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Content Curation: The Art of a Curated Post [Infographic]

For content marketers wanting to economically increase content production, content curation is the optimal solution. It benefits both publishers and audiences—who appreciate expertly selected, third party, independent content. In fact, according to Curata’s study, best-in-class marketers use a content marketing mix of 65 percent created content and 25 percent curated content.

But many people interested in content curation—and some who are already curating—may still have lingering questions about best practices.

What should a curated post look like? How much of the original article should I include? How do I align this content with my own content?

To help answer some of these questions and outline the anatomy of curated piece of content, we created “The Art of a Curated Post.” Just like a painting, a good curated post is not complete without all the necessary elements. Follow along as this curator—let’s call her Claire—paints the perfect post.

the art of content curation infographic

Five Elements of Content Curation

1. New Title

It’s vital to always craft a new headline to avoid competing with the original article in search engine results. And a good headline can be the difference between someone clicking on your article or ignoring it. Some handy sites to use for creating titles include:

  • Upworthy.com – Although many of these titles can be outrageous, simply browsing this site will help in brainstorming catchier titles.
  • UpworthyGenerator.com – This website provides a new “Upworthy Style” title every time you click “Generate.” Again, while these titles are outrageous—and in this case, fake—it’s a good jumping off point to start pushing the boundaries with headlines.
  • TitleCapitilization.com – This tool comes in handy any time you are wondering which words are capitalized in a title. Simply paste your title into the field on the home page and it automatically corrects capitalization errors.
  • UberSuggest.org – This website helps find popular keywords surrounding various topics to help your article rank higher in search engine results.
  • Thesaurus.com – Never underestimate the power of a synonym. Often, simply inserting one word in place of another can take your title to the next level.

Remember, even if a title worked well on the original post you’re curating (it got you to click, didn’t it?), it may not work well for your specific audience.

For example, at Curata we often curate posts about social media best practices. However, we try to put it in the context of content marketing, since this is what our audience wants to read about. A recent post showing this is titled “How to Optimize Content For Social Media Success.”

2. New Image

To avoid copyright issues and add originality to your post, use an entirely new image. Useful image sites include:

  • Stock photo libraries such as Shutterstock, iStockRGBStock
  • The Creative Commons for free ‘Copyleft‘ images in a range of licenses
  • Image Creation tools such as Canva
  • Basic design tools such as PowerPoint, and more sophisticated tools such as Adobe Creative Suite and the free, open source GiMP

3. Body Text

Your own, original body text should take up the majority of the post. Include the following elements:

  • Attribution of the original article and author (with a link to the article)
  • Commentary and/or annotation. Frame the original article in a useful way to your readers by citing the content’s relevance to them, and provide your own analysis on the topic or issue at hand
  • Links to created content. You’ve no doubt spent time creating unique and interesting blog posts, eBooks, and other resources. Now is the time to link back to these assets—when they relate to the topic—and give your audience additional value/further reading

4. Quote

Draw in a quote from the original article, or even several quotes. The exact format can vary depending on the length of the original article and its topic. Be sure to pick a quote or stat that will surprise, educate, and/or entertain your readers. This is your opportunity to bring in intelligent outside voicesone of the main advantages of content curation.

5. Call to Action

A call to action (CTA) is necessary for every blog post, but it’s especially important for curated content. Don’t leave readers hanging. Link to a piece of your content that helps expand their knowledge on the subject at hand.

Offer readers a piece of gated content such as an eBook or a webinar to help generate new leads and nurture existing leads. Keeping leads engaged reinforces how you are catering to their needs and bringing them value on a consistent basis.

Make sure your CTA is both eye-catching and appealing. Here are some great articles about creating CTAs that convert:

What’s Next?

This is a useful template for composing a curated post, but note there is much more to the curation process not touched upon here. E.g., finding articles to curate and promoting content once it is produced.

Fortunately, there are many tools and technologies to help with each step of this process. We rounded up a handy selection of curation tools in this ultimate list to help you weigh your options.

the world of content curation tools

Want to know more about curating content? Curata’s eBook, The Ultimate Guide to Content Curation will have you curating like a champ. Alternatively, reach out to us for a demo of Curata’s content curation software.

Mitchell Hall

Mitchell Hall is Curata’s Content Marketing Director. Online since 1991, he has been writing for magazines and newspapers since 1997, and editing and managing websites since 2006. Mitchell has a BA in Political Science, Philosophy, and English. A generalist, his most covered topics are business and technology. Follow Mitchell on Twitter for links to unique and insightful stories: @mitchellhall

  • Mandy Lin

    Like this how-to thanks!

