5 Major Steps to Content Curation: A Beginner’s Guide To Content Curation

by Masooma Memon
14 minutes
content curation guide - ContentStudio

Whether you’re on your first date or your relationship is a decade old, It’s never a good idea to keep yammering on about yourself all the time. Now, what is Content curation Marketing? Content curation marketing is the same except, your prospects are your dates, and you’ve to make them feel special. Of course, that won’t happen if you talk about your brand only. But it would if you curate relevant content for them and keep them engaged.

60% of marketers are devoted to creating at least one piece of content daily.

In fact, 85% of the B2B marketers credit curated content for their content marketing success.

In this post, let’s dive into the nuts and bolts of content curation, what it is, what benefits it brings to the table, and the steps to take to curate content for your brand.

Let’s roll

What is content curation?

The act of selecting, gathering, structuring, and distributing content from various sources on the internet is known as content curation. Curated material, such as “best of” lists or content tailored to assist someone master a specific skill, usually provides a list of high-quality resources on a given topic. 

Now, it’s extremely important to bust this common content curation myth – the process isn’t a time-saving alternative to content creation.

Heidi Cohen, a global marketing influencer, writing in Content Marketing Institute, defines content curation as,

Heidi Cohen curated content definition


You’ll understand each of these pointers in-depth as we proceed. For now, let’s dissect Heidi’s definition of content curation.

She starts with “to meet your audience’s information needs…” Undeniably, you can’t meet all of your audience’s (massive) content needs. But you can always substitute their hunger for new content by sharing relevant content with them.

Next up, the definition reads “…content curation is the assembly, selection, categorization, commentary, and presentation…”

5 Major Steps to Content Curation

  1. Assembly 
    Gathering content for your audience that lies within your field and interests your readers.
  2. Selection
    Not all sourced content is relevant or share-worthy enough. Here’s where you set up filters and wear the approve-this-disapprove-that hat.
  3. Categorization
    Content comes in different formats including blog posts, infographics, eBooks, and more. It also goes out to different distribution channels such as social media, newsletters, blogs, and so on. At this point, you decide which content will go where for optimal engagement.
  4. Commentary

    Like we just discussed, curation is not copy-pasting and posting a link to your social media. Instead, it’s adding your take on the matter as well. Like here:

    commentry instagram post                                        Source
  5. Presentation

    Giving the content you share a visual makeover. For instance, you share data that someone else has churned out but put in a graphic. Example CoSchedule took data from Convince & Convert and put it in a graphic that represents their brand style.

Heidi finally wraps up the definition with “…of the most relevant quality information.” In other words, you are to curate and share content that offers both relevant and quality insights.

Seasoned marketers also use content curation to fill in gaps in their social media stream.  Here are 10 frequently asked questions by content marketers about content curation.

You can either watch the video for FAQ’s about curated content or keep scrolling:

What is content curation marketing?

Content curation marketing is the strategy used in content marketing to accomplish the content production frequency and demands every day. In this, the editor gathers the best and relative content from various source provides his useful insight on it and share it with his audience. This content curation marketing strategy is used when there is no time to publish fresh content. 

Is Content curation legal?

As long as you mention or cite the source you curated content from, it’s legal. Using someone else’s content as your own is what’s illegal. Whereas, content curation marketing is combining the best resources out there and using them as a reference to make your blog interesting for your audience. Therefore we can’t call content curation illegal, scrapping or copying. 

Many popular businesses and websites like Huffington Post use Content curation marketing as their primer marketing strategy with a set of rules to keep it legal and make Content curation work:

How does Content Curation work?

  1. Link Original source of Content
    Taking credit for the original content is not ethically right and not in the eyes of Google. So in order to not look like a plagiarist, quote, add reference or Link to the original source of Content. 

  2. Add value to the curated content
    Copying Content from the internet alone is of no use to you if you don’t give your insights about it. Share some related and useful information to the curated text for it to be ranked in SERPs. 

