Content curation – unearthing quality content that adds value to people’s lives – can bring all types of opportunities. Done right, it leads to a more influential position online and accelerates invaluable relationships and referrals.
I stumbled upon a post in my newsfeed recently that made me realize we are all content curators now. I also realized my business wouldn’t exist if not for my devotion to content curation.
There’s been an insurgence of fake news around the web lately. Not that fake news is anything new, we’ve just got a lot more channels for it to be dispersed from, and a lot more people not taking time to vet news sources.
“Check before you wreck.”
It occurs to me that we are all content curators now, not just the “media.” We all must seek out info, get a good sense of its validity, and only share if it’s high-quality.
Whether you’re doing marketing for a company or publishing content for your individual brand, “check before you wreck” is a good practice to adopt.
The post in my feed that I mentioned earlier was from Jay Rosen, NYU Journalism scholar and critiquer of the press, about recognizing and acting on the difference between EVIDENCE-based reporting and ACCUSATION-driven reporting.
If the content is evidence-based, it leads with the lack of evidence for explosive or insidious charges. That becomes the news.
If it’s accusation-driven, the news is that certain people are making charges. With further inspection, we may learn that there is no factual evidence of those charges, but without further vetting, the discovery gets circulated as though the charges are true.
“There is nothing as deceptive as an obvious fact.” -Arthur Conan Doyle
Everyone in journalism — from the headline writers and the social media crews to reporters on the front lines and the editors they work for — should know by now that they are going to be tested. As things progress, it’s critical that every American develop a keen awareness and become discerning about the content we consume and share.
But it’s a critical distinction that cannot be ignored. We need journalists who understand evidence-based vs. accusation-driven, but we also need readers and viewers and internet-users who are willing to speak up when the distinction is overridden.
Content curation is integral to both determining the distinction and identifying opportunities to speak up.
What is Content Curation?
Content curation is the process of sorting through the vast amounts of content on the web and presenting it in a meaningful and organized way around a specific topic. The work involves sifting, sorting, arranging, and publishing information. A content curator handpicks content that is most important and relevant to share with their community.
Content curation is similar to what a museum curator does to produce an exhibition: They identify the theme, they provide the context, they decide which pieces include, how they should be annotated, and how each piece should be displayed for the public.
Content curation focuses on quality not quantity. It’s not about collecting links or hoarding topical information.
Content curation is the specific and valuable skill-set of putting content into context with organization, annotation, and presentation, on a daily basis.
3 Steps to Perform Content Curation Like a Boss
Content curators continually seek, make sense of, and share a customized, personalized, vetted selection of the best and most relevant resources to an intended audience. Whether you’re an individual or a business, this process is vital to creating any kind of authority online or offline.
A curator often has her/his finger on the pulse of the what’s relevant and can often make suggestions to the content creation team on emerging trends and opportunities for thought leadership.
I wrote recently about the 3 P’s of content strategy: Produce, Publish, Promote, and you may be wondering where content curation fits in that model. Content curation is a tactic that supports a winning content strategy, which includes integration of owned content (such as a blog).
I’ve been curating content online for 8 years now and the following is my process for content curation both for my company and my personal brand.
- Define the topics that are most important to your ideal customers or audience. (Hint: this should be easy if you’ve already got a written content strategy).
- Leverage a news aggregator app like Feedly to compile news feeds from a variety of online sources relevant to your topics.
- I also use GetPocket to save specific articles that I run across daily so that I can share them later.
- Teach yourself to scan articles. It takes a little while to adapt to scanning but it gets easier with time.
Content curation is not aggregation, which lacks the human touch. Making sense of the information you’ve collected is where a customer or audience can begin to see the value you bring to the table.
- As you scan, begin to sense the value of what you’re consuming from your intended audience’s eyes.
- Use a vetting process:
- Does this content offer any additional insights that my customers might not already know?
- Is this content credible? Is it from a reliable source that I trust?
- Does this content offer an alternative viewpoint that makes the discussion more interesting?
- Does this content offer additional insight that validates my point of view?
- Is this fresh content that provides my audience with new information or insight they haven’t found elsewhere?
- Only capture the highest quality information. Key point to remember: the content you ultimately choose will represent your brand online.
- High quality information can often inspire blog post ideas. The information you learn is assimilated and is a catalyst to add your own opinions or insights in longer form.
All the work done so far—identifying, finding, and organizing your content—has been behind-the-scenes preparation for sharing your curated collection with your target audience.
- The goal is to feed your network a steady diet of good stuff that they look forward to.
- Focus on the channels that are best suited to your target customers:
- Your own website
- Social Media (each channel attracts different and similar demographics so do your homework)
- Newsletters and Email Subscriptions
- Other platforms like Medium, Storify and/or Linkedin Pulse.
- Automate your sharing by using tools like Buffer and AgoraPulse to schedule content in advance.
- Credit resources.
- Answer questions.
- Comment on other people’s content.
Content curation done right should take about one hour/day (on average) in the beginning, probably longer for bigger companies. Remember, you’re adding value to people’s lives (including your own!) and the time investment pays off. It takes me about 20 minutes per day right now because I’ve developed my own formula over the years and that lets me move quicker.
Pro Tip: Set up one day per week to curate and schedule content (instead of daily). As my schedule allows, I collect articles during the week and then on Sundays I’m able to vet that content and schedule everything at once.
Curating and scheduling my content frees me up to interact with people who share my stuff. I have time to develop more meaningful relationships and grow my network.
Today’s buyer is hyper-connected in real time via multiple devices and channels to an inexhaustible avalanche of information. This buyer isn’t waiting for you to tell them what to do next.
What you can do is assist them in their journey and influence their decisions with helpful, useful content. Curating high-quality, relevant information that helps them decide puts you in front of the competition.