Content Curation and Tools – How are Small Businesses Curating Content in 2018?

Content curation has burst onto the scene in recent years so we decided to find out who’s curating. We reached out to a number of content experts to understand why content is being curated, what tools are being used and how content curation is likely to evolve. Read on to learn answers to these questions, and how content curation could be relevant to your small business, or not!

Or maybe you’re simply looking for a content curation tool to use away from your site. The one that is consistently well recommended by the experts (including in this article) is Flipboard.

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What is Content Curation?

Content Curation is a process that typically involves finding, organizing and publishing other peoples content that is relevant to your post or story. Not unlike curating art for a public gallery.


Mori Art Museum – Expert Curators at Work

Done well, content curation also involves expressing a view on the content being curated. Whereas content marketing is about completing your own research and publishing original content.

Content Marketing vs Content Curation

Put another way, creation vs curation. In the table below, we summarise the historic pros and cons of creation versus curating as a content strategy for your web presence. But things are changing as digital curation starts to evolve as a new and necessary skill set.

 Content CreationContent Curation
Upsides1. Google prefers original content1. Curating content takes less time
2. Original content infers expertise2. So it also scales much faster
3. Creation can guide buyer journeys3. Done well, it demonstrates expertise
Downsides1. Original content costs much more1. Google prefers original content
2. It's easy to plagiarise 2. Readers may opt for the original source
3. It takes longer to scale3. Done hastily, it can damage your brand

It’s Important to Understand How Google Treats Content Curation

Given virtually all small business websites are concerned with Google ranking for keywords, it’s important to understand how Google treats curated content. Where better to get a clear understanding than from Matt Cutts, the Head of Google’s Webspam team.

What Matt is saying in this video is that auto-generated content will be treated harshly by Google because it adds little value to your site’s visitors. Content curation is not about slapping content on your site. It’s more about carefully selecting high-quality content that you express an opinion about. And which helps to add-value to your visitor’s experience.

How are Small Business Content Creators Using Curation?

With this context, we reached out to small business content creators to get an understanding of how they are using content curation (or not) to help drive their content strategy.

What we learnt is that content curation is alive, well and growing when:

  • The curated content is carefully selected and shared meaningfully
  • Blending created content and curated content can create a better content strategy in the right hands
  • Avoid too much duplicate content on your on site in favor of using social platforms and emerging curation tools, like Flipboard

Here’s what some of the experts shared back with us in more detail.


1. Kris Potrafka, CEO, Music Firsthand

Why do you curate content?

“Curating content provided us with an efficient and quick way to build trust with our potential customers and influencers. Initially, there was a plan to contribute to the news by writing our own blogs and stories, but we don’t have the time and resources. We would also never write anything as good as the professionals doing it every day. As a start-up, we also needed a cost-effective way to quickly establish our brand and authority on the subject in a hyperlocal market.

Curating started out as an internal effort to stay in the know about our industry and the changes happening in our city related to the music industry. Our news sources comes from overlapping industries across entertainment, music, and government. After months curating it for ourselves and fine-tuning our methods, we realized how helpful it was to have our news curated for us each morning. This internal effort naturally led to a public promotion of the curated content and in a way that our audience would like to consume the information.”

What tools do you use?

“We deliver our curated content on Flipboard with our own branded Flipboard magazine called Austin Music Firsthand. The look and feel of Flipboard fits perfectly with our audience in the music and entertainment space. We primarily use Feedly as a source for the content because of it’s simplicity of setting up feeds. “Flipping” the articles into Flipboard is very quick and easy.”

How do you think content curation will evolve in business?

“I believe businesses will become more savvy in how they deliver the curated content to niche markets and targeted groups of customers. Most of the news aggregators are still very visually unappealing. But this is beginning to change with the rise of Medium, Reddit, and others we’re now overwhelmed with content. Businesses can offer a real service to their customers by curating the right amount of content. Our content curation efforts attempts to bring together the content that is truly insightful and genuine.”


2. Amy Vernon, VP Community, Rivetz

Why do you curate content?

“I’ve been in content creation and marketing for years and curation is a hugely important element of that. It started out simply enough, storing things I wanted to read or could use for inspiration further down the road.

For our community and for others trying to learn about us, it’s a way to showcase our thought leadership and the idea that we understand the space we’re in. For ourselves, it’s a way to sort through all the news that is coming out in these areas so we can focus on the most important aspects. Content curation is a vital part of content marketing. And those who do it well provide a huge service to their followers.”

What tools do you use?

“I used Delicious, Digg, StumbleUpon and more. Over time, it became apparent that people were hungry for a way to sort the wheat from the chaff. And if you are a quality curator, that has huge value. Content curation was a big element as to why Twitter and Facebook became as big as they have. Now, my main curation tool is Flipboard, where I can create beautiful magazines on any topic.

I use the platform’s auto-curation to surface content that I might want to share. And I also hand-curate a suite of magazines for myself and my employer. Personal magazines focus on everything from feminism to Siberian Huskies. Company magazines include one that showcases all our news and blog posts, as well as others that focus on topics our community is interested in. Like blockchain, cybersecurity, cryptocurrency, and IoT.”


3. Dayne Shuda, Founder, Ghost Blog Writers

Why do you curate content?

