3 Fast Fix Solutions For Content Curation

What is Content Curation?

Curating web content means publishing an excerpt and link to an article published on another site, that you recommend your readers read – in addition to whatever you usually write for them.

3 fast fix solutions to content curation 4 of the biggest content curation mistakes and how to avoid them

Content curation isn’t a new thing, successful websites (and magazines before them) have always acted as curators of the best content available elsewhere in their niche.

The main reason that content curation is topical now, is the perceived ease at which content can be profited from – through curating the content of others – to avoid the rather more time intensive process of producing it yourself.

This post explores why this is true – if you are careful, and outlines some shortcuts you can use to curate content without either falling foul of the law, or getting slapped by Google for doing it.

Why Might Content Curation Be A Dangerous Thing?

While it is true that curation is an easy way to fill your blog with quality content that you don’t need to spend time creating – simply curating the content of others does not by itself add any value and will increasingly be seen negatively by Google and other search engines into the future, if done badly.

Because there are so many sites curating really badly, it is likely that Google is scanning websites to identify sites which are attempting to automate the process. This is likely to continue as the ‘carrot’ of autopilot content creation tempts many more into taking an easy path to apparent content marketing riches.

There is also the threat of prosecution under copyright law, which discourages many people from curating others content at all.

So before you jump on board and start curating content you find elsewhere, consider the following:

4 Of The Biggest Content Curation Mistakes

1. Improper Referencing

The biggest mistake that some website editors make is not properly giving credit to the original author of the work they are publishing.

Doing this is nothing more than stealing the work of others and will be viewed very dimly by the law in the vast majority of countries that recognise international copyright law.

It is also likely to alienate you from leading blogs and websites in your niche, and in the process deprive you of possible future exposure and collaboration opportunities.

2. Publishing the Entire Article

The point of content curation is to point your users to relevant and interesting content, not to copy it whole and publish it on your site.

Doing this – even when referencing the original source – is heavily frowned upon, and is seen as a sign that a website owner is taking an easy and less than ethical path to gaining an audience.

3. Curation Is More Than Just Publishing Others Work

The other most common mistake is that of simply publishing the excerpt and reference, without adding any meaningful comment yourself – in the hope that your audience will either not mind, or not notice that it has been written by someone else.

If this is your approach then ask yourself what the purpose of content curation (and indeed your own site) is?

You need to aim to add value in curating content others have written for your readers, otherwise what is the point in curating it at all?

This answers a common question asked online: does content curation create duplicate content? (Which is frowned upon and punished by Google and other search engines)

The answer is no – if it is done properly it builds upon the work of others, rather than just copying what they have already said.

4. Seeking to Automate At the Expense Of Quality And Relevance

Software, and particularly WordPress plugins, exist now which automatically post content to blogs, following a theme. So the owner will pick a keyword or description and the software will auto-post articles on this topic to the website – in the hope that the regular updates of themed content will result in positive search engine rankings, and regular relevant content for visitors.

Google is currently analysing the websites it crawls to identify sites which are doing this and will penalise sites where this is the primary method of content creation.

In addition to any problems the big G might have with auto content creation, you have to ask yourself what readers will think of it too. If your site completely lacks your own opinion, style and comment – why would visitors come back?

So How Should We Be Curating Content?

There are an awful lot of misconceptions related to content curation, which discourage people from using this as a legitimate content strategy.

In terms of copyright infringement, most web publishers are far more likely to be infringing the copyright of others by reproducing images they don’t have permission to use, than improperly referencing a written article for example.

In terms of curating written content, the vast majority of sites are more than happy for you to reference their work on your own site. When you do, you provide them with exposure and a backlink, which are valuable for SEO, building their authority and sending them additional traffic.

Many people get confused over the exact referencing conventions that should be used, but there are no laws stating what you should include in your reference, instead guidance exists in the form of recommended practice. The only absolute stipulation is that you should reference the original source of the article. In practice, a clear link either in the article copy itself, or underneath a quote or image, is more than acceptable.

