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What is Content Curation and How to Do It Well

There has been some confusion in recent weeks about content curation. Some even going so far as to say it should never be done. In this post I hope to show you what it is, what it is not, and how to do it well. For if there were no curators, the world would have no museums, no good way to share and experience the great art forms of another.


What is content curation? How can I do it well and correctly?

What is a “Curator”

An Art Curator

Think of a curator of a museum. What is his role or job?

  • He orchestrates collections of art created by others.
  • He cares for the art and displays it to it’s best advantage.
  • He arranges for collections or exhibitions of the art.
  • And he finds ways to help others appreciate and learn from the art.

Does he create the art? Does he claim it as his own? Certainly not. In most cases he is an art lover and simply facilitates the appreciation of the art by others. It is not normal for anyone who sees an art exhibit to even give a thought to the curator who put it together for their benefit.

A Content Curator

In the case of a content curator, the same should be true. A content curator facilitates the appreciation of the content by others, making much of the art and it’s qualities and making little of himself.

What Content Curation is not:

  • It is not stealing content.
  • It is not plagiarism.
  • It is not claiming others content or images as your own.

All of the above can get you into serious, even legal, trouble.

What Content Curation is:

  • It is appreciation of the content.
  • It is (sometimes) the organization of the content into categories or displays.
  • It is facilitating the appreciation of the content by others, who may or may not have a chance to experience it otherwise. (i.e. introducing your readers to bloggers/writers and/or topics they might not otherwise know about.)
  • It is giving due recognition to the creator (original artist/author).

How to Curate Content Well

There is a right way and a wrong way to curate content. Basically, anything falling into the above categories of what curation is not would be doing it the wrong way.

To curate the right way you write original content that explains why the content you are sharing is important, why it is  relevant to the discussion, and some information about from whom and where it came. This can be done in several ways, the most popular of which are one-post focused and round-up posts.

So, how do you know if you are correctly curating content? Here are some simple rules to follow.

The Rules for Proper Content Curation:

  1. Always create your own original content describing the post(s) you are curating and telling why it is important/relevant and/or what you appreciated about the post or the author or the site.
  2. Always mention the blogger/author and brand by name.
  3. If you quote from the curated post to prove a point or further pique their interest, never use more than a sentence or short paragraph (not over 100 words), and be sure to correctly attribute the quote.
  4. Always link to the curated post (set to open in a new window) and encourage your readers to read the entire post there.
  5. NEVER use their photo in your post without prior written permission.
  6. When you can, leave a helpful comment on their post and mention that you will be sharing it with your people. Don’t be spammy or rude about it dropping links all over, but do say something that adds value to their space.

Need some Examples?

Curating in Round Up Posts by Meet Penny

Curating a Single Post by Cómo Blog

Other Posts of Interest:

Creator vs. Curator

The Top 5 Reasons You Should Curate Content

So now you know what content curation is, what it is not, and how to do it well. But maybe this discussion has raised some other questions for you? Leave them in the comments and we’ll be happy to answer.

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