As companies worry more about delivering content consistently, many are turning to content curation, the gathering and displaying of content relative to a particular subject or company, to augment both the volume and the style and subject matter of the content they can provide. It can be extremely effective if done well, but like anything, it can also have some pitfalls and can’t be looked at as a cure-all or as a replacement for devoting the resources to creating original content specifically for your brand. But if you’re looking to add a new weapon to your content arsenal, curation could be for you.

Why Do It?

  • More content
  • New and different voices
  • Links your site to others

Content curation is obviously a great solution for the struggle to have enough content, and for many companies simply the need to fill out what they can offer is the driving force behind content curation efforts, but it’s also a way to get different content. Even if you could feasibly have as much content as you could want created by your team, they’d still all be coming from your team and your perspective and voice. Content curation allows you to have a continual sprinkling of new voices with different perspectives mixed in with the consistent voice of your brand. It can also help improve your search ranking by linking your site to known, trusted content, as well as improve customers’ perception of the authority of your own content by associating it with that trusted content.

How To Do It

Link vs. whole content insertion – First, it’s important to remember to only insert the entire piece if you’ve been given permission, either directly by asking the original creator or by some kind of blanket release on the original site (this is not hugely common, but some authors and artists do it via Creative Commons license or similar). Even if an entire piece of content is inserted into your site, there should always be a link to the original source (not just where you may have found it linked from or a syndication site or similar). It’s content curation, after all, not content theft.

Vet who you’re curating content from – Be aware that by sharing their content, you’re at least implicitly endorsing someone. Do at least a quick check to make sure that they don’t have anything come up on a basic search through Google or similar that you don’t want associated with your brand, and do a spin around their site or portfolio or wherever you’ll be linking back to to check for the same thing.

Fact check the curated content like you would original content – Just because it’s somebody else’s name on the byline doesn’t mean that you won’t potentially be held responsible if the information turns out to be just flat out wrong or misrepresented. Even if the only consequence would be the company looking a bit bad, you obviously want to avoid that. This doesn’t mean you have to perform the Spanish Inquisition on all content, but don’t just skip giving it a thorough once over for accuracy because it’s coming from someone else, even if that’s a known and trusted source.

Check back for dead links – Periodically you’ll need to go back through and remove dead links or update ones that have moved. Roughly quarterly is typically frequent enough, but you’ll want to do it on a rolling basis to make sure nothing is sitting for too long. One easy way is to have on your team’s calendar once a week to go through and check “this week three months ago” for dead links. It doesn’t take a lot of time, but it prevents a lot of potential frustration for people running into dead links.

Check for updated or revised content – While doing that same review from the previous step, also check for whether content has been updated by the original creator. If it has, I would strongly recommend dropping in an “updated on” header with the date of the update or revision. You should also keep an eye on whether something has been rendered so out of date that you may want to just take it down completely. It doesn’t happen often, but especially when dealing with the tech industry or current events, it may crop out periodically. If there’s content that is potentially outdated but that has elements you think are still worth keeping up to share, you can drop in an editor’s note at the beginning stating something to the effect of that while you know there are some elements of this content that are no longer applicable, there is some information or insight that you wanted to continue to share.

While content curation can’t replace original content, it can be a useful tool to help you keep the updates coming with varied content. Have any examples of great content that was repurposed from someone else? Share away in the comments!