Useful, thoughtful content will always do well online. But, it's okay if you aren't churning out amazing, high-value content week after week.
Here's a little secret about content. You can supplement your insurance agency website and newsletters with quality content. All with just little effort on your part.
Enter: Content Curation
Curators are most often associated with museums. A curator is a specialist who interprets information, materials or content in a specific field. The job of a curator is to determine what people need to know about a particular item or subject.
But, what does curation have to do with online marketing? The answer lies in your content needs.
Content curation is collecting and sharing other people's or brand's content and resources.
It's the difference between writing a tweet and retweeting something another person posted. The first tweet you wrote yourself. The retweet you deemed important enough content to share with your followers. Perhaps you even added your own commentary.
Keep in mind curation differs from aggregation. Aggregate content is a list of links or sources, not much more. Curated content includes a small phrase or commentary explaining why you felt the content was important to share.
The Benefits of Curation
The benefits of curation are twofold.
First, content curation can grow your readership.
Curated content is hand selected by you for your audience. You pick content that you audience will find relevant and interesting to them.
When your audience sees you provide valuable content, they will come back again. They will trust you. Word will spread, and your readership will grow. Voila!
As I mentioned before, having fresh, valuable content is essential to online marketing success. Soon your audience will consider you an expert, in the know and sharing the latest news and trends.
Plus, curated content can make your blog, social content, and email marketing more well-rounded. Although you may consider yourself an expert on your field, why not bolster your ideas with the ideas of others as well? Having a range of content sources keeps you well-rounded and reputable.
Second, content curation expedites the process of creating content.
Even for people who enjoy writing, creating original content takes time. First, you've got to brainstorm, research and outline a topic. Then, you have to hash out the ugly first draft. And don't forget the editing and proofreading process.
Curation saves you time because you aren't brainstorming, writing, and editing every word yourself. You already have a jumping off point established. The idea has been thought of, the content created and edited. All you need to do is curate it.
How to Curate Content
It's as easy as three steps.
1. Review and gather content.
Keep your ear to the ground. Subscribe to newsletters and RSS feeds. Follow interesting, knowledgeable people on Twitter. Watch cool YouTube videos.
Look for content that makes you think, 'My clients could really get something out of this.'
Congratulations! You've done one third of the work already.
2. Reformat content.
How you reformat your content depends on how you'll use it. People will curate content for their social media channels. Or, they'll post a blog roundup covering multiple pieces of content.
A popular way to use curated content is in an email newsletter.
If you're curating content for your newsletter, pick the most important things you've read. Then, sum up each piece of content into its main takeaway or main idea. Do this in one to two sentences. Don't forget to add your own commentary.
Keep your description short and to the point, so people can skim. They'll still get what they need to know without reading the entire article.
Imagine your newsletter as a reader's digest of news you find each week. It's packaged in a bite-sized format.
Here's an example blurb using this blog post, which could appear in an email newsletter:
"This article describes how content curation adds value for your audience. As an author, I also like how content curation keeps me on top of the latest industry trends."
Always link back to your source. If someone wants to read the original article, you've made it easy for him.
3. Publish or share content.
After you've written the perfect blurb and linked to the source, insert it into your newsletter. Send the newsletter to your readers.
Whatever you do, it's important to be consistent.
If you send a curated content email or post a curated content blog once a week, commit to it. Over time people will expect it from you. Your clients will begin to rely on your blog and recognize it as a source of useful information.
The worst thing you can do is be inconsistent. Of course, this applies to all your content and not just content curation.
Tips and Etiquette for Beginners
Here are some extra tips to keep in mind when curating content.
• Make sure your curated content has a connected theme. It helps the reader contextualize what you're sending them. So, select a theme from the beginning (see next bullet for examples). If you are an insurance agent, post information about that.
• You can create a theme based on rotating topics. Try compiling Ask the Experts posts. For young customers, a collection of curated Getting Started posts are helpful. And everyone would appreciate a compilation of This Year's Top Industry Trends posts.
• I mentioned this before, but it bears repeating. Always link back to your sources. The number one rule of content curation is to give credit. Do not pass off other people's work as your own. That's a good life rule in general.
• You can curate different types of content, not only blogs or online articles. Share videos from YouTube or live tweets from an event. Or, link to a great webinar you attended. My point is... If it's available online, and you think your audience will like it, share it!
Got a question about content curation? Leave it in the comments below.