I have been at this content creation game for a long time, and whether its been in broadcast or digital, I have maintained that there is no substitute for awesome audience focused original content. The truth is, no matter what the medium, exclusively relying on original content is a costly endeavour.
Think about all of the channels you read and watch for content. Each of them create original content that they think you will engage with, but they augment that programming curated content. Obviously everything they publish or broadcast, whether original or curated must keep the audience in mind, but at the end of the day, if you're vying for your audience's attention, one could argue you are doing as much a service to them by offering curated content as you are by offering them original content.
Before you say, that this is just the model for large publishers and broadcasters, not niche ones, I'd argue niche ones curate even more content. There is no shame in that at all.
The digital realm shouldn't be any different. As content marketers our goal is to build a relationship with our audience and provide them with compelling content that engages them. Sure we like to show bravado and thought leadership by coming up with amazing, insightful, memorable content that helps us build our own personality and thought leadership, but that can also be accomplished by thoughtfully curating and sharing awesome content. Content creation and content curation are not mutually exclusive. If your audience is engaging with your brand or publication on a daily basis because you are providing them with great content, than you win, don't you?
It's actually quite easy to curate content, these days, and there are several tools that help you do it in a very seamless way, depending on your goals.
Here are in no specific order, some of the tools that I use to watch for interesting content that I think will engage my audience. Than I go through a series of steps to add this content to the social channels I use.
I rely heavily on Feedly, and make opening Feedly part of my daily routine. I have subscribed to numerous RSS feeds that I think are helpful. Feedly is great, because you can share the content you are perusing right away to various social networks and platforms or save it to read later. I've gotten in the habit, of looking at Feedly a few times a day from my mobile device and either posting directly from there, or saving the content I love to Pocket and Evernote.
If you were to open Google Chrome on my desktop you'd notice that I have Hootsuite open all the time, and that the new "Hootlet" Chrome extension is also at the ready. The deal with Hootsuite is that it really is at the base of all that I do on Twitter, Facebook and now LinkedIn (if I were more active on Google+ I'd use it for that as well). The beautiful thing about Hootsuite is that you can organize all your social streams in one place and participate on all of them from one place. This makes it easy to monitor what is going on in your social networks and share to multiple platforms or accounts. The other thing about Hootsuite that I love is that you are able to schedule posts. The only caution I have around automation is being sure that you augment anything you've automated with real live interaction. Also, review what you've scheduled to ensure it isn't out dated or inaccurate.
New to the party is a little App called Mention. It lets you track specific words or phrases in one place. Imagine if Google Alerts was on steroids and a more robust platform. Then you'd have Mention. I use it daily and it tracks the key phrases or content that i think my audience will enjoy and then with a few clicks I can share that content right to either Twitter or Facebook. I'd love it if I could schedule stuff, or use other tools with it like IFTT, but for now, I make it part of my routine daily. It just fills up with so much content. There are also some very strong enterprise features in the platform that you can use to share content or assign content to others in your team or network.
Those at least are the three platforms I rely on to gather content on a daily basis. There are though, a few other tools that I love that I use as utilities to make the process of content curation that much better.
IFTT (If This Than That)
Brilliant! In short IFTT allows you to automate several process based on recipes you create from software you have. For example, I currently have a recipe in place that allows me to automatically post Atomic Reach's RSS feed posts to my Tumblr. You can do all kinds of nifty automations with this platform and their mobile app makes it really easy to change stuff up while you are on the go. Make sure you check out IFTT and get this app working for you.
Back when I was helping build out a CMS for a large content company, I dreamt up the idea of providing a platform brought in all your social feeds so that your audience could bask in the glory of all your hard work in one place. Old school thinking suggests that giving up your audience on other platforms is harmful to your brands ability to sustain itself, while others argue its the only way to cut through. Uberflip allows you to create a hub to house all of the curating and following that you're doing, in one succinct place so that you can brand your social channels and provide them in one place. What's even cooler is that you can pull in parts of your hub right into your website, or create that hub with your domain's name. This is a very strong offering to complement the curating you're doing.
Using each of these on their own, or at least experimenting with them should certainly help your content curation process. I'd argue that using them all at once would create a very compelling workflow and potentially a very active content machine for your brand or publication. Since I'm always excited to learn about and try new tools, I'd be interested in hearing from you what tools you use to make the most out of your content curating experience.