Content creation isn't just a matter of locating, producing, or disseminating a certain quantity of information. Of most importance is the quality of the information.
But what if you're strapped for time, budget, or personnel? Then consider the practice of curation as a viable alternative to creating content from scratch.
Content Curation Defined
Content curation is the process of discovering, gathering, and presenting digital content that surrounds specific subject matter.
The concept goes beyond mere aggregation or collection, however, and involves taking the time to filter, organize, and select only the "cream of the crop" resources, and, time permitting, adding your own perspective in one or two paragraphs.
It's not unlike what the curator at a museum does to produce an exhibition. She identifies the theme, decides which paintings to include, and determines how they should be annotated and then displayed for public viewing.
Content Curation Benefits
Content curation builds trust and credibility for your brand because it keeps customers informed. Your curation efforts educate and engage customers, providing them with a valuable service—which they will appreciate because it relieves them of the need to source content on their own.
You can use curation to communicate industry news, trends, how-to tips, or whatever your business goals dictate would best support your brand and convert your target audience.
How to Curate Content
Find relevant sources of information
If you're interested in curating content for your customers or industry colleagues, the first step is to find relevant information sources. Here are several I recommend:
SmartBrief. This resource provides high-quality curated email newsletters for a broad range of industries, including energy and chemicals, government and nonprofit, finance, heath are, education, and transportation, just to name a few. The best part: the newsletters are free.
Google News. Use keywords to find news items, and then subscribe to a feed using RSS or email.
Twitter search. If it's happening in the world, it's being talked about on Twitter—the backyard fence for conversations covering just about every topic imaginable, and in real-time. You can search on Twitter using keywords or hashtags to find relevant information, or use the advanced version, to delve deeper.
Mention. With Mention, create real-time alerts and engage with your audience from your social media channels, all from a single dashboard.
Talkwalker. This platform is described as a "social intelligence engine." Public relations and marketing firms use Talkwalker to conduct data-mining research. The platform offers free tools as well, including Talkwalker Social Search, an instant social media search engine, and Talkwalker Alerts, a replacement to Google Alerts for sending notifications by email, RSS feed, or Hootsuite streams.
LinkedIn. If yours is a B2B business, LinkedIn is a prime source for news and information. Join industry-related LinkedIn groups, follow others in your industry, check the news feed for relevant articles users share, follow industry news using LinkedIn Today, and read LinkedIn Pulse articles, which are written by members.
Industry-related websites, blogs, and email newsletters. Some of these will offer curated newsletters and RSS feeds to which you can subscribe.
Corral sourced information into one location
After you've found reliable resources to gather information from, round them up into one place, which you can do using an RSS feed reader, such as Feedly.
RSS is a technology that sends information to you. Think of RSS as the digital version of a newspaper delivered to your front door. Rather than go to a newsstand, the paper comes directly to you.
Doubtless, you've seen a small rectangular orange-colored icon on websites you've visited. That button symbolizes that the site has an RSS feed associated with it. Click the button and you can subscribe to the feed.
In addition, various platforms have been built to accommodate the curation model. I recommend three:
- Scoop.it. With small business needs in mind, Scoop.it's content curation platform is easy to use and free of charge at the base level. Premium subscriptions, which start at $11 a year, come with more bells and whistles, such as the ability to customize your Scoop.it site, use analytics, and distribute an email newsletter.
- Pocket. Intended more for mobile use, but also useful on a desktop, Pocket lets you save content you want to read, watch, or share at a later time.
- Curata. What Scoop.it is to a small business, Curata—a scalable solution—is to businesses large and small. Curate across digital channels and publish to newsletters, blogs, and social properties to save time and generate leads.
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Whatever source of content or method of aggregation you choose, content curation can save you time, money, and effort. Consider it an integral part of your content marketing strategy—whether you're strapped for time and money or not.
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