Publishers and writers of original content are far more likely to be annoyed by the length of excerpt you choose to share on your site, than whether or not you followed Harvard referencing conventions. If you think about it this makes sense, because if you publish more (or all) of their content, you make it highly unlikely that your reader will visit the original article to find out more.

The other thing that is likely to annoy content creators is to use the same title they used for their article. In the context of SEO this again makes sense – because by doing so you will be competing for similar keywords in the search engine, and therefore competing for the same traffic. It is far better, as you write editorial content which puts the curated content you have found in your own context, that you do the same with the title – altering it, or changing it entirely, to reflect the spin which your article puts on the content you have found, or the topic which you are discussing.

If you want to find out more about this, so you can decide on your own style of referencing and curation, visit ContentCurationMarketing.com and see examples of curated content, which have been ‘marked’ by the author on an A-F scale, with comments explaining numerous examples of good and bad practice:


Source – Content Curation Marketing.com

If you are feeling particularly brave, you could visit Copyright.gov and read the official US Government guidance here.

But far more important than which convention or referencing standard you choose to adopt, is being ethical in terms of why you are curating content in the first place.

If you start from a place where you seek to share the views (and content) of others and provide your take on the topics and issues you share too, you won’t go far wrong. Curation should always be accompanied by an extended comment from the person doing the curating, which puts the resource or information they have found into a context – which adds something for their readers.  This is typically done with an editorial type post, in which the curated content is a part, rather than a post which simply duplicates something which was published elsewhere.

A good workflow technique is to use curation as a shortcut to creating your own content, rather than a content solution by itself. Find an article that inspires you and makes you think, and document these thoughts, expanding on some of the themes which you have read about. Perhaps find articles with a different viewpoint, and use your article to contrast these opinions or approaches – ending with your own conclusion about the issue.

3 Fast Fix Solutions For Content Curation:

Software allows us to find solutions and efficiencies in many areas, so what shortcuts are available to bloggers wanting to curate content easily?

1. Using A WordPress Curation Plugin

A Google search for WordPress curation plugins uncovers several free options (I have heard good things about Express Curation), I use Curation Hero, a JVZoo offer through Sam Bakker a few months ago – although the availability window for this solution is now closed.

The advantage of using these plugins is that they allow you to see the format which a curated post should have – and the recommended way of providing reference to the original source for example.

Curation Hero also has a powerful search facility which allows me to search for possible articles to curate, and images to include, while I am creating the post.  This saves a lot of time and similar software solutions could provide you with a solution to your own curation workflow.

2. Using A Little Known Feature Built Into WordPress

In a recent WordPress update the ability to curate content was added  with the ‘Press This’ bookmarklet, and I love this functionality.

I often find myself browsing the web, stumbling across something which gives me inspiration of one sort of another. Watch the video below and see how easy it is to use this tool to create a content curation workflow for your site:

[video_player type=”youtube” youtube_remove_logo=”Y” width=”560″ height=”315″ align=”center” margin_top=”0″ margin_bottom=”20″]aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cueW91dHViZS5jb20vd2F0Y2g/dj0xN1l0Nm5vQ1pIRQ==[/video_player]

3. Writing Clickable Headlines

One of the main considerations when creating content on a blog is the headline which introduces it to your audience. The aim is to make this intriguing, controversial or just plain irresistible – to attract clicks and traffic.

The best resources I have found to accomplish this are Copybloggers free How to Write Magnetic Headlines ebook, and an app which sits on your browser called Headlinr.

Copyblogger’s headline copywriting training is the best i’ve seen and I challenge you not to come away from it with a new understanding of headlines you might click on yourself, and a whole heap of examples and sentence starters which will help you write your own.

Headlinr automates this process, allowing you to write the topic or keyword of your post into the browser app, and it generates hundreds of possibilities to choose from.

How do you approach content curation? Please add your own thoughts in the comments below.

About Ant Carter

I am a writer and digital entrepreneur - my passion is helping ordinary people start extraordinary digital businesses. Join my list for free strategies and advice exclusive to my community.

