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The Smart Way to Use Content Curation to Strengthen Your Brand Identity

Many marketing experts like to draw a line between content curation and content creation, but focusing too much on either form of content can harm your business prospects.

Simply listing content from other sources will never enable you to find your own brand identity, but constantly creating new blogs, videos or images can be a drain on your time and energy. There has to be a middle ground. Here’s how to find it.

Make the Most of User-Generated Content

Every business has its core of loyal fans and followers. This has always been at the heart of their success, but it’s even more important when companies are continually competing with hordes of Instagram and Twitter followers.

By harnessing your followers, you can add curated content that takes very little effort to create, and engage with customers at the same time. Twitter contests are a good way to add user-generated content to your own website. Just ask your followers to answer a question, and you should come up with images and video that can complement your own content.

Remember to post all of your users’ content with proper attribution, with a link to their handle, and share the results of any contests across all of your social media channels.

Seek Out Experts for Their Syndicated Content

If you are spending hours every week writing elegant, informative blogs to showcase what your company can do, any way of amplifying their reach should be embraced wholeheartedly.

Seek out the experts in your field. You probably know them already from trade shows, TED talks, Twitter feeds and press articles. Many of them will also be aware of your company, even if you don’t know it. They will also usually be delighted to partner with fellow experts. After all, their success depends upon self-promotion, so use this to your advantage.

A unique piece of content from a recognized expert goes a long way. It establishes credibility, informs your audience, builds links with the expert’s followers and means that you don’t need to write a piece of your own. Experts will often be happy to provide their own work with the right attribution, so don’t be afraid to ask.

Create Comprehensive Weekly Summaries

A weekly digest is a great way to inform casual readers about your work. Many of them will have missed the individual blogs or videos, and only have time on the weekends to catch up. It’s also a good opportunity to curate the “best of the week” by other writers. This doesn’t just add value for your readers, it also places your work alongside that of well-known experts, suggesting to readers that you are on the same level.

When creating digests, never include entire articles. Come up with a unique title (never lift the original). Then add a short excerpt from the article. This could be the intro or another section that sums up the argument. Above that, it’s a good idea to add a photo that relates to the excerpt, and highlighting a quotation is also advisable. Always remember to include the original link and the name of the writer.

Alongside curated content, include some short snippets of commentary informing readers why you have chosen these articles, and why they are valuable. Be sure to link to similar content on your own site as well.

Use A Content Curation Strategy

Some people use content curation haphazardly. They feel that simply listing articles from other sources is enough to guarantee click-throughs and conversions. It isn’t. In reality, you need to promote your curated content as energetically as your own.

Use Twitter and Facebook to share your curated pages or user-generated content. Email marketing is also a good option, usually in the form of weekly newsletters that include curated links.

Maintain a regular schedule of content curation as well. Your curated digest and newsletter should be a weekly event. It should be something for readers to anticipate and rely on, not something that appears every now and then.

It’s also important to refer to the pieces you curate in your own unique content. This is where the blend is vital. When you blog, link to pieces that have influenced you and make a point of linking to an expert who appears in your curated digests. This way, you can insert yourself into broader conversations, attract likes and shares, retweets, site visits and conversions.

Add Value, Don’t Just Post Links

Content curation is not a magic bullet. If you only post links to your blog or social media sites, you might make some friends, but you won’t create the kind of identity that leads to leads and sales.

Curated content works best when it is compiled and shared by businesses with something to say for themselves. They link to articles that complement their own blogs and videos but also point out where they are distinctive. They focus attention on their own brand strengths by sharing the content made by others.

This is why the distinction between content curation and content creation is so hard to see. You need both, and both feed into each other. Without reaching out, you will find it hard to expand, but if you don’t create a unique identity, your business will falter. It’s all a question of finding the right balance.

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