5 Tips for Choosing a Content Curation Topic


Choosing a topic is one of the first key steps to becoming a content curation rockstar, yet all too often marketers rush through this crucial step without giving it much thought. Finding the right intersection between what you’re audience is interested in, what your current content landscape looks like and what your competitors are doing can be challange for some when getting started with curation. For this post, we’re going back to basics, looking at strategies for choosing a topic that will set you on the path to content curation success.

Here are five tips for choosing the right topic to curate.

1. Describe your brand.

What does your brand want to known for? What are the keywords that you want to incorporate into your curated content? What is your brand’s voice and point of view? Is it edgy with bits of sarcastic humor? More straightforward and newsy? Clever and colloquial? The answers to these questions will inform the topic you ultimately choose. To give you a few examples, American Express caters to business owners with OpenForum. IBM’s Smarter Planet educates technology professionals about smarter systems. Liberty Mutual’s Responsibility Project tells the stories of socially responsible businesses and examines key social issues. All three have carefully defined their brand and the brand’s objectives.

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2. Know your audience.

Who do you want to attract? What are your readers’ goals? What are their pain points? Defining who your current or target readers are can help you appeal to that audience and their needs. A few very successful websites curate for a mass audience, but they’ve had years to build up their following. If you’re starting from scratch, you’re likely to have greater success by choosing an audience that’s more specific and delivering content that speaks directly to their interests and needs.

3. Consider the landscape.

If you choose a curation topic that’s too niche, you may discover a shortage of material to curate and not many people interested in reading your curation. If you go too broad, your curation may feel too unfocused to attract the kind of engaged, targeted readers you want. For instance, curating an entire blog about the color of the next iPhone 5S might be too specific, not to mention the fact that the topic has a built-in expiration date once the product is announced. However, style-conscious readers may be interested in reading curated content about a variety of smartphone trends, what’s hot and what’s not on an ongoing basis. Shoot for that sweet spot where you have enough material to curate several times a week for the foreseeable future and still have something new to say. Also make sure you’re staying focused on a particular topic or industry so your curation isn’t too scattered. Readers will be more likely to subscribe to your RSS or social media feeds if they know what topics to expect.

4. Factor in your expertise.

What are the topics where you have a genuine interest and a knowledge base so that you can credibly curate? Good curation goes beyond summary and adds original commentary to the conversation. Annotation adds value for the reader and also allows you to differentiate yourself by incorporating your brand’s voice. If you choose a topic where you aren’t very knowledgeable, you might not have the expertise to go deeper and formulate your own opinions.

5. Follow the bigshots.

Once you’ve identified a few potential topics for curation, find the thought leaders in those areas. Start following them and figure out what you can offer that’s different from their coverage. If you find that your topic is already oversaturated with content and voices, it may be hard for you to stand out from the noise. In that case, may want to refine your topic so you’ll have a better shot at standing out.

For more tips on content curation including choosing a topic and finding sources to follow, check out our ebook: 5 Simples Steps to Becoming a Content Curation Rockstar.

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Comments: 3

  • Jesse, content curation can be a daunting task. Thank you for sharing this great post on how to select a topic to begin the process! The tips you have shared are very informative and relevant to what I have seen take place with clients that utilize Q&A tools like Answerbase (whom I work with), Shapado, Qhub, etc. In terms of directing all that you have addressed into a system, Q&A platforms allow clients/readers to ask questions, and get relative answers either from the business or other readers. These engagements can be utilized to describe the brand, understand the audience, factor in expertise, and turn around and generate content. Something to keep in mind!
    Thanks again for sharing this post, will definitely be sharing it.

  • Love this post for the introduction to content curation, the need, and for its purpose. I am already using paper-li and scoopit, and these are excellent tools to share consolidated content from multiple sources. However, I am not too sure if we can use these tools to integrate in our online profile to win independent contractor assignments. Working on a few models though! Thanks for sharing it.

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