Content curation sounds easy, but it’s not. After all, what’s so difficult about sharing content others have produced? Because that’s basically what content curation entails, right?

Well, yes. But there’s more to it than simply clicking “Share” or “RT.” First, there’s a reason to do it: Sharing content created by third-party sources gives your own content creation team some breathing room. It takes time to produce high-value work at a consistent rate, so while you’re planning out your future editorial calendar it doesn’t hurt to keep audiences in your socials engaged with outsider-produced content in the meantime. Keeping that content stream going ensures you’ll spark conversation and it conveys to your audience that you know what’s relevant in your niche—that you’re relevant.   

Yet many brands simply share blog articles and leave it at that. Content curation can be more than that. Indiana Jones isn’t just a lecture-prone college professor, is he? No, he puts on a hat and whips into action, artifact-robbing and museum-gifting. Brand community managers should follow suit and take a more proactive approach to curating content—just make sure it’s not too ancient (or cursed).

Here’s what most brands get wrong about content curation, and what they should do:

They Don’t Plan Ahead

Curating content on social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn sounds simple enough. Just post a link or image and click “Tweet”, right? Sure, but you should also keep a consistent schedule, enabled by tools that can help you automate the posting of links, pics, and other content. Buffer is a tool that allows social managers to monitor and control several social accounts and streams at a time, and schedule content well in advance. Facebook also has a built-in scheduling tool.

Keep the schedule consistent and make sure it’s consistent with the content your brand regularly produces. Is the content similar to your own voice? Complementary? Make sure your chosen curated content supports and complements your own branded content.

They Lack Context or Personality

To engage an audience, it’s not enough to simply post a link without addressing it in some fashion. Give an opinion. Personalize it a little bit, even if it’s a single line about how insightful the content is or an especially engaging pull-quote from the curated content. You can even improve on the original headline by adding your own, with better keywords that more viewers will pick up on.

By adding your own context and flourish of personality, you’re signaling that you know the subject just as well as the original producer. You’re also granting them boosted visibility. In turn, your authority and trustworthiness will increase, and audiences will know you’re keeping the pulse of current trends.   

They Post Stale Content

By the way, staying on top of current trends is vastly important. Post outdated or disproven content and you run the risk of appearing undependable. You want to convey you’re someone who knows what they’re talking about—because you are, of course. Keep tabs on industry publications, subscribe to an RSS feed, and follow the right people. Getting to know your audience and what they’re interested in will also make this part easier (more on that in a bit).

Mix up your content types, too. It seems like blog articles are easily the most shared type of content out there, but brands can do more. They can post video, infographics, reports—anything that captures attention and engages people emotionally. Does it tell a story? Is it funny? Is it useful? Answer “yes” to all three and it’s bound to be shared.  

And always, always, always make sure your content is credible. Check the veracity of your sources.

They Don’t Reuse, Repurpose and Recycle

Not everyone sees the same piece of content at the same time. So, it’s okay—share that content again. Use the above-mentioned tools to schedule repeat content for the afternoon folks, commute crowd, or international audience. But that doesn’t mean you should reuse the exact same tweet or Facebook post. Shake the phrasing of your text up and use different keywords. Include a different, more dynamic image.

They Don’t Engage

Social is about building community, and that means that you’ve got to talk to people. Curating content is all about educating followers and granting customers access to other perspectives they may not have stumbled across. That includes conversation. If a follower responds to your tweet, give them a reply. Ask about their take, or suggest they look at a piece of your own topic related to the subject.

By engaging with your audience you’ll find out the type of topics and content types they’re interested. They could tell you they want to see more funny videos, more interesting interviews, or ask why you haven’t touched on another subject. And that will inform your future content curation efforts, as well as your own editorial calendar or video-making plans. Communication—it’s key.   

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