By Joe Pulizzi published February 17, 2011

5 Steps to Content Curation

Had the pleasure of listening to Pawan Deshpande, CEO of HiveFire, yesterday at the Content Marketing Strategies conference (I will be speaking on a panel with Pawan at SXSW and he will also be speaking at Content Marketing World).

Pawan discussed the five steps to content curation and I wanted to share them with you here.

Five Steps to Content Curation

Content CurationStep 1: Identify a Topic

  • On what topic do your prospects want to hear from you every single day?
  • On what topic does your company have a unique position?
  • On what topic do you want to be a thought leader?

I would add that you need a find a topic that will help you ultimately drive your marketing objectives as well.

Step 2: Follow the Influencers

  • Bloggers
  • Analysts
  • Trade publications
  • Online news sites
  • Journals

Once you identify these, follow them with Twitter, RSS, email newsletter feeds, etc.

For more, here’s 10 steps to finding the influencers in your market.

Step 3: Share

  • Select only the most relevant content
  • Be comprehensive and open minded
  • Share across channels

Remember, your job is the curator…to select the very best content from around the industry.  More is not necessarily better.  Share the information that will be valuable and relevant to your target persona.

Tools to share your content include:

  • Newsletters
  • a Microsite
  • Social Media
  • Feeds
  • Widgets

Step 4: Organize Content

Key points include:

Build an online library for your content by categories that make sense for you and your readers (think like a publisher). Make it easy for your prospects to navigate (see the samples below). This will also increase your search engine prominence.

Step 5: Create your own content

  • You need to share your own perspective…your own point of view (check this article for more on that). Pawan suggests 40 curated pieces to one original piece.
  • The act of curating keeps you relevant
  • Curation places your content in the context of a broader issue and builds credibility

Key Pointers

  1. Create, curate, but don’t pirate
  2. Always attribute sources
  3. Link to original content, do not scrape
  4. Be cognizant of fair-use practices

Curation Samples

  1. from Adobe
  3. Green Data Center News from Verne Global

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Author: Joe Pulizzi

Joe Pulizzi is the Founder of Content Marketing Institute, a UBM company, the leading education and training organization for content marketing, which includes the largest in-person content marketing event in the world, Content Marketing World. Joe is the winner of the 2014 John Caldwell Lifetime Achievement Award from the Content Council. Joe’s the author of five books, including his latest, Killing Marketing. His third book, Epic Content Marketing was named one of “Five Must Read Business Books of 2013” by Fortune Magazine. If you ever see Joe in person, he’ll be wearing orange. Follow him on Twitter @JoePulizzi.

Other posts by Joe Pulizzi

  • Kathy Hanbury

    Hi Joe,

    Nice article. And good timing for me, as I will soon be establishing some curation guidelines for a client. My only questions is regarding “Be cognizant of fair-use practices”…. What, exactly, are fair-use practices other than the ones you mentioned?(attribute sources, ect)

  • Janna Polzin

    Good list! Content curation is tricky for a lot of people. These are what I consider common sense practices, but it’s nice to see it in one place and has given me a few ideas for ways to improve my process. Thanks for sharing!

  • Pawan Deshpande

    Kathy, regarding your question on ethics, see my blog post Content Curation & Fair Use: 5 Rules to being an Ethical Content Curator.

  • Guillaume Decugis

    Great summary: thanks!

    I think there’s a step 0 I’d like to add: pick up a curation platform you like.

    I’m of course biased (I run but using a dedicated platform makes the curation work much more simple.

    There are several tools and platforms for that… and I won’t claim ours is the best at everything ;-). Each are different; we’re for instance adding value by delivering suggestions to our curators (lacking inspiration is common…) and making a real media (a beautiful web magazine) out of their curated streams.

    But my point is dedicated tools help.

    PS: Happy to send invites to you and your readers if you’re interested (we’re in private beta).

  • Leon Altman

    Good article but I disagree with one point:
    ” 40 curated pieces to one original piece”
    I think that ratio of original content is way too small. Original pieces are much more valuable in establishing authority. They also demonstrate your uniqueness and separate you from the crowd.
    By using creation and smart repurposing you can extend the life of your original content.

  • dominique

    Hello Joe,

    Thanks for this excellent article. One suggestion for the step1: it’s more than a topic to me.
    It’s a target audience (tribe/community) and a specific pain point where the brand can contribute something.
    I also think the 1-40 ratio is too big. Would do 1-5 max.

    We did a video on this process:


  • Marisela Fernandez

    Thanks, for this post I just recently started a blog and will use your advise as I add to my blog in the future.

  • Jinny

    Great post short but very informative. I have started a blog and will definitely use the technique that you have mentioned. Thanks once again.

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