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What is Content Curation?

Updated on December 29, 2017
heidithorne profile image

Heidi Thorne is a self-publishing expert, nonfiction book editor, author of 21+ books and eBooks, and a former trade newspaper editor.


Content Curation Definition

The best way to describe content curation is to compare it to a museum. Museum curators gather collections of related items to exhibit to visitors. Similarly, content curators gather collections of related content to share with their audiences either online, offline or both. Content can include:

  • Articles
  • Links
  • Reports
  • News
  • Videos
  • Photos or Graphics
  • Music or Other Audio Recordings

Further, like a museum curator, content curators do the following with these collections:

  • Organize. Content is selected based on a theme, subject or category.
  • Show. Online, content would be displayed or linked on a website or blog. Offline, content may be included in a book, magazine or other printed media.
  • Promote... or Not. Curated content collections are created for sharing with the world. This can promote both the curator and the original content creators. However, curation could also be done for organizing one's own content cache for future reference.
  • Critique and Comment. Content curators often also critique or comment on the materials they bring together. For example, they could create a Top Ten, Best/Worst or Hot list (which is really a judgment call based on their personal criteria or some other evaluative standard). Others may choose to offer additional insight or debate about the materials they collect.


What Content Curation is NOT

Big word of caution! Curation is NOT the same as copying! Do not copy others' work or used unauthorized materials in the name of curating.

While officially syndicated or public domain materials may be available for sharing or embedding, if they are not, get written permission from the creator or copyright holder. And always—ALWAYS!—give attribution, including active hyperlinks, for whatever materials are being shared!

Online curation typically includes links back to the original content with a preview or description of what will be found at the link. For example, if the post is This Week's Top Ten Articles on Human Resources, the titles could be listed with active hyperlinks back to the original posts or sites.

Pinterest IS Content Curation

Probably the most popular content curation tool today is Pinterest. On this site, users can collect and organize web content they find interesting on categorized "boards." Photographs and other visual content is exceptionally well suited to this platform since a preview image from the original source is included.

But the sharing is one of the biggest reasons for marketers' interest in Pinterest. Say that a user gathers and tags a collection, Shoes I Gotta Have. Since like attracts like, her followers might also want these kicks on their "gotta have" list. They can pin the collection (or part of it) to their own boards, click through for more info or even click to buy. Even better is that users can share their boards on other social media networks such as Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus, as well as email.

Using Content Curation to Become an Expert

Today's audiences are time and attention starved due to the overwhelming flood of information that they must deal with daily both online and offline. So they're looking for help in filtering out what is irrelevant so they can focus on what is relevant to them. Content curators to the rescue!

Essentially, a content curators are editors. Many curators are also experts in their particular fields of interest and may even have their own following. Being included in their blogs, websites, Pinterest boards or other publications can give the original content creators and providers a virtual vote of confidence.

Content curation can be one of the easiest and quickest ways to establish a reputation as a trusted expert in a field or interest area. And it's a content marketing strategy that doesn't always require a lot of writing!

As in marketing, narrowing the focus to niche areas can be a successful curation strategy. For example, a blog or Pinterest board on "toys" might be interesting. But one on "antique teddy bears" could tap into more rabid—and profitable—fan bases.

Disclaimer: Any examples used are for illustrative purposes only and do not suggest affiliation or endorsement. The author/publisher has used best efforts in preparation of this article. No representations or warranties for its contents, either expressed or implied, are offered or allowed and all parties disclaim any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for your particular purpose. The advice, strategies and recommendations presented herein may not be suitable for you, your situation or business. Consult with a professional adviser where and when appropriate. The author/publisher shall not be liable for any loss of profit or any other damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages. So by reading and using this information, you accept this risk.

© 2014 Heidi Thorne


Submit a Comment

  • heidithorne profile image

    Heidi Thorne 3 years ago from Chicago Area

    Hi Suzanne Day! The niche list sounds like a plan. I think Pinterest is the most curative of the social networks, although all of them have the quality to some degree. Thanks for the support and comments! Have a great weekend!

