Content curation is all the rage, but it takes some thought and discipline.
Before offering yourself as the company's content curator -- or dragooning someone else into this role -- step back and consider the following list. These five best-practices, culled from numerous content marketing experts and practitioners, are a starting point, but only that. There may be peculiarities in your industry -- for instance, conformance rules -- that will dictate the type of content you can safely create or rebroadcast, and its timing.
Find the right people. As with most corporate matters, getting the right people involved is key. Not everyone is cut out for curating content. Don't think a curator never creates content. Even preparing a 140-character tweet intended to drive readers to a 3,000-word article is writing, albeit resulting in merely a catchy headline. As anybody in publishing will tell you, writers who can produce accurate, high-impact headlines are worth their weight in gold. Is it any wonder why marketing departments have been busy hiring people trained as journalists? (See: If Content Is King, Ex-Journalists Are Kingmakers.)
A related mistake is thinking content can be curated well by writers unfamiliar with the subject at hand. Your audience expects the curator to make pitch-perfect choices of what content to promote. Don't risk losing them by using a novice who'll make silly selection errors. (On the other hand, curation is one of the quickest ways to build up an understanding of a subject domain.)
Package it, please. In the early days of what we'd today call content curation, Website owners would do little more than provide URL links to interesting, relevant stories and resources. Happily, those days are gone, and the bar has been raised. If the content -- either internal or external -- is good enough to recommend, it will be valuable enough to headline and summarize, as well.
Because you'll be posting on multiple platforms -- Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, etc. -- take the time to learn the attributes of each channel, packaging your content appropriately. Before participating on any channel, review the popular accounts for hints on the right tone for this or that platform.
Taking the time to package your curated content, so that it is easy to consume across a variety of platforms, will help with the next step, too.
Encourage sharing and discussion. If a main goal of content marketing is to engage current and potential customers, don't neglect to provide a variety of ways for your audiences to discuss and share the content you've taken the time to select and package. Moreover, make this process easy. In addition, think about ways you can inspire the audience to create its own content, beyond comments.
Stick to a schedule. Publishing 101 teaches us that audiences like regularity. But take care not to commit to an overly optimistic schedule. Start slow. You can always increase the frequency of your posts and other activities later on. Besides, reducing a manic posting schedule may send the wrong message about the health of your organization.
Monitor progress. What's your best-performing content? What content is shared most widely? What types of content show the highest conversions on this channel versus that? If you're not monitoring these metrics, you will fall into the trap of assuming that something is working, even when it's not. Organizations that are far along the content-marketing curve are now tracking every piece of content individually, and scoring it against its intended marketing goal. It's important to understand that content marketing is a long-term play, one that rewards patience and consistency.