There are plenty of good, tactical guidelines out there for content curation (as well as rationales for why it’s so important). But in addition to the day-to-day tactics and objectives, here are eight keys to making your content curation efforts more efficient, effective and productive.

1. What would your customers & prospects want to read?
This isn’t about you. It’s about your customers and prospects. You know that they’re starved for time, yet they wish they had more time to consume valuable information. What magazines are stacking up on their desk, too important to cancel but without time to read? Which RSS feeds are the same? Email newsletters, etc.? Narrow in on those sources and treat them as the core of your curation efforts.

2. What channels will they use? Where do they want to read it?
Curation is as much about delivery as it is content. Don’t assume your customers will all gravitate towards your Twitter feed, just because that’s where you’re most comfortable sharing content. Maybe you should be using a weekly email newsletter. Or a blog digest. Or a printed newsletter. Know your customer’s consumption and channel habits.

3. Curate from the curators
Find the customer-friendly news sources that are already curating content for like-minded audiences. SmartBriefs newsletters, for example, are a daily source of great content from across the Web focused on a single subject or audience. Many popular blogs also do weekly or occasional digests of great content they find from across the Web. Similarly, many popular Twitter feeds that your customers and prospects should be following (but don’t) offer content to curate. A handful of sources may become your primary curation sources, but themselves provide a wide variety of source content.

4. Set everything up in advance
If you’re using a service such as Timely.is to spread out Tweets, for example, put a bookmarklet in your browser so that you’re always one-click away from adding great new content to your feed. If using email or blogs as your channel, build the template in advance and simply add newly-found content to that template until you fill it up to distribute. In summary, make it as easy as possible to curate content on the fly as you see it, so that you’re more regular about doing it.

5. Follow a daily process
Get into a routine to check the same sources on a regular basis. Schedule it specifically on your calendar if you need to, but otherwise build an explicit daily checklist that allows you to execute curation tasks in a shorter and shorter amount of time.

6. Be consistent
The more your followers can expect regular, consistently good content, the more likely they will regularly follow you, read you, and forward your content to others. Setting up curated content in advance is an easy way to do a bundle of curation work at once, and have it spread out to readers over time. If your readers establish habits and expectations of following you, don’t let them down.

7. Watch metrics for what resonates best
Keep close watch on what content gets the most clicks, the most shares and retweets, and what day/time that happens. Timely.is does some of this work for you, for example, but you’ll learn a ton about your prospects by watching what they respond best to, and that will only improve your engagement metrics and curation selections over time.

8. Curation does not replace good original content
Successful curation is a great way to service your customers and prospects, but it is not in any way a direct substitute for creating original content. Curation gives you a following, but creation gives you the traffic and opportunity to build deeper relationships, drive value-added registration, and accelerate pipeline progress.