  • Suzanne Day profile image

    Suzanne Day 3 years ago from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

    An interesting topic - I was thinking of writing a hub by gathering together a list of things that might be of interest in a niche and doing reviews on them. I have never thought of Pinterest being curative, but it definitely is! Voted interesting.

  • heidithorne profile image

    Heidi Thorne 3 years ago from Chicago Area

    Hi smw1962! Glad to provide some new insight for content. Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend!

  • smw1962 profile image

    smw1962 3 years ago

    This is very helpful. I've never looked at content this way before.

  • heidithorne profile image

    Heidi Thorne 4 years ago from Chicago Area

    Hi The Examiner-1! Yes, content curation is a good thing... and, yes, it's kind of like an online museum. :) Glad you found it helpful. Thank you for your support and have a great rest of the weekend!

  • The Examiner-1 profile image

    The Examiner-1 4 years ago

    Very interesting Heidi. I take it, since you compared it to a museum, that content curation is good? At first I thought that you were going to relate it to writing Hubs but instead you related it to Pinterest. It seems that I found it helpful and I am grateful for your explanation. I gave it a thumbs up.


  • heidithorne profile image

    Heidi Thorne 4 years ago from Chicago Area

    Hi ChitrangadaSharan! I'm learning something new everyday here on HubPages and online, too! :) Content curation has been done for years, but it has taken on an expanded role in the online world. Glad you found the info helpful. Have a beautiful day!

  • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

    Chitrangada Sharan 4 years ago from New Delhi, India

    Very well explained hub! Everyday you learn something new at HubPages and today I learnt about this new term, 'Content Curation', I had not heard about earlier. Though I had a rough idea about what you explained above, I was not aware of the terminology.

    Thanks for the education!

  • heidithorne profile image

    Heidi Thorne 4 years ago from Chicago Area

    So agree, informationshelte! Google is the ultimate power content curator and editor. Love your observation about their algorithms!

    Yes, indeed, curation and commentary are incredible influences in our increasingly interdependent, connected world. Thank you for adding your valuable insight to the discussion! Have a wonderful day!

  • informationshelte profile image

    informationshelte 4 years ago


    This is a really interesting discussion on such an important concept in the online world. I believe that even Google itself is a "content curation" machine, rather than a search engine. My argument is based on the fact that its algorithms change all the time in order to, according to the company, improve user experience in search results.

    I would suggest that the critical factor in successful content curation is offering extra value to the reader. Like you stressed correctly, it has nothing to do with just copying other people's work, which would be something very similar to social media posting, without of course the element of discussion.

    Quality curated blog posts and articles with a personal point of view, can prove to be excellent sources of information, further thought and inspiration, and ultimately, they provide benefits to both the reader and the owner of the original source that the curated article links to.

  • heidithorne profile image

    Heidi Thorne 4 years ago from Chicago Area

    Yes, Lady Guinevere, I think you can certainly be called a content curator! Keep on sharing the good stuff with your tribe. Have a great weekend!

  • Lady Guinevere profile image

    Debra Allen 4 years ago from West By God

    Then I do that because I have a pinterest account, a twitter account and a facebook account and I share lots of people things.

  • heidithorne profile image

    Heidi Thorne 4 years ago from Chicago Area

    Hi Lady Guinevere! People (Pinterest users, bloggers, etc.) who share other people's content are like collectors or editors of sorts. They collect (or curate) and filter what they share so that only what is relevant to their followers is shared. Such a necessary function in today's overwhelming Internet. Thanks for stopping by and joining the conversation! Have a great day!

  • Lady Guinevere profile image

    Debra Allen 4 years ago from West By God

    I never knew about this. It does sound interesting. Am I understanding this correct as it is sort of like a collector of sorts?

  • heidithorne profile image

    Heidi Thorne 4 years ago from Chicago Area

    Hi midget38! Agreed, there are some terrific curation and sharing tools available these days. Agreed, we want and need to share, but do need to do it properly. Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful day!

  • heidithorne profile image

    Heidi Thorne 4 years ago from Chicago Area

    AliciaC, the Internet keeps creating new terms for us to understand! Ack! Hard to keep up with all of them sometimes. So my own questions about the term inspired the post. Glad it cleared up the question for you. Have a wonderful day!

