Content curation: 5 ways to succeed … eventually

Becoming a good content curator won’t happen overnight. Be patient and consistent, and you’ll become a trusted source.

Content curation is the art and science of finding and sharing quality content on a specific topic. Curation helps you build an audience. You then have a larger group of people with whom to share your own content, and who can spread the word.

Many among the Twitterati have built their followings in large part through content curation. Jason Falls of Social Media Explorer publicly states his Twitter strategy is “find good shit and share it.”

With the endlessly flowing Twitter stream, you have to tweet at least semi-frequently to maximize visibility. Many content curators tweet eight or even 10 times daily. Content sharing is today’s preferred method of content curation. And it works. Twenty-five percent of tweets contain links, but 56 percent of retweets contain links.

Other than the time commitment, the task of content curation is relatively simple. Recognize, however, that it’s a long-term social media strategy. You don’t become a reliable and trusted source for content sharing overnight, or even in a few weeks. And it doesn’t work for everyone. Here are five factors to a successful approach:

1. Identify your audience

Whom are you trying to attract? What kind of audience are you trying to build? What content sharing can you engage in that’s truly useful?

2. Focus your content sharing

Based on the audience you’re trying to attract, their interest/needs, and your own business goals, pick one or two topic areas about which you’ll share content. The content you share has to be on topics that your audience cares about and is likely to read. Seventy percent of people will only click on one category, so choose carefully.

When you market yourself as a content curator, you have the same challenges as a brand. You need to convey your message clearly. This is one instance where you want people to apply a label to you: “The IT guy,” “the social media expert,” “the restaurant critic,” etc.

3. Curate content that is of impeccable quality

As a content curator, you are marketing yourself as a supplier of good information: a funnel who filters out the crap and promotes the gems. The more people can count on you and the quality of your content, the more they will eventually support you, click on your links, and recommend you to others. Quality is a differentiator as a curator.

4. Curate consistently

Sharing regularly and frequently gains you visibility. Here’s one of the biggest challenges in consistency: Keep your content at the level you originally targeted. If your audience is people who are new to online marketing, make sure you share content for novices. Don’t start sharing content that will only make sense to people already immersed in online marketing. If your audience is small businesses, don’t start sharing content on enterprise issues.

5. Brand yourself, not your company

In general, you want to brand yourself as the curator and use your real name. Ultimately, social media is about people, not logos. Companies try to “humanize” but people don’t try to “corporatize.”

Also, circumstances change. When you establish a personal brand via curation, you can carry that brand into your next job or business. The value of your curation work accrues to you, while also benefiting whatever business you happen to be involved with at the moment.

Jay Baer is a social media strategy consultant, speaker and co-author of “The NOW Revolution.” He is the founder of Convince & Convert, a social media strategy firm, and he blogs at the Convince & Convert social media strategy blog, where this article originally ran.

Neicole Crepeau is a blogger, columnist at {grow}, and the creator of CurateXpress, a content curation tool. She works at Coherent Interactive on social media, website design, mobile apps and marketing.

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