Content curation can become a time suck, resulting in content that’s shared on social but not otherwise leveraged by your content marketing plan. Which is why you need a content creation road map. This starts by defining your content curation objectives, mapping them against the appropriate curation tools, planning what to do with that content after it’s curated, and measuring your curated content’s effectiveness and using that data to refine your process.
Defining Your Content Curation Road Map
For a lot of people, their content curation process is something along the lines of logging into their computer first thing, scanning their social media channels, sharing a few items, and wondering where the past 2 hours went.
That’s not a process. This is a process:
- Find relevant content
- Organize your curated content
- Share the content in the right channels and content vehicles
To break it down even further, my content curation process looks like this:
- Define objectives
- ID appropriate curation tools
- Decide what to do with that content after it’s curated
- Measure the content’s effectiveness
- Refine the process
Step 1: Define your content curation objectives
Before your curate a single piece of content, it’s important that you stop and define the marketing objectives you are trying to meet through your content curation. For instance, are you trying to build your authority as an industry thought leader? Is curation a key element of your influencer marketing strategy? Or are you using content curation to drive traffic to and engagement with your website?
Your specific objectives will drive the right content curation approach and tools for your process.
Step 2: Identify the best content curation tools for your objective
The most common content curation objectives I’ve seen are:
- Thought leadership
- Influencer outreach
- Website engagement
- Lead nurturing
- Brand building
Now that you know where you want your content curation road map to lead, we can identify the tools that will get you there.
One of my favorite content curation tools is bit.ly Although many are familiar with using bit.ly as a URL shortener, and are aware of its ability to track popularity of links to a specific piece of content, it’s actually a very powerful free content curation tool. You can create category tags that you associate your shortened links with, and you can share access to these tagged links (and ability to add to them if you choose) with multiple curators within your organization. You can drill down to see stats on how this piece of content performed, and who’s saved it via bit.ly. This provides a great visual content organizational tool for you and your entire content team.
There are a ton of content curation tools available, but frankly, the landscape of tools can get to be a bit overwhelming (and expensive!). Pick a few that align with how you like to work and stick with them. Here are my favorite tools for each of the three primary content curation categories I’ve outlined:
Step 3: Decide what to do with content after it’s curated
So you’ve curated a bunch of amazing content—now what? Yes, you can queue each piece of content up individually to share on social media, by you don’t have to stop there.
To make the best use of your time, and provide great content to your community, consider compiling content you’ve curated around a topic and turning it into a SlideShare deck or a blog post. If there’s a significant amount of data or research in the content you’ve curated, consider referencing it in an infographic (and be sure to cite your sources!) If your curated content is visual in nature, consider creating a Pinterest board and adding each piece to it. And if you’ve been curating social media content, a Storify post is a great way to feature and link back to the curated content on its native platform, giving credit to the original author.
Curated content has the potential to be a powerful content creation tool. That said, it’s very important to make sure that you don’t cross over the line between content curation and plagiarism or outright stealing other people’s content. For instance, if you copy and paste images and words without permission from someone else’s content, you could find yourself on the end of a legal request to remove the content. Ethical content curation is a whole other topic in itself. For a great primer on ethical curation, see this ethical content curation checklist from the Content Marketing Institute.
Step 4: Measure your content’s effectiveness
This is the step that many content curators put off, but it’s vital to ensuring your content curation efforts are working toward your marketing goals.
So what should you be measuring? A few key metrics to track include:
- Content views
- Content conversions
- Community size and engagement
How you go about tracking these metrics will vary depending on where the content lives. LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook have built-in analytics that can show you the reach and engagement with your curated content. You can also use bit.ly for tracking the clickthroughs and re-shares of the curated content you post on your social channels.
For content posted on your own website, google analytics is going to be your first stop for determining the number of views your curated content has received. I recommend augmenting that data with details on where the visitor saw the link, using the Google URL builder. This will also help to ensure proper conversion tracking in your marketing automation platform and your CRM. A few of my other favorite tools for measuring curated content’s impact include:
- SumAll (aggregate your metrics in 1 place)
- inPowered (aggregates # of total social shares of your content and estimated views)
- Buzzsumo (aggregates # of total social shares of your content and who’s sharing it)
Step 5: Refine your process
OK, now that you’ve gotten all this great data on how your curated content is performing, it’s time to reassess and adjust your content curation strategy accordingly.
With your data in hand, you will be able to identify which topics have received the most engagement and interest from your audience. Similarly, you’ll be able to identify which formats (i/e/ text, images, video, etc.) are doing the best with your audience. And last but not least, if one of your curation channels is not performing on par with the others, it’s good to assess if it’s really a good fit for your curation efforts.
So what’s next? Curate+create+share more of what works!
For a visual version of my content curation process, check out the SlideShare from my Content Marketing world presentation on the topic.