The Definitive Solopreneur Content Curation Guide

solopreneur content curationAre you a business or marketing team of one worried about your business’s visibility in today’s content-filled world?

Don‘t sweat it!

Use content curation to keep your brand visible on existing owned, social, and third party media even if your resources are limited.

Content curation assembles, selects, categorizes, comments on, and presents the most relevant quality information targeted to meet your audience’s information needs.  (Here’s how 19 marketing experts define content curation.) As a result, it:

  • Positions you as a tastemaker. By selecting must-read information, you set the standards in your niche.
  • Broadens the voices and influencers aligned with your content and business. Choose expertise and influencers you don’t have in-house.
  • Facilitates content creation. It reduces your need for original content. Further, it streamlines the creation process and costs by establishing easy-to-follow formats and publishing schedules.

Ideally curate 25% of your content marketing according to Curata’s Pawan Despande.

But if your financial and people resources are limited, bend the rules and deliver curated content on a consistent basis to meet your audience’s content needs.

This article provides a streamlined content curation development process and provides 3 key solopreneur content curation options.


How To Maximize Solopreneur Content Curation Results

To streamline the solopreneur content curation process, follow these 3 steps to maximize your results with limited resources.

1. Select a content curation format

Start with one content format to get established. For example, Scott Monty uses an email newsletter to build his list. By contrast Aaron Orendorff uses mega-roundup articles on third party media entities.

Select a format that’s easy to create and enables you to reach an addressable audience. With the recent Facebook issues, it’s increasingly important to own your audience. For most solopreneurs and businesses, this often translates to blog posts and/or email newsletters.

Depending on your skill set, other options include podcasts, videos and/or message delivery.

Solopreneur content curation key:  Easy-to-create and publish fresh content on a regular basis that allows for reuse.

Solopreneur content curation key:  Easy-to-create and publish fresh content on a regular basis that allows for reuse. #contentmarketingClick To Tweet


2. Create a standard content curation outline

Establish a standard outline for curated content to streamline your creation process. Further, it helps attract an audience.

As a starting point, adapt my content curation outline to meet your specific needs. It includes:

  1. Beginning: Introduction
  2. Middle: Body consisting of 1 to 10 points
  3. End: Conclusion including a call-to-action

Each point in the article body should provide these 5 elements:

  1. A new headline to stand out from the original content.
  2. Editorial selection to choose the best content for your audience.
  3. Original commentary. Add your perspective and improve your reader’s understanding. For example, Contently limits curation choices to content with a unique perspective aligned with its mission.
  4. A new image to attract attention. Peg Fitzpatrick uses new images for her social media shares to enhance her brand without shouting me, me, me.
  5. Acknowledgement of the content’s original source including the URL. This is key! Otherwise you’re stealing someone else’s IP.
Content Curation Outline-Worksheet

Curated Content Outline to streamline content creation process – Worksheet by Heidi Cohen

3. Set a consistent publishing schedule

Determine when you’ll publish and distribute your curated content. Make a commitment to your readers to consistently deliver your information. (Here’s more information on Annual Content Planning.)

To remain visible, become part of your audience’s information routine. Ideally communicate with them once a week on the same day and time.

Set reader expectations. Let your audience know how frequently you’ll communicate with them.

While best days and times vary, your choices are:

  • Weekdays when your audience seeks bite-size information on-the-go.
  • Weekends when people sit back and are actively involved with your information. BuzzSumo’s Steve Rayson was surprised at the level of readership involvement and feedback for his Sunday Social Media Today
Monthly Content Curration

Different ways to schedule content curation – Heidi Cohen – Chart


3 Types of Solopreneur Content Curation

These 3 types of solopreneur content curation meet your content marketing needs while helping readers accomplish their goals.

The key to solopreneur content curation success: Culling the best information to meet your readers’ needs.

The key to solopreneur content curation success: Culling the best information to meet your readers’ needs. #contentmarketingClick To Tweet


1. Curate The News

  • Business objective: Positions you as thought leader
  • Key audience benefit: Selects best information available and organizes it to save time.
  • Publishing frequency: Aim for weekly communication. Alternatively, use this format monthly to spotlight your organization’s articles and news.

Like a museum curator, you’re an arbitor of what’s important to know in your niche. The curated news approach works best when your defined area of interest is aligned with your audience’s information needs.

But don’t imitate an existing newsletter or other similar form of news roundup in your niche. Don’t create me-to content. Instead follow Andy Crestodina’s advice and niche down or select another form of content curation.

