The 4 Stages of Curated Content Growth

Content curation is a vital component of almost every content marketing strategy. Out of the ceaseless stream of media, effective content curators select the best, most relevant content for their audience. However, the process does not end there.

In fact, content marketers have many options when it comes to content curation. Depending on how much time, effort, and creativity one would like to put into the process, content curation can blossom from a single link to a rich, multifaceted experience for the audience. There are even stages of growth in between these two extremes, and their forms have implications for the structure, messaging and distribution of the content.

Below are four distinct stages of content curation that you may want to consider as you strategize and execute a content marketing plan for your business.

Stage 1

The simplest form of content curation is a link to a piece of content, with just a touch of context. You must be able to sum it up in just a few words, due to character restrictions on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and the rest. These pieces of content are tiny, but they can move quite far across social networks. Be sure to use link-tracking tools like to see the path it takes.

Stage 2

An excellent content curator must be able to synthesize information. Oftentimes, people do not have time to read the entire article you linked to. It is up to the content curator to distill it into its most important parts and present that information in an easy-to-read way. This almost always requires publishing a blog post, because most social networks do not give you enough space and formatting options. Bullet points are perfect for calling out the need-to-know info for your readers, and if they would like to dive deeper into the source link, they always have that option. (Don’t forget to include a link!)

Stage 3

Your business blog is a venue to demonstrate your expertise in your industry. This third stage of content curation is realized when you include your original commentary on the source material that you are sharing. In journalism, this technique is known as framing the story. For example, a lawyer who represents victims of wrongful termination might link to a news story about a fired executive while providing additional information about that person’s rights. Because this additional context is not included in the source article, including it is a value-add for the reader, and it also underscores the attorney’s expertise and services.

Stage 4

Sometimes one piece of source content does not illuminate the whole story you want to tell. To exercise your curatorial powers to their fullest, incorporate multiple sources of a variety of media: articles, video, podcasts, presentations and more. When you can demonstrate the ability to connect the dots and find meaning in unexpected places, you give your readers a very fulfilling experience. The reader has the option to click many different links to learn more about the details, but only when all of the elements are brought together with the expertise of the author is this full unique story realized.

All four of these stages of content curation are important. Rarely do marketers stick to just one or the other--not only because the later stages demand more time and effort, but also because audiences enjoy a variety of content types. As for the best way to go about it? That’s up to the content curator.