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35 thoughts on “3 Fast Fix Solutions For Content Curation

  • Lynne

    Awesome article… I just happened to be talking about content this week too! Curation is a great way to add really useful content to your site, and has a bunch of benefits so long as it is done right… Great resource with the Press This function. Also some excellent points of what to avoid when curating content.

    • Ant Carter Post author

      Thanks Lynne, I read and like your post about content creation strategies – and love the provocative title you used – I challenge anyone not to click on that!

      I love the Press This bookmarklet – it fits into my own workflow really well. I can’t believe WordPress didn’t make more of this when it was added in an update a few months ago – it is an excellent and very topical feature.

  • Carlos Cortez

    Great Article Carter,

    And I am glad you posted it. There is much to content marketing than just stealing other peoples genuine thoughts, and just post a quick post on the top and give them the full article of what they posted.

    Video works well, for this as well. I mean, if it is in you topic, it’s good to add a relevant video from someone else to explain more. Like I did on my blog with the article Is Your Website Mobile ready….

    I used video as content curation, because why explain when the experts are already doing it for me…

    Also, one thing to point out, when you have share buttons, you share. You create your blog, you sahre on every single platform you have, promote your own articles and get the cycle going..

    Thanks for the valuable content..


    • Ant Carter Post author

      Thanks Carlos, the apparently thin line between using someones content productively and stealing it is actually a lot clearer than it might first appear.

      For me it starts with the reason why you are doing curation in the first place, too many people are doing this because they can’t or don’t write themselves. This is the wrong starting point and is more likely to land the writer in trouble than anything else.

      You are right about sharing – I have mixed this up on this post – and my share buttons don’t reflect the number actually achieved on this post – I think I understand why this happened and can therefore avoid it in future!

      I very much appreciate your thoughts.

  • Barbara Dowling

    Really enjoyed this posting on curation. I got a lot of great ideas, especially the “Press This” function. I will definitely start incorporating that into my routine. What I typically do is search youtube or a google search with my topic to get ideas and if I like something will curate with it. Your article helps clarify what I should and shouldn’t do, which has been a concern for me! When you mentioned Curation Hero it rang a bell in my head…it was one of those products I bought and put aside. I have now put it on my list to go through it and begin using it! Again, great post Ant!

    • Ant Carter Post author

      Thank you Barbara, your comments are much appreciated.

      I agree with your workflow – other peoples content often sparks off ideas in my own head and its often a launch pad for my own content ideas. If this is the case, surely its only right to reference the work which sparked off the idea – even if you don’t include anything from their article in what you’ve written.

      I like Curation Hero – the search facility for articles and images is actually really good

  • Kevin Everett

    Very good article Ant. It is very true that content curation is effective, just look at sites like Huffington Post and Forbes for example. None of their content is written by the owners but they are massively popular sites.

    Being a source for relevant and informative content will keep readers coming back for more, especially if you can offer a wider range of information and sources than the sites you are linking out to.

    • Ant Carter Post author

      Thanks Kevin, I agree that the success of many sites is based on a curation and editorial strategy which adds something small to each piece of content they find and provide links to. Some of these sites then change hands for extraordinary amounts of money – and their value is effectively created through curation.

      Curation is an excellent way of being seen as an authority too – you can gain a lot of credibility by identifying the best resources online in your niche.

  • Art Avington

    Hi Ant,

    Excellent article with very informative strategies. I’m a big fan of curating content properly, and I agree you have to put your own flare on or to the article, without that it doesn’t make sense, you are not adding value for your readers. It’s even ok to disagree or argue the points of the original article, or even add another different curated article to that for comparison. I believe when your content curation method is on que, your readers will know they can come to your blog or post for the best of the best content instead of searching the web over and over again looking for that content. And I think you must have the proper mix of curated content and your own content to keep things in perspective for your readers and Google…Again great article especially for those who have not tried content curation.

    Keep up the good work,


    • Ant Carter Post author

      Thanks Art, it’s nice to meet another enthusiastic curator.

