Content curation for school marketing: 13 valuable facts

How do the best school marketers out there keep pumping out quality social media posts every single day? Here are 13 valuable facts you need to know about the art of content curation.

The surest way to build brand awareness and stay top of mind is to continually publish high-quality content across all of your marketing channels.

If you’re a private college, university, or K-12 school with a skeleton-crew marketing team, you might wonder how you can keep that pace up. It seems unsustainable.

Unless you know the art of content curation.

What is content curation?
Content curation is when you find and share content from other brands that reasonably tie in with the regular questions you are answering for your audience. While not original content, it’s still relevant and useful to your audience.

Content curation is the activity of a curator.

Content curation is like finding the best art and showing it to your audience.

And like an art curator, you are looking for the rarest or most delightful pieces of content art that will truly benefit your audience in some way that connects with your school brand.

It takes time to cull out the best content from the web and share it with your audience — but it’s worth it. To get started, or to relaunch a stalled curation strategy, here are 13 valuable facts you need to know about content curation.

Fact 1: Content curation gives you more relevant things to say.
If you’re hesitating to get started curating content because it seems like the easy way out, just ask yourself this:

Do you have enough quality original things to say to our audience to keep your social media channels filled with content every day?

Fact is, the volume of content you need to make your inbound digital marketing strategy work is way too much for your team to produce.

In light of this, you need strategies that can give you more content volume to send out to your audience. Curation is one proven strategy to help you build the amount of content you need.

Fact 2: Content curation helps you hit your publishing deadlines.
If you had to create new content every single day to have something to post daily on your social media channels, you’d never hit your deadlines. It’s unrealistic!

Content curation is one way to keep content streaming consistently from your marketing channels.

That’s why I recommend that school marketers shoot for the ideal 2 – 3 times a week, but tweak their publishing frequency until they hit their blogging sweet spot. Then, curate interesting and useful content for your audience when you are in between your blog posts.

Fact 3: Content curation can connect you with influencers.
Curating content can lead to ‘curating friends.’ When you share someone else’s content with your audience, you’re validating all the hard work they put into that content, and you’re expanding their audience to include yours.

This win-win situation has often led to new friendships, partnerships, and opportunities for many marketers.

“Not only did my curation lead to growth in Twitter followers, it led to invaluable relationships – something much more meaningful to me. After a few months, I was receiving invites to write for leading industry blogs, speaking gigs, and even job offers.

These new relationships led to referrals for freelance work, which then led to starting my own company. Today, we’re a 12-person agency working with some of the biggest brands in the world. And it all started with curating content and sharing it.” – Ross Hudgens

Imagine the friendships your school can make with alumni and donors by discovering and sharing their content!

Fact 4: Curation can inspire new ideas for your content.
If you get a bunch of musicians together, new music just sort of happens. They get inspired by each other’s art.

The same thing happens to me when I go to a conference or hear an expert talk about an aspect of school marketing. Ideas start firing in my mind faster than I can write them down!

Likewise, curating content from other voices will stimulate more original content from you.

Fact 5: Curation can diversify your content stream.
When our content channels are only stocked up with original content, it begins to sound like an echo. You need to add some color by getting other voices into your content stream.

Especially if you curate content in a medium that you don’t do well or often (like video or infographics), the variety you put in your content channels through curation will keep your audience coming back to you to show them what’s next.

Content diversity also makes your brand look like the ‘bigger person’ who’s secure with sharing other people’s good ideas.

Fact 6: Curation makes you the go-to source for what your audience wants to know.
Content curation makes your brand look like the one who’s ‘in the know.’ You become a gatekeeper of sorts, helping your audience find a worthy source of content for them to benefit from.

Like a DJ playing the latest bands we should hear, your brand authority grows as they see you know the right voices they should listen to.

“Effective content curation highlights amazing content that readers have never seen in a way that adds value and impresses the original source.” – Ross Hudgens

Fact 7: Twitter’s save search function will save you loads of time.
Twitter is one of the best social media platforms to find new content. Type in a hashtag in Twitter’s search bar to see what others are saying about that topic.

Then, save the search so you have a brand new feed pulling all the latest news on that hashtag topic for you to curate.

Fact 8: RSS readers are your friend.
Remember RSS? Like email, everyone said that it would die when Google shut down their RSS reader.

But RSS is here to stay — and leveraging this incredible technology will help you immensely in your content curation.

Use RSS readers like Feedly and many others like it to aggregate your news sources into one app and make curation much, much easier.

Fact 9: If you don’t delegate curation, it won’t happen.
Because of its many benefits, content curation should be an essential tactic in your content marketing strategy.

So treat it that way by appointing someone or a team of people as your content curators.

Fact 10: Your audience needs your unique angle on it.
When you share a social media post, either manually or via automation, what comes out is basically the title and URL of the article. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but you’ll get much higher click-through rates if you include your brand’s perspective on the content you’re sharing.

Write a few lines in your curated posts on how this content is worth the click, what you got out of it, or how your brand sees this topic.

Even though you are curating someone else’s content for your audience, they still want to hear your perspective on the content you’re sharing. After all, they found the content on your channel.

Fact 11: Weak headlines will kill good content.
There are so many cases where an amazing study has tremendous consequences for us all, but the title of the study ensures no one will ever read it.

If you find exceptional content you know you’re audience will love but the title is duller than dirt, create your own headline and place it in front of theirs in your social media post.

For example, there’s an incredible study being done by a Dartmouth team that they called StudentLife Study.

Fascinating, right? Let’s give this a headline that will compel our audience to click, like “StudentLife Study: How to Avoid Burnout and Survive Stress.”

Fact 12: Being thankful unlocks the power of content curation.
Thank original authors of the content you’re curating by mentioning their social handle when you share the content. You can also mention them in post comment threads to get them involved in the conversation.

This increases your networking power by bringing the author into the conversation.

When you mention the author, their audience gets to see your post in their feeds. Basically, you’ve expanded your brand exposure momentarily — and for free!

Fact 13: Plagiarism always backfires.
You don’t need me to say it, but don’t plagiarise. There are real ethical concerns that you should be aware of as you go into this strategy.

Clearly cite the original author. Keep quotes short so you’re well within the fair use clause and not infringing their copyright. Things like that.

Being aware of these ethical concerns can help guide any staff member you assign to this critical content marketing tactic.

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