Content Curation Basics

Content curation is one of those buzzwords you’ll see flying around on Twitter and Facebook and like any other blogger you have to keep on top of the latest trends, but is curating content good for everyone?

In this post I’m going to explore the basics of content curation and how you can make it work for you and your readers.

Many bloggers are already expert content curators. If you put together a regular link post then the chances are you are already curating content to your readers, you just call it something different. But like most buzzwords, content curation is only partially-understood by most people.

What Is Content Curation?

Content curation means pulling together content from various sources and presenting it to the reader in your own unique way. It’s a step beyond the normal link post.

It may be easier to understand content curation by defining what it is not.

Content curation doesn’t mean presenting a list of stories or a weekly roundup of links. It’s not a simple cut and paste job where you rip off content from someone else and imagine you are presenting it in some fresh and exciting way.

The No Nonsense Guide to Content Curation  Isn’t Curation what Museums do? Curation is a long word for collecting stuff and sharing it. Yes, curation is what museums do…

The idea is to take the information available and make sense of it for your readers. Just like a museum makes sense of it’s artifacts; presents them in an easily digestible way, the content curator does the same. Like a museum curator, the job starts with carefully sifting through all that’s out there and selecting the best items, the most relevant items and recreating the story for your readers.

You then put this content together into an easy-to-digest format that tells the story, making it relevant, valuable and most importantly memorable.

Why Curate Content?

Great content is already out there for your readers to enjoy, they just have to find it and yes, they are looking for it already. So why not put it together for them and demonstrate your own expertise? This is the key component to great content curation – it’s not just a whole heap of information that the reader doesn’t know what to do with.

Content Curation Guide for SEO – What, How, Why Curation Content is a Content Marketing tactic that SEOs should learn and use. This guide will tell them all they need to know about Content Curation: what it is, how to do it, and why to do it for the highest benefit of their 


Think about it for a moment: we’re inundated by a deluge of information every minute of every day.

The Internet is wonderful because of this, but it leads to information overwhelm.  From researching a blog post to purchasing a product you have to sift through all that’s out there to find what you need. A good content curator does all of this for you, and builds a following of loyal readers as a result. Social bookmarking is a form of content curation, and those that were experts at it built huge following. Newspapers and magazines do it – they sift all the news stories and curate all of the ones most relevant to their readership. It’s done to eliminate overwhelm.

How Content Curation Helps You

I was had a client that rang me up in a panic as he needed an urgent blog post to go out. He was on a train and couldn’t upload his post in time and he rang to ask me to add one for him. “Just make a quick link post of say 10 links and then post it up”  he instructed. Hmmm, a good link post is never quick and I hated to disillusion him this way.  Link posts are the start of curated content, and they are never quick unless they are poor quality. He got the message but link posts, like content curation, can be seen as the fast-fix option.

One common misconception about content curation is that it’s an easy way to online success, that’s its fast, it can be automated and can be used to replace your regular content. Since you’re pulling together content from different sources, it could be a shortcut to writing all your content for you…

This couldn’t be further from the truth. Actually, like the content you write yourself, the content you curate can help you establish authority, enhance your reputation and create a connection with your readers.

The No Nonsense Guide to Content Curation Curation is a helpful service to all the people who follow you. You find interesting stuff for them. And voilà, because you’ve helped them find interesting stuff they assume you’re fun to hang out with and an expert in your field.

We’ve looked at content curation from your point of view, let’s now view it from the reader’s point of view.

  • Your blog or website is a source of the exact information they want on a regular basis.
  • It saves them from having to do their own sifting online.
  • Over time, they come to see you as a go-to source for their information.
  • They see you as a knowledgeable expert in your field.

How can an automated program that uses keyword algorithms to suck up content from other sources create all of that? In truth, it can’t. If your content is relevant and helpful to your readers, they’ll keep coming back for more. It doesn’t matter to them whether you’re the actual content creator or not. That doesn’t mean you should pass off the content as your own – it still needs correct attribution, but you are building your influence and resources in a way that helps people, and that’s valuable to all businesses.

Curating content should be taken just as seriously as creating your own content from scratch, but one of the advantages of this approach is that it is easier and more cost effective than writing your own content or hiring a writer. The curated content can come in the form of quotes and images like this post, solely images or a collection of video- the choice is yours.