  • MamaRed

    Excellent article on curation…as someone who helps others Tame the ContentBeastie™ curation, properly done according to your structure, is a great way to tame the bugger! I’ve seen articles where there isn’t the emphasis on adding your OWN content and OWN images, so this was very refreshing!

  • Thanks Alex, very helpful with great clear take -away!

  • Dan Zarzycki

    Out of curiosity, what is the other 10% of content marketing?

    • Alex Barca

      Hi Dan! The other 10% is syndicated (licensed) content. See the full report here: bit.ly/CMTactics2014

      • Dan Zarzycki

        Cool! Thank you for the prompt response!

  • Andreas Schellhase

    Hey Alex this is a great article. Seen a lot on curation but you point out the most important stuff. Great work!

  • Steve Walker

    I hate to burst your bubble on #2. You need to seriously read how a copyright infringement works. We have helped one of our clients get 5 links disable because she stole a photo. A photo has a automatic copyright the minute the photographers snaps the shot. Ellen & company photo does not belong to her~ it belongs to Bradley Cooper he took the photo. So just because something is on the Internet and you don’t find a owner doesn’t mean it is yours to take. Just because you use a thumbnail it is still infringement unless you have the photographers permission. Before you go giving false advise to readers I strongly suggest you read how copyright infringement works. Our clients is not only suing Michelle & Will for stealing her photo but also her attorney who was so new out of law school or was sick the day they learned Federal Copyright Laws she told her client oh it’s ok. It is not ok. Since Michelle is refusing to takedown the photo she is “willful” in knowing it was infringed. She was also stupid enough to say where she got the photo~ then claim it as her own. Now our client may ask the federal court for up to $150,000 per infringement. Since Michelle knows she “Willfully” knows it was infringed. Also I didn’t know still doesn’t get you off the hook. Taking it down or giving photographer credit without permission still gets you sued. Learn before you write a blog Alex or you might find yourself in a federal copyright infringement case too.

    • Alex Barca

      Hi Steve! Thanks for the catch. You are correct — we have to be careful when using images, even if it’s just a thumbnail. The Ninth Circuit United States Court of Appeals decided that using thumbnail images amounted to fair use in the case Kelly v. Arriba Soft Corp — but this only applies to search engines. Overall, fair use can be ambiguous. For readers of the post who would like to learn more about copyright laws pertaining to curating content and guides to tools to help curate ethically (including images), feel free to download our eBook here: bit.ly/CMDoneRight. There is also a great article from Columbia University about fair use policies here: bit.ly/colfair

      I have adjusted the wording in my post to clarify the curation of images.

      Thanks,
      Alex

      • Steve Walker

        Wrong again Alex. You need to read the fine print on thumbprints. You are incorrect. You are still using the photographer photo without their permission. I’m going to give you some real laws from the federal government. Then you and your readers can will know the actual laws set forth. Our clients have sued and won on people using their thumbprints. You aren’t a lawyer so you are walking a fine line sharing. As I said one of our clients is suing Michelle and her lawyer.
        Steve

        • Steve, Pawan here — author of the eBook that Alex referenced.

          First off, I think you mean “thumbnail” not a “thumbprint”. A “thumbnail” is scaled down version of an image. A “thumbprint” is a fingerprint of your thumb. 😉

          Secondly, Alex is not a lawyer, nor am I, but what Alex is saying (in her corrected version) and what my eBook says, as far as I can tell, is consistent with ethical and lawful curation of images. Alex is saying you should create a new image to avoid copyright issues, or in the eBook, it says that thumbnailing an image doesn’t necessarily give you the right to repost it. Only if 1) you are a image search engine like ArribaSoft (or Google Images) can you do so without permission, (2) you are granted permission from the image creator/copyright holder, or (3) the image is under a license that offers sharing such as Creative Commons.

          I think we’re all saying the same thing here. This is a topic that I am passionate about, so I would be interested in seeing references to any federal laws on this topic that pertain to this issue that the proposed guidelines don’t cover. You can send me a note at my first name at curata.com.

          • Steve Walker

            Ask Google how many DMCA takedown notice they get daily and must comply. Ask Google how many Federal Court orders they receive not asking, telling them to remove the photo. One case right now we are doing the thief states in her blog she never met the person in the photo. Then she says where she stole it from. Then she claims it’s her photo. Now the photographer is asking the Federal Judge the max of $150,000 per infringement. She is also asking for damages from Google because they were ask to take it down and didn’t. In the courts eyes it was “willful” and she will get damages from Google also. Courts also don’t care if you claim you didn’t know. They don’t care if you take it down or add the photographers name for credit. It is infringement.

          • Steve, I am familiar with DMCA and am a registered DMCA agent myself.