Scott Monty and Christopher S. Penn create must-read curated weekly emailings organized by category. They choose their selections from their daily content intake and add commentary.

solopreneur content curation

Scott Monty captures attention for his curated news with a painting

curated content

Add commentary and images where appropriate for curated news

With help from Alistair Croll and Hugh McGuire, Mirum’s Mitch Joel spotlights 6 articles per week in a blog column dubbed 6 Links Worthy of Your Attention.

weekly content curation

Mitch Joel’s 6 links worthy of your attention – Weekly blog post

Curated News tools include:

  • Flipboard (Used by Scott Monty)
  • It
  • Feedly
  • Pocket to save and organize articles of interest (Used by Mitch Joel)
  • Email marketing provider (Actionable Marketing Guide uses AWeber)

 Actionable Content Curation Marketing Tips:

  • Laser-focus your topic. Become the must-read or go-to resource. Define your niche and perspective for your audience and business.
  • Organize the information you share to add value for your readers.

2. Focused Spotlight Curation

  • Business objective: Provides content aligned with your product offering.
  • Key audience benefit: Supplies useful and/or entertaining content.
  • Publishing frequency: Disribute weekly, bi-weekly or monthly.

Focused Spotlight Curation targets a specific topic or product category. For example print publication, The Week, offers many variations of Focused Spotlight Curation. For those interested in real estate, they curate “Best Properties On The Market”. Each week has a location or home type theme including the “Steal of the Week”.

Additionally The Week selects an author to curate their “Best Books” column.

solopreneur content curation

Example of Focused Spotlight Curation – The Week’s Author Picks 

On Fridays, sewing and knitting blogger and solopreneur Karen Templer of Fringe Association curates relevant links from around the Internet in a column dubbed “Elsewhere“.

Solopreneur Content Curation

Fringe Association’s Karen Templer’s Friday curation of links

Take advantage of UGC (aka: user-generated content). Spin Sucks’s Gini Dietrich curates YouTube videos in her Saturday column, Gin and Topics. She uses a Slack group to surface the best videos.

focused spotlight curation

Make your curated content worth reading–Gini Dietrich adds a personal touch

Focused Spotlight Curation Tools:

  • Slack or social media group like Facebook or LinkedIn. Use to get community input.
  • Amplification sites like, GrowthHacker and Reddit
  • HARO (aka: Help A Reporter Out) to attract input from outside of your community. Dietrich used this tactic when she started her column!

Actionable Content Curation Marketing Tips:

  • Give contributors recognition, whether it’s UGC or a recommendation. Dietrich acknowledges the contributor and links to their site.
  • Include a call-to-action to get future suggestions.

    content curation

    Add a call-to-action to get reader contributions

3. Curated Roundup Articles

  • Business objective: Attract traffic and build influencer connections.
  • Key audience benefit: Provides in-depth resources and input from well known resources
  • Publishing frequency: Monthly due to the work involved.

While curated roundup posts attract attention, they involve behind-the-scenes influencer outreach and follow up. Further, you’re dependent on other people’s timetables.

As a solopreneur start with a set of related monthly themes for the entire year that are integrated into your content marketing strategy.

For participant outreach, check Hubspot’s approach using Google.

Curated Roundup Article-content curation

Here’s how Hubspot uses Google to collect input for their Curated Roundup posts

Use a business email that contains your name, not a general email inbox! Show that you’re a real person.

Curated roundup articles can involve experts, influencers, employees, customers and social media followers.

Where appropriate, create additional content by asking one or two participants additional questions.

A variation of the curated roundup is a panel approach. Instead of asking everyone a specific question, you ask a few people several questions.

Curation Roundup Article Tools:

  • Google Forms
  • Other project management tools like Trello to collect and organize outreach
  • Social media platforms for communications and outreach

Actionable Content Curation Marketing Tips:

  • Limit your request to one simple question. Focus your request to minimize respondent effort.
  • Make the most of your outreach communication. Include WIIFM for the recipient and explain your selection process. Clarify your input request, other necessary information, and response deadline.
  • Send one follow up a week later. Remind contributors who haven’t responded but don’t be a pest.
  • Thank contributors when the post is published. Show your appreciation for their time and offer preformatted social shares. Don’t  push for sales or demonstrations.

    curated content

    Example of Aaron Orendorff’s Curated Roundup Thank You Follow Up


Solopreneur Content Curation Conclusion

To fill your editorial calendar cost and resource effectively tap into the power of solopreneur content curation. Produce quality content that showcases your thought leadership while giving readers the information they need and saving them time.

By publishing on a consistent basis, your curated content becomes part of your audience’s weekly content consumption.

Use an established format to streamline your content creation process.

Start small and test different approaches to see what resonates best with your audience.

The bottom line: Content curation is made to order for resource constrained marketers and solorpeneurs.

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Heidi CohenHeidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies.
You can find Heidi on FacebookTwitter and Google+.


Photo Credit: cc zero

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