For many school marketers, the thought of adding “content creation” to their team’s (or their own) to-do list is enough to cause a hive breakout.
But in reality, school storytelling doesn’t have to be overwhelming, and it’s not an all-or-nothing concept.
The key to making strong school storytelling a reality for your school is developing a smart strategy ahead of time – and part of that strategy may include adding content curation to your content mix.
Here is everything you need to know about why you should curate content and how to do it efficiently, along with when and where to use curated content.
Content curation means actively searching, finding and sharing third-party content with your audience that it finds interesting, entertaining and trustworthy. You know what your audience wants and needs, and you’re sifting through the sand to uncover the gems that they would find valuable, relevant and meaningful. By doing so, you’re positioning yourself as a trusted resource that is in touch with the wants, needs and dreams of its students and families.
Here’s another content curation definition, from Beth Kanter:
“Content curation is the process of sorting through vast amounts of content on the web and presenting it in a meaningful and organized way around a specific theme.”
“Content curation” is such a fantastic term, isn’t it? It immediately brings to mind a fabulous art gallery with a collection of works by amazing artists.
Which is actually quite apropos.
“Unlike automated services (such as Google News), the essential difference of curation is that there’s a human being doing the sifting, sorting, arranging, and publishing. Just as a museum curator must decide which artifacts to display during an exhibition, an online curator decides what information available online is appropriate and relevant to her audience.” – Sean Carton
So, in a way, content curation does create a beautiful gallery—one that becomes a mighty tool in your content marketing.
It is not a hands-off, fool-proof process, but it is an approach that can add a lot of value to your content.
Content curation allows you to maintain your school’s blog, email, social media and any other content you produce by pulling from a third-party source.
Content curation can:
If you’re a busy school marketer who produces content, content curation will be helpful to you.
Once you have a process in place for curating content (which we’ll talk about next, and I promise—it’s simple) it will be easier for you to keep up with publishing content on a regular basis.
And since consistency is one of the keys to content marketing success, content curation can quickly become one of your most helpful tactics. It simplifies and improves the content creation process, but there is still work involved in the process of curating the content and adding your own thoughts. There is no true shortcut that will bring you an engaged audience who loves your content and your school.
The best way to get started with content curation is to think about your content’s focus, then turn to the resources you already use.
This ensure that you are only curating from resources that are relevant to the topics your audience expects from you, and that those resources are going to produce great content from which you can choose what has the most appeal for your audience. From there, you can explore new sources of content to round out the resources you reference. At every point, your main goal should be to provide content that’s relevant to your school and meaningful to your audience.
As Beth Kantor says,
“Content curation is not about collecting links or being an information pack rat, it is more about putting them into a context with organization, annotation, and presentation. Content curators provide a customized, vetted selection of the best and most relevant resources on a very specific topic or theme.”
You can make content curation easier by relying on websites that keep things organized and streamlined.
There are two main types of content curation tools: those for content aggregation and those for content discovery.
A content aggregation tool might be right for you if:
A content discovery tool might be right for you if:
Choose one or both—you might want or need both a discovery and an aggregation tool to keep you at the top of your game.
A great example of a useful content aggregation tool is Feedly. Feedly allows you to compile the sites you like to read, all in one place. With Feedly (and similar tools) you can:
Setup doesn’t take long, and soon Feedly will become your go-to resource for all of the great content that can help fuel your content marketing.
A content discovery tool will help you find new content based on topics you choose. These tools are helpful because they:
Scoop.it! is a standout example of a content discovery tool.
Scoop.it! is content curation with a social twist. Using the tool, you can quickly discover content by searching by keyword or a list of topics Scoop.it! provides. The content on Scoop.it! is curated by its members, so this is also a great way to find some new players in your industry. You can follow topics and users so you don’t have to do a fresh new search each time, and if you find a great “scoop” you can “rescoop” it. The site will also provide you suggestions on items to read and rescoop, based on your interests. When you rescoop, you’ll get a pop-up window that gives you room to add your own thoughts on the article and the option to share to your social media accounts. Discover, save and share new content all in one tool—what’s not to love?
Reminder: When you use curated content, remember to site your source. Attribute your quotes and include a link. If you find an image you would like to use, ask permission first.
Original content should make up the majority of the content your produce. Curated content can be a great resource for statistics, facts and quotes that together can create a comprehensive view of a subject. You can use it to support your point, or to provide a different perspective.
As marketing expert Lee Odden says:
“The key is to do the homework of understanding what motivates your customers and to assemble a compelling mix of curated and original content to inspire them to engage and buy. Be thoughtful about the usefulness of the content you assemble, create and promote. Empathize with your customers’ interests and goals so you can properly optimize content for both search engines and social media sharing.”
Content curation is a lot more HUMAN than one might expect. Relationships, connections and understanding your audience are key. And the right tools play an important role!
Now that you understand how content curation can help further your school’s content marketing plan, grab a notebook and a pen. Jot down one topic your content focuses on, followed by five trusted resources you can use to curate content on that topic. Repeat with as many topics as you need, and you’ll have a list of sources you can easily plug into Feedly or another content aggregation tool when you’re ready to get going.
It really is that easy to create a system for curation that will help sustain and grow your content marketing approach.
Need help curating your school story? Learn more about working with us.