Content is still king, but it isn't always practical or cost effective for marketers to produce brand-new, meaty, thought-leadership level content pieces on a regular basis. That's where curating content can come in handy.
Content curation offers a nearly limitless method of fueling your inbound marketing efforts. Unearthing and sharing the quality content of others allows you provide your audience fresh content on a regular basis to serve any interest, industry, or market.
What's more, sharing and celebrating the work of others helps get you on their radar and can forge valuable, long-term relationships with the content authors.
To help you curate, here's a list of 26 tools you can use to find, aggregate and share your content with the world, be it in a blog roundup, big list of resources or to share via social. Note that some of these tools do all the work, and some are merely tools that lead up to the share.
A granddaddy of content curation, in practice if not in tenure, Pinterest is one of the Internet's most popular sites for culling content. Blending the social web with great content (headlined by even greater photos), Pinterest allows users to create pin boards – an homage to the wall-hanging corkboards of yore – that organize themes, recipes and other inspiration.
Pinterest for Business takes curated pinning to the next level, making it easy to collate your favorite pins, market your business (or your clients'), and even promote products and services.
Price: Free business account; Promoted Pins offered as a premium service
At first glance, Juxtapost looks a lot like Pinterest. It functions similarly, too: visit the homepage, and you'll find a website of pinned favorites – bookmarking gone visual.
The site invites marketers to create postboards grouped by favorite things, ideas, styles or topics – whatever your demographic wans to consume, and however it wants to consume it. You can collaborate with fellow marketers, export your posts to a spreadsheet, build private postboards, and more.
If you're looking for inspiration to fuel your daily curation, head on over to ContentGems, a monitoring services that screens 200,000+ RSS feeds for news sites, blogs, social media accounts, and other services. If that sounds like a search engine, it's not – it's better.
ContentGems filters results based on your specific interests, which you define through keywords, social signals, and other indicators. The service also offers one-click social buttons, so you can easily share your insights with Twitter, Facebook, WordPress and other networks.
If you retain fond memories of Google Reader (or any of the other RSS aggregators that have evaporated into the ether of forgotten apps), you'll love Feedly. This ultra simple web-based RSS reader (also available for mobile) pulls your favorite news and blog updates via RSS feed.
Categorize feeds as you see fit; scan through recent publications from your preferred sources; and favorite the best of the best for curation – blog roundups, social sharing, bookmarking sites, and more. Feedly offers one-click integration with Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and more.
This handy mobile app requires little introduction: with the click of a button, you can create beautifully curated magazines of any theme you choose.
Unlike many other content curation methods, Flipboard requires little time commitment for optimal results – you "flip" any article, blog post, photo or other media via a browser bookmarklet, and instantly create stunning layouts that look and feel like a professionally designed digital magazine.
Storify is part-curation, part-storytelling – and all awesomeness. In a nutshell, Storify makes it easy for marketers to curate content from around the web, pulling from social media updates, news articles, blogs and other sources like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram. Armed with your curated content, you can create media-rich stories embellished with your own thoughts, as well as curated images, videos, social screenshots, and more.
Price: Free basic plan; VIP plan includes upgrades like real-time updates, custom display, and other features
Bundlr does just what it sounds like: helps you create content "bundles" from your favorite sources across the web. Here's how it works: source blog posts, articles, tweets, quotes, links, videos and other media – all in real-time, as you browse the web – and "clip" content into your bundles.
Optimize each clip's meta-information and publish to the bundle's public webpage, which you can share on social networks or embed on your own website or blog for simple, real-time and one-click content curation.
Price: Free basic account; premium plan $19.99/year
With iFlow, you can discover the web and curate content, all in one place. The service centers around "flows," or topic-based information streams that focus on your interests, and only your interests.
The tool excels at drowning out the Internet's incessant chatter while zeroing in on powerful, useful content tailored to the subjects and topics you identify – blogs and articles and videos and images that you want to curate. Instantly share your favorites via various flows, which are categorized according to interest, expertise, service or other topics you choose.