  3. Use content curation tools
    Content curation tools help you find relative and trendy content based on your search. You can also find influencers to quote or tweets to share in the RSS feed! Some of my favorite content curation tools are:

    I. Feedly

    II. Content Studio

    III. Flip Board

    IV. Twitter Lists
Find and Curate content to increase engagement on social media.

What is the difference between Content Curation and Creation?

Essentially, content curation relates to finding, filtering, and sharing relevant content created by others with your audience. On the other hand, content creation is what it sounds – creating new content for your audience. However, at the centre of this content is your product or service and how it can help solve your audience’s problems.


data collection gif

Content curation examples – let’s breathe more sense into the process

With the definition out of the way, you’d probably be wondering ‘so where can I use curated content or what is an example of content curation?’ Answer: On every channel where you connect with your audience.

So that’s newsletters, podcasts, blog posts, social media, even your eBook. Hard to believe? Let’s weave in some examples of curated content:

1. The Five Things on Friday Newsletter by James Whatley

Whatley shares the news with his readers but also adds content that he has read and found interesting alongside sharing his opinion on the matter.

Here’s a section of one of his newsletters:


See how the curated link is tucked into James’s opinion – he doesn’t like the “ugly-chic shoe” but finds the stories/interviews “a gold mine of excellence.” There you go! A perfect example of content curation.

There are more links + James’ insight at the end of this newsletter:

James’ insight in a curated newsletter


2. Our curated blog post

We gathered advice from content marketing influencers and put it all into one mighty piece. Note how we brushed up the content’s presentation too.

curated blog posts

Time-Tested and Golden Words of advice by 40 Content Marketing Influencers

3. Content Marketing Academy’s lessons from an eBook

In this post, Melissa Coombs curates lessons that she learned from Marcus Sheridan’s eBook, Inbound and Content Marketing.

Inbound content marketing book


4. Social Media Today curating relevant content from across the web

Social Media Today is a leading source of social media news, tips, and trends. Head over to their site, and you’d see it is dedicated to curated news.

Social media today content curation blogs

Each post gives bites of industry news with the author’s quick take on the matter. Here’s the fifth one from the list:

curated Authors quote example


This piece curates an infographic from Animoto and offers it to their audience with their personal opinion as shown on the screen. Most important of all, the information is presented in Social Media Today’s style.

What are the benefits of Content curation?

Some of the benefits of content curation are obvious. You get to supplement the content that you create with the content you curate. Other benefits, however, go deeper.

Let’s explore each:

  1. Curated content brightens your content feed

    There are two ways gathered content can brighten your content feed, whether it’s your social media or blog feed:

    Firstly, curated content adds variety by switching the self-centred tone with a community-based one. So you’re not the child in the neighbourhood who only natters about himself but the child who is friends with everyone, following the ‘sharing is caring’ agenda

    Secondly, you can add a variety of opinions and voices to your content. This variety can help diversify your content mix such as how we noted in the Social Media Today post where they added an infographic to their content

  2. Curated content creates an impression of your business

    The content that you serve your audience tells them what your business covers. For instance, it doesn’t make sense for a stationary brand to share a post on essentials to take on your trip to XYZ country.

    Therefore, by sharing relevant content, you give your target audience a quick idea of what you talk about.

    Retweet blogs


  3. It helps you grow your network

    There are two ways to grow your network with curated content:

    One, you write a post by curating opinions from influencers in the industry. For example, LeadTail reached out to 11 social media practitioners for their opinion on what would happen if social removed the like button and put it in their blog post – a classic example of curated content

    curating opinions from influencers


    While the reader gets to read opinions from others, the behind-the-scenes case is different. Imagine this with me, for a second:

    Step 1: The curator reaches out to influencers and asks for their quotes.

    Step 2: The influencers feel honoured and share their insights.

    Step 3: The curator publishes the post and tags all the influencers who, in turn, also share the post

    See what happened there? The post got a good reach, several shares, and the curator also developed a relationship with the influencers. At some point, these influencers will also return the favour and ask the curator for a quote or so (hint: the law of reciprocity is at work here).

    Two, you share someone else’s post, say on your social channel, and tag them. Like this:


    Of course, when you tag the author for crediting him for his content, it’s likely that he would respond to you. This gives you another chance for nurturing relationships in your field. Besides, there are odds that the person you tagged shares your content in return.

