We've all heard it: now's the time to start using content curation as a part of your content marketing strategy.  There seems to be an endless supply of articles, blog posts, and tutorials on curation - we've done the research, read the articles, learned about all of the benefits and best practices. Now, there's only one thing left to do: actually get started.

After taking in as much information as possible on curation best practices, techniques, and tools, it's possible that you find yourself asking, "now what?" 

At Scoop.it, we have the answer.

At Distilled's SearchLove in October of this year, SEOMoz CEO Rand Fishkin channeled his inner Beatles fan with a presentation called "Can't Buy Me Love." Of course, unlike Paul, George, John, and Ringo, Rand isn't talking about the "love" of a lady, but instead he's referring to the love of your audience.

To be completely honest, I never really understood search marketing. If I'm searching for something in Google, odds are I'm probably going to click on the search result for what I was actually looking for, rather than an ad that [may or may not be] related to what I typed in. I'm not saying that search marketing does't work, but I do like to think that there are better (and cheaper) ways to get people to click on your website.

That said, it's not surprising that I'm a pretty big advocate of content marketing - creating content that, while it may be optimized for keywords, is actually valuable to your readers and gets clicks because it's interesting and relevant.

I know I'm not the only one to say that content is going to rule 2013. To me, it already ruled 2012, but now it seems that it's becoming more commonplace for those who were unsure of it last year. We're seeing an increasing amount of "brand journalists" and "brand-as-a-publisher" mentalities, and I have a feeling this isn't going to stop any time soon.

Most content by brands serves only to promote the brand. This is not a conversation. This is a content marketing echo chamber.
-Michael Brenner
It’s been a while since I’ve heard about the term “echo chamber,” and the last time I investigated it it was mostly concerning the social graph and surrounding yourself with the same people and the same ideas.

I always like seeing how social phenomena convert over into the business world, and this is a perfect example of that. If the entire online presence of your brand, including your content, only consists of talking about your own brand and encouraging others to talk about your brand, there is no room to grow, and no actual value to the content you’re providing.

Michael Brenner says that “good content educates, entertains or even amazes your audience because it starts with a focus on them, not you.” Get out of the echo chamber and stop throwing around generic praise and information about your brand, and start telling your story and demonstrating your expertise.

See on b2bmarketinginsider.com

Max Minzer is a Seattle SEO consultant, internet marketing strategist, entrepreneur and business adviser who helps businesses and individuals establish and maintain engaged online presence.

Every Thursday, Max hosts a “Max Impact Hangout,” a conversation designed to help businesses have maximum impact in their industry on social media.

This hangout is centered around content curation, and feautres AJ Kohn, the owner of Blind Five Year Old, an online marketing consulting firm out of San Francisco.

Kohn has some great points about the benefits of curation, including:

-“It’s not just about sharing the content; it’s providing your context. It’s good to be able to read a lot, but it’s better to be able to understand it, and so it’s your job to help your audience understand it and put context around it. If you’re not doing that, it’s just a bunch of links, and that’s not particularly helpful.”

-“Curation at its core is about expertise.”

-“People are looking for trust and expertise, and they don’t have a lot of time. If they can rely on you to continuously deliver that trust and value, they’re going to continue to come to you.”

He also points out an interesting curation practice that is probably forgotten (or dismissed) by some businesses: curating the content of your competitors. Regarding this practice, AJ says, “Your users are talking about [your competitors] anyway. You want to control the story: if they’re going to be reading it anyway, it’s better to provide the context for them.”

The hangout also includes a Q&A/discussion session with AJ.

If You’re Not Content Marketing, You’re Not Marketing

Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience - with the objective of driving profitable customer action.

Basically, content marketing is the art of communicating with your customers and prospects without selling. It is non-interruption marketing. Instead of pitching your products or services, you are delivering information that makes your buyer more intelligent. The essence of this content strategy is the belief that if we, as businesses, deliver consistent, ongoing valuable information to buyers, they ultimately reward us with their business and loyalty.