Content Curation Grows Up: What You Need To Know

Content Curation Joins The Content Marketing Team

Free_stock_photo_of_fashion__person__handsIf content marketing is a teenager who’s left home, then content curation is its ever-present romantic attachment.

Like teenage love, content curation holds a strong sway over content marketing. That’s what happens when you’re in love.

Content curation may never reach content marketing’s prominence. But it’s increasingly important to your overall content marketing strategy. It’s not just something that’s nice to have. (Note: The Week and John Oliver’s This Week Tonight focus solely on curated content.)

Hiring key headcount and content curation software investment is a harbinger of contextual marketing. It signals content alone has difficulty attracting audience attention.

To ensure your target audience finds and consumes your content, you must promote it while ensuring it remains contextually relevant to your reader. This means using different formats and promotion options. Some, if not all, of your content must be mobile first. Otherwise you risk your audience will miss it.


Content curation grows up: 3 Content marketing elementsFree_stock_photo_of_fashion__person__hands

1. Content curation grows up to support your content strategy

Reflecting content marketing’s coming of age, content curation requires a focus aligned with your content strategy and  business goals. Ideally, these should be broader than making money.

Like content marketing, content curation requires a documented strategy to reach its maximum potential. It must be integrated into your documented editorial mission.

Further, content curation thrives on intelligent content. To effectively curate owned content, you must be able to identify related and relevant content.

Content Marketing Institute’s Joe Pulizzi realized this when he hired a content curator.

The blooming of content curation signals that your content marketing has grown up. It’s also evidence of contextual marketing since you’re moving beyond once-and-done content. But, it must show measurable results. The ability to curate your internal content is key to achieving this objective.

Despite, this, marketers are slow to adopt and integrate curation into their content mix.

2. Content curation grows up to support content creation

As an integral part of your content creation plan, content curation grows up to provide:

  • Stand alone content
  • Addons to your new content or updated content


Standalone content curation

Standalone content curation offers relatively low effort content creation. It requires editorial selection combined with commentary, headlines and images. This stretches your content budget.

While marketers continue to maintain or increase content budgets, standalone content curation extends the life of relevant content. This gives you breathing space in your editorial calendar.

3 Types of standalone content curation:

  1. Regular columns to meet a set publishing schedule
  2. Occasional content to fill an editorial gap
  3. Epic content to support a major marketing objective or campaign

Regular column

Content curation can be a regular feature in your editorial calendar or a recurring feature (at least monthly so readers are familiar with it). Like other cyclical content, it helps to brand your content curation.

Gini Dietrich of Spin Sucks writes a regular Saturday blog post called Gin and Topics. Its consistent format includes the same image and 5 curated videos with short commentary. While most bloggers avoid Saturday publication, Dietrich gives readers fun content.

Gin and Topics invites readers to submit videos. They get a shout out when Dietrich uses their selection. She imbeds Click-to-Tweet cards that stand out and encourage readers to share the content.

Spin Sucks Gin & Tonic Logo

Example of Stand Alone Content Curation - Spin Sucks

Example of Stand Alone Content Curation – Spin Sucks

By contrast, Copyblogger curates its own existing content. While it’s a regular element of their editorial calendar, it’s not done on a specific schedule.

The standalone Copyblogger curated content is branded. It highlights 3 articles on a related theme with a branded image. There’s editorial commentary about the topic and each article.

Copyblogger Content Curation - Branded

Copyblogger Content Curation – Branded

Copyblogger Content Curation - Continued

Copyblogger Content Curation – Continued

Occassional articles

Content Marketing Institute leverages its ever-growing body of content. It regularly creates content by curating their own existing content.

My favorite occasional curated column is Michele Linn’s collection of essential editorial content templates. Despite that fact that content curation has grown up, I still go back to this resource again and again. This piece pre-dates the hiring of a Director of Content Curation.

Epic content

Epic curated content supports a larger marketing objective than a blog post or occasional article. LinkedIn’s Jason Miller calls this “Big Rock Content.” It’s the turkey that gets carved up for leftovers.