      It is indeed a great way to provide your users with a shortcut to the best resources in your niche, and by doing so you are providing them with a valuable service that potentially they will come back to your site for. Aren’t all websites really curating or at least pointing to content elsewhere anyway – this has been the case for at least a decade – so it’s not like curation is a new thing either.

      Thank you for your thoughts.

  • David Wildash

    Thanks for this helpful article. I’ve yet to use curation in one of my own posts and you’ve highlighted some important points and resources to consider when I do.

    For those who don’t use WordPress a content aggregator like Feedly or Buzzsumo can be useful when trying to find content.

    • Ant Carter Post author

      You’re absolutely right about news aggregators, I only recently rediscovered their usefulness in this context. I got so used to bookmarking sites and returning to them, but particularly when the number of sites increases this quickly becomes less manageable, and an RSS reader is invaluable.

      Once authority sites, which might feed you information that could be the source of curated posts or associated inspiration, have been identified – this is a very low maintenance way to track everything they publish.

      I love Feedly for this purpose.

  • Dawn

    Great article on content curation. I had to giggle a bit when I saw the part about people taking your entire article to post on their blog. Had it done to me lots of times. Usually, I would just notify the webmaster that I did not appreciate and to please learn how to use content curation correctly.

    I use curation once in a while, but not nearly as much as I might.

    • Ant Carter Post author

      Thank you Dawn, I have yet to experience someone lifting an entire article and quoting it on a website. That’s an extreme example of curtain done badly for sure!

      I guess it’s also flattering – that they couldn’t say it any better and decided to include everything you said instead! Seriously however, I think many such cases of bad curation are dealt with informally like this, rather than more formally, following copyright legislation processes.

      Thank your for your thoughts, and good luck on your journey.

  • Duane Reeve

    Hi Ant – Another great post and one that actually drove me to try curating content for the first time. With regards to creating clickable headlines, I use the Headline Analyzer Tool found on the “Advanced Marketing Institute’s” website which tests the Emotional Marketing Value of a headline.

    You can find it at http://www.aminstitute.com/headline/ if you want to test it out (it is FREE).

    • Ant Carter Post author

      I haven’t met the headline analyser tool you mention, thanks for that – I will check it out. I have seen something similar and bookmarked it somewhere a few months ago.

      I fully realised how important headlines were, by observing my own behaviour after reading the Copyblogger resource linked to above.

  • Desana

    Hi Ant,
    wow! Content curation is something I have always wanted to learn, eventually to master thinking it makes writing articles for your blog a lot easier and it makes you look like an authority if I may dare to say so… 🙂 This is an awesome lesson to me and notes taken down! Thank you for taking the time to put the strategies together as well as the mistakes to avoid!

    • Ant Carter Post author

      I’m glad if the post has helped in a small way, as this is a really good content curation strategy. Done correctly and for the right reasons, it is a win – win for both the original publisher and our sites too.

      And you are correct about building authority too. An authority in any niche will have an excellent knowledge of other authoritative resources published elsewhere. Part of the role of a blogger is to communicate this to readers who would otherwise have to spend a long time establishing this themselves.

  • Sandy

    Hi Ant,
    I have this vague concept of how content curation is to be done till now. Correct me if wrong. So it’s basically in a way, share someone’s work that is worthy or complimentary to your own, add value to it by elaborate further etc. Of course, always give credit to source. That, is if one wants to ‘take the risk’ of enticing people to leave the site and click on those sites.

    I read from a guy recently. His approach is this. He refine the ‘worthy’ post and information and share them in his own words, with add on details and information. Without giving away the source so readers stay on his site. And he is doing quite well.

    Guess it is the approach one takes and the appropriateness. Abundance mindset is one. How to optimize the opportunity is another.


    • Ant Carter Post author

      Hi Sandy, you understand curation correctly yes, and you also make an excellent point concerning curation – the perceived ‘danger’ of providing someone with a link to another site. The aim of a website is to grow its readership, and particularly the numbers of repeat visitors – and it would appear at first that content curation does neither:

      – Why would I want to point my reader – who I have earned through hard work and toil – somewhere else? They’ll never come back?!
      – The other other perception is that by pointing to a resource which is available elsewhere, you might be sending a message to your reader that you don’t know enough (or as much) about a subject as the other site – and that your precious reader will never return because you have proved yourself to be less than knowledgeable about a subject.

