How to create an effective content curation plan

content curation planContent curation sounds simple enough. We’ve covered the basics: You find content your readers would like and share it with them, either summarizing it or just adding your opinions somewhere in the post. The more you personalise it, the better the post becomes.

But once you start gathering content to share, you begin to realize it’s a bit more complicated than you thought. It takes a bit of focus and creativity to find good content and then organise it. So I thought I’d share my content curation plan with you, let me know what you’d add to the list.

Scheduling Your Content Search

The best way to find content is to work it into your regular routine for me that means checking your feed reader and adding new feeds to it on a regular basis. For me this works out better than spending a whole day Googling the right content. It works because when you spend a little time each day, you find fresh content that’s up to date and that in turn inspires your own creativity.

You also keep yourself from burning out searching the Web for things to share. There’s nothing worse than writing to a deadline and not having any of the right resources in place.

Choose a time to set aside each day. Try to find a time when you’re most likely to enjoy the search. For example, first thing in the morning before your workday gets started, it might be fun to scan the Web looking for news. This may be a better time than late at night when your tired and not focused on the task at hand.

Searching for content is also a great activity to do when you’re killing time waiting for something or in my case, someone. You might have ten spare minutes before the kids come home, 20 minutes while waiting for a swimming lesson to finish, or a half hour while waiting on hold with tech support. These little nooks and crannies of time aren’t able to be used for serious, focused work, but you can use them to find content. Try to select and save content using your mobile so that you can do it anytime. I use the G-Whizz app on my iphone and the Feedly reader app on my Galaxy Note.

Resisting Shiny Object Syndrome

The Web is full of shiny objects that can distract you and lead you astray. When you’re looking for content, it’s easier than ever to get distracted. You’ll find something of interest to you and start reading, even though you have no intention of sharing it or adding it to your curating list. As I mentioned earlier, curating can spark a lot of creativity.

First of all, set aside your content search time and designate it for only searching and curating. During that time, tell yourself, ‘I’m looking for content to share.’ Every time you stop on a site and begin reading, ask yourself if it’s something you might share. If it’s not, save the link so that you can read it later in your spare time.

Search with an Open Mind

You need to stick to the task at hand, but don’t get stuck in a rut. When you ask yourself whether the content in question is sharable, be open-minded. Try to see if there’s a way you can tie it into your niche. I recently curated a post about Misogyny for Birds on the Blog. I started with Seth Macfarlane’s Oscars gaffe then moved onto other misogynistic posts and then then manouvred back into how Quvenzhané Wallis was treated on Twitter during the Oscar’s ceremony.

Look for creative ideas from other industries or news that impacts your marketplace. If you can do this successfully, you’ll come up with unique content your competition wouldn’t find and your readers will love you for it :)

For example, if you have a blog on marketing, you may share an article on the public’s obsession with zombies (help me out here, why are the public obsessed with zombies???). Why? Because as marketers, it’s good to know why something is popular. It shows you understand how marketing works and how it relates to your marketplace.

If you write a blog on working at home, you might choose to share an article on nutrition tips. Your readers may sit all day at a computer and not eat well.  When you tailor the article to their needs and it’s filled with awesome curated content your post becomes a powerful resource.  Think outside the box and remember that you can also share content you disagree with. This often gets the best reaction from readers.

Watch your audience’s response to your content and judge whether or not it was a good find based on that response. Don’t make the mistake of choosing content you like; always choose content your readers engage with – you’ll learn more about your audience and your content curation plans will serve them better.


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Sarah Arrow

Sarah Arrow started blogging to save a business and it worked! She created her first blogging challenge back in 2007, and is the author of many quick start marketing guides, turning Sark eMedia into a publishing business.

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Guillaume Decugis - last year

Nice post Sarah: thanks! Guillaume here, one of the founders of (thanks for posting the Robert Scoble video in your other post). I’m a big believer of using your idle time for searching content using your mobile (we happened to update our iPhone App yesterday btw): on top of making this time useful, the mobile platform also addresses the “Shiny Object” temptation you’re describing. Don’t you find the smaller screen and the use of the mobile format lots of blogs and media are now using also helps being less distracted and more focused?

Tom George - last year

Great work I had to share it in my Google plus community Content Curation News Tips and Happenings, I would love for you to join it and give more of your special insight on curation to our community members.

Aasma - last year

Hey Sarah,

Content creation is really crucial for any blog. So whenever you’re enjoying searching and feel this is the right time for writing an article. Start it immediately, good mind set helps you to complete your work quickly and much better.
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Tex - last year

Having been doing curation for a while I definitely agree with your “shiny object” comment. I now use mycurator by Mark Tilly to locate, filter and help format and post my curated content, but even then I find myself bouncing around some – like this comment :)

Great post, I really enjoyed your perspective and will be feeding your content into my rss feeds :)

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Chery Schmidt - last year

Hi Sarah I have been really getting a lot of great advice from your on content curation the past few days, Shiny Objects Oh Yeh I was hooked I would read everything I now have a plan in place and I stick to it Thanks for all you do Chery :)

marquita herald - last year

Great series Sarah. I use a similar method with my research for articles and books. i focus on a few core keywords and set up Google Alerts. I’ve founds some terrific articles and posts this way. I also use the same method to track things like my name, my blog, my books,etc. for branding purposes.
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Sarupa Shah - last year

It is sticking in my head to remember to choose what your readers engage with – I think that is key…this is probably the 3rd or 4th time I have come back to this post to be inspired and get clear about my new blog addition – curated posts! Thanks for great content!
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Steve Borgman - last year

Thank you, Sarah, for this helpful article on content curation “How To’s”. I’m going to need to go back and read all your articles in this series, because it’s an intriguing one to me. I love researching, so I think this mode of sharing with my readers is especially helpful as I look at future blog post topics and ideas.

Sheila - last year

Sarah … I’ve spent a little time on your website and come away enriched and enlightened. You’ve created a treasure trove of information and “helps” that I’ve already begun making good use of. Your series on Content Curation is especially instructive. I started doing this kind of work a while back, but have only come to know the term in recent years. Your series not only broadened my concept of the term, but sparked my creativity around how I might use Content Curation to better serve my target audience. Thank you so much for that! Shalom!

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