You may remember my last article in which I prattled on about my tale of love, loss and content curation. I really feel that confiding in you about my tale of woe has gotten the whole thing out of my system. Well, I promised in that article I would give you actual useful information this time around. So, let’s dive right in!
What Is Content Curation?
Content curation is the process of finding content and commenting on it in a meaningful way. Usually, several pieces are selected that fall under a common theme. Probably one of the most famous examples is the newsletter Brain Pickings by Maria Popova. Maria emails a weekly digest of articles to her subscribers. Each of her selections includes her opinion or insight on the material.
Why Curate Content?
Reasons to curate content are not in short supply. The technique, when done correctly, can be insightful and valuable for your readers. It also provides a structure or theme for content that may help your reader digest information in an organized way.
Here are seven great reasons for Content Curation:
It’s Quick and Easy
Let’s face it. Finding articles to comment on can be a lot simpler than researching and writing a new article. Don’t get me wrong – there’s still a good bit of time involved – but it’s definitely less time. Also, when curating, you should be spending the bulk of your time reading and searching for just the right articles. You can either choose a topic and then search for a good article. Or, you can jump right into your collection of RSS feeds or favorite articles and find a blog post that interests you. Give the article a thorough read. Then, make a summary of it or write an opinion about it for your readers. Publish, promote and set it free!
Influence and Credibility
If you consistently share valuable content with your readers, you will build both credibility and influence in your industry. Being consistent proves you are responsible and trustworthy. Your readers can count on you for quality information, at the exact time you promise it. You build credibility as you continue to publish valuable, timely content along with intelligent and useful commentary. You can become an industry leader by choosing truly great content to share with your readers. Put it in context among all the other information that bombards them on a daily basis.
Improve and Create Relationships
When you choose to include someone’s content in your curation, you can send them a heads up (usually with a Tweet or an email) that you used their article. Let them know that you found it helpful or insightful and why. You want them to know you actually read it and aren’t just pretending! Through your sharing efforts, you create new relationships with peers and influencers and solidify existing ones. An added benefit happens when a writer sees you sharing their work a lot – he or she is more likely to share yours in return.
Chances are, if you curate a lot of content, you share it on several different platforms, many times a week. This exposure adds up! The more people see you writing and commenting about a topic, the more familiar they become with you or your brand. Others will start to see you as a “go to” person when it comes to a particular subject. This is an important stepping stone on the path to becoming a thought leader or expert in your field.How many blog posts are published every day? 40,000? 400,000? Nope. 4,000,000! Click To Tweet
Provide Alternative Viewpoints
Listen, I know you’re smart. I know you’re on top of developments in your field. I also know you have opinions (and since you’re smart, they’re probably the same as mine. Lol!). Are your opinions the same as other people’s opinions? They could be. But they need to hear more than one perspective to thoroughly educate themselves about a topic. You can help them do that by providing other people’s viewpoints in addition to your own. Maybe you can even explain difficult concepts through your commentary. Please help the world by creating more educated and well-rounded people! The world will shake your hand and thank you.
Many Places to Publish Curation
If you are interested in curating content, deciding where to share your commentary may be your hardest decision! All kinds of platforms are available to you from traditional methods to the newest software applications. Here are some distribution formats for you to consider:
- Digital Newsletters
And, here are some platforms you can use to curate and display collections for others:
Solve Content Overload
Let’s see, how many blog posts are published every day? 40,000? 400,000? Nope. 4,000,000! Wow! You better put down this article and start reading right away. I’m guessing you can see how a person could be overwhelmed with that number. How can one person sift through all that content and find the good stuff? Better yet, how do readers even find blogs that are worth their time? This is where the expert curator comes in. A curator cuts through all that noise and brings only worthwhile content to their readers. As an added bonus, they can explain to readers why the article is important and what bearing it has on the rest of the industry. It can be like a mini current events lesson. People appreciate when you can inform them while also cutting back on their workload (they especially like that last benefit). That’s why curation is so popular.
How to Curate Content
Think about your audience
That darn audience, why do I always have to think about them first? Aren’t I important too? Of course you are my special friend. But audiences butter our collective bread, so we need to serve them first. Know what content they like and what content they need before you start curating. Have a framework in mind for what blog topics you will include in your curation, how many articles you’ll provide each time and how long your commentary will be. Stay consistent so your readers know what to expect each time.
As I mentioned, know in advance what topics you will curate. This will cut your workload significantly. You can be known as a topic curator (you only include articles about a single theme), a varied-subject curator (you provide differing collections each time), or a general curator (you curate anything you think your audience will find interesting). Knowing your topics in advance allows you to zoom in on only the applicable blog posts you’ll be focusing on.
Have places you can find articles
Another reason to know in advance what your topic(s) will be is that you can have a pre-planned bank of blogs that you can curate from. You can also see if there’s a content aggregator for your particular field. For example, I can look through articles I find on Zest, a company that collects marketing articles based on their popularity and shares. One more tip – get on the mailing lists for your fave blogs. They’ll alert you when their newest posts are published. Having these sources already in place means you won’t have to search the internet high and low every time you curate. You should have a group of trustworthy and entertaining blogs that you can choose articles from.
