Creating fresh content is a vital part of any content marketing strategy, but you don’t always have to start from scratch. Curated content – content written by other people, which you then organize and share – is a great way to show off your subject matter expertise. “Best of” lists, trend highlights, and news round-ups can all be completely curated, but still appeal to your readership.
The hard part is getting your audience to engage. Without audience engagement (comments, shares, likes, and so on), curated content isn’t doing all that it could be for your brand, or your blog.
Here are five ways to curate content that drives engagement:
1. Curate from a variety of sources.
Yes, you should be following and curating the major players in your niche (for instance, TechCrunch if you curate tech and startup news, or Apartment Therapy if you’re into home décor). But don’t limit yourself to the big names. If readers see the same three or four sources week after week, they may lose interest. Keep them on their toes by introducing readers to smaller, but still credible sources they may not know yet. These smaller, up-and-coming sites may be more likely to engage with you or share your stuff than the big A-list bloggers. The discovery of a new gem may also prompt regular readers to chime in too.
2. Think multi-platform.
Readers consume content in different ways, so don’t limit yourself to your own blog and social media channels. Think about ways you could repurpose your curated content into a webinar, ebook, white paper, or other materials. Brainstorm topics for guest blog posts you could contribute to other sites. Consider starting a podcast or web series to discuss the most interesting content you’ve curated and invite guest experts to weigh in.
If you have a high concentration of readers in one geographic area, host an in-person event so you can engage with readers (and they can engage with each other) offline. If your readers are scattered around the world, why not host a Google Hangout or a meetup at a major industry conference? Anything that gets people interacting in new ways is likely to drive deeper engagement, and repurposing content across multiple platforms allows you to get more mileage out of every idea.
3. Get reader input.
When readers are involved in helping to create content, they’re more invested in you and more engaged with your content. You could publish well-written guest posts from readers or create a poll to find out what type of curated content they want to read in the future. If you publish an email newsletter, encourage subscribers to email you with suggestions on topics they’d like you to curate, or with links they suggest your share.
This type of input also encourages your followers to become customers. Say that you’re publishing a book. Why not post a few different design options for the cover, and have readers vote on the final cover design, or even on the title? This makes readers feel included in the process, which also boosts the likelihood that they’ll buy the book when it comes out.
4. Say something unexpected.
Annotation – or incorporating your own opinion instead of simply summarizing someone else’s piece – is a key part of content curation. Without your unique perspective, there’s no need for readers to visit your blog or website. After all, they can always read the original piece elsewhere online.
To compellingly annotate your curated content, try to say something fresh and new. If everyone is singing the praises of a hot new self-help book, can you think of a few challenges to the premise? If the original content creator predicts that Gmail tabs will destroy email marketing, why not post a few ways marketers could use Gmail tabs to their advantage? Always be respectful of other peoples’ opinions, but don’t be afraid to play devil’s advocate from time to time. You may have readers who agree, but are shy about voicing their opinions. Also be ready for a lively debate with readers who think differently.
5. Include a strong call to action.
Data shows that tweets using the phrase “please retweet” get four times as many retweets as other types of tweets. Calls to action are also a key component in blog posts, where you can encourage readers to share, comment, or take another action. Without this call to action (or CTA for short), readers may simply click over to a new window. Many blog posts conclude by asking readers for their opinions. Do they agree or disagree with the point of view you’ve just shared? Why or why not? These simple questions can spark conversations with your readers.
Want to become a content curation rockstar? Download our eBook: 5 Simple Steps to Becoming a Content Curation Rockstar. Have a favorite content curator? Leave a link, or a list, in the comments below.