Content curation is the practice of finding and sharing interesting and insightful content with your readers.

While some marketers might think that sharing other people’s content is just free marketing for them and encourages your audience to patronize that brand instead, that reality just doesn’t pan out. Instead, skillful content curation positions your brand as a trusted source of information and encourages your audience to visit your site or social networks time and time again, building their loyalty.

Developing a content curation strategy can help you maximize your exposure and increase audience engagement.

Here’s our guide to content curation for marketers to help you get more out of this strategy:

Find and Share Unseen Content

One of the problems with content curation is that it can create a bit of an echo tunnel. Publishers in the same niche start to share the same content, and audience members can’t distinguish one channel from the next.

To really set yourself apart, you need to share the big stories as well as the unseen stories.

This can be a bit tricky. After all, if they are unseen, they are probably not good enough to share in the first place. Or it means that they are diamonds in the rough, and they are going to be even harder to find.

Use tools like Digg, Feedly, and RSS readers to find fresh content that hasn’t been shared a million times already. Include sites in your niche as well as sites that only share stories related to your niche some of the time. Your competitors likely won’t be following these “sometimes sites,” so you’ll find more content that is not being overly shared.

Add Value to Your Shares

Don’t just click “share” and be done. Add more to your content curation strategy by adding value to the content you share.

One way to add value is to share your thoughts about an article. Offer an opposing opinion, or point out where more research is needed. Or offer a quick TL;DR synopsis that includes how the article will help your readers.

You can take your content curation strategy to the next level and do the same thing you do with newsjacking and rewrite the content. Write an entirely new article that highlights the major points and either explains how they are relevant to your audience or that presents a point-by-point counter argument.

If you are artistic, you can even create an infographic from the article.

By adding value to your content, you can distinguish yourself from competitors who are sharing the same content.

Improve the Marketing

Even though you’ve seen the content, the original creators may not have taken the right steps to get it the most reach.

You can apply your marketing expertise to expand its reach and yours in return.

Add the right keywords to your descriptions or to your repurposed content. Find the right times to share curated content and then schedule it appropriately. Distribute the content across multiple channels, not just the same outlet on which you found it.

If you are repurposing the content, you can do much more, such as writing a more engaging headline, writing more compelling leads, reorganizing the structure, and creating a more user-friendly layout.

The more you do to extend the reach of the content, the more exposure you will be creating for your own brand. That will lead to more likes and followers for your channels and more traffic for your site.

Attract Attention of Content Creators

Sharing content only gets you half the benefits of content curation. Building partnerships with content creators can also help you grow your brand.

Make sure you let content creators know that you are sharing their content, such as by tagging their page or ID in your post or sending them a tweet or message. They’ll be happy for the exposure, and they’ll take the time to see what else you are sharing on your page. If they like some of your original content, they may feel inclined to share it with their audience, as well.

If you create a “top 10” list with their content, be sure to send a message to let them know. They will likely send out a link to your post, which will get you more exposure.

If you are adding value to the content by repurposing it, be sure to let the creator know also. They may follow up with more content or may share your new piece with their audience.

All of these steps help you to develop relationships with creators that can lead to more mutual promotion that will benefit your brand.

When done right, content curation can be almost as effective as original content marketing in promoting your brand and building authority. Follow these tips to get results in the coming year.