This is the second blog article in our series on Content Curation.
In my first post about Content Curation, I defined what content curation is and showed you an example of what it can look like. If you missed that post then you can check it out here: Understanding Content Curation: What It Is And What It Looks Like.
In this post I’m going to give you a super simple 5 step process that you can use to begin curating articles right now. This is the same 5 step process that I use when creating curated content on the 98toGo blog.
Let’s get started!
Step 1: Find and gather the content you want to curate
The first step in this process is to find the content that we want to curate. In order to do this I rely on a few tools to do the hard work for me.
When I first started curating content, I would use Google to find content. I would type in the topic that I was interested in, sift through the results until I hopefully found one that worked, try a new search term, and repeat until I had enough solid sources to choose from.
That process was time consuming and tedious.
Thankfully, there are now a number of great (and free) tools that you can use to help make this critical step much easier.
My favorite tool for this is Feedly. What I do is simply search in Feedly for the topic of my curated post (ex: “content curation”), and then Feedly is going to return results from sources that I’ve already identified as ones I want to read from. I had to set up my Feedly beforehand to pull from sources that I liked, but once that was done the rest flows smoothly.
Here are a few more tools you can use to help you find content to curate:
Step 2: Read and pick your sources
This step is one that a lot of people gloss over, even though it’s so important.
You MUST thoroughly read through the articles you’re thinking of curating before you decide to use them. Why? Because how can you ensure that the source is high quality and relevant to your target audience, if you don’t take a few minutes to read it?
I know the impulse is there to read the title and skim a few paragraphs, but resist that urge and actually sit down to read through the article. The result will be a curated article that provides more value to your reader and strengthens their relationship with your brand.
Step 3: Add your spice
Once you’ve identified the sources that you want to curate from, and have put them in your article, the next step is to add your own spice to the article.
Because most of the content in your curated article is going to be coming from someone else, it’s important that you inject some of your own thoughts, ideas and words in there as well.
This is a great opportunity for you to share why you liked the article you’re curating, why you may disagree with it, what you think it is missing, and anything else you want to say about it.
Here are a few things you can add to your curated piece to inject your own ideas and words:
Step 4: Format and finalize your article
Next you’re going to put the finishing touches on your article.
If you’ve been blogging for a period of time then you probably have a format in which you put all of your blog posts (I’m talking about how you style the header, sub-headers, titles, etc.) Go ahead and do that with your curated post as well, but I also want you to add a few things.
Add a Click-to-tweet button.
Why? Because this is going to give you a few big benefits for a small amount of work:
You are giving your readers a super simple way for them to engage with your content.
You are extending the reach of your blog article, by having them promote it to their audience.
By including the Twitter handle of the authors of the sources you curated, in the Click-to-tweet message (which you get to cusomize), you are informing those authors that you have featured their content. This can lead to a number of things, including: increased reach for your article, partnership opportunities, and more (if you leverage the relationship effectively).
Add a Snip.ly link.
Why? Because the nature of a curated post means that your readers are going to be leaving your website to check out the articles that you’re featuring. While this is what you want (you want your readers to be interested in what you’ve curated), you are also losing out if they don’t come back to your site, which is a big possibility.
Snip.ly gives you a simple way to bring your readers back onto your site. The best explanation for how it works can be found on thier website (http://snip.ly/), but simply put: when your readers click on the article link you've set up through Snip.ly, they are going to see YOUR call-to-aciton on the website you've linked. It’s super easy to set up, and the end result is that you’re able to bring your readers back onto your site to engage with more of your content.
Add a Call-to-action.
Why? Because you cannot assume that your reader will know what you want them to do when they finish reading your blog. You have to tell them, and you have to be direct and specific.
A call-to-action (or CTA) is simply an instruction for what you want your reader to do next. They are commonly buttons with some sort of action verb “Click here to download XYZ”. You’ve definitely seen CTA’s before, even if you didn’t know it.
Do you want your reader to read another article, or sign up for your latest ebook, or subscribe to your newsletter, or set up a call with your salesperson? Tell them in a CTA.
If you don’t know where to start with creating a call-to-action for your website or blog, then this article will help you: 4 Simple Ways To Create CTA Buttons (No Design Experience Needed).
Step 5: Publish and promote
This is the final step of the content curation process, however it’s not the end of the road.
Publishing your content means that you’ve made it to the halfway point. The research, writing, formatting, and all of that have gotten you to the place where you’re ready for the world to see your work. But how do you plan on getting your work in front of the world? That’s where your content promotion process comes into play.
I recommend that you spend as much time (or more) promoting your content as you do creating it.
A long time ago you may have been able to publish some new content on your site, and watched as people flocked to it. But that was ages ago (back when AOL disks were still around). Now you must market your marketing, and by that I mean promote the content that you produce.
I’m not going to go into detail on how you can promote your content in this post. But here are two articles about content promotion that can help you create your content promtion process:
[Convince and Convert] How To Promote Your Content Across Owned, Earned And Paid Media
[QuickSprout] Promoting Your Content To Increase Traffic, Engagement And Sales
The one thing I will say about promoting your content, is that I absolutely recommend that you include reaching out the the authors of the articles you curated, as part of your promotion process.
Tweet at them, send them a message on LinkedIn, or shoot them an email if you’re able to find their email address. But somehow, let them know that you’ve featured their work in your curated article.
Why should you reach out to these authors? Because a few things can happen if you do:
They may like your content enough to promote it to their audience. And if they have a sizeable audience, then them sharing your article could mean the difference of a few hundred eyeballs seeing it, versus a few hundred thousand!
You may be able to work with them on future projects. By giving them something valuable (mention in your post, a link from you, exposure to a new audience), for free, you are getting on their radar in a meaningful way. Keep giving, and down the road when you need a quote from an influencer for your next ebook, they may be willing to give it. Or if you want a guest contributor on a blog post, they may be willing to help out. It’s happened to me, all by giving them something valuable and not asking for anything in return.
Quick recap for the skimmers
For those folks like myself who tend to skim through articles looking for the juicy stuff, here are the my five steps for quickly curating a piece of content:
Find and gather your content
Read and pick your sources
Add your spice
Format and finalize your article
Publish and promote
How do you curate content?
Let us know in the comments how you would add to or modify our process. There is no one single way to curate content!
Want to learn more about Content Curation?
Sign up for our webinar on May 7th, where we dive into Content Curation and Content Repurposing. Both tactics will help you get MORE out of the activities you're aldready doing. Click the button below to claim your seat.