      Thinking this way ignores peoples natural browsing behaviour. Do you expect someone to stay on your site forever – gaining all the knowledge they will ever need from one place? Of course not, it is likely that we all click the back button, or another link on the site to follow our train of thought as we browse. As this is going to happen anyway, I much prefer to direct my readers to the best places/sites available to follow these thoughts up myself, as I believe my site benefits from doing so.

      You demonstrate your authority in a niche by providing information to solve peoples problems, and in my view there is nothing at all wrong with being a place where readers return because they know that, as well as providing my own knowledge, I have knowledge of the best alternative sites to solve their problems in my niche too – this means readers don’t need to go searching themselves. You can become a figure of trust (and authority) very effectively this way too – many of the most traffic’d sites on the net exist as curators of others content – Huffington Post, Forbes etc.

      There are numerous other benefits from linking to authority sites in your niche too – from SEO (Google loves it), to beginning relationships with the sites you are linking to – this could lead to them linking back, guest posting opportunities, or be the beginning of getting the site owners attention for another purpose (after all if they have an audience you want to attract, you have to start somewhere).

      I think, on balance, that there is greater long term risk in not including curation and external links as part of your content strategy. Can any of us really know everything? Or do we really have the time to rewrite the best posts in our niches rather than link to them instead?

      Great question Sandy – one which many people have about the subject.

      • Sandy

        Hi Ant, I appreciate your idea and niche of people looking up to you as THE solution provider. I like the idea of you being the One-stop solution in a particular niche where they come looking for where you will be pointing them to (if applicable) for solutions.

        In fact, as I first visited your site. The immediate question that popped up my head was this. With thousands (if not millions??) of websites online, how do you stand out? So many sites are doing very similar things. Especially on IM. New sites coming up, or out each day. How does one stand out in this crowded place. Understand it is enough for everyone out there. Question is, or rather the crucial factor is to really go niche and deep. True? Not sure. Only time will tell..?! Further thoughts? ;p

        • Ant Carter Post author

          You’re right about standing out, in the IM niche yes – but in every other too. Its a challenge that we all have, and there are no easy answers.

          I feel people respond to other people, and we tend to return to read things from people we relate to. So my first answer to that question I guess would be to somehow let your personality fly out of the page at your readers.

          Then there is the challenge of doing things differently – this can mean niching down yes – presenting what you do to a specific group of people who are less catered for by more general sites. It could mean taking a different approach in discussing things others also cover.

          The other way I guess is to become successful, in IM terms this means earning decent money. People will then have a reason for listening to you rather than others. I am approaching this with a two year product pipeline – creating products of a high standard, which hopefully will kickstart a responsive list. At the moment I blog because I love it, rather than because it makes good money.

          Any other ideas I would be keen to learn from others – as you raise an extremely valid point Sandy – if we can’t stand out, we will not develop a regular growing audience.

  • Boris Qs

    Wow I haven’t read a long post including the comments like this for a while now and I did that because this is a topic that I fight with every day as I do research for my blog post.

    I have seen that using software or plugins increases that feeling of laziness to write a curated content that adds value or my unique voice in to the mix. So I go to Google and make a search after having an outline of what my post is going to tarckle. Now with this outline I can easily curate other content that details what I want my audiences to learn under that topic and ofcause giving back the credit.I do not know if that makes any sense but that is what helps bring out my personality and this post has definitly added my knowlege on curation. I will definitly be visiting the other two links on Writing Clickable Headlines, because I that I need to learn more on that thanks Ant

    • Ant Carter Post author

      I’m glad it was useful Boris – and I agree with you about the software – it can encourage bad habits. Like most things, its benefits or drawbacks depend on how you use it.

      I like your process of curation, and use this myself too. I might be writing something I find interesting, perhaps related to a problem I have, or something I realise I do quite a lot which others might be interested in doing too – and I then try and find something which builds on this to give my readers somewhere to go to follow up the post I am writing – maybe to take it to the next level if you like.

