Like me, you may be a “content curator” and not even know it. Lately, I have noticed a number of articles and blog posts with headlines referencing the concept of content curation. I have to admit, before reading these posts, I wasn’t quite sure what exactly it was. I am familiar with content marketing and have found it to be an excellent marketing tool both for Marketri and our clients, so I figured content curation was worth investigating.

You can imagine my surprise after researching this topic, only to discover that I was already curating content on a regular basis! So what exactly is this practice? Content curation is the process of sorting through the sometimes overwhelming amount of content that is on the Web, and presenting it to an audience in an organized and purposeful way to provide learning on a specific topic. This involves regularly reviewing content, scanning for the best pieces of information and selecting the most useful and relevant information to share with your audience to provide value. This could be anything from selecting content on a specific topic and sharing it on your Twitter feed, to creating a blog post that compiles links to other posts on a particular topic of interest.  For an excellent breakdown of content curation basics, take a look at this post from Beth Kanter.

The bigger question may be, “Why should I care about content curation?”  In my opinion, content curation is another (important) cog in the content marketing machine. If you read our blog frequently, then you probably know that we are big proponents of inbound and content marketing. As such, we focus on attracting prospects naturally, and drawing them in by providing them with relevant content that we have created, whether it is a blog post, webinar, eBook or video.  By using content marketing, instead of a push strategy, you will attract a much warmer, more qualified lead base. Content curation fits in perfectly with this sort of strategy. In addition to sharing your own great content, your strategy should aim to a strike a balance between sharing your own content and curating great content from others.

Not only does content curation help you establish thought leadership in your industry by regularly being the sharer of useful and relevant content for your audience, but it also helps your readers sort through the constant and overwhelming barrage of content on the Web . Furthermore, content curation has the added benefit of helping you stay informed as well , as you constantly review new info and cherry pick the best items.

Content curation can occur in many shapes and forms and it seems like there is an endless number of tools out there to support the process of identifying great content and distributing it.

Here are the top 5 tools that I am currently using for content curation:

  1. Google Reader: This is a great tool for pulling together and sorting through content in one easy to use place. I check our Google Reader every morning for the latest news and blog posts on B2B marketing topics, then I pick the most interesting ones and share them on my social networking sites. Check out our tutorial for how to set one up.
  2. Google+: Possibly one of the best ways to share information is on Google+. Not only do you get all of the functionality of other social networks, but you can also use your “Circles” to segment and to share information tailored to the appropriate audiences.
  3. Hootsuite: This social media dashboard allows you to monitor and post to multiple social networks at the same time. Once I’ve identified great content, I can use this one simple tool I can use to share it. Plus, I can monitor the activity on all my networks to find more interesting content.
  4. A free online Web tool that allows you to create your own newspaper generated from the content of your Twitter and Facebook accounts.  It takes the links from people you follow and organizes them into a virtual newspaper made for easy reading. It essentially curates content for you!
  5. Twitter Lists: Use your Twitter account to create lists of people who regularly share excellent content. Once these are set up, you can quickly and easily review them to find great information to share.

Are you a content curator? I’d love to hear your best content curation strategies and your favorite tools for accomplishing them.