  • heidithorne profile image

    Heidi Thorne 4 years ago from Chicago Area

    Grand old lady, through content curation has been done for years in some form or another, your're right in that it really has become associated with online writing. Sharing is technologically so easy to do these days, but we have to be careful. There are a number of content curation tools to explore. Good luck with Listly. Have a wonderful day!

  • heidithorne profile image

    Heidi Thorne 4 years ago from Chicago Area

    Travmaj, it is an old concept just reimagined for the web world. I'm still trying to figure out Pinterest myself, but it is intriguing. Thanks for commenting & have a wonderful day!

  • midget38 profile image

    Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

    I am fond of Pin, Scoopit and Bundlr. These are all wonderful tools. Thanks for pointing out that we need to be careful when it comes to sharing things without permission. Sharing!

  • AliciaC profile image

    Linda Crampton 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

    Thank you very much for this easy to understand explanation, Heidi. I had heard of the term "content curation" before and had been meaning to find out exactly what it entailed. Now I know what it is!

  • grand old lady profile image

    Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 4 years ago from Philippines

    Content curation is really unique to online writing, and I'm glad you found a name for it, and an apt description for this category of writing, plus rules to make sure it is not just copying or stealing other people's material. I recently opened a Listly account and this article will be useful guidance when I do my first Listly piece:).

  • travmaj profile image

    travmaj 4 years ago from australia

    I'm in agreement with other commentators, I've never heard of content curation, valuable information. Must look into Pinterest too. Thanks for a most interesting hub.

  • heidithorne profile image

    Heidi Thorne 4 years ago from Chicago Area

    Mahalo Stephanie/Hawaiian Scribe! Glad you found the info helpful. It's a new way for us to become experts. Have a beautiful day!

  • heidithorne profile image

    Heidi Thorne 4 years ago from Chicago Area

    Hi FlourishAnyway! Glad you found the info on Pinterest helpful. It's still a developing platform that we need to figure out. Have a beautiful day!

  • Hawaiian Scribe profile image

    Stephanie Launiu 4 years ago from Hawai'i

    Thanks so much for this hub! Iʻve been interested in finding out more about content curation, so this is very helpful. Voted up, helpful, interesting, tweeted and pinned. Aloha, Stephanie

  • FlourishAnyway profile image

    FlourishAnyway 4 years ago from USA

    I like the way you're describing Pinterest. I learned something here too.

  • heidithorne profile image

    Heidi Thorne 4 years ago from Chicago Area

    Billybuc, curation is a relatively new term for an old concept! Thanks for your kind support... always. Have a terrific Tuesday!

  • billybuc profile image

    Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

    I have never heard of this term, but it make sense for sure. I'm with Liz in her comment...I always learn useful information from your hubs. Thank you, Heidi!

  • heidithorne profile image

    Heidi Thorne 4 years ago from Chicago Area

    Hi Elizabeth/epbooks! Admittedly, I am not part of the Pinterest nation either, but I have seen some of my network who really are power users. I find it very distracting even though, as with Google Plus, I understand and like the concept. I can probably see some value for your ventures with all the amazing photos you take and share. But the trick would be developing links and such back to your books, etc.

    My husband thinks my promo stuff is ripe for Pinterest. I tend to disagree. I see more people going to the Google Search bar than to Pinterest to find and buy the things I sell. They are unlikely to want my ideas; they want to see how I can fulfill THEIR ideas.

    Like any other social media, Pinterest lives and dies based on followers and community. So wherever your community is strongest--be it Facebook, Twitter, HubPages or whatever--that's where any content curation efforts should be concentrated. For me, that's Twitter.

    Thanks for starting our your week here! Hope it's a good one!

  • epbooks profile image

    Elizabeth Parker 4 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

    I love reading your hubs as I always learn something new. I really have to start looking into Pinterest one of these days. With so many websites, it becomes a full-time job just to keep up! Thanks for posting yet another useful piece! Voted up and shared!


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