      I too am learning about clickable headlines – I think this is a skill which it takes a few years to get really good at – I learn a lot by noticing what appeals to me in the browsing I do. The Copyblogger eBook is incredible training for this.

  • Michel Snook

    Very thorough article, Ant!

    I avoid content curation for many of the reasons you gave above and because I don’t like website “leaks” where visitors can go elsewhere unless it is through an affiliate link or to another one of my sites.

    This means that I have to supply fresh content to my site and forgo the automation. But also, I’m more engaged with my visitor this way.

    I laughed at the mention of “Press This” as it has been available since WordPress 2.6 (Changed from “Press It” in 2.5) which I’ve used to capture article ideas since that time, but it is a worthwhile mention for those unaware (probably most). 🙂

    • Ant Carter Post author

      That’s made me laugh – i’ve been using WordPress for a couple of years and i’ve never noticed it!

      A few months ago after I did an update I got notified afterwards – in the WordPress dashboard on one of my sites – of the Press This bookmarklet – I assumed it was added in this update – putting 2 and 2 together and coming up with 16!

      Life has a nice way of proving how much we have left to learn from time to time – I am humble enough to accept these moments with a smile.

      I’m glad the article came across as thorough – that was my intention. And I know what you mean about “leaks” – I guess it’s a matter of approach, I don’t share this fear – although curating the content of others puts me under pressure to provide decent editorial content to bring people back again. Personally I don’t really use the automation features much, I thought I would mention them because they may help others decide on their approach. I’m glad I wrote this article, it’s turned into a bigger discussion than I expected.

  • Torsten Mueller

    Hi Ant,

    a very helpful and comprehensive article on content curation.

    I recently started using the ExpressCurate WordPress plugin and I’m quite happy with all the features this free plugin offers.

    For someone who is looking to start with curating content I’d suggest to check it out.


    • Ant Carter Post author

      Thanks Torsten, your thoughts about my post are much appreciated. It’s nice to have a fellow curation fan here.

      I echo your thoughts about ExpressCurate, for a free plugin it is very well featured.

  • igor Griffiths

    Hello Ant

    The type of content curation you refer to used to be called auto-blogging and as you rightly point out is pretty much worthless in all respects.

    Better to monitor others content and then use this as a content trend monitor and inspiration for your own response to this trend.

    The other way and the way I do content curation is to do it socially, via the many social media sites and my RSS feeds. Share what you consider is valuable to your target audience and thus develop a list of targeted followers you can then attract to your blog and your paid offers for further information on these topics.


    • Ant Carter Post author

      You are right about developing the skills, I think many of these are simpler than they might at first seem. A good plan is a great place to start.

      To meet this need, I am creating http://profitmapacademy.com .. To document the process successful online (and offline) business people go through in mapping their route to success. Early bird sign up now open.

    • Ant Carter Post author

      You make an excellent point about social curation Igor, this is indeed an excellent way to interest people with other people’s content and attract them to also click on posts which you link to your own sites.

      Don’t you find the amount of automated social accounts rather annoying these days?!

    • Ant Carter Post author

      Hi Mike,
      Glad it was helpful. I love the power of a great plan, and I think the skill of planning is much underrated, especially in the IM niche, where the focus seems to be on online click autopilot systems (which don’t actually exist) … Far better that people spend a weekend developing a long term plan.

      I am developing http://profitmapacademy.com to meet this need – where aspiring online business people can map their own step by step path to online profits.

  • Roy Miller

    Ant, great article about content curation. I have heard a lot of buzz about it, but I was not sure what it was. The information was very informative, especially about copyright infringement. Thank you for the resources as well.

    How long before you get the profit map academy completed?

    • Ant Carter Post author

      Thanks for dropping by Roy,

      I love the possibilities that curation gives me for speeding up my own content creation, as well as making connections with other relevant sites.

      Profit Map Academy will be ready October, I have completed the report and workbook and am currently working on upsell and membership site content. It is the best solution to shiny object syndrome!