When I say, “Content curation is likely the answer for your small business,” I expect to get some blank stares. For professional content marketers, content curation is a fairly well-known practice, and it’s become a widely accepted means for attracting and engaging consumers online. But does it make sense for the typical local business owner?

Let’s back up. If you’re like me, you remember having grade school nightmares about whether or not your latest essay was original enough to avoid plagiarism. That’s because the internet has brought us unlimited access to information on any topic, written from just about any viewpoint, and written by any number of sources. So conducting research and finding information online is easier than ever.

When coming up with content to boost your business’s online presence, do you take advantage of the wealth of information online? You can, and you should.

A Quick Definition: Content Curation

No, content curation is not the same thing as plagiarism (if you do it on the up and up). It’s the process of digging through large amounts of information online, finding pieces of content that are most relevant for your audience, and repurposing them to best fit your business’s messaging goals.

Corporate marketers often invest in content curation tools that automate the process of digging through the web for relevant info. But you don’t need fancy tools to do what these marketers do. All you need are a few clever tactics for snagging popular content and repurposing it on the right communications channels for your audience.

Some Ways that Work

1. Blogging for Your Local Business

Many local business owners avoid blogging altogether because of the sheer time commitment blogging requires. Either you’re not a natural writing savant, or you simply don’t have the spare time to dedicate to writing a blog for your business.

Content curation can solve your blogging blues. Instead of battling writer’s block for hours on end, you could spend your time following businesses adjacent to yours (in the same industry, but not necessarily direct competitors). Then, pick and choose the best tidbits out of the content they share, and use them to make your own top 10 lists, how-to guides and Q&As.

Pro tip: If you reference your sources (which you should), you should still rewrite the content in your own words. Doing so will better establish you as a thought leader, rather than a follower.

2. Social Media Sharing

Social media makes content curation simple with its sharing capabilities. Take some time and follow your friends and leaders in your industry. Then, share their best content with the press of a button. (No citation required. Yay!)

Your first instinct may be to avoid following your closest competitors. (They’re the competition after all – boo, hiss!) But gaining more friends typically means gaining more followers. And gaining more followers means gaining more opportunities to turn consumers into customers. So swallow your pride, and share the love on social media.

3. Email Marketing

Hopefully you have an email marketing strategy in place that involves brand messaging, regular email promotions and appointment notifications. If not, read this blog and come right back.

…welcome back! Now, with a plan in place, consider incorporating a regular newsletter-like email with purely nice-to-know, informative content. They key here is to avoid incorporating any pushy sales messaging, and focus on including only the highest quality content you’ve curated from other sources. Users are likely to find this type of email valuable, as long as you provide short, sweet and to-the-point tidbits. Reminder: Don’t commit to a weekly newsletter if you can’t keep up. Try starting with monthly, and go from there.

A Big Ol’ Content Curation Caveat

When you snag information from another source (with the exception of a social media share that automatically builds this information into your post), you still need to give them credit. You can do this by linking to where you found the information or by referencing your sources at the end of your article/post. Oh, and try to get as close to the original source as possible.

Don’t plagiarize, folks! It’s not a good look.