What is content curation? It’s not marketing jargon or a cliché in 2016

What was dubbed the biggest buzzword of the content marketing revolution and dismissed as mere ‘marketing jargon’ is making a come-back. Content curation is now a widely used tool for marketers around the globe, with 82% now saying they regularly use this tactic as part of their content strategy, according to IMN Inc. Why? Because creating interesting, original and thought provoking content on a regular basis is often cited as the biggest challenge faced by content marketing practioners today, followed closely by lack of time to produce the content and possibly budget too.

But with the onset of a new wave of digital platforms, that can facilitate content curation alongside content creation, many marketers are turning to this tactic to increase their brand’s visibility, improve their thought leadership program, boost their organic SEO efforts, as well as genuinely increase sales.

Here we’ve set out to explore what content curation actually is, why it’s no longer just marketing jargon and given you some great examples of brands using it to boost conversions and genuinely increase sales, as well as some practical tips on how you can do it too.

So what is content curation?

Content curation is the process of finding, collecting and publishing digital content on a common theme or topic and publishing on to a central hub. Sounds simple enough. But it’s not. Content curation is a skill. It takes time to research articles, blogs, images, infographics, then filter and select the best and most relevant pieces for your audience. With right tools you can curate and publish yours, and other people’s social content on to the hub too.

Why content curation is no longer marketing jargon

There are multiple benefits for curating content. If you can create a one-stop shop of all things they need to know about in one central hub for your time-strapped audience, they will reward you by regularly returning to your site. As Rebecca Lieb puts it in her book on Content Marketing: The problem isn’t enough content. It’s knowing what content actually merits time and attention.” If you as a brand, can carefully select content from the masses of blogs, videos, tweets and Instagram images that are being upload each minute, you’ll become known as a trusted and credible source, which is the elixir of marketing.

Let’s take a look who’s doing it:

The Happy Foodie

Brought to you by the publishing giant Penguin Random House, The Happy Foodie is a beautiful mix of curated and original content taken from some of their best-selling authors and celebrity chefs’ books. It’s a fantastic example of how to curate content from existing material (from the cook books they sell) and introduce recipes and chefs to a new audience. It’s a very soft sell – as readers are gently encouraged to sign up to a weekly newsletter that promises to regularly deliver fresh recipes and food ideas into their inboxes. Hannah Telfer, Random House Group’s digital marketing and new product development director, said the purpose of the site was to build “effective and direct relationships with readers” which is a “critical part of driving the discovery of authors and their books.”

Holiday Club Resorts

The Finnish travel company Holiday Club Resorts curates user generated content, drawn from social channels such as Instagram & Twitter, and publishes it on its booking pages. The holiday company displays the social content, posted by holiday makers who are staying at its resorts, at the moment of purchase to show its new customers how happy and satisfied its existing customers are with their accommodation and facilities. It’s a great use of user generated content and a brilliant example of using the public to endorse their resorts/facilities on offer. Since the introduction of curated social content, Holiday Club Resorts has reported an uplift in conversion rates by 20-30%.

Practical ways to curate content

There are many ways you can curate content that’s relevant to your sector and audience. Here are few examples of companies that can do most of the leg work for you, leaving you to select and edit your favourite pieces:

Google News: Use keywords to find news items, and then subscribe to a feed using RSS or email.

Mention: Create real-time alerts and engage with your audience from your social media channels, all from a single dashboard.

SmartBrief: This resource provides high-quality curated email newsletters for a broad range of industries, including energy and chemicals, government and nonprofit, finance, heathcare, education, and transportation, just to name a few. The best part: the newsletters are free.

Talkwalker: This platform is described as a "social intelligence engine." Public relations and marketing firms use it to conduct data-mining research. The platform offers free tools as well, including Talkwalker Social Search, an instant social media search engine, and Talkwalker Alerts, a replacement to Google Alerts for sending notifications by email, RSS feed, or Hootsuite streams.

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