In the last several months, “curation” has become the biggest buzz-word in content marketing.  Though bloggers have been doing it for years in one fashion or another, businesses are just starting to pick up on the fact that curation saves time and creates thought leadership, just as original content does.

Two Types of Curation For Branding and Monetization

There are a lot of curation types and styles discussed all over the web.  While each has its own value, there are really only two types of curation that matter the most to small businesses:

  1. Real-Time Curation, and
  2. The Curated Hub

Real-Time Curation is done on the social web and started with finding relevant content that interests your market and posting it to Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.  Followers enjoy and pass along the trending and informative links that you post, giving you more followers and giving your brand more exposure in the marketplace.  Guy Kawasaki, Mari Smith, and Robert Scoble are great examples of real-time curators.

The Curated Hub is your home domain, usually run on blog software like WordPress, where you gather the latest news and information on topics that interest your target demographic the most.  The value in having a curated hub is immense.

For your business, a curated hub does the following:

  1. Gives you a way to post more frequently, because you only have to add commentary to make a curated post and the rest is the 3rd party content you’re highlighting in that post.
  2. Gets you backlinks (trackbacks) from the blogs you link to as you curate their content.
  3. Keeps your site fresh, and Google likes fresh.
  4. Keeps readers engaged and coming back for more as they use you as their “news filter.”
  5. Gives you the potential to score for more keywords in Google as you post more often and readers pass your posts around the social web.

For your readers:

  1. They get a great source of news they trust to have the best content, filtered from the noise, saving them time.
  2. They also get an understanding of the news and information you curate through your commentary and opinion which makes sense of the topic, rather than a simple list of links on a topic.

How to Curate

Research:  Plugging In

First, you must harness all the important content sources in your market niche so that you can get plugged into rich streams of up-to-the-minute information.  The best place to start is by subscribing to the best sources of news and information in your niche through Google Reader.  Then, grab a free account at and link your Google Reader account to it.  Feedly is a great way to view and research information from all your sources in a magazine-style format.

You’ll also want to monitor the leading content producers in your niche on social sites like Twitter for breaking news as well.  Twitter is a great place to discover content you can curate in real-time on your social networks or on your curated hub on your home site.  A quick way to check on breaking news with Twitter is by using, searching on your keywords and finding out what people are talking about and sharing at that moment.

Curating:  Putting Together A Well-Curated Post

Say you’ve found a video on YouTube and a few blog posts by thought leaders in your market related to a topic your readers are most interested in.  You start your post by giving it a great title, like “4 ways to leash train your puppy.”  The keywords of note in the title are “leash train” and “puppy.”

Your first paragraph will be a few sentences on the issue, your opinion on puppy leash training, and a lead-in to the stories you’ve curated.  Then you post your video from YouTube (adding any commentary afterwards you wish) and the three blog posts you picked.  When citing blog posts, include the title of those post and a short snippet from the beginning of the post or a summary.  Then link the title of each post directly to the original posts.

Here’s an example of a curated post.  It’s always a good idea to use an image in every post to give it some “eye candy” and help readers understand the topic at a glance.

Give It A Try

If you’re doing a lot of original content or you’ve slacked off on posting because of the constant burden of creating original content, you should give curation a try.  Lean on the other content marketers in your niche and let them handle the writing once in awhile.  Then you just “riff” off of their work; giving them some exposure and your readers something great to read.

Your readers will thank you for it by becoming more loyal to your site and passing around their favorite posts on social sites with Likes, Tweets, and +1’s on Google+.  Your traffic will increase as you become known as one of the best sources of content in your market.  Your rankings will increase as activity on social networks and links from other sites increases.  And your sanity will remain intact as you save time on content development and posting.