If you want to do social media marketing right, you already know you have to share good content, and lots of it. This can be daunting to most people.How are you supposed to find and create an endless supply of interesting content? Time is of the essence and as a business owner you probably don’t have a lot of it. You have a business to run and spending half your day on Twitter is probably not at the top of your priorities. This is where content curation in important.What Is Content Curation?But first, what is content curation? It’s not a new thing, really. If you’ve ever been to an art gallery, you’ll know that art curators pick and choose art to be displayed to the general public. They are “curating” the best pieces that they know their audience will find interesting. Museums and libraries have been doing the same thing for hundreds of years, as well.Content curation in the digital age is essentially the same concept – collecting and cataloguing the best content about a particular topic and sharing it with your audience. Even if you are a huge brand with a massive marketing budget, it is impossible to create all social media content yourself. Content curation is simply collecting and sharing interesting third party content you come across. For example, if you run a makeup business, you would curate the best content and news on the web regarding makeup and beauty-related topics.Why Do I Need To Curate Content?You’re probably already sharing other people’s content on your social media feeds, so what’s the big deal? Why is it important to have a content curation process and how can it benefit your business.Let me explain.Save Time Do you really have the time to constantly create original content for your blog and/or social media channels? Yep, I didn’t think so. When you curate content, you’re sharing someone else’s content and saving yourself the many hours of work required to produce one quality piece of content. Collecting content still requires time but it’s a much quicker process.Provide Value Keeping up with all the content that is produced every single day can be an overwhelming and tedious process. To be honest there is a lot of useless, unoriginal content and much fewer pieces of worth. If you establish yourself as someone who curates quality content only, you will be providing a lot of value to your audience. By helping them cut through the clutter, you will become an invaluable resource for information and news surrounding your industry.Establish Leadership When you start proving value to your audience, you also start building trust with them. They trust you to keep them up-to-date with the latest updates, news (and even gossip!) in your industry. You become the go-to source for everything they need to know. By doing this, you are establishing yourself as a thought leader. You are the person they trust to separate the useful content from the rubbish and provide them only with the content they truly care about.Improve SEO Content curation is not limited to your social media channels alone but in fact many businesses have taken to curating content on their blogs as well. As you probably already know, search engines love fresh content but as we’ve already established, creating quality, original content is a lot of work. By curating content on your blog, you can definitely get some brownie points for SEO.How To Use Curated ContentThere are various ways to jump on the content curation bandwagon. Here are some ideas for incorporating it into your marketing mix.Social SharingThis is probably content curation in its simplest form, and the easiest one to start incorporating straight away. You can share a blog post by someone else on your Facebook page or even tweet a link to an infographic that an industry blog created. Simply sharing third party content is curating content on social media.Real Life Example: The Queensland Tourism Twitter account does a great job of curating content by sharing photos and posts from its audience.Blog RoundupsIf you want to use your blog for content curation, the best way to do it is with roundup posts. Usually this means picking a particular topic or theme and then finding the best blog posts from around the web to support this topic or theme. If done well, these round-up posts can prove to be very useful for your audience, as you’re saving them the hassle of having to look for the information elsewhere, by putting it all together in one place.Real Life Example: The oDesk blog does a weekly roundup of articles surrounding the theme of hiring, freelancing and the future of work.Commentary PostsIf there is a lot of talk surrounding a particular topic or piece of news in your industry, this is the perfect chance for you to curate some content for your audience. Look at it as a journalistic opportunity to bring together various expert opinions in one place and simplify the news for your audience. In between expert opinions, you can also add in your own opinion. For search engine purposes as well, this counts as fresh content.Real Life Example: This article on Huffington Post is a great example of how to include expert opinion and add your commentary at the same time to make an interesting article.Email UpdatesSimilar to the blog round-ups, you can also send out email updates to your subscribers with the latest news in your industry or a list of articles they might find useful. You will want to make this email very useful for your subscribers and jam packed with informative resources so they will look forward to receiving it every week.Real Life Example: Remotive does a weekly email roundup on different themes each week, with a list of articles to support the theme. Articles are old and new but always relevant and interesting enough to keep the subscriber’s attention.6 Awesome Content Curation ToolsThere are a number of great tools that can help you further simplify the content curation process.Feedly Since the death of Google reader, Feedly seems to have become the number one choice for finding and subscribing to various RSS feeds. It brings all your sites together in one place and you can even organise them into separate folders to easily keep track of everything. So the next time you’re looking for interesting news about a topic, you know exactly where to go to look for it.IFTTT IFTTT stands for If This Then That, and is a great tool for content curation. The tool allows you to create “recipes” to do certain things. It works in sync with various internet apps and services and can be linked to your social channels too if you like. For example, you can set up a recipe that gets to work IF there is a new article in the business category of Feedly, and saves it to a spreadsheet in Google Drive. This Social Media Examiner article explains how to do this and save heaps of time!Buffer Ever liked a Facebook page that shared 5 pieces of content in one hour and then went on to be quiet for the rest of the day? Don’t be that person. It’s important to spread out your content sharing throughout the course of the day and this where Buffer can help. It allows you to easily spread out your tweets/Facebook posts based on a pre-determined schedule.Pinterest Pinterest isn’t just a place to share inspiring quotes and build mood boards for your new home. It’s an excellent resource for visual discovery. You can create your own boards to collect content surrounding a particular theme and can also follow other people’s boards to stay in the loop every time they have new content.Google Blog Search Want to find blogs about a particular topic? Google Blog Search simplifies this for you. This helps you tap into the more recent and current stories about an industry or specific topic of interest. If you’re more interested in recent news, then you can use Google News Search as well to do the same thing.Alltop Alltop is a content aggregator and is a great discovery tool that allows you to locate new types of content to share with your audience.There are plenty more tools, but these are a great place to get started.Yes, content curation takes a bit of time, but a LOT less time than working on original content every day of the week. Listen to your audience and pay attention to their likes and dislikes. Once you understand what they like to see, you’ll get better at gathering and sharing the content they appreciate. With a bit of organisation and creativity, it can be a great way to improve your online marketing efforts.Are you using curated content for your business? Any tips or tools to share with the rest of us?If you’re a content curation newbie and have some questions, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll do our best to help you out.