  4. Curated content keeps the conversations going

    Content is a way to converse with your audience, engage with them while delivering value. That’s how content converts and turns leads into customers. However, there’s an extent to how much original content you can create.

    So you need to add relevant curated content in the mix to keep the party going. It will encourage communication and make sure your content planner isn’t empty at any point. Choose the content that sparks conversations, so your audience jumps in and engages with you.

    Here’s an example of curated content in RescueTime’s newsletter.

    curated content in Rescuretime Newsletter

    The letter adds curated content at its end. Each of these pieces is valuable to their audience that wants to sharpen its productivity. So they’re relevant, helpful, and can prompt a conversation if their readers read and discuss any one of the articles.

    There’s another undercover advantage here – you can learn what excites your audience. A topic that attracts lots of reads and engagement is a topic that interests your audience. If you find any holes in it, you can create content around it.

  5. The shared content sets you up as a thought leader

    When you add your point of view, you’re putting yourself forward as a thought leader. Done consistently, your readers will start anticipating your opinion on the matter, which pitches you forward as a voice in your industry.

  6. Curated content also helps you stay on top of the industry trends

    Here’s another incredible plus, content curation gives you a scoop of what’s going on in the industry. For instance, if you’re targeting a keyword and gathering content on it, let’s say, ‘content marketing,’ you’d note what other people in your industry are publishing.

    In addition to staying well-informed and abreast of the trends, you can identify gaps in the information stream. With all the influx of content, spot blind spots, and create content to fill these blanks.

  7. Curated content helps improve your ranking too

    Remember, content curation is not copy + paste. It’s adding value. And when you do so, you can improve your ranking in the search engine too. Hard to swallow? Folks over at Bruce Clay Inc. were equally curious, so they ran a test.

    They learned that when they shared curated content minus any value from their side, the ranking dipped from fourth place to tenth. However, the good news is when they published excerpts with their links and summary, their ranking shot to the first spot on the browser.

    Curated content statistics

How to curate content? 8 steps to follow in Content Curation

With over 7 million blog posts going out every day, it’s your responsibility to only offer content that is:

  • High-quality
  • Relevant
  • Offers a topping of extra value

But the question is, how should you get started? The simple answer is with a plan. Keep in mind that without a strategy, your efforts will be all over the place, which wouldn’t be any help in reaping the merits of content curation.

1. Start with setting your objectives

First off, you need to be clear about how much-curated content you want to add to your feed. There’s no hard and fast rule to observe, but you’ll have to be clear about the ratio before you start curating.

For instance, try a ratio of 75% of original content and 25% of curated content. You will have to set these ratios are per the sharing channel. So you may add more curated content to your Twitter account as compared to your blog.

2. Select what you can share

Before you go about sourcing content, you need to be clear about what content format you’re looking for. It’s one thing to know your target keyword(s), but it’s another to be sure of the type of content that you want to add to your content mix.

You have a variety to choose from:

  • eBooks and guides
  • Research, reports, and white papers
  • Statistics
  • Slideshare presentations
  • Videos, diagrams, and infographics
  • Lists, how-to guides, and tips

3. Up next, pick your sources

The content that you are looking for won’t come magically to you. You’ll have to pick your binoculars and look far and wide. Alas, the internet is a vast expanse, and you can’t possibly look for everything all by yourself.

The following sources can help you:

  • Social media, particularly, Twitter lists

Following your favourite social media channels to get a steady stream of their content updates is an effective way to curate content. However, keeping track of all the accounts that you follow can quickly become tedious. It is here that Twitter lists can come to your rescue.

Create a list of accounts whose content you don’t want to miss such as how Brian Fanzo does below. Visit your lists regularly to cherry-pick content to share with your audience.

Blogs to subscribe


  • Newsletters

This is as simple as subscribing to your industry’s newsletters and gathering content from there to share with your audience.

  • Google alerts

You can also set up Google alerts for getting a hold of the specific content that you want to curate. Setting alerts begins with entering a search term in your browser and narrowing your search to a specific language, source, and/or region.

