Those new to content curation (the art of finding and sharing exceptional content to attract your target audience) typically do NOT get it right, even though they do everything they’re advised to do. So — what are they missing?

Here are the top three mistakes they’re making and how to fix them:

1. Automated Tools Require Supervision

There are lots of great tools out there to help you automate content curation, but they should not be left on autopilot. It’s not uncommon for those new to automation to set up whatever tool they’re using and just let it run, unsupervised, expecting results. Or they use the tool for a bit and pass management of it off to an intern with very little (or limiting) direction, expecting the intern can just click to share the content suggestions and see results.

I’ve had potential clients complain that previous consultants set them up with various tools and they were frustrated because they “didn’t work.” And every time, these folks had little to no understanding of what they were sharing (and more importantly, WHY they were sharing these items). The problem wasn’t the tool — at all. It was the lack of supervision of the tool. And a lack of understanding about the tool they were using.

Fix: If you’re using a tool to help you automate content curation, make sure you’re familiar with it (or that someone empowered to make strategic social decisions at your organization is). And make sure you understand what you’re posting and why you’re posting that specific content. If you do not understand what you’re sharing and why, you have no basis for measuring the tool (or your tactics’) effectiveness.

2. Outsourcing Oversight Is Unwise

You can (and probably should) outsource content curation to someone who understands the particulars on social sharing on each site on which you plan to participate, but you should also insist on being involved.

If you are not involved, you’ll eventually face the same issue listed above — you’ll be unhappy with your results, but largely because you don’t understand the results! This scenario creates unnecessary stress for you and for your consultant, and it’s a waste of valuable resources (your money and their time, specifically).

Content curation never benefits from a 'one size fits all' approach, so you need to be sure the person doing it for you is personalizing the sharing process by interacting with your target audience and paying attention to what resonates so they can help you tweak your tactics accordingly.

Fix: A great content consultant will teach you best practices as you go. Or, at the very least, if your time is really tight and just don’t have bandwidth to learn, your consultant should do everything in her power to involve you in the process somehow, including:

  • Creating a collaborative Google doc to gather and vet industry insight from you or from another subject matter expert at your firm
  • Scheduling strategy calls to alert you to what is or isn’t working — and why, along with ideas to change things up (and why they’re suggesting the specific change in tactics)

3. Measure Your Efforts

Your content curation efforts may produce exceptional results, or they may be a complete waste of resources that could be better spent elsewhere. How do you know? You need to measure.

Measurement doesn’t have to be complicated, it can be as simple as paying attention to the interactions happening on your page and how engaged people are with the items you post. Most of the social sites offer built in analytics to support your efforts now too. But here’s the rub — you need to actually look at them. And you need to understand what they’re telling you.

And if you’re promoting content to specific audiences on these social sites (and you should be), you’ll want to track those audience segments to develop a snapshot around what resonates and what is mindless fluff to them. (And whether or not mindless fluff IS what resonates!)

Fix: It’s worth engaging a digital consultant to explain the overall purpose of each site (LinkedIn and Twitter are quite different and not everyone needs to be on both), how analytics work on each site and what you should pay attention to about them, the kind of content that’s best for each site and how to use this information to inform a solid strategy that’s constantly changing to keep pace with your target audience.

Or you can sort it out on your own by reading lots of sites and trying things out on your own: Either way, measurement must not be ignored.

If you don’t have the time (or budget) to pay attention to the tools you’re using, understand what you’re posting (and why) and sort out this measurement business, know that the time (and budget) you’re directing toward content curation is most likely being wasted. You just won’t know it until you get frustrated with failed efforts or get called out by whomever assigned you this thankless task in your organization. And by then, it will be too late to save face.

Fix: Develop a plan now and start taking charge of the content you’re curating.

Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License Title image by  Terry Wha