“For the past couple years I’ve been curating content for my Twitter and LinkedIn profiles. For the last while it’s been 1/3 other people’s content and 2/3 of my own existing content. Not just new posts, but posts from archives. The reason I curate content is for two main reasons:

  • To keep my online activity current. I want to make it seem like I’m active in the online world.
  • To provide value to potential connections and sharing content seems to do that. But it’s difficult to create all the content people want and curating content is a great way to provide value without creating your own.”

What tools do you use?

“Right now I use tools like Buffer to schedule and share content. I use Google Sheets to organize information. I also use Pocket as a way to save articles and read them later and add those to the curated list that I share each day.”

How do you think content curation will evolve in business?

“I think curated content will continue to be a way for people to provide value to others. It takes time to find content and to discover new content. If you can save people time and provide content they like you become a valuable asset.”


4. Darwyn Metzger, CEO, Phantom Firm

Why do you curate content?

“Whether your role is as a publicist, marketer, or business owner, your job is to provide value to the audience on which you want to have an impact. Value is found in scarcity. But now that content of every imaginable format is overabundant, your audience doesn’t need more content in their lives. They need the RIGHT content, and that is why curation is often more important than original creation. Imagine you could pick one of two scenarios:

  • Go to a concert to watch a 20 piece band that plays a genre of music you only sort of like.
  • Listen to a DJ who plays only your favorite songs ever.

There is no doubt that it would be much harder and much more expensive to orchestrate the 20 piece band than the DJ, who could show up with virtually nothing but his iPhone and an aux cord. Yet most sane people would choose the latter. This is because consumers ultimately care less about the fact that your content is original and difficult to create than whether it satisfies their needs at a high level.

On another musical note (pun absolutely intended), there have been over 100 million songs officially released. I don’t want to listen to yet another mediocre album; I want a trusted curator to show me the best 12 songs I’ve never heard of!”

What tools do you use?

“Our favorite tool for content curation is Twitter. Not only is it the only social platform dedicated to ideas, it also comes with a built-in focus group. This allows you can determine the positive and negative sentiment for each specific piece of content that you think might serve your audience.”

How do you think content curation will evolve in business?

“Advertising will become less about proving to people that your product is best, and more about showing why you are the trusted expert within your respective field. You just happen to sell the product that, in your trusted expert opinion, is the best at solving your customer’s problem.”


5. Scott Bishop, CEO, Up and Social

Why do you curate content?

“Content curation is very beneficial for small businesses to maintain a consistent authoritative rapport with their customers and prospects. We love content curation because it allows us to position our small business clients to be a reliable source for everything related to their product or service for their audience.”

What tools do you use?

“We use a variety of tools for content curation such as YouTube, Blog platforms, as well as social media. One of our favorite ways to use content curation is by providing a weekly or monthly rundown of news and current trends happening within the industry. We collect and share news articles, discuss current topics, and share our take on controversies. It’s a great way to maintain consistent contact with our customers and prospects.”

How do you think content curation will evolve in business?

“Content Curation is changing and it’s future is shaping up to be more of a dialogue . Meaning the value is more in the conversation than the content. Studies have shown that the average person spends more time on social media platforms where conversation and dialogue rule.

Consequently, small businesses are finding ways to utilize available content to start conversations. Even to spark revolutions, and really impact a positive and meaningful change in the lives of their customers.

People spend money with brands they trust and have a relationship with. Therefore small businesses must make relationships a priority. Content curation provides an excellent way to do that by sparking dynamic dialogue.”


6. Eric Johnson, Content Marketer, Feedback Wrench

Why do you curate content?

“Since I have a background in creative content production, I hated the necessity of curating content at first. I found it impersonal and stale. However, since then, I’ve learned to turn my view of content curation into both love and hate. From a small business perspective, it’s just not possible to create top-notch content at the level that would be demanded without the ability to curate the work of others. In a way, content curation has become an art of its own, and I appreciate that about it.”

What tools do you use?

“As someone who works at a startup with a shoestring content budget, I’m always on the lookout for great stock content. The first places I check are the two major free resources: Unsplash and Pixabay. If those two sources are void of what I’m looking for, I turn to Shutterstock and Themeforest. In the past, my company has also made use of content that isn’t stock by getting the written consent of the creator.”

How do you think content curation will evolve in business?

“As time goes on and content marketing continues its rise, I’m anticipating that more and more content will be readily accessible. There are great content creators that are looking for breakout moments even today.  I’m expecting that there will be more and more opportunities for mid to large-sized websites to share their content.”

The Juice Press

Curation has been around for a very longer time. It emerges when the volume of what is being searched for makes it difficult to get to the ‘Good Stuff” quickly. It’s not disimilar to an art curator deciding what to display in a gallery. Where content curation differs, is that it has to be careful to avoid too much duplication. This is because Google will punish your ranking for plagiarism. Hmm.

A range of curation tools are emerging (like Curata – one of the better ones) that we would avoid. This is because they just slap duplicate content onto your site and upset Google! Better to take the time to curate yourself. Or use social tools like Twitter and Pinterest to curate away from Google’s gaze on you.

But if you are looking for a more engaging curated content experience for your customers (without being punished by Google) then check out Flipboard. This platform provides a deeply immersive experience, which is also seamless integrated with social media (Twitter and Facebook).

Visit Flipboard