If you'd rather focus on journalism over social buzz, Newsle is the perfect fit. This curation tool peruses reputable news sites and monitors the web for mentions and updates about your LinkedIn, Facebook, and other contacts.
You'll discover new content – content that allows you to create deeper, more meaningful connections with your contacts, clients, prospects and even non-connections you've deemed important.
Like Flipboard, Kuratur provides an easy way to curate custom magazines – but this one comes with a twist. With Kuratur, you can use custom hashtags, Twitter mentions, RSS feeds, specific keywords, Facebook pages and other indicators to cull content, pulling your picks into content blocks and custom-designed magazines. Share your finds via magazine integration into your blog or website, or just link directly to your magazine's custom URL.
Price: Free (currently in beta, as of mid-2014)
Whereas many content creation tools require daily (or at least, weekly) diligence, Zemanta is a click-it-and-forget-it kind of tool. The premise is simple: install the Zemanta extension and as you write a new blog post (WordPress, Blogger and TypePad are currently supported), and Zemanta pulls in related content from around the web.
Bonus: Sign up, and Zemanta will pull your posts as related content on other blogs. Bear in mind, however, that Zemanta is based on an algorithm, not human input, and its picks therefore can be hit or miss.
Price: Free; Paid content available to marketers and advertisers
PearlTrees is billed as a "place for your interests," and it works very much like a digital binder: file web pages, notes, photos or files into your library, and organize however you like.
Each piece of content is represented by a pearl, and each organization is in the form of a pearltree – information trees that branch off into sub-pearltrees and individual pearls of content. One of the site's greatest benefits is how easy it is to add new pearls to your trees, via browser extensions, mobile apps, social networks, and emails.
Price: Free basic plan; premium membership ($1.99-$9.99 per month) adds additional storage space and features
If you do a lot of marketing on-the-go, the Zite app might be a good fit. This mobile app is attuned to your specific interests – do you want to read about marketing, your clients, or social media? – and aggregates content based on a proprietary algorithm that prioritizes your preferred topics and the relative popularity of individual posts and articles.
New content discovery takes just a few minutes a day, making Zite a great choice for your daily commute, morning coffee, or other downtime.
BundlePost is a powerful tool for content curation – that's to be expected with a premium service – that automates back-office curation through social sharing and post scheduling. The idea is simple: connect to RSS feeds and other content channels from the BundlePost dashboard, and the system will import and save content four times a day.
When you have time, review, choose the keepers, edit content as necessary, and schedule curation post times across channels. Big bonus: BundlePost integrates easily with your favorite social sharing platform, including Hootsuite, Hubspot, Spredfast, Sendible, Pluggio, SocialOomph and Buffer.
Price: Free 30-day trial; full versions start at $19.99 a month
If you pull much of your curation inspiration from the industry's best bloggers, Triberr is there to help. The service encourages you to join "tribes" – interest groups comprised of established bloggers who create great content in your chosen topic areas.
Your dashboard auto-aggregates with recent posts, giving you easy access to current, sharable content. You can share content (reblog) at custom intervals, to space out your curation.
Price: Free; premium membership (larger tribes and special features) is $10/month
Spundge offers a slick interface and easy curation, either on your own or collaboratively with peers. The tool helps you filter and discover content targeted to your interests, and then empowers you to curate that content into easily digestible (and visually appealing) notebooks. Share your notebooks with your network and even target new audiences from within Spundge.
Chances are, you've seen Paper.li pop-up around the web (and especially on Twitter). This handy app is the content curator's secret weapon – a service that helps you automatically discover relevant content, curate it into your own online newspaper, and promote your findings across the web. It's easy to use, has a wide audience, and requires only a few minutes of your time everyday.
Are you prepared for the next level of visual cool? Thinglink is all about turning images into even more powerful content, by embedding photos with information hotspots that are activated by the pass of a mouse.
Your hotspots can be any type of media you choose, from your own notes to links to videos to quotes and other text – anything with a URL. Best of all? You can embed Thinglink images in your blog posts and website, thus enriching your content in very new, very dynamic, and very useful ways.
