We all know that one of the biggest things a marketing department can do is improve visibility, and this is no exception when it comes to higher education. Until now, most higher education marketing professionals have been putting a huge focus on content creation—and for good reason. Creating valuable content is the absolute best way to prove that your college is knowledgeable and high quality, it’s one of the most prominent ways to spread your message, and it can be shared and published in a way that really appeals to the latest generation.
Your content creation efforts should not diminish by any means and will certainly remain a KPI when it comes to your success, but there is a newer strategy that is gaining speed amongst many companies—content curation. This will not only work for higher education, but it will help cut down your workload and take some of the pressure off your content creation efforts.
The Basics of Content Curation and Why It Matters
Content curation simply means finding other content across the web that is related to whatever it is that you’re discussing (in your case, something about your college or University). Typically marketing departments will read and find content, put the links together in the form of a list, and then write their own, original little blurb about each piece of content (more about this later). This makes one new and original piece of content for you, yet it uses the information of others. As long as you include the links back to the content, you’re completely following the rules. A few reasons this will benefit your college or university includes:
- Increase Quality Quantity. This might sound like a tongue twister, but all it means is that you will be able to produce more content of quality. Curating content is quality if done correctly, yet it doesn’t take much time. This way you can push out content faster and more often than you ever could before. A good rule of thumb is to produce one content curation piece for every five pieces of content you’ve created. In other words, don’t overdo it.
- Improves Relationships. When you link back to another piece of content, that person, company, or school will surely be thrilled. This helps you build relationships, so if something ever comes up in the future, you’ll have like-minded schools there to help and offer advice. In some cases you could be promoting another school over your own school with this strategy, so you want to make sure you only choose pieces that compliment your school, not compete with it (more about this in the last section).
- Gain Credibility and Knowledge. You can learn a lot from other sources, so you not only gain knowledge, but you prove that you’re learning from others. This looks good in the eyes of those looking to choose a school and helps to give you credibility.
So why use content curation when content creation is still best? The biggest reason that content curation is useful is because it takes less time. If you simply don’t have the time and/or the resources to create enough quality content, curation is the next best thing.
4 Steps to Get You Started with Content Curation for Higher Education
Step #1: Determine what you want to gain out of curating content.
What you want out of content curation will help you determine what types of content you will want to include. For example, if you want to earn more links, consider curating content from higher education websites (like Dote Du Guru). If you want to highlight the accomplishments of your college or University, check out local papers and any stories written about your institution.
Step #2: Find the content to curate.
Obviously, you then have to set out to find the content you want to curate. I find that the best content curation pieces are those that you find naturally. Whenever you’re searching around the Internet and see something interesting, make a note of it. Going out for 20 minutes to specifically find articles doesn’t always produce the best piece.
Step #3: Put the content links together and form your own angle and opinions.
As discussed in the last section, many content curators take all of the different links and then write their own personal blurb on each section. This lets your writers know what they can expect from the link as well as why you picked it as something future students, current students or staff at your school would enjoy. It gives you a voice, which is something you don’t get quite as often as when you’re creating your own content.
Step #4: Share the piece across your social channels or college or University website.
Once the article is written, be sure to share it! This content is the same as any other piece of content and should be shared amongst staff and students.
Has your college or University marketing department ever dabbled in content curation? How do you think this could benefit higher education specifically? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
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