Content Curation for Brand Growth (in 7 Simple Steps) with Content Tools

by Josh Barney

Creating fresh, original content requires time and effort…

…and if you’re involved in a business that cares about their digital presence and social power, you must invest in original content. But that doesn’t mean it’s all you should post and share on social media. In fact, there’s a tactic that can supplement your creation of original content and bulk up your post quantity: content curation.

What is Content Curation? 

Content curation is the sharing of content that has been created and published by somebody else (unassociated with your business).  This is usually performed on social media by sharing articles/images/videos/audio with your audience.

Even though the content you curate is not yours and will not drive traffic to your website, it should educate, inform or entertain your followers, keeping them engaged with your social posts and aligning you with experts in your industry.

Content marketing doesn’t work unless you are consistently sharing valuable, insightful and rewarding content with your audience. Unfortunately, not every business has the time and resources to create this kind of content every day. This is where content curation comes in.

facebook audiences ebook

Why Curate Content?  

Content curation is a fast way to engage your followers. It allows you to post quality content every day, without having to work through the night creating fresh content for your business.

Posting regularly on social media is crucial to your brand’s social presence. So, if you are struggling for time or resources, content curation gives you the opportunity to quickly share content without having to exert too much focus.

However, content curation shouldn’t make-up your entire content marketing strategy, it should be used to supplement it. This means creating original content and curating only on the days that you don’t publish anything original.

Original content is absolutely crucial to your business, so whatever you do, make sure you are still creating it, even if it is just once a week.

How to Curate Content

Just because content curation makes your content and social media marketing life easier, that doesn’t mean you should set it to automatically share articles (without ever checking or reading them).

There are tons of tools that will aid your content curation efforts and in the rest of this article, I’m going to share my favourites as I explain how to curate content in 7 simple steps…

…let’s get into this…

#1: Know Your Audience

audience content curation

Before curating content you must know your audience and more precisely, what kind of content your audience love.

If you don’t know (or care) what content your audience like and are curating any content that has your industry’s label on it, you have effectively created a social media account that shares spam.

I see this type of account all the time and always unfollow or ignore them (or do whatever’s required to stay as far away from them as possible).

The key to successfully curating content is to really know your audience and what kind of content that they’d like to consume (whether that is video, article, images or audio).

The best way to understand your audience is to create a customer avatar. Think about their pain points, their problems, their aims…absolutely everything and apply this knowledge to step #2.

Another great way to find out more about your audience’s content preferences is to use a tool like BuzzSumo. Simply make a (industry relevant) keyword search to discover the most popular pieces of content on social media that includes that keyword. For instance, if I was curating content about content marketing, I’d use my avatar to find out more about my audience’s preferences, make a relevant search on BuzzSumo and then move on to the next step.

buzzsumo content curation

#2: Discover the Best Content to Curate 

BuzzSumo’s ‘content analyzer’ is a great tool for discovering the most shared social media articles (that include your chosen keyword), but it’s a FREEMIUM tool that has recently changed from limited free searches per day, to limited searches per month.

Fortunately for us, there are tons of different ways to discover awesome content to curate without having to spend a penny.

My first tip is to remain flexible and dynamic and always ready to publish a piece of content as it breaks. As a business, you must be aware of breaking news in your industry. This means regularly checking relevant news sites and blogs. If something big breaks, share it on your social profiles and rearrange your schedule.

Being the first to share breaking news with your followers increases the value of your profile and will generate engagement (meaning greater reach).

Another tool that was designed for content curation is Quuu. This tool is a source of original content (that has been reviewed by humans), it links up with social media scheduling tools like Buffer (who also have a free plan) and delivers suggestions to your content calendar. After this, all you have to do is read/review them and confirm that you’d like to publish the content. It’s that easy.

As well as Quuu, I’d also suggest a tool like Pocket (Mobile App, Desktop App and Website). This application allows you to save content, no matter where it’s hosted. When you find an article that you know your audience will like, you can save it to pocket and curate it to your social accounts later. The more content you discover, the more you can save and curate later!

pocket for content curation

The best places to find content to save (and curate later) are content streams, blogs and eZines (basically anything with an RSS feed). More on this a little later…

#3: Actually Review the Content

I’m into marketing, so I’m always targeted with marketing tools on social media (my newsfeeds are full of them) and this sometimes includes content curation tools…

…and there’s one that appeared recently that really irritated me. The copy read ‘Content Marketing on Auto-Pilot’ (I won’t say who it was, they know who they are).