It’s just a matter of understanding your readers well and choosing the right content, what they want to read and what they want to know about.

Over to you – have you tried to curate your own content? What types of curated content do your readers like?


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Sarah Arrow

Blogging an issue for you? Social media not quite working how it should be?That's okay I understand. I started blogging back in 2006 and grew into a kick-ass blog coach as well as creator of Birds on the Blog (listed 3 times by Forbes as a top 100 website for women), I'm frequently listed as both a top content marketing expert and as an influential marketer.
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  1. Hi Sarah. I had never heard of this before, so this was a very informative and also appreciated all the links to more information. You have such a wonderful blog here. You teach me so much when I come here, and I know it will always be fresh and relevant. Thanks so much.

    • Thank you Leslie. Content curation has been around for a long time in many other formats, it’s just taken it’s time to filter through to the mainstream :)
      Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Hi Sarah,
    Great article! I used to work in a museum with Curators so I am familiar with what they do. It’s interesting this is a term that’s now being applied to writing content for blogs. I think it’s a wonderful technique and may even help with writer’s block. If you think of writing term papers in college – kind of the same thing. Research the topic, pull the best of what you discover, agree with, the argument, or just reporting what you find, and you turn it into a paper you hand in to your professor. Nice! I look forward to reading future posts!

    • Hi Lesley -yes! It’s a perfect cure for writer’s block. As you start to unpack why each part is worth reading you’ll find that your writing mojo will come back.
      Thanks for sharing this aspect with us.

  3. Great idea! It’s always time consuming to create blog posts, getting what’s out there and recreating/summarizing it such a way that would be meaningful to one’s followers is something that can be done and could be beneficial…This is the first time I’m hearing about the term but it’s definitely something I’m considering to do in the future.

    • Hi Cherrie, making it meaningful is the best way to make curation most effective. Thanks for stopping by and commenting :)

  4. Hi Sarah! Like all the others have stated I had never heard of content curation before, but I have to admit n the past I have read others blog posts to get idea’s on what to blog about when I had writes block.. Thanks for sharing.. Chery :)

    • One of the best sources of ideas and inspiration are other people’s blogs :)
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting Chery :)

  5. Thank You Sarah…This is very useful…I am pretty new to Blogging but having a blast!….Always wondered how I would get more content….You can bet I will be learning more about Content Curation….Thanks again….Smokey

    • Hey Gregory, glad to hear you’re having a blast :)
      Have fun curating posts I think it will help you and your readers a lot whilst you are full of enthusiasm :)

  6. Sarah, thank you so much for such an informative article. And, in fact, you illustrated content curation perfectly as you inserted quotes from other blogs across the internet on the topic of content curation. I believe this is one of the things I’m most comfortable with: it’s like writing a research paper with your own twist.

    • Hi Steve, I agree! A research paper that’s not so dry (I hope).

      • Sarah, you may have answered this question in a different/previous blog post. I’ve noticed you use the full url when sharing different content curation articles and quotes. What’s the benefit of listing the full url versus hyperlinking the content? Just curious, for my future curation journey.

  7. Best explanation I’ve seen of content curation Sarah. Admittedly I don’t often include that type of post on my blog but I’ve done it enough that I can agree with you when you say it’s neither quick or easy. At the same time – as you’ve illustrated so well – there’s a great opportunity to be innovative and that adds value for the reader.

    • Hi Marty, thanks for your comment… I’ve actually used you as an example of a well curated post in today’s post – all those lovely on-topic quotes that you include in your post really make them memorable.

  8. I received an email a couple of days ago about content curation and marked it to return to. The article’s author was informing readers about content curation software: CurationSoft. Apparently it allows you to scour the web, aggregating relevant, high-quality content that the search engines! Your explanation is much better than his :)

    • Hi Rachel, it’s an excellent piece of software, I’ve used it for a few months (the free version) and recently upgraded to the one off payment option.Very simple, very effective.

  9. Thanks for this great tip Sarah,
    As a matter of fact I have been doing this content curation automatically without knowing I was doing it.
    Very often I take ideas from healers,, writer, inspirational talks and write articles or even say what I agree with and what I do not agree with.
    It is easier for me to do this while giving a talk rather than planning it for a post.
    Thanks for the wonderful tips and ideas shared!

