• Emily Lessig

Creating vs. Curating Content

We’ve been talking about using social media to engage with your customers and your audience a lot lately. We’ve talked about providing them with good content to keep them interested in what you have to say and help them get to know you, trust you, and like you. You’ve heard that posting on Facebook and Instagram and other platforms consistently is key! …. But you might be asking yourself… what exactly should you be posting? What is good content? How do I create it or where do I find it?

There are two different ways to acquire content to share with your audience – you can either CREATE it or CURATE it. If you’re creating your own content, that means you’re using your own words and images either by taking pictures or using a tool like Canva. If you’re curating content, that means you’re finding relevant articles or posts that other people or companies have already created and sharing them with your audience. Here’s how to do each of these successfully:

When creating your own content you want to make sure that you have both text and at least one image. Your text can be as short as a few words or a sentence or a few paragraphs. Are you writing an Instagram caption or a blog post? Keep in mind that people don’t have time to read a lot so try to convey your message as succinctly as possible! And always spellcheck! For an image, you can either use a photo you’ve taken yourself, choose a free image online, or create an image. Finding a free image online can be intimidating, but you just have to know the rules and where to look. Here are some good guidelines:

  • If someone else took the picture or created the image, you MUST always give credit and site the source of that image. NO EXCEPTIONS.

  • If you’re using the “share” feature on Facebook, that’s all taken care of for you because Facebook links it back to the original post. When in doubt, just link back to who or where ever you’re sharing the image from in your text.

  • To be safe, you can always use an image from Google by using their “usage rights” filter in the advanced search settings. Here’s how:

o Step 1: Search Google images for whatever image you want (e.g. balloons).

o Step 2: Click on “Settings” and select “Advanced Search”

o Step 3: In the advanced settings, change the last option “Usage Rights” to either “free to use or share, even commercially” (OR “free to use, share, or modify, even commercially” if you plan to make changes to the image in any way).

o Step 4: click “Advanced Search” at the bottom

Anything that shows up in these search results is free for you to use on your social media, your blog, your documents, etc. You can rest assured using these images so if you’re concerned or not sure where else to find images, learn to use this Google setting and make it your best friend!

Although writing and taking pictures and creating content from scratch can seem challenging, curating content from other sources can also be tricky! Be sure to think about whose content you’re sharing, if it’s relevant and appropriate to your audience, and how it will reflect on your business.

You can share content from Facebook or articles around the web that you see, but those are usually things you find just by chance as you’re browsing during the day. Curating content for your business should be done purposefully. There’s a few ways to do that:

  • Use a website or an app to “subscribe” to specific topics. One of my personal favorites is Flipboard. If you don’t know what Flipboard is, check it out. You can follow certain topics, like fashion, crafts, or real estate, and Flipboard will let you browse through articles on the web that fall under that topic. You can save the articles that you like for later so that you have them ready to share with your audience when you need them.

  • Pinterest! Everyone knows and loves Pinterest and it’s the best example of what it means to curate content. Anytime you pin something that you didn’t personally create to a board, you’re curating content for your followers.

  • Save posts from Facebook to be shared later. Here’s a little trick to help you remember all of those cool articles that you wanted to share but didn’t because you’d already posted 10 times that afternoon. Create a Facebook Group and set the privacy to “Secret” – then just invite yourself and one or two other people that you work with. You can then “share” any Facebook post to your group for only you & your co-workers to see! This acts as a parking lot or an archive of saved posts that you can share later! Same goes for Pinterest – you can create a “Secret” Pinterest board to pin things to for use later on!

Finally, a couple of tips when curating content: First, try to share posts from sources bigger than you or with more followers than you. Your shared post will ride their coat tails and should have more success. And second, check out what your audience is reading and sharing; knowing what they’re interested in and engaging with will help you figure out what you can post that they’ll like best!

Now you’re ready to post, share, and engage!

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