Content Marketing

Are You Curating or Hijacking the Content You Share?

Hijacking-online-content.jpgSocial media networking is all about balance. Ideally, you want to be spending 80% of your time having conversations and sharing other people’s content, and the other 20% of the time sharing your own content and promoting your business.

Content curation is the formal term for sharing other people’s content. It’s a content marketing strategy that helps:

  • Solidify your credibility as a trusted resource in your topic area (your readers will think, “Sally always finds the best information!”)
  • Keeps you active on social media without having to always create your own content (imagine calling a prospective client and hearing, “Sure, I know you, you’re always popping up on my screen,”)
  • Cultivate relationships with the industry experts whose content you’re sharing (even if someone responds with a simple “thank you for sharing,” that could be the start of something. As a bonus, the rest of their network will see that message and may just check you out as well)

As more people realize these benefits and are using content curation (either manually or through software applications created for the purpose), I see some habits that could be unintentionally creating rifts instead of relationships and turning off your readers.

Let’s call it content hijacking, and look at how you may be doing it on your blog or on social media.

Hijacking content on your blog

It’s a legitimate and effective blogging strategy to use someone else’s content as the jumping off point for your own article (as I’ve tried to do in my recent posts about content curation and Twitter).

What I don’t enjoy is when I click on a link and find just a teaser – a summary and/or quote of the original content, so now I have to jump through an additional hoop to get to the content promised by the headline.

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If you’re not planning to add to the content, stick with content curation via Twitter and other social media sites. Just be sure not to hijack there, either.

Hijacking content on Twitter

I know that 140 characters isn’t a lot of room. I know that you’re not intentionally plagiarizing. Yet when you post an enticing headline that leads to someone else’s content, without giving proper credit, you’re performing a bait and switch that could leave a bad impression on your network.

Content curation tips that will enhance your relationships and credibility

  1. Read the entire piece of content before you share. Even if you’ve read the person’s work before, or it was recommended by someone you trust, make sure it’s something you truly want to endorse.
  2. Use the author’s Twitter name. If you’ve discovered the content on the web (versus through social media), look for a link to the author’s Twitter account. Look to see if he or she has tweeted a link to the content, and RT (forward) that to your network.
  3. Make room for the credits. If someone else has hijacked content and you want to give credit, go ahead and add the author’s Twitter name when you RT the post. To make room, you can delete the hashtags or replace the headline with a shorter description. Note (and I just learned this myself): If you need to revise the tweet in order to add the credit, use MT instead of RT. MT stands for “modified tweet“).
  4. Acknowledge the source. For extra credits, let your network know where you heard about the content, by adding “via @name.”
  5. Always share links right from Twitter or HootSuite so that you can add the attribution and control what people will see. Beware: if you check a box to “Share with Twitter” from LinkedIn or Facebook, or if you have your account set up to do that automatically, your Twitter followers will just see the headline and link and it will look like a hijacking.
  6. Follow your content stars more closely. Create a Twitter list in HootSuite so that you can quickly and easily discover new content from your favourite experts and share it with your network – with full attribution, of course!

  Discuss This Article

Comments: 4

  • Great article Linda – thanks for sharing. You raise some interesting points about the nature of social these days with tons of people curating content through Twitter and other microblogging platforms.

    Curating on blogs is another relatively new trend that will continue to increase next year.

    Thanks for the kind words about HootSuite with regard to links and list building. Lists are definitely the most under-used feature of Twitter.

    Hoot on!

    -Connor and your friends at HootSuite

    • Thanks for stopping by, Connor! I agree about lists being the most under-used feature of Twitter. I’m planning to overhaul my HootSuite dashboard soon and sub-divide my lists for even quicker curating and inspiration on specific topics.

  • What about sites like They simply curate without adding any original commentary. Technically, you’re having to jump through that extra hoop to get to the article, yet it’s not seen as a nuisance. You’re just happy they linked you to an interesting article.

  • [Re-posted to correct for a typo in the original comment] Hi Steve, thanks for your comment. I think the difference is that when people go to sites like or, they’re fully expecting to find a collection of links to other sites. Those sites (“aggregators”) exist to fulfill that purpose. On the other hand, when people visit a business’s website/blog, they are generally looking to find out more about that particular business/business owner.

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