Content Curation for gourmets: Process, tools, and best practices

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Written by: Natalia De la Peña Frade
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Content curation is the strategy used by gourmets in the world of content. It’s an effective way to bring real value to your community and create hype around what you share.

The concepts ‘content curation’ and ‘quality content’ are inseparable. Are you looking to only offer the best to your community? Here we’ll show you how.

What is content curation?

Content curation is the process of finding, selection, adapting, and distributing a brand’s content on online channels in order to improve its reputation, visibility, traffic, and SEO ranking. It’s a content marketing strategy.

In other words, content curation consists of choosing only the best out of the wide array of content circulating online and processing it to add value to it before offering it to your community. The curated content is shared on your branded blog or website, social media accounts or newsletter. 

As a brand, you have tons of channels with unlimited space to communicate your message through; the idea is to use them well to benefit your brand and your audience so that the content you publish helps you reach your strategic goals.

Offering interesting, high-quality content will help you to build an audience, stay relevant, become an influencer within your sector, and capture your audience’s attention all while improving your visibility online.

There’s a lot of confusion around the term ‘content curation’. 

Often, content curation is confused with other actions which are also taken with the aim of filling communication channels with a brand’s image and message but that don’t offer anything of real value or achieve the same results. That’s why, along with defining what content curation is, it makes sense to clarify what it’s not.

What content curation is not

The confusion around what a “content curator” is often leads to the erroneous conclusion that choosing content to be shared with a tool that measures its success is synonymous with curating content.

Content curation is much more than that. Robin Good explains it brilliantly in this article.

In reality, the main ingredient for making the strategy work is its human element, the perspective of the person who is curating.

  • Adding news from a given set of sources and republishing it without adding anything isn’t the same as curating content and is unlikely to achieve long-term results.
  • A focus on automating the search for and selection of content to spend less time and effort on it isn’t content curation.
  • A strategy to win over the masses shouldn’t count as content curation either. Content creation focuses on a niche within a given market and uses only the most relevant content.

Close your eyes and imagine a gourmet experience. Did you see small plates of beautifully presented food? We thought so. We can guarantee that no one imagines a 5-gallon pot of soup!

Does this mean that it’s impossible to put together enough valuable content for all your social media platforms? Nope. It means that in order to offer more quality content, you’ll need to dedicate more resources to content curation.

There’s so much content on the internet that this task would be overwhelming without a little bit of help. Later in this post we’ll show you a few tools to simplify it all, but make sure to have one thing straight: without the intervention of a professional (you) curating the content, the strategy won’t work. We can’t leave it all up to our tools!

A process for content curation

How can we select and use only the information that’s relevant, useful, and interests our community?

Different authors have defined the content curation process in different ways. Perhaps one of the most popular is the one known as the 4 “S’s” of content curation

  • Search
  • Selection
  • Sense making
  • Share

Before starting with the first of the four S’s, there’s an initial design step, where you’ll define your goals as well as the topics and words you’ll center your search around.

Your goals will be the needs that you want to cover by curating content: the channels/platforms and frequency of publication. In this design phase, it’s a good idea to create a template for content curation where you gather all your information.

Once you’ve shared your content, the final step is to evaluate or measure your results.

Although the design and measuring stages aren’t included in the outlined process, they’re important to making sure your content curation strategy works.

Communicating on Social Media

Learn to create content to reinforce your personal brand or that of your business.

Tools for content curation

Usually when people talk about tools for curating content, they talk about tools for bookmarking, aggregating news stories, or creating customized dashboards, but these tools only take us part way through the process.

We’re going to talk about each of the steps, highlighting tools for content curation for each phase of the process. We’ll also discuss some best practices.

1. Search

In this phase, which serves as an initial screening, you’ll be trying to quickly locate content that corresponds to the goals you identified when you designed your strategy.

Carrying out Google searches is the most obvious way to find content, but it can sometimes lead to overly general or nonspecific results. It can be helpful to define the main influencers and platforms that talk about your topic and monitor their posts: 

  • Creating Twitter lists (Everything’s on Twitter!)
  • Monitoring keywords or Twitter #hashtags with the help of Tweetdeck.
  • Using an aggregator such as Feedly or Flipboard.
  • Creating Google alerts with your keywords.
  • Using social bookmarking tools like Diigo or Pearltrees. 

2. Selection

Selecting your content isn’t something a robot can do. It’s one of the phases where who curates the content matters most. The idea is to choose only the most relevant and interesting content.

Finding more relevant content than you need? We’re not surprised. Divide what you find mentally into moment-specific vs. evergreen content (the stuff that never expires), and hold onto the second type for later.

Make sure to keep a space where you add ideas and links to the curated content you haven’t published yet. That way, you have a repository to pull from when you need to.

Ideally, you’d have it as part of your content calendar: a tab in a spreadsheet or a table (on a platform like Airtable). There are note-taking apps that work well for this kind of task, but it’s best to have everything in one place. You’ll lose less time that way. Another option is to use bookmarking tools like Pocket to save links and send them over to your content calendar later.

3. Sense making

Now it’s time to contextualize and add value to the content you’ve carefully selected. How you do so will depend on the platform or channel you’ll be sharing it through.

For example, if you’re going to post on social media, you’ll use the text in your post to target your specific audience and to add your own words or summarize the content, adapting the tone to the platform you’ve chosen.

You can also create your own journal or newsletter as a means of delivering your best selected content. In that case, your main job is to provide context to the mix of published content you’ve created to add greater value to it.

One excellent tool for this is Scoop.it, which, on top of allowing you to gather information from any website, lets you add comments and your own personalized posts.

4. Share

After all the work you’ve done to prepare your posts, you’ll want to get the most out of them, right?

If you’re curating content for social media, you’ll need a tool for programming content that allows you to add all your profiles. Some of the most popular are Buffer, Metricool and Hootsuite

To further improve your results, use a tool that allows you to see the best times for publishing on social media according to when your audience is most active.

If you’re going to share your curated content in a newsletter, use the statistics from your email marketing tool or previous experience to determine the best day and time to send yours out.

Programming the content will help you be more efficient and get the most out of the time you invest.

8 best practices for content curation

As a summary, we’ll leave you these best practices to help guide you towards great results with your content curation and keep everything “gourmet”. 

  1. Choose a space where you’ll leave content you find on the internet when you’re not actively curating content. You can use a spreadsheet or document, and it’s best to share it with other members of your team.
  2. Authentic content curation is achieved by manually filtering your content.
  3. Make sure to always read the content before you share it. Don’t risk losing credibility with your audience through mediocre content.
  4. Adapt your posts to each platform with respect to the topics and the kind of writing that works best on each one.
  5. Customize your posts and add value to them with your comments.
  6. Never publish inferior content to ‘fill a gap’: you’ll be working against yourself and your previous work. 
  7. Figure out when it’s best to post: the best times and days of the week to optimize the reach of your posts.

Always measure your results to see how effective your actions are. We’re sure the effort will have paid off!

Natalia De la Peña Frade
Natalia De la Peña Frade
Content creator: I try to write things you like to read
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