As the old saying goes, we are judged by the company we keep. It’s still true. But today, we’re also judged by the content we share online — and this is great news for your personal brand.
Everything you push into the digital space under your name helps others understand your brand. Each selfie you upload, blog post you write, or video you share impacts how others see you. And when you follow a thought leader or look for high-quality new research in your field, you’re also helping others understand your brand. LinkedIn even displays your interactions with other posts at the top of your profile under the Activity section.
With this in mind, heed the following tips when deciding which content deserves to be associated with your name. Ideally, all the content you curate should dovetail with the content you create, whether it’s an Instagram Reel or a gated e-book. Here are the 4 keys to getting the greatest benefits from curation:
1. Curate almost as often as you create.
A lot of thought leaders assume that they have to create fresh content all the time to bolster their brand on social media sites — but that’s not so. Research from Argyle Social shows that you’re 33% more likely to foster engagement (i.e., clicks) when you share or repost third-party content.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take the time to create new content. The social world revolves around unique items, and it is important to make your mark with one-of-a-kind content. Still, aim for a 60–40 split between your curated and created content for the best results.
Here’s how to balance this out: For every 3 pieces of original content you write and publish, make sure to also post 2 that originate from third-party sites or from people in your network. If you never curate, you may be seen as a self-promoter who only wants to tout their own ideas. Curation demonstrates that you’re part of the conversation. And of course, there’s a practical benefit; you won’t have to spend all your time making new pieces. In fact, doing nothing but creating content from scratch might undermine your success.
2. Hit “pause” before hitting “share.”
If only the “share” button came with a disclaimer or a delay, unfortunate mistakes might not happen as often. Even more unfortunate? There is no “undo” button. Once you’ve shared something, you’ve attached your brand to the content and the creator of origin. Four out of 10 young adults have shared something on their social profiles they later wish they hadn’t. The odds for full-grown professionals probably aren’t much better. For this reason alone, it’s essential to take a breath before hitting “share.”
Many people have gotten into PR nightmares because they shared something without thinking first. Maybe they thought a controversial meme was hilarious and didn’t realize how hurtful it could be to others. Perhaps they read only the first half of an article and pushed it out to their followers before realizing that the last half is packed with half-truths from the rumor mill. And always consider the source. Take the time to check out the author’s digital footprint before sharing their work. Do their values align with your brand? Readers can be scathing when you make mistakes, and it takes time to rebuild trust within digital networks.
Anyone who can see your content can take a screenshot, even if you have private social accounts. You can never be truly assured that content won’t go viral. Since the internet is forever, approach all sharing from a thoughtful perspective that shields your brand from avoidable problems.
3. Use curation to create networks of mutual support.
Social networks are just that: networks. Just as you would “work” your offline network, make sure you nurture your digital one. If you’ve never thought about your social network that way, you’re not alone. Nola Morris, VP of Strategy at Denim Social, a social media management software company that provides tools for managing organic social media content and paid social media advertising, explains how to rethink your approach to your online social community.
“Social media brings us together. It’s where people blend their real lives with their digital lives. While everyone loves a good dancing cat video, social channels facilitate so much more than fleeting entertainment. They serve as a resource for creating connections, building trust, and strengthening relationships,” writes Morris. Curation is the ideal way to tap the power of that network, and it’s a humble sign that you don’t have all the answers and are always looking to learn from others. There’s no need feel awkward asking for ideas or help when needed, and when you respond to others who seek advice, it’s fine to respond with inspiring, previously published quotes of wisdom, formally attributed to the original author. Mutual curation leads to other forms of support, whether you’re looking for a mentor or a recommendation for the best conferences to attend. (And remember to return the favor when someone else needs a boost!)
4. Add your own commentary.
Curation should always include your signature point of view, no matter how brief, in the form of a comment or a discussion question. Don’t expect the shared content to speak for itself, especially if one of your goals is to reinforce your brand traits.
Your personal brand has never been easier to nurture than in today’s digital age. With a boost from content curation, which is a bit like cross-pollination, your brand will be in full bloom and full view of the people you seek to influence.