Content Curation

Content curation describes a marketing measure that is particularly widespread in the social media sector. Content from other sources that is thematically relevant is disseminated on the company’s own website, blog, or social media channels. As part of content curation, the contributions must be prepared in a way that is suitable for the target group and ideally linked to the company’s own content.

For a long time, unique content was the “sacred cow” in the areas of SEO and content marketing. In the meantime, however, there are other approaches that have “spilled over” from social media channels into content marketing. Since sharing content is an integral part of social media, it was completely normal there to distribute posts from others and thus provide a stage for foreign content. In content marketing, this was considered undesirable for a long time, because people feared that this would help their competitors instead of promoting their company through their own content. In the meantime, however, the view has prevailed that content marketing is also possible with third-party content – namely by means of content curation.

Curation or curating is actually a term from art history. There, it describes the supervision and execution of an exhibition. In a figurative sense, something very similar happens with content curation, because here content and contributions are compiled and summarized. Subsequently, they should be linked with own content and thus result in an article that is relevant to certain topics or contains expert information on an area.

The key thing with content curation is that the external content is not just blindly copied or quoted without meaning to. Instead, the contributions are checked for their thematic relevance and prepared in such a way that technically sound content is created that can still be of interest even to experts.

In principle, this is also possible with “normal” content marketing, but it is difficult, time-consuming and expensive to deal with a topic online in one’s own blog or on another channel so comprehensively that all questions are clarified. And what users don’t get on one page, they quickly find on another, thanks to SEO.

If, on the other hand, you use third-party content in addition to your own, you can cover considerably more topics without the additional effort taking up an excessive amount of time. Furthermore, with content curation you can show that you as a company are looking beyond your own nose and want to offer readers information that is relevant to them. If you use content curation skillfully, you can even become an expert in a particular subject area and thus strengthen customer loyalty. After all, if a reader has a question about the relevant topic, he naturally wants answers from an expert – so he is very likely to visit the company’s website again and again to find out more. In addition, content curation helps drive branding. After all, the status as an expert on a certain topic still brings with it a certain image, which almost inevitably rubs off on one’s own brand and thus significantly strengthens it.

What is important to keep in mind when it comes to content curation?

If you want to curate content, you should always be aware that there is only completely or not at all. There is absolutely no point in randomly picking out content on certain topics and then somehow summarizing it. The organization and structuring of the contributions may never degenerate to the end in itself, but must always take place purposefully. The content should support your own information or can also serve to critically question your own position. The foreign contributions must therefore always have a concrete reference to one’s own content. Accordingly, the selection should be rigorous.

A large part of the effort in content curation therefore consists of finding suitable sources. Equally important, of course, is how these sources are prepared and presented. The foreign information should not degenerate into a marginal note, because then you might as well leave it out. Instead, it should be placed in a clearly visible position in your own post and should not be allowed to make up a large part of the content – after all, content curation is all about enriching your own topic areas with content from other sources.

It is also important to clearly define the target group in advance and to develop a strategy for addressing it. This is the only way to find topics that will actually reach the target group – both with your own content and with content from other sources. The strategy can either be defined very precisely or formulated quite freely. In the first case, the selection of sources is usually easier, since the goal is very precisely defined, but you are usually somewhat limited thematically, so that altogether less content is available. With the second variant, on the other hand, it’s the other way around.

If you want to make content curation a little easier, you can also use appropriate tools such as Curata or Storify. These bundle articles on specific topics and thus make the selection much easier.

The different approaches to content curation

While content curation fundamentally always works in the same way, a distinction is made between five different approaches, all of which require a slightly different approach and have slightly different goals. The approaches are:

  • Distillation
  • Elevation
  • Aggregation
  • Chronology
  • Mashup

Distillation “distills” the information from various sources – in other words, the most important data from the articles is summarized and published in one place, such as on the company’s website or social media channel. This results in a page where all relevant information on a topic can be found.

For Elevation, information and sources are continuously collected on a specific topic that you want to draw attention to. By the sheer number of posts, the reader recognizes that it is an important topic and attaches the appropriate importance to it.

Aggregation – the most common form of content curation – is similar to distillation, but here the contributions are not reduced to the essentials, but are used in their entirety or at least in large parts. The goal here is also to collect everything important about a topic in one place.

In Chronology, various contributions to a topic are collected and presented in chronological order. This makes it possible to trace the development that a particular topic has undergone.

Mashup is also similar to distillation, but here the goal is not to summarize the information. Instead, they are “thrown together” and mixed to open up new perspectives on the topic or to look at it from an unusual angle. This method is particularly well suited to strengthening one’s own credibility – because anyone who allows others to contribute in addition to their own opinion is showing that they are open-minded and want to convince with valid arguments.

Content curation – possible applications

In addition to the selection of suitable sources, the right presentation is also important in content curation. Simply putting foreign sources on one’s own page is not enough here – the information must be prepared and meaningfully integrated into one’s own content.

Infographics are particularly popular here, in which one’s own data on a particular topic area is compared with the data of others. Since only a limited amount of information can usually be accommodated in a graphic, an infographic can usually be created very quickly as part of content curation.Also widespread is the expert interview, in which the specialist knowledge of a proven expert lands on one’s own page via the interview in order, in the best case, to support the information listed there.

Content curation can be a very helpful tool to jump-start your own content marketing strategy. By integrating external content, your own website gains relevance and credibility. In addition, one is thematically more broadly positioned and can address a larger audience. Content curation only has disadvantages if it is used incorrectly – but if you select the right contributions, you strengthen your brand image and can present yourself as an expert in the relevant subject area.


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