Read many articles to find the best
I know you were hoping I’d skip this step, but it has to be done. You have to read your booty off. If you pick any old article without reading it or just skimming it, you may miss important points or fail to understand the context of the post. Maybe the post is boring or irrelevant to your audience. You won’t know that unless you give it a thorough read. Once you find a few good articles, I suggest you read them again, take quick notes on key points, and start to formulate what your commentary will be about.
Add value to the posts
Don’t just list a bunch of links to articles you find interesting. That doesn’t add any value to your collection and readers won’t stick with you very long. You certainly don’t have to write a dissertation, but get your opinion in there. There are two methods of curation that would be the most help to your reader. The first is a summary. You can provide a helpful summarization of the article so your reader knows at a glance whether or not they want to read it. The second is a viewpoint. Give readers your own ideas about the topic. Add insights or context that they may not have considered. This will bring a lot more value to each article they read, expanding their understanding of the topic.
Give clear credit to authors
This is pretty much a given. At minimum, you have to mention the author’s name and link back to the original article. Not doing this is unethical and not even considered curation. Worse yet, you’ll lose any credibility that you’ve built with your readers.
Share on many platforms
After you have your curated article or newsletter, share it on as many platforms as you can – email, social media, your blog. As I mentioned earlier, this will increase your visibility and make your name synonymous with the field you curate about. You will be the “go to” expert.
What Should Curated Content Look Like?
The graphic below shows one of many ways you can structure your curation. As long as the basic elements are included, you can present the content any way you’d like. (I would advise not including an image that’s in German, but I didn’t realize it until after I created the graphic, and, well, I was too lazy to change it.)
Content Curation Tools
Oh how I love curation tools. Okay, I already know I’m strange, you don’t have to rub it in…
These following tools either collect/provide articles for you, or are methods for you to store and sort them. Here’s a big list for you, by no means exhaustive (but, if I learned correctly in first grade, they are in alphabetical order – how exciting!). Note: These are all free or low-priced.
- Alltop: Content discovery
- Bundlepost: Social media curation and platform
- BuzzSumo: Content discovery
- ContentGems: Content discovery
- Content Studio: Content discovery
- Curated: Curation platform
- Curation Suite: WordPress plugin curation by topic
- DrumUp: Content discovery and social media curation
- Elink: Content discovery
- Evernote: Collect articles for curation
- Feedly: Content discovery
- Flipboard: Content discovery
- Flockler: Content discovery and platform
- Huzzaz: Curation platform (video)
- Inoreader: Content discovery
- Instapaper: Collect articles for curation
- Listly: Curation platform
- Loomly: Social media curation
- MyCurator: WordPress plugin curation by topic
- Netvibes: Dashboard curation
- News360: Content discovery
- Nuzzel: Curation platform
- Paper.li: Curation platform
- Pearltrees: Curation platform
- Pinterest: Content discovery and curation platform
- Pocket: Collect articles for curation
- Post Planner: Social media curation
- Promo Republic: Social media curation
- PublishThis: Content discovery and curation platform
- Quuu: Content curation
- RSS Feeders: Content discovery. I use Reeder on my Mac and Fiery Feeds for my mobile devices. (Fiery Feeds has this cool feature where it figures out all the hot links in your content and lists them by degrees. Most likely these are quality links you should use in your posts.)
- Scoop It: Content discovery and curation platform
- Social Animal: Content discovery
- The Tweeted Times: Content discovery and curation platform
- UpContent: Content discover and curation platform
- Vidinterest: Content discovery (video)
- Zest: Dashboard content discovery
Content Curation Tips and Factoids
- Don’t plagiarize (duh!).
- Try to include an image with your content, but be sure to check the copyright requirements.
- Content curation can help you build a following on social media.
- Curation is partially built upon the concept of “reciprocity”: when you share someone’s content they feel obligated to share yours in return.
- Social media management software, such as Buffer and Hootsuite, can help you choose and schedule your content curation
- Find influencers in your market and try to find out what type of content they like so you can share it with them. And, as mentioned earlier, use their work in your curation pieces.
- You can automate your curation with many different companies, including CoSchedule, Meet Edgar, Tailwind, Later, Buffer, etc., etc.
- Facebook and Twitter make excellent platforms for content curation.
Content Curation Stats
Content Curation – The End
Well, not the end of curation altogether, just the end of this article. As you can see, content curation can and should be part of your regular strategy. Not only does it give you a writing break, but it benefits you in so many other ways. Why don’t you give it a try? For one of your posts, instead of writing an article, choose 3 posts that you think would be valuable to your readers. Use the diagram I created to structure your content (except you should make your commentary longer). Extra points if they all fall under the same topic and you talk about that topic in your introduction. Then wrap up your article by noting similarities, differences or interesting themes you found in the posts. I think the more you include content curation in your strategy, the more you’ll enjoy it and reap benefits from it. Hey, if you try it, send me a link to your post. I’d love to check it out!
Take care, Kristin