            In the case you are describing, the individual didn’t ask for explicit permission for the image from the image creator. And yes, thumbnailing, or simply adding an image credit is insufficient.

            Again, we’re saying the same thing here. Had they followed the guidelines proposed in my eBook, she would likely not be in trouble.

            An an image should only be reposted “only if 1) you are a image search engine like ArribaSoft (or Google Images) can you do so without permission, (2) you are granted permission from the image creator/copyright holder, or (3) the image is under a license that offers sharing such as Creative Commons.”

          • Hi Pawan,
            Tom George the founder and CEO of Internet Billboards. Thank you for so vigorously defending the correct position on this issue. I have a lot of respect for your company. Since you are so well informed, and it has been a few years, I was just curious if there are any new developments regarding this issue?

          • Not that I am aware of Tom. Getty Images is well-known for threatening litigation for use of even thumbnails of their stock photo images and often is paid a settlement fee.

            So my suggested guidelines remain the same: (1) it’s best to ask for explicit permission before re-sharing an image, or (2) swap out the image with something you have rights to, or is in the public domain before sharing.

            These rules are not the same if you are an automated search engine like Google Images, but most of use content curators are not.

            Again, I am not a lawyer, so do not construe this as legal advice.

          • Hey Pawan,
            I hope you had an amazing Memorial Day Weekend. Sounds good. I figured I would check with you. By the way, amazing job with Curata! Keep up the excellent work!

          • Steve, maybe it would be helpful to provide a link to your legal website so that people know who to hire. Your attitude on this thread reminds me of those commercials of attorneys that call themselves “the shark” or “the hammer” and stating that they’ll “go after” whomever they need to on behalf of their client. Based on your aggressive nature here, if I ever get into a situation I’d like to hire you. Because I’m about to have nightmares and I’m not even the one being attacked. I’m just cruising over this post. My point being that you might be more productive and helpful if you just offer your legal services to people as opposed to attacking people who didn’t go to law school. Since I am a blogger, and not a lawyer, I can say that I’m an expert in blog post threads. As a result, I can tell you that if I owned this blog I would block you since your posts are not productively engaging the audience and are overly emotionally engaging. So be productive! Post something HELPFUL instead of something that rips people apart both personally and professional. We do not need more negativity and bullying on the internet. We have enough of that already.

        • Steve Walker

          One final note to prove my case-see how many Pinterest pages have been taken down because people thought it was fair use.

  • Infoboss

    Very useful and informative post, thanks for sharing publicly.

  • This is a gorgeous post! I really enjoyed the Upworthy Generator myself. I hadn’t known it existed until I read this.

  • Jelly shah

    Nice informative article you have written Alex, Really appreciated!!

  • Gustavo Ordaz:.

    Fantastic! Well done!!

  • Great. Very helpfull

  • Content curation is widely recognized as an efficient tool to engage with online audiences more consistently.

  • stealthstorm

    I would be curious to see some examples of curated content, what the original post looks like and what the curated post looks like.

    • I would as well! I used to work as a content curator but it was mostly for videos.

  • As a helpful note/example, I will often make a blog post where I embed a YouTube video that I curated. At the beginning of the post, I will take an image from Unsplash (that is free to use for any reason without credit) and will edit it using PicMonkey (referral link). I use a different title for the post than the name of the video. Then I write a paragraph before the video where I link to the original video and also mention that I found it on YouTube. Therefore, I’m using my own title, my own image, and just embedding a video which is a feature permitted and facilitated by YouTube that all YouTube users are fully aware of and agree to when they create a video. I also will use the h/t (hat tip) at the bottom of the post where I mention the location of where I originally found the video just to be kind to them as well. For example, I may have discovered the video on a Facebook page. So this is where I will give a hat tip to the Facebook post and link to the original place where I originally saw the video myself.

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  • rogercparker

    Dear Mitchell:
    Thank you for this very useful post.

    However, does your “need for a new image” advice apply to Twitter Tweets or LinkedIn updates, or is it possible to just pass along the original image?.
    Roger

    • Roger, owing to their concise, fleeting nature, it’s considered ok to use the original image when tweeting or making a LinkedIn update.

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  • Ann-Marie

    I know credibility when I read your post. I am so thankful to find your site, which is all about facts. Thank you for the thorough content that you share on this site.

  • Very nice information and thanks for sharing

  • kommepc

    When it comes to the search of a right word a thesaurus is a very handy tool. You might want to try Power Thesaurus (https://www.powerthesaurus.org/) – a crowdsourced and very comprehensive one.

  • Nice it seems to be good post… It will get readers engagement on the article since readers engagement plays an vital role in every blog.. i am expecting more updated posts from your hands

  • This Article is Absolutely Amazing !!!!!

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