospects. Many marketers curate other people’s content to supplement the original information they create.

To better understand what content curation is and how to use it to achieve your business objectives, here’s how nineteen content marketing experts define content curation.

1. Content curation is to make the whole stronger than the sum of the parts. Dan Blank of We Grow Media.

2. Content curation is the process of identifying content created by others that will be valuable for your audience and then publishing it on your own platform. Michael Brenner of SAP and the B2B Insider blog.

3. Content curation is hand selecting content created by other sources and sharing them with your community. Best done when whoever is curating adds their own explanation for sharing, reaction or opinions. C.C. Chapman author of Author of Amazing Things Will Happen and co-author of  Content Rules.

4. Content curation is the process of choosing the most relevant information to meet your readers’ needs on a specific topic like a good editor or museum curator. Content curation requires more than just the selection of information. It’s the assembling, categorizing, commenting and presenting the best content available. Heidi Cohen of Riverside Marketing Strategies.

5. My favorite definition of Content Curation is by Rohit Bhargava: “A Content Curator is someone who continually finds, groups, organizes and shares the best and most relevant content on a specific issue online.” There are a few key parts of this definition worth highlighting. First is a content curator is “someone”.  Content curation cannot be performed solely by an algorithm.  It involves a person who is a domain expert in the middle to be selective, and add value along the process. Secondly, it’s something that needs to done “continually”.  Other forms of offline curation, can be performed once (such as curating an art gallery).  When it comes to online curation, a good content curator is continually and consistently staying on top of a topic area as a trusted resource for their audience. Third, a curator is not simply regurgitating any content that they come across, but they are very discerning, discriminative, and selective in only sharing the “best and most relevant” content. Lastly, a curator focusses on “a specific issue”.  They do not curate on all topics under the sun.  Instead, they specialize on a single specific topic and over time have the opportunity to become an authority and perhaps even a thought leader on that topic. Pawan Deshpande of Curata

6. When I think of content curation, I think of ants, and how they pass bits of information on to one another with dances and touches of their antennae. A major portion of social media communications is just that – people sharing information with one another, much of the time without any commentary of their own. In doing so, people define and express themselves through that act of sharing. That act of choosing one piece of information to share as opposed to another is ever bit as expressive of the individual as if they had been the original author. Ric Dragon of Dragon Search and Author of Social Marketology.

7. A good content curator finds and filters content created elsewhere and presents it to their audience because it’s relevant and useful. When I do it, I try to present information that validates an opinion of mine or occasionally I’ll curate content that’s kind of on the periphery of my expertise, but not expressly in my wheelhouse. With most of the stuff I pass along, I’m thinking “I wish I had thought of that.” Barry Feldman author of The Plan to Grow Your Business with Effective Online Marketing, a free e-book.

8. Content curation is the selection and sharing of content deemed relevant for a given audience. I view it on a continuum starting with aggregation (typically automated), curation (manual or semi-automated) and analysis. Each has its own value proposition. The value of aggregation is in finding and organizing information; curation is a time-saver, identifying which content should be read; analysis or synthesis provides the publisher’s viewpoint on the underlying information. Barry Graubert of Content Matters.

9. Content curation is the process of identifying the most relevant content on a subject, then sifting and sorting through to cherry-pick the gems that you think will provide the most value to your audience or like-minded people.  Kelly Hungerford of

10. Content curation is the process of finding the best and most appropriate content for your audience and then sharing it with them. Dave Kerpen of Likeable Media and Author of  Likeable Business and  Likeable Social Media.

11. Content curation is a way to view the world through an expert’s eyes.  A great curator selects from a great many sources, is clear on mission and scope, is consistent on selection criteria (“most thoughtful”, “most original”, “funniest”, “latest”), adds value with indexing and/or commentary, gives credit where credit is due, and shares generously with his/her sources. Michael Kolowich of KnowledgeVision.

12. I would define curation as the aggregation and summarization of specific online content. This often means sorting through large amounts of information and publishing it in an organized manner for your audience(s). Arnie Kuenn of Vertical Measures and author of Accelerate.

13. Content curation is using strategy and judgement to assemble, share and/or disseminate content from non-primary sources for a select or distinct audience. Just today, I was talking to a senior executive of a wildlife conservation organization who was telling me how her group curates content for major donors. Some are interested in the ivory trade, for example, others in global warming. While the group doesn’t create content on these topics, they do track what’s relevant and share it with their interested constituencies to strengthen ties with donors, maintain a position of thought leadership, and enter into deeper discussions with their most important donors. Rebecca Lieb of Altimeter and Author of Content Marketing and The Truth About Search Engine Optimization.

14. I would define content curation as simply filtering relevant content to your social channels and adding insightful commentary to it on why it would appeal to a certain audience. We produce a lot of content and really don’t curate much content at all. If you are a small business looking for content for your social channels, this is a pretty good substitute for the interim. Just pick the best and curate it out to your channels, with proper attribution of course. Jason Miller of Marketo.

15. Content curation is the process of sorting through the vast majority of content on the web and presenting it in a meaningful way. Neil Patel of Kiss Metrics.

16. Content curation is organizing and presenting external, valuable content in a particular niche and presenting that to a defined user base in a compelling way. Joe Pulizzi of Content Marketing Institute and Author of Managing Content Marketing and Get Content Get Customers.

17. Content curation is the process of using technology to identify sources of content, which are then filtered through human curator for editorial relevancy to a select audience, and then redistributed in a way that tells a story and keeps that audience engaged over time. Nate Riggs

18. Content curation is the process of finding, organizing and annotating content assets to support digital storytelling efforts. Curation tools use natural language processing to filter content based on keywords, allowing you to build and refine an interest graph that helps surface relevant content. Storytellers can then add their own insights, analysis and observations as annotations alongside original content. Jake Sorofman of Gartner.

19. One way or another, everyone is a content curator. Curation is a quick easy way to ensure that you never run out of content. Pull together pictures, videos and blog posts that tell your story, and then build a list using, a board in Pinterest or a blog roll. I’ve written blog posts around images or content that was produced by someone else – like in this Friday’s Innovation Inspiration series. I wrote the lead and nut graph in this post, but I pulled in the top seven tips from an article by Doug Henschen. The easiest curation trick is probably to write a roundup – find posts by other authors that help to make your point. When you write your post, embed the links to those posts in a bulleted list. You will never run out of content. Waynette Tubbs of SAS.


Content curation can be an effective strategy for extending your content marketing offering. But you must give appropriate attribution and add your own commentary.

How do you define content curation? Please add your thoughts to the comments below.

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Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Heidi CohenHeidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies.
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