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Curate Content to Build Thought Leadership, Influence and Trust

One of the best ways to establish yourself as a thought leader and gain trust from consumers is by creating original content (blogs are great for this). If the lack of resources or time means that is out of the question, another way to build thought leadership is through content curation.

Content Curation Defined

By “curation,” I’m referring to the act of gathering content created by others and passing it along to your customers (and others) via email, a blog or a special website developed just for that purpose.

The concept of curation goes beyond mere aggregation or collection. Curation involves taking time to filter, organize and select only the “cream of the crop” resources and, time permitting, add your own perspective in one or two paragraphs.

For a good primer on the value content curation provides, read Content Curation 101.

Content Curation Keeps Customers Informed

This is a valuable service and one that your customers are likely to appreciate because it relieves them of the need to find such content on their own. It keeps them informed about industry news, trends, how-to tips, or whatever direction your curation efforts take. It’s an act that can pay dividends in terms of increased attention and trust.

Curation Helps You, Too

Not only will your efforts benefit others, it can help you as well. A number of sites send email newsletters that contain links to topically-relevant articles, blog posts, videos, infographics, and other resources for just about every industry.

(One such resource is Smartbrief, which provides high quality curated email newsletters for a wide range of industries including energy & chemicals, government & nonprofit, finance, heath care, education and transportation, just to name a few. The best part – the newsletters are free.)

How to Curate Content

Step One: Find Relevant Sources of Information

If you’re interested in curating content for your customers or industry colleagues, the first step is to find relevant resources. Several I recommend include:

1. Smartbrief. If there’s a Smartbrief newsletter than covers your industry, subscribe to it. You won’t be sorry, I promise.

2. Google news alerts. Use keywords to find news items, then subscribe to a feed using RSS or email. (I explain RSS below.)

3. Twitter search. If it’s happening the world, it’s being talked about on Twitter – the back yard fence for conversations covering about just about every topic. You can search on Twitter using keywords or hashtags to find relevant information.

4. Bottlenose. Self described as a “Now Engine,” Bottlenose allows you to see what’s happening at a given moment around any topic of interest and keep up with it over time.

5. Curationsoft and Zemanta. These are software applications designed for use with blogs, which perform research functions based on keywords.

6. LinkedIn. If yours is a B2B business, LinkedIn is a prime source for news and information. There are a number of ways to use it.

  • Join industry-related LinkedIn groups;
  • Follow others in your industry and check the news feed for relevant articles they share;
  • Follow industry news using LinkedIn Today.

I find a great deal of value in reading articles posted to LinkedIn Today. Like Smartbrief, it has become a news source I rely on daily.

7. Industry-related websites, blogs and email newsletters. Some of these will offer curated newsletters and/or RSS feeds to which you can subscribe.

Step Two: Corral Sourced Information Into One Location

After you’ve found a number of resources from which to gather information, I highly recommend that you “corral” them into one place, which is something you can do using what’s known as an RSS feed reader.

RSS iconRSS is a technology that sends information to you so you don’t have to actually go to the sites you’ve identified. Think of RSS as the “digital” version of a newspaper being delivered to your door. Rather than go to a newsstand, the paper comes directly to you.

Doubtless, you’ve seen the little orange icon similar to the one pictured here on websites you’ve visited. That button symbolizes that the site has an RSS feed associated with it. Click the button and you can subscribe to the feed.

Learn more about RSS by reading RSS Basics.

Suffice it to say, most sites have an RSS feed and you can subscribe using a feed reader.


Recommended Feed Readers

Google Reader, which was probably the most popular RSS feed reader, was shuttered by Google earlier this year, but viable alternatives available exist to take its place.

One that I use is Feedly. It’s not as good as Google Reader in my opinion, but still gets the job done. And by “job,” I mean gathering all the resources to which I subscribed – at least those to which I’ve subscribed using RSS – into one place. Another good option is Bloglines, which accomplishes the same task.

Unfortunately, neither Twitter or Smartbrief offers an RSS feed option, but most sites do.

 Step Three: Review and Bookmark Content

It only takes a few minutes to scan content collected in a feed reader or delivered via email. In most cases, you’ll only see a headline and summary of the article. As you scan, click the links associated with content you’d like to review in greater depth and open them in a different browser tab.

You may prefer to bookmark content to reference at a later time, which you can do using your browser’s bookmark tool. However, if you use Google Chrome, I recommend installing an extension called One Tab. It is, hands down, the easiest bookmarking tool I’ve ever used.

Step Four: Publish Content

Now that you’ve done your due diligence and found the information that you believe will be most helpful to readers, it’s time to publish. There are several publishing options from which to choose:

1. Blog

Even if you don’t use a blog to create original content, you can still use it for content curation. Bizzuka offers a blog component in the OnDeCC CMS, but two other options include:

  • WordPress – by far the most popular blogging platform, but one that has a steep learning curve associated with it and that requires some degree of technical savvy.
  • Tumblr – one of the easiest ways to publish content, especially if you include multi-media such as images or video.

2. Email

It’s hard to beat email for content distribution. Bizzuka’s Soundoff email platform is a good option (and we would love for you to use it), but so is MailChimp, Constant Contact and one designed especially for curation called Flashissue.

3. Curation Platforms

A number of companies have developed platforms that provide web-based curation technology. The short list includes RebelMouse, Scoop.it and Storify. (Pinterest can also work as a curation platform.)

Here’s an example of how Rebelmouse renders content:

Rebelmouse curation platform

These applications have widgets that can be embedded in your website by adding a few lines of HTML code. Each is free to use at the base level, and I would encourage you to experiment with them to find the one best suited to your needs.

Content Curation Time Constraints

By now, I’m sure you must be saying, “This sounds like a lot of work.” It is, but my experience has shown curation takes less time and effort than creating content from scratch.

And the amount of time you have to devote to curation will determine how often you publish. At Bizzuka, we curate the best blog posts published each month and include them in a monthly email digest.

If your goal is to curate industry trends and news, once a month is not nearly enough. Weekly or daily updates may be required. Again, it comes down to how much time you have to allocate to curation activities.

Content Curation Benefits

As mentioned, content curation is one way to establish thought leadership, keep readers informed and gain increased attention and trust as a result. But those are only a few of the benefits. You can also use curation to:

  • Build community. As you develop a reputation as an expert curator, people will begin to gather around your content and rely on you as the “go to” source for useful information.
  • Influence opinion. Add your own perspective to curated content to influence readers with your opinion.
  • Improve search engine rank. According to Content Marketing Institute, content curation can positively affect search returns.

Conclusion

In an online world governed by search engines and social media, if your company is dependent on the web to deliver marketing results, you have no choice but to create or curate content, or perhaps both. Hopefully, this post has provided a path to get you started. And, as always, if you have questions, we’re here to help!

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