The old cliché about content being king may feel worn out, but it has never been truer. Quality content is more important than ever, but it’s not just the content itself; it’s the relationships that are born out of the conversations started from your content. So it has to appeal to more than just search engines. What does this mean for you? Your content has to be relevant, timely and interesting to read.
But you don’t have to write all of the content yourself. You can enlist the help of guest bloggers, paid contributors and others. The key is to cull the content down to what is interesting and relevant to your audience. Here are 10 tips to curate content in a way that will bring users to your site again and again.
1. Use Content Curation Tools
Feedly, Storify and List.ly are great examples of content curation tools. You can create your own news feed based on the keywords that are important to you and share your curated “newspaper” on social media. Because it is a culmination of many sources, the paper itself will be unique to you. Just keep in mind that many people are using these tools for the exact same purpose, so yours must stand above the rest in order to get noticed. Content curation software is just a tool. You need some skill and creativity to turn the result into something usable.
2. Browse Content Curation Sites
If you want to create a content curation wikipedia on your website, look at what else is out there. See what your competitors are doing and figure out what you can do better. Then, look some of the best content curation sites out there (competitors or not) and see how you can emulate what they are doing for your own purposes.
3. Consider a Content Curation Service
There are some services, such as Outbrain and Demand Studios, that work with partner websites to distribute high-quality, relevant content. You can work with these companies if you’re looking to publish curated content or if you’re looking for a wider audience for your own content (or both). But there’s no need to go it alone. Content curation services do most of the legwork for you.
4. Draw Inspiration from Great Content Curation Examples
HodgePodge, Perez Hilton and Reader’s Digest online are two great examples of content curation in action. Just because you’re curating content from around the web doesn’t mean you can’t deliver stories that have been proven to be popular elsewhere on the web. Look at these examples and draw inspiration for what can be done within your niche. Maybe your site has nothing to do with celebrity gossip, but you may want to add your own quips to each story on your site, much like Perez does.
5. Outline Content Guidelines
You may have one person in charge of curating content, or you may have users submit stories, or it may be a combination of both. Regardless, you should clearly outline your expectations for the content that is delivered via your site. Even though it isn’t written by you or a member of your staff, it should still represent your brand’s values and appeal to your readers’ interests.
6. Rely on Variety
One of the biggest pitfalls of curating content is delivering too many stories on the same topic. This often happens when there’s a big headline that everyone is writing about. If you’re automatically adding content based on keywords, it’s easy to find problems with redundancy. Have safeguards in place (or a human proofreader) to ensure that you’re delivering variety.
7. Use Your Own Voice
Content curation is great for keeping things fresh and interesting, but it’s difficult for a site to advance with curated content alone. There must be something that makes your site stand out above the rest. In most cases, that something is you and your voice. But it could also be a staff contributor or two. The important part is to publish original content in addition to curated content.
8. Re-Title Your Curated Content
If you want your version of the story to show up first in the search engines, there are two things you must do. First, re-title the content. Google isn’t likely to deliver 10 search results with the same title, so this is the best way to ensure that your content stands out. Second, add your own commentary. If there’s anything you can add to the story, go ahead and do so. A little bit of originality will make your version of the story stand out above the rest.
9. Keep Excerpts Short
The best content curation sites feature short excerpts of the story and allow users to click through to read the original piece. A short excerpt with a few lines of original commentary will allow users just enough information to let them know that they “must” click to read more. It will also let the search engines know that this is an original piece of content, or at least, a piece of curated content with an original twist.
10. Always Credit the Original Source
Content curation by definition is content that comes from elsewhere on the internet. To take this content without crediting the original source is stealing. It may even be plagiarism. Always be sure to credit the source with a link back to the original version.