The thing is, if you allow something like content marketing to go into auto-pilot, you’re putting all your faith in a robot to recommend images, videos, articles and audio to your followers.

review content curation

As a brand on digital, you need to nurture your audience, this means actually taking the time to review the content you curate. That doesn’t mean you have to analyse the semantics of every word 5 times over…

…just check that it’s something you’d recommend in real life. Does it have value? Educate? Inform? Entertain? Is it worthy of your recommendation and a spot on your social profile?

Those brands and businesses who actually take an interest in their industry’s news and content (which should be all of you), will find new content to curate without even breaking routine.

#4: Build Relationships with Blogs/eZines/Feeds

When you’ve found websites that create content which resonates with your audience, it’s probably worth you following them and checking back regularly for fresh content.

You could bookmark their homepage, set-up alerts on their social profile posts or subscribe to their website (if they offer this option). This will make your life even easier.

If you do consistently share content from the same blogs/eZines/feeds, you should try to build a relationship with the website owners. By doing this you might be able to contribute yourself, get a heads-up on relevant content before it’s published, or even be mentioned on their blog.

build relationships content curation

Remember, you are sharing their content for them, which is increasing their reach, helping grow their awareness and building their following. I’d advise telling them that you’ve been sharing their content (just don’t ask for anything in return) and trying to build a relationship. 

#5: Don’t Get Desperate

When you get into the habit of curating content (the right way), it’s easy to slip into a comfortable routine of curating content on set days…

…but what if there’s nothing worth curating?

Don’t share any old article just because you don’t have any new content for that day. When you share low-quality content, your followers will associate your profile with that standard. It’s the act of somebody who’s unorganised and has become desperate to post anything.

There are two ways to prevent this:

  1. Vow to never curate any content that is thin, low-quality or inappropriate
  2. Stay organised and always remain ahead of the game with a bank of high-quality evergreen content.

#6: Make it Personal

When you curate content, the headline isn’t yours, the images aren’t yours, the writing isn’t yours, the website isn’t yours…

…just about the only thing you can own and make relate to your business, is the copy that you attach to the social media post.

content curation copy

Most marketers that use content curation as part of their content marketing strategy, let AI lift the page’s meta description or the opening line. This is lazy and a great opportunity for you to separate yourself from everybody else.

Use the copy to personally recommend the content to your audience, explain why it’s so valuable, relevant and ultimately, why your audience should check it out.

Remember, content curation is a recommendation. This is your opportunity to show your audience that you actually care about their interests.

#7: Tag Them

When you share somebody else’s stuff, always make sure you tag the creators/authors of the content. They will probably share the post on their own social profiles, thus increasing the reach of your post.

This tactic can gain you more followers, likes, shares and comments. I’d also recommend using branded hashtags (if applicable).

content curation tag

As a blog that regularly has their content curated by others, we are often tagged in Tweets, LinkedIn updates and Facebook posts, and when this happens we almost always give that profile a shout-out and share their post.

If you want to increase your post reach, build relationships and generate more engagement, make sure you’re tagging the content’s creators in your posts.


facebook audiences ebook

Content curation is an amazing way to bulk up your social media posts with more high quality content…

…but don’t be fooled by the many tools out there that will automate the entire process for you.

AI is growing increasingly intelligent, but it doesn’t know your audience, it can’t think like a human and has no understanding of emotion.

There are too many businesses falling down the ‘content marketing on autopilot’ trap. If you’re curating content, follow the 7 steps in this guide and care about your followers, and you’ll get the most out of your campaigns.

Josh is the Founder of We Imagine Media, an award-winning content marketer, best selling author and creator of the He creates and strategises content, sharing the most successful tactics with his lovely audience. He hates writing in the third person, follow him on the social links so he can get back to writing as himself.

2 Responses

  1. From what I’ve seen, most businesses that use content curation are doing it wrong. They post content just for the sake of posting content. I find this to be especially true for service-based businesses such as agencies and consultancies.

    Curated content should be used sparingly, and only when it adds so much value to your target audience that it would be a waste not to share it. This includes in-depth, comprehensive guides and content revolving around innovative, breakthrough ideas in your industry.

    Josh, I think you hit the nail on the head on the issues with automating social media management and content curation. So many businesses are quick to jump on the “social media on autopilot” bandwagon when they could get so much better results if they put in just a little more effort.

    Also, great suggestion on tagging people who’s content you’re sharing! That’s something I forget to do from time to time, yet it’s so easy to do and can generate great results.

    1. Hey Boris, thanks for the comment.
      I agree that most people curate content wrong. I see a lot of businesses who constantly share articles on social, without thought or care. They just churn out posts, expecting to see results. This is an awful approach to social and content marketing.
      Content curation can give amazing results, but only when it’s performed correctly (which is almost always alongside original content).

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