Price: Free business plan; premium plans from $250 per 50,000 views
There's content curation and then there's engaging content curation – and Scoop.it's all about the latter. Use Scoop.it's active community and the tool's search engine to discover the web's best content, then "scoop it" into your custom topics, which display as elegant, magazine-style layouts.
Scoop.it is popular in the digital marketing community, so you can achieve good social reach and traffic from your topics.
Price: Free basic account; pro accounts from $12.99/month
As a marketer, you know that people love lists. But did you also know that there's a way to blend lists with content curation with social sharing? It's called Listly, and it's a tool that makes lists fun, social and visually appealing. You can create lists on your own or work collaboratively, culling links and sources from around the web to create inspiring and photo-rich lists. Embed them on your blog or website – and, even better, allow third-party users to embed your lists, too. Easily share with your social networks or integrate with your blog using the WordPress plugin.
Price: Free basic account; premium from $9.99/month
Tools for Advanced Content Curation
For serious marketers with huge accounts or epic curation needs, enterprise-level content curation tools are the answer. While each of these services offers some sort of free trial or demo, you'll pay for the full versions. These are the power tools of the content curation world, aimed at power marketers with the budgets to match.
If you've jumped on the video bandwagon (and you should have), Waywire (previously Magnify) is an important addition to your curation toolkit. This cloud-based video curation tool lets brands aggregate, curate, and upload video content.
You can throw your own videos into the mix, but Waywire helps you identify related videos to source – curation channels from hundreds of trusted sites that offer timely, relevant, and engaging video. Waywire also provides insights into important account metrics, like video views and player locations.
Price: Free basic account; enterprise pricing by request
22. Post Planner
For busy marketers, Post Planner's promise is alluring: triple your Facebook engagement in 10 minutes a day. So how does that happen?
This social tool (available only for Facebook) helps you predict what content, what status updates, what photos and what links will go viral on the world's largest social network. If the goal is to expand your Facebook reach, even if you have a small network, give Post Planner a chance.
Price: Free trial; plans from $19-$79 per month
Trapit is a smart curation tool that learns what you like as you use it. The search function trolls more than 100,000 pre-vetted and trusted content sources, including the tool's hidden gems – content channels of which you're likely unaware.
"Trap" your favorites into topical collections to share with your audience. You can create any type of trap you want, and as Trapit learns more about what you curate into each collection, it'll further refine its recommendations based on each trap.
Price: Free demo; publisher accounts pricing upon request
If you're an enterprise marketer who uses curated content for blog posts, Curata can shave serious time (and effort) off your day. The tool's self-learning search engine trolls the blogsphere for content tailored to your interests and marketing needs, then helps you organize, annotate and finally curate your favorites.
Share you findings anywhere, including your own blog and social networks. The more you use Curata, the better the algorithm becomes at finding, refining, and suggesting content that suits your needs.
Price: Free trial; paid version from $349-$999+ monthly
Serious content marketers, curators, and community managers love Kapost for its easy organization, editorial calendars, and channel organization. Kapost integrates with Curata to make curation even easier, giving marketers one-click access to all the curation functions of Curata and the organization and publishing aspects of Kapost. Republish your content to your blog and various audiences.
Price: Free demo; accounts from $1,000-$3,000+ per month
Echo is a big daddy of social, engaging content curation, as evidenced by some of its heavy-hitter users, including Slate and Forbes. The adaptive, dynamic service gives you the tools to capture interesting content (in real-time, if you'd like), curate the most important or engaging stories, distribute them to your network, and integrate everything socially.
One of Echo's coolest features is Echo Conversations, a commenting system that enables real-time, natural conversations (no page refresh required) that encourage engagement and boost time spent on your website.
Price: Free demo; product quotes by request
Optimising Digital Marketing Campaigns with Search, Social and Analytics
At SES London (9-11 Feb) you'll get an overview of the latest tools, tips, and tactics in Paid, Owned, Earned, Integrated Media and Business Intelligence to streamline your marketing campaigns in 2015. Register by 31 October to take advantage of Early Bird Rates.