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4 Best Practices for Ethical Content Curation – Part 2 of Content Marketing Done Right


My last post introduced you to the fundamentals of fair use and ethical content curation. Now that you understand the fundamentals, we’re digging deeper into best practices of content curation to ensure that you’re holding yourself to high standards of curation and avoiding legal issues. Here’s an overview of four best practices.

  1. Curate from a wide variety of sources.
    Consistently sharing content from the same one or two sources could put you into an ethical gray area because you’d be benefiting almost entirely from the content of one or two authors. This could also give your readers the impression that you aren’t very knowledgeable about other industry resources. Avoid these pitfalls by curating content from many different sources. This exposes your audience to a wider range of information and ideas and also positions you as an authority who’s widely read and well-rounded. The other benefit of this approach is that it exposes your brand to more thought leaders who may share your content themselves.

  2. Don’t republish third-party content in its entirety.
    Copy and pasting a whole article from another site isn’t content curation; it’s actually piracy if you don’t have the content creator’s permission! If you republish a complete piece, there’s no need for your audience to click through and read the full piece, which deprives the original content creator of that traffic. Reproduce only those portions of the headline or article that are necessary to make your point or to identify the story. You should be linking to the original source and providing your own commentary around any direct quotes you excerpt from the full piece. The more you link to third parties’ original content, the more likely they are to link back to you, which ultimately improves your SEO.

  3. Attitude and link to the original source.
    Clearly attributing the original creator shows your audience that you value that content and are curating in an ethical manner. This also gives respect to the original creator and potentially sends them traffic, which most content creators really appreciate. Make sure you’re linking to the original creator, not another curator who has shared the content just as you are doing. Some content curation sites bury their attribution links in small type at the bottom of a post, but we recommend making attribution links more prominent. This ensures that your audience knows you have curated content from a wide variety of reputable sources and increases your credibility.

  4. Add value by including your own point of view.
    Instead of simply summarizing or repeating what the original piece said, take curation a step further and provide your own context or insights on the piece. This increases the value your readers get from your curation, reduces the potential for ethical issues, and helps your content stand out from the pack. Make sure that your own commentary is longer than any sections you excerpt from the original piece.

These are just four of the best practices included in Content Marketing Done Right: Curata’s Definitive Guide to Executing an Ethical Content Curation Strategy. Download this free ebook for more best practices and examples of content curation in action.

Pawan Deshpande

Pawan Deshpande is the founder and CEO of Curata, a Boston-based company offering content marketing software used by thousands of marketers around the world. He spearheaded the first-ever panel at SxSW on Content Marketing in 2011, and was a 2014 Finalist for MarketingProfs B2B Marketer of the Year. Pawan was an engineer at Microsoft and Google where he was awarded patents in social networking and machine learning. He previously attended MIT where his graduate thesis won top departmental and international awards.

Pawan is also a blogger for The Huffington Post, the Content Marketing Institute,, Forbes, Marketing Profs, and other technology and marketing publications.

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