    • You’re welcome Patricia :)
      As I said at the beginner- bloggers are some of the best curators around, we have to be to stay on top of everything.
      Thanks for stopping by

  10. Hi Sarah, I haven’t used this strategy but have heard of it. Thanks for your thorough explanation on all that it entails. I’m going to check out your additional post on this topic – this is something that I’m definitely going to try to do. It’s efficient and an elegant way to give my readers what they want.

    Dena Lynn

    • I like that – efficient and elegant :)
      Let’s know how your curating goes.

  11. I actually find curating content to be a much bigger job than writing my own original material.

    It is a research job, and as you point out, inserting links is no small chore. It’s kind of like having to document a white paper, as opposed to just presenting your own views and ideas.

    Yet, curating is a powerful tool to deliver to your readers, the information they want and need but just can’t put the time into collecting.

    So it’s a great service to your readers, and you need some real talent to put it together cohesively. And, of course, a lot of hard work.

    • Hi David, yes curating can be a huge job in comparison to creating your own post – which is why I don’t do too much of it :)
      It’s one of those deceptive things that look easy on the surface but underneath so much is happening.
      It’s certainly not the easy option.

  12. Sarah,
    where in the world you get these words? “Content Curation”

    After reading the whole post I finally understood what is this “Content Curation” and yes, as you already said, we are doing it already, but we did not know we where doing it.

    I am not into any particular niche and so not certain I actual do any Content Curation but after reading your post… I noticed that yes, I do it often… and when I start thinking about it… I say ti my self, we all do that in a way or another.. otherwise how could we write anything?

    Very interesting post Sarah… love the way you share all these great information’s.

    • Thanks Nick
      You’ll be pleased to know I don’t invent the phrases. If I did it would probably be something like “Cool content thingy” :).
      I’m glad that you recognised that you do it already and that it works for any niche, even when you have no discernible niche.
      Thanks for stopping by

  13. Sarah,
    Thanks for giving a mysterious subject some meat. Not sure that that what I’m up to but it’s good to know the details.
    I appreciate you sharing your vast knowledge.

    • HI Rick
      Thanks for stopping by, I’m sure you’re doing it already but call it something different :)

  14. Sarah, You have done an excellent job on explaining how to curate content to use on your blog. I need to do more blog posts that take advantage of this so that I have variety on my site. I did a post a while back that was a list of my favorite food quotes and it is one of my most popular posts. I will take your advice and see how it works on my site. Thanks for the great tips!

    • Hi Shelley
      Good to hear what you’ve curated in the past is popular :)
      Let us know how it curating works out for you.

  15. Sarah,

    This is a really good post about content curation. It is interesting because I find the blogs that I read the most are the ones that do a lot of it. If someone on the blogosphere is a good source of information it doesn’t mean they are a know it all. Sometimes the original source of the information is great to serve up with a snippet and a link. It also adds a tad bit of social proof to your own post. It shows that you are not alone in your ideas or methods when you post content from other locations

    I really enjoy your blog, this is my first visit but I will be back. I do have to admit it is a little strange having full page width comments. I don’t see that very often.


    • HI Jacqueline
      There is a glitch with a plugin that I’m testing and my theme which is why the comments are showing page width.
      Sorry for the inconvenience but I haven’t had the time to sort it out yet. Normal service will resume shortly :)

      I find good curated posts an excellent resource as well as something that I refer back to when researching posts.

      Thanks for stopping by :)

  16. I agree with David Merrill–curating (yes that was a new term for me to name a concept I have used a few times) takes more effort than writing original content if it is done with integrity. It may be a personality flaw but if I provide a piece of advice in my blog, recommend an approach, etc., I want to make darn sure it uses true facts, remedies that work, etc. as required for the subject at hand.

    • Hi Gene, it’s not a personality flaw! It’s a great quality, and we need to check the research for our posts. I wrote a post once about plugin but sat on it for 6 weeks, in that time 2 of those plugins had been de-commissioned. I got a justified butt-kicking and a lesson about not sitting my posts a long time… and now if I do, I re-check them before hitting publish. Publishing with integrity is what bloggers do best.

  17. Hi Sarah,

    “Curation” seems to be the current in-word in blogging: I seem to have read a lot about it lately. Thank you for this clear description of what it is and why it’s useful. One more item for my todo list ;)


    • I know… the to do list… it seems neverending at times.

