As you fill out your content schedule for the weeks that lie ahead, you likely have the general tone figured out. A special promotion here, an ad there. To fill in the blanks in between properly, though, you have to brainstorm a bit. Even if you have a large library of content from which to choose, it never hurts to have other external sources of content standing by, ready to fill in content gaps you may encounter in your schedule. This is where curated content comes in!
What is content curation?
Content curation refers to sharing already-existing content based on your audience’s interest. Simply put, in the social media world, for example, this is done through retweeting existing articles, images, videos etc. Of course, content curation refers to sharing content that is relevant to you and to your audience. Be it on social media or on your digital signage, you want to share content your audience will appreciate!
Use curated content with care
Before proceeding, always be careful about how you handle content curation! This isn’t meant to scare or discourage you, but always make sure you’re allowed to share and repost the content of others. In case you’re unfamiliar with it, read up on fair use and content curation. In short, use content you have permission to use and, in case you do so without direct permission, make sure what you share falls under fair use.
For instance, don’t copy an article, a statement, or an image and publish it as your own. Instead, direct viewers to an article they might be interested in. RSS feed apps are a great way to do this on digital signage. The user sees a brief headline, description of the article, and a QR code they can use to visit the source directly.
For this article, we primarily refer to digital signage. A general note on reposting in the context of your overall media strategy, though: Don’t rely on reposting to grow your audience. The algorithms reward original content and reposts have fallen out of favor.
Quality sources of curated content
If you’re going to take content curation seriously, you’d do best to find quality sources and compile them into a list you can use whenever the need arises. Here are some ideas to get you started!
Images and videos are the lifeblood of digital signage. Despite endless content available online, always make sure you use images you’re allowed to use! Take a look at our article on copyright-free and reference-free sources of photos and videos. You can use these in your digital signage without concern that you’re infringing on any copyright.
RSS Feeds are another great source of curated content for digital signage as they’re frequently updated. For digital signage, look for RSS sources your audience will enjoy and you’ll have a steady stream of curated content. Furthermore, with app filters, selectively cherry-pick the most relevant posts.
User-Generated content is probably the curated content variant that is most unique to you. This is because it involves content from your own consumers. Whether this is sharing general feedback, testimonials, or social media posts directed at your place of business, user-generated content is a quality source of curated content.
Are YouTube videos an option?
The treasure trove of videos, YouTube is easily one of the biggest sources of visual content on the planet! With videos being such an important component of digital signage, the big question is are you allowed to broadcast YouTube videos on your digital signage? Well, the lawyer’s answer is always: “It depends!” Let’s dig deep and answer this tricky question once and for all. For an in-depth view on YouTube’s terms of service and policies, read this article on embedding a YouTube video.
Whenever you upload a video to YouTube, based on their terms and conditions, you allow YouTube, its associates, and its users—yes, its users—to reproduce your content. The trick here is that it may only be done ”through the embeddable YouTube player”. What this means is you may share YouTube videos on your digital signage, website, or anywhere else so long as it’s done through embedding. The embeddable YouTube player indicates that the video came from YouTube and that it in fact isn’t yours originally. Digital signage software usually has an app which plays content through that player. This means in return that downloading the video and reuploading it would not be allowed.
Don’t take this as a green light to use just about anything you find!
YouTube is a gigantic place. People often upload content which may be subject to copyright. YouTube just didn’t catch it yet. In essence, you might be sharing a YouTube video that is in itself in breach of YouTube’s own policies and in breach of copyright. Such a video shouldn’t be on YouTube in the first place. You can argue that it wasn’t your fault since you didn’t know, but it is best to avoid legal trouble over a YouTube video.
The bottom line: if you intend to use a YouTube video, make sure it ticks ALL the boxes. This means it’s not in violation of copyright or of YouTube’s policies. Ideally, ask the user for permission to ensure it’s theirs and you can use it safely. Better yet, seek out channels which create content relevant to your audience, and reach out to them directly, asking if they’d be okay with you using their content. Apart from being safe, you’ll also likely form some new connections within your industry!
Creation versus curation?
When it comes to balancing curated content with your own original content, of course, it is best if every single piece of content belongs to you. However, you physically cannot create that much content while maintaining balance between quality and quantity. It’s better to focus on your targeted content and make it the best it can be. In essence, when it comes to quality, put all your efforts into important campaigns, special promotions, and content which engages your audience. Meanwhile, when it comes to entertainment, fun facts, intriguing articles, quotes, or fun facts, you can very well curate those.
Unlike social media, people can’t exactly share your content at the click of a button. Some surely will! Some will snap a picture of your digital signage, but those won’t be huge numbers, so don’t worry about it. There’s plenty of sources of curated content online. If you’re lucky enough to use OnSign TV, you’ll find plenty of ways to build curated content, including apps for RSS feeds, streaming website links, famous quotes, social media apps, and even apps which deliver fun facts compiled by the OnSign TV team!
Cover photo by geralt.