Every week, the Doritos Instagram account shares images created by Doritos fans under the hashtag #fanfriday. These images (which range from make-up looks to chip-themed art projects) gain hundreds of thousands of views and hearts.
Doritos’ #fanfriday is an excellent example of content curation — the practice of collating, editing, and sharing content produced by others. Brands use content curation across their social media and content marketing pieces, including through infographics, videos, and art created by others.
When done well, content curation allows you to share fun, insightful, and educational content with your audience without producing it yourself. As you might imagine, however, there is a “wrong” way to curate content — one that leads to copyright infringement and reputation damage.
To help you build an ethically sound content curation strategy, we’ll share five curation ideas and some best practices to follow in this article.
Why you should curate content
Curating relevant content is mutually beneficial for you and the content’s original author. You get to use high-quality materials to improve your marketing, and the content’s author gets a backlink, credit, and exposure to your audience.
But these aren’t the only benefits. Content curation can help you:
- Position yourself as a thought leader, as you can use curated content to share your perspective on trending topics and current issues
- Connect with brands, influencers, and industry leaders, by engaging in public discussions with them
- Expand your audience, as you can engage with the original author’s target audience by sharing their content
- Fill out your content calendar without increasing how much original content you produce, saving you time and money
- Generate leads, as content curation will increase traffic to your website, social media pages, and blog posts (therefore funneling people through your sales pipeline)
- Improve your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) efforts, which will help you rank higher in search engine results
- Engage with your audience
5 content curation strategies
When we say “use curated content,” we don’t mean you should go to someone’s website, “ctrl + c” their work, and publish it as is. Good content curation adds quality, new perspectives, and fresh content to the work it adapts.
Doritos isn’t taking the #fanfriday work, stripping it of any sign of the creator, and publishing it with the Doritos logo slapped over the top. The company shares the images as inspiration.
Of course, mastering content curation is tricky. To help you get the most from it, here are five content curation strategies:
1. Add a new perspective to an existing topic
If anyone in your team is opinionated, this content marketing strategy is for you.
Capitalizing on recent news stories, viral topics, and industry trends is one of the best ways to bring eyes to your content. People are already invested in the subject, so you can easily capture their curiosity and clicks.
This strategy is very flexible. To use it, you first need to find a topic with viral potential. Look for shifts in the industry, news stories, scientific advances in your field, or opinion pieces from industry leaders.
Then, ask yourself, “how can I add something new to this?”
You could try providing additional context to the topic, using it as a case study to discuss a broader issue, or discussing the topic from your professional perspective.
One example of that last suggestion comes from the YouTube channel “Doctor Mike.” The channel (run by Dr. Mike Varshavski) publishes videos like “Doctor Reacts To The Most Extreme Diets” and “Do Jaw Trainers Actually Work?”
Tip: Make sure you consider how you want the content’s original author to feel. If you are writing an opinion piece that challenges someone’s perspective, keep it professional.
2. Create a “round-up” of data from credible sources
A “round-up” is a collated collection of data points centered around a specific topic. For example, those “51 Customer Service Statistics You Need To Know” are round-up articles.
Round-up’s aren’t limited to blog posts. You can create round-up videos, podcasts, infographics, and social media posts. Additionally, “data” doesn’t have to mean figures. You can “round-up” images, examples, case studies, research, or quotes.
So, how do you build a round-up? Follow these steps:
- Select a topic
- Research the topic using Google
- Find data points and gather them in a big spreadsheet
- Set your “inclusion criteria” (a list of criteria to verify the quality of the data, like “data must be from 2019 or later”)
- Go through your list of data points and delete any figures that don’t meet the criteria
- Edit your collection into a piece of relevant content that suits your preferred medium
- Press “publish”
There’s one thing you need to keep in mind when creating a round-up: quality over quantity.
Creating a round-up with 75+ items may be tempting, but longer content doesn’t necessarily get you better results. Readers need to get value from your work, and if they perceive you as an untrustworthy source, they will click the “back” button and go elsewhere.
If you want some inspiration on a high-quality round-up, take a look at “Pattern Round-Up July 2021” from the blog Yarn and Knitting.
Source: Yarn and Knitting
3. Share UGC on social media
If you are interested in digital content, you may have immediately recognized Doritos #fanfriday posts as an example of User-Generated Content (UGC). UGC is any form of content made by fans you share on your social media channels.
UGC can be in images, videos, infographics, text, and audio. It can also take many forms — reviews, skits, memes, fan edits, illustrations, make-up looks, etc.
Sharing UGC is a fantastic way to start a two-way conversation with followers, as it gives people a reason to engage with you. This engagement is powerful. It can get your social media accounts featured on Instagram’s “trending” page and incentivize algorithms on other platforms to push your content in front of more people.
If you are looking for some ideas for UGC, try these:
- Ask for product reviews
- Ask for recipes (for food retailers)
- Host a meme competition
- Run a design or drawing contest
- Ask for people to share stories
- Start a competition with a hashtag (for example, Doritos could do #bestnachos)
The trick to getting great UGC is to give back to followers who contribute. Tag them, give them credit, and reward them behind the scenes. For example, you could send them a gift basket of free products, give them a discount coupon, or comp services (if you are a service-based business).
