Creating and producing high quality content are essential tasks for any marketing department seeking to build brand visibility and drive consumer engagement.

Yet the time and resources required to produce great content and to build a strong social brand are why many companies hesitate to start in the first place. They’re afraid that once they step out onto the platform, they won’t be able to go back. It’s why some companies outsource their content marketing altogether.

To manage your company’s content marketing strategy without becoming overwhelmed, you need to balance the creation of original content (i.e., material that you produce yourself) with content that you curate from credible third-party resources.

Content Curation Done Right

When we help clients with content planning, we reassure them they aren’t expected to produce stellar content all the time all by themselves. A great way to keep a site fresh and to keep a brand in front of relevant audiences is to share high-quality and compelling links from other credible sources.

What’s even better than forwarding a link to your followers? Forwarding a link while offering a bit of your own brand’s interpretation, intelligence and insight. Being smart about content curation really shouldn’t take much time or effort if you follow a few basic steps.

Content Strategy – A Balancing Act

1. First and foremost, know your industry and its key players. Who are its leaders and what do they offer in the social media sphere? Join groups and follow conversations so that when it comes time to share other people’s content you are not only able to interpret it but can also enhance it with your own commentary.

2. It’s okay to curate the content of others, but thought leadership is established through the creation and publication of original content. While there is no “ideal” ratio between original content and curated content, we generally suggest that clients publish one piece of original material (e.g., blog post, infographic, video) for every four or five pieces of content that originates elsewhere.

3. Don’t just post content on social media sites—host it on your own site, too. Let’s face it: You don’t “own” your Facebook page or your Twitter feed. They (and the content that resides on them) belong to Facebook and Twitter, respectively. Use your website as a repository for your proprietary content and for SEO purposes. After all, the goal of content marketing is to drive people to your site so that you can convert them into customers.

4. Provide proper attribution when sharing other people’s content through social media sites and/or blogs. When referencing an article or an idea, cite the author or owner and link back to the original (if possible). As for photographs, use caution. Authors may pay for photo rights that don’t necessarily extend to anyone else. To play it safe, we encourage clients to source their own photos through sites like Pixabay (our favorite online resource for stunning public domain pictures).

Smart Content Pays Off

Undeniably, content marketing requires an investment in time and resources. However, with strategic planning and smart content curation it doesn’t have to be a Herculean task. With just a bit of planning, brands that optimize their content will find it easier to build social communities, improve the customer experience and convert followers into customers.

Photo Credit: By kevint3141 [CC-BY-2.0] via Wikimedia Commons