While this standalone content curation can be a mega-listicle or pillar content, more often this is content like the conference ebooks curated by Top Rank’s Lee Odden. This curated content requires a lot of work. Publish this curated content quarterly or monthly to drive traffic.

Content curation as part of new or updated content

Content curation grows up and goes beyond new standalone content. Smart content marketers include it every piece of content they publish.

Incorporate content curation into new content

Make curated content standout from your new content. Co-Schedule does this in every article. It keeps readers on your site longer reading related content. To this end, you need intelligent content.

Co-Schedule's Internal Content Curation

Co-Schedule’s Internal Content Curation

Further, your content creation, curation and search must be coordinated. Orbit Media’s Andy Crestodina is the master. He writes every blog and guest post to rank for a targeted keyword phrases and related links. He uses a hub and spoke model.

Your welcome series is another great place to spotlight these older gems.

Also hand select related links at the end of your articles to improve your bounce rate.

Curate existing content for repromotion and updates

Don’t underestimate the value of your existing content, especially if your audience has grown significantly.

Either repromote existing content by adding an editorial note or by updating it (this helps search optimization.) This often requires limited work.


3. Content curation grows up to supports content promotion

Content curation’s coming of age’s power straddles content marketing and social media.

Even if you don’t integrate content curation into your content strategy, it’s critical to your social media strategy. Regardless of your owned versus third party content social media sharing ratio, you can’t shout ME, ME, ME.

You must be part of the social media community. Like at any coffee clutch, cocktail party or water cooler conversation, everyone wants the latest salacious gossip but not your complaints.

Content curation is your social media 911. It positions you as a thought leader while providing  backup in an emergency. With it you participate without being the overbearing person a friend has to pull aside to tell to stop complaining.

Selectively choose your topic. People like routines and boundaries. We learned this as small children. Consistency counts. You want your audience to know what you stand for.

Apply Chris Brogan’s 3 word approach to the key elements for which you want to be known. This allows you to pivot towards new topics.

To effectively curate content, use a combination of owned, social media and third party platforms.

Owned curation promotion

Use owned media to curate your niche content. You can limit yourself to curating other people’s content. Two examples: Traffic Generation Café’s Ana Hoffman does a must-read weekly roundup on her blog, and Sugarrae who curates the latest search and affiliate news on her email list.Curated_Third_Party_Content_On_Owned_Media-Ana_Hoffman

Sugarrae's Email Content Curation

Sugarrae’s Email Content Curation

Social media curation promotion

Curate a mix of owned and third party content on a few social media platforms to develop your squad. Add new social media options strategically depending on your resources. Peg Fitzpatrick is a master Pinterest curator.

Social Media Content Curation On PInterest

Third party curation promotion

Use content aggregators like, Alltop and Scoop.It to curate a mix of owned and third party content. Robin Good provides an on-going selection of information on content curation via Scoop.It. Robin_Good_curates_content_on_third_party_Scoop_it


As content curation grows up, it’s no longer the content stepchild. It’s a legitimate member of the content marketing family.

Advanced content marketing requires an integrated content curation strategy aligned with your overall content strategy to maximize ROI.

Curation will become a key element of every content marketing plan to support enhanced existing content.

This will be a boon to nimble marketers who realize content doesn’t fulfill one lone need on the customer journey. Curating content to optimize presentation enables your existing information to be effective at different points along the purchase process.

Sophisticated content curation extends beyond fulfilling your content needs. It builds connections with influencers, partners, customers and social media fans. By spotlighting their relevant content in your brand’s context when and where your audience wants it, you extend your brand, reach and sales cost-effectively.

Give your content marketing a boost with grownup content curation.

How do you use curated content and what are your results?

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Heidi CohenHeidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies.
You can find Heidi on , Facebook and .


P.S. Hat tip to Ann Handley for introducing the idea of content marketing as a teenager.

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