  • Industry blogs and magazines

Subscribe to industry blogs and magazines or add them to your RSS feed to get a sea of relevant content for your target readers.

  • Flipboard

This entails adding keywords to Flipboard and letting it regurgitate relevant content for you. Here’s a screen showing Flipboard delivering results for multiple keywords including small business marketing, blogging, video marketing, and so on.


Shortcut: Use a content curation tool such as ContentStudio. Start with entering your keyword in the query box. You can also lookup authors, hashtags, and domains.

content curation tool

Add other details so that you are specific about the content you need to curate. Next, get the results with a trending score.

find trending content

4. Filter the content

Naturally, all the content that you collect won’t be a good fit for your audience.  Some pieces may not be relevant to their interests. Other pieces may not drive any engagement.

At this step, ask yourself the following questions before nodding yes in favour of a content piece:

  • How would this content help my audience?
  • Is it unique and share-worthy?
  • Does it come from a trustworthy source?
  • Would it encourage the reader to engage with me?

You can also prepare a checklist of these pointers and only admit content into your curated folder once it checks off all the points.

5. Add value to the content you’re aiming to share

We’ve talked about this before but let’s refocus on this point again for a bit: content curation is not copy + paste. If anything, it’s offering value to your audience. Therefore, you are going to be adding value or adding your personal spin to the content you share here.

The pieces that Databox creates are incredible examples. Here’s one of the posts:

email-marketing metrics

It asks 40 email experts for the email marketing metrics (as discussed in the post) that they track but distills the curated answers into 22 KPIs (as mentioned in the headline) alongside great insights from the writer.

In addition to this method of adding originality, you can try the following steps:

  • Pack the information into an infographic
  • Extract information from videos
  • Add additional information on the topic
  • Share the major takeaways from a book or video and give your opinion on it

6. Decide the channel the curated piece will be shared on

How you add your spin to the content you share depends on the medium on which you share it. The Databox example above is best when you’re curating content for your blog or eBook.

Similarly, you can pull out quotes or statistics from the piece you share on social media. This goes without saying but you can share curated content on your:

  • Social media channels
  • Newsletter
  • Blog
  • eBook

7. Add to the aesthetics

The work that goes into this step also depends on the channel you are sharing your curated content on. A newsletter, for instance, demands a complete aesthetics makeover. You can prepare new graphics for sharing curated content on social or your blog.

The Brain Pickings newsletter, for instance, has a bright look and shares curated content if you look closely in the screengrab:

Brain pickings newsletter share curated content


8. Analyze your content to optimize it

Lastly, just as with any other content you create, curated content also needs to be analyzed. This helps you see how it is performing. Put simply, you need to keep your eyeballs on how well your audience is responding to the content you share and optimize your efforts accordingly.

To this end, check your blog and social media analytics to see how your curated content is doing. If there’s a post that doesn’t perform well, you’ll know that it doesn’t resonate with your audience. Use this data to curate further.

Bonus – Think about how you can involve the community

A crucial aim of content curation is engaging the community as Clay Shirky, NYU professor, shared with the Fast Company, curation “isn’t just about information seeking, it’s also about synchronizing a community.”

Here’s how:

i. You share content from others so you involve a part of the community.

ii. The content that you share encourages others to engage with you, helping nurture relationships with the community you’re building.

iii. You can take this further and involve the community in content curation

Let’s illuminate this last point with an example. Spin Sucks has two weekly columns packed with curated content, Gin and Topics for YouTube videos and The Big Question. For gathering content, Spin Suck’s social and Slack communities are used.

Not only does this strategy help cut short the content curation cycle, but it also curates content that appeals to your community and involves them too.

Wrapping up

Curating content adds variety to your content mix while satisfying your target audience’s content appetite. With all the information that we’ve covered in this blog post, you should be all set to gather and share valuable content that resonates with your audience. One last parting tip – make sure your curation efforts are consistent and relevant.

Masooma Memon

Masooma Memon is a pizza-loving freelance writer by day and a novel nerd by night. She crafts research-backed blog posts and articles for small businesses and app companies who aim to employ quality content to educate and engage with their audience.

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