  18. Sarah, It’s the first time I have heard this new buzz word. I think we all do it to some degree, but it does take time to research. I agree with some of the others, it may take less work and time to create your own original content, especially if you are writing from the heart.
    Very informative and I learned a new word today!
    Have a great day,

    • Hi Lynn – writing from the heart is the only place to write from :)
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting,

  19. Hi Sarah,

    Thank you for confirming for me the value of content curation. I have read so much around the internet which contradicts itself in the value of curation, some even saying it’s bad for your reputation or SEO, which I don’t think is the case – assuming of course you choose which content to curate with care!

    • Curating with care is the key Jenny :)
      The SEO aspect is the pingbacks – some blogs publish them to show where their content is linked. Not so many do that these days, so less SEO benefits than people think.
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  20. Hi Sarah!

    Thanks so much for not only explaining, but illustrating content creation. For me it seems like an awful lot of work. I would love to try it out…when I have more time. As you illustrated, there is a lot of good stuff we can put in there but it must be appropriate to the post itself. Great tutorial for me. I heard that term, and it s thrown around so loosely in the marketplace. Now I know what it REALLY means!


    • Thanks Donna, yes it can be a lot of work but it can also be rewarding to your readers, so it’s worth doing.
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting

  21. Sarah,

    To me curating articles is like doing research and gathering information from other sites. If you find 2 different sites with a list of nutritionally healthy foods, then you might add both lists to your site with some additional information and approaching it from a different perspective from either of the original articles.


    Dr. Erica

    • Yes :) and what a great article that makes for your readers – thanks for sharing your experiences :)

  22. Sarah,

    Great article and you have links to some great resources on the subject of Content Curation. I am always seeing great articles and wondering how I can get them to my blog followers. When I see a great and useful article such as this, I will share it on my Facebook FanPage but have not figured out a way to do so on my blog. This content curation, now that I know more about exactly what the term means, is something I definitely want to look into.

    Someone once suggested that a good way to come up with blog posts is to read another blog post, and then summarize it and comment on it, analyze it and link back to the original article.

    This seems like a good idea to me because, I think some people just want the summary and highlight of the article, first, and then maybe a link to the actual, “long article” second. What do you think of that idea?

    Thanks for your great blog and blog posts!!!!

    ~ Jupiter Jim

  23. Content curation is work, and I wouldn’t do it this way all the time, but it’s a great idea to add to my list of ways to blog. Thanks, Sarah, for another helpful post!

  24. Very interesting article Sarah! I really enjoyed this and now have a better understanding. I appreciate you sharing this. Have a fantastic day!

  25. Puts a good spin on curation. I have always shied away from it based on other descriptions that had a kind of sleazy feel about it. You have put the whole method into balance. We all like a reference source, and if your blog or site is niche focused to begin with (shouldn’t every site be?), it makes sense to have, from time to time, posts that summarize best new information you are learning and where you learned it.

  26. Hi Sarah,

    I did a similar post on this a few months ago. As a researcher & someone that has to sift through lost of information, content curation makes perfect sense to me and is something that I enjoy. For others I think there can be a little bit of a learning curve about how to do this successful. The could thing is it gets easier over time.

    Thanks for sharing, I am sure a lot of people will find this useful.

    Beth :)

  27. I had considered trying content curation for my fitness/weightloss blog on days when I didn’t feel like sharing with the world how bloated I felt that morning! I’m glad that I came across this post to remind to try to incorporate more of it. This is good information, I have friends who are much newer to blogging than I am and they will appreciate this info.

  28. Hi Sarah -

    Content Curation is one of those terms that has a different meaning to many. Ask 10 people, and you could very well get 10 answers. I totally understand the issue with your client and him looking for a quick fix. As you detailed throwing some links together was not a satisfactory solution. There’s no quick fix with content curation.

    Wow, a lot of great content behind these links Sarah. Leaving my window open, and circling back tonight to review.


  29. Sarah,

    This is the cure to people understand to write their own stories in a way that get readers to interact. It is one thing to have people just read your article and another to have them also interact. Without our supporters interacting there is no life in that Blog.

    I also, agree with reading unlimited blogs of others. Can and will inspire you plus, give you a feel of what the current week focus is on. That alone is priceless.

    Thanks Sarah for making me have hope for all of the people out here needing easier ways to keep with a rhythm of new content.

  30. I’ve never understood content curation better than i did after reading this article…i found it very informative. Thanks


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