Note: if you want to learn more about social media management, read “Best Practices for Social Media Content Marketing in 2021.”
4. Create a knowledge base
A knowledge base is a digital library of content related to a single topic. Knowledge bases curate resources people can read to learn about the subject, troubleshoot problems, or answer common questions.
You don’t need to create a virtual labyrinth to build a knowledge base of curated content.
Instead, you can simply find high-quality sources and add them to a page with a link pointing visitors to them.
Here’s how to build a knowledge base step-by-step:
- Select your topic
- Determine the subtopics your knowledge base will cover (you might want to structure these like questions)
- Create a page to host your knowledge base on
- Create posts for each subtopic. Inside each page, you should include a header with the subtopic, a summary of the information the reader needs, and a link to the original source.
- Publish your knowledge base
If you are looking for inspiration on the type of style you could adopt in your knowledge base, check out Kinsta’s knowledge base.
If you look at the bottom right corner of Kinsta’s knowledge base, you’ll notice a chatbot. This is a really smart move, as adding a chatbot to your knowledge base helps readers navigate the resources and contact customer service if they can’t find the answers they are searching for.
You can enhance your knowledge base with many different chatbot tools, including ProProfs Chatbot, Freshchat, and Chatfuel.
5. Add curated visuals and videos to your original content
If you engage with content marketing regularly, you’ve probably seen this last strategy in action.
Many brands and bloggers collate visual resources to share within original content. That might look like a video with clips from other videos or a blog post with related infographics from other brands (like in the example below).
There are many types of visuals you can curate:
- Charts and graphs
- Examples (like the ones featured in this article)
- Memes (though make sure you follow meme-sharing best practices)
Now is the best time to add visuals to your content — especially video. Video is expected to account for 82% of global internet traffic in 2022. Curating video is the easiest way to use it, as though it’s a trending marketing strategy, producing videos takes time, money, and effort.
Best practices for ethical content curation
All content curation is not created equal.
Digital marketers operate with many unspoken professional rules that aren’t always obvious (even to seasoned professionals!). So, we want to cover five of these rules in this final section.
Diversify your sources
Pulling all of your curated content from a single source makes it look poorly researched, rushed, and ultimately, unprofessional. A good rule of thumb is to limit yourself to using three things per source.
Here are some tips for finding high-quality sources:
- Look up competitors of reliable sources and try their blogs
- Search for round-up articles (so if you were looking for content creation data, you could search “content creation statistics 2022”)
- Search for infographics and diagrams around your keyword on Google Images
- Look at the links high-quality sources use
- Read the Wikipedia article for your topic and use the resources in the “references” section
- Try databases like Statistica and World Bank Open Data
- Use content curation tools like Scoop.it
Once you find good sources, use the Kanban system to track them (plus the information you used). Tracking your sources will ensure you don’t use them too often.
Never post someone else’s work without credit or their permission. At best, it’s rude, and at worst, you may be liable for damages.
Giving credit doesn’t mean you need to create an academic reference list. In a blog post, news story, or article, you could link your source with relevant anchor text. Or, if you are sharing an image, include a link to the original image with the anchor text “source” (or similar).
On social media, you can tag the author’s page with a hashtag or credit them verbally (i.e., “thank you, Anne Woods, for making this awesome infographic about content curation tools”). If you are worried you will forget to add sources, add it as a step in your pre-publish approval process.
In a video or podcast, you can link your sources in a reference list. Don’t worry if you can’t fit your sources in your description — add a link to a blog post containing them like the YouTube channel LEMMiNO did in the example below.
Don’t publish entire copyrighted blog posts
This rule is obvious, so we’ll keep this point short. Don’t re-publish copyrighted blog posts, news articles, or reports without permission. If you want to use material from an existing blog post, try using quotes or paraphrasing.
Don’t cannibalize keywords
Keyword cannibalization occurs when you publish multiple articles and blog posts that target the same keyword. We typically talk about keyword cannibalization regarding original content, but it applies to curated content too.
Search engines will treat you as competing sources if you use images, statistics, and quotes from an article with the same primary keywords as your content. Consequently, you may not rank well against them.
You can avoid keyword cannibalization by researching your curated content’s keywords with SEO optimization tools like SEMRush and Ahrefs. Then, discard any content that might compete with yours.
Listen to feedback
Finally, be open to feedback from other creators and your audience. It might be hard to listen to feedback sometimes, but it will improve your work long-term.
You can ask for feedback in the form of people’s thoughts and feelings or measure audience happiness using a metric like your Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT).
To calculate your CSAT score, ask members of your target audience, “how satisfied are you with our content?” and ask them to give a score from one to ten. Then, divide the total of all scores by the number of responses and multiply it by one hundred.
If you get 75%, for example, that means three-quarters of your audience are happy.
Boost your brand visibility by curating content
When done well, content curation allows you to shout out other content creators, share great information with your audience, and enhance your digital marketing. If you are looking for some content curation ideas, try these:
- Weighing in on a hot topic
- Creating a round-up
- Sharing UGC
- Building a knowledge base
- Adding visuals to your own content
Just don’t forget to give the original authors credit, draw from multiple sources, and verify the quality of any data you share. And, of course, try a content curation tool like Scoop.it to simplify the process.