Web content will surround us (I think it might even drown us). There will be more content than ever on the web, since the Internet is only growing: so what do we do with this content? How do we find our own great ideas, make our own stamp, and come out with content that matters?
One word, with many ideas to come from it: curation.
Content curation, I believe, is a foundational key to how to both create (from scratch) and share (other people’s work in your industry) great content your fans and followers will engage with and read. In a world of over-saturated content, it’s hard to find great content and know where to start. With the right tools and the right way to go about it, I think curation can hold the key to a better content future.
What Is Content Curation?
[pullquote]Basically, content curation is the curating of ideas and existing content to share existing content, or make your own content.[/pullquote]
Let’s make this super simple. Here is a very brief example of curating content: I see an article about “How Yesterday’s SEO Is Bad For Your Website”. I read the article (or skim, depending on how interested I am), and review the comments. I know my readers would love this topic, so I notate the article after I’ve reviewed it and come up with an article for my readers on my own. It could be inspired from a paragraph inside the article, a comment, the title itself, etc. I might link to this article in my own piece. Just before I close the page, I open the share icon and share it to my followers, or I might even grab the link and schedule it out in Hootsuite to all my platforms, being sure to mention the author’s handle.
Now, how do you get these articles? How do you know your audience will love this content? Well, let’s talk about that.
Five Tools to Curating Content
First, let’s start with how to find your content.
You can go through media you like and read everything to discover relevant pieces. This approach will require a lot of time and hard research. If you need to curate content for various social media profiles, this approach will turn into a full-time job.
The good news is that you can rely on a medley of useful online tools and platforms designed for the sole purpose of content curation.
- Scoop.it: This content curation publishing platform is quite different from typical content aggregators. It enables you to choose topics you’re interested in and use relevant keywords to pull content from all kinds of sources. In addition, Scoop.it allows you to add your favorite sources to the list, which means you’ll never miss another great update. Scoop.it is very easy to use, once you understand the platform’s design and functionalities.
- Quora: This online community is based on question-and-answer form. People post thousands of questions on topics of interest and you can do in-depth research about what your audience wants to know. Using Quora gives you insight into the audience’s interest, which is tremendously valuable for boosting engagement and providing relevant content. Quora is not an automation tool but it certainly can boost the relevance of your content curation efforts.
- ContentGems: This website will be gaining more popularity because of the speed with which content is being updated. It aggregates articles and pages presented in social media platforms and RSS feeds. You can use keywords to do research and the information is updated almost in real-time.
- Storify: As the name suggests, Storify can be used to create stories. The information is pulled from blog content, articles, tweets, videos, and other social media updates. The Storify content curators can customize the elements, rearrange the bits used for story creation and choose the sources of information. The platform creates a perfect blend between original material and audience comments, resulting in engaging presentations on topics of interest.
- Trap.it: This is another tool to watch. It is labeled a smart content curation system because its intelligence grows as you use it. Trap.it relies on more than 100,000 sources of content that you can “trap” by choosing the right keywords. Based on your preferences, the content recommendations will improve with time and you can “trap” as many topics as you wish to.
6 Guidelines You Can Use for Finding Industry Leaders
Automation is great, but it’s up to you to recognize reputable sources of information. Quoting industry leaders and dedicating enough time to finding unique articles will affect your own online presence and the reputation of your social media profiles.
So, what does it take to find the industry leaders and pinpoint the best articles for topics of interest? You can rely on several basic strategies to recognize and curate real quality.
- Subscribe to specialized journals. Each industry has its specialized publications that are setting the standards. If you’re active in the hi-tech niche, for example, following Mashable is going to be a must for content curation success. Forbes, Enterpreneur, and Wall Street Journal have excellent economy and finance pieces. Apart from pinpointing such journals, look for the best authors. Jayson DeMers, for example, is a Forbes contributor who “de-mystifies SEO and online marketing for business owners”. Mayo Clinic, Everyday Health, and MindBodyGreen are also seen as authorities in the healthcare niche.
- Use Twitter. By following industry leaders on Twitter, you’ll get access to a plethora of excellent content curation options. The premise is similar to finding the best online journals and authors. For a start, you can search Twitter profile biographies for particular keywords. The “who to follow” recommendations will also give you some great ideas on the basis of your interests and your own profile. Finally, you can use a third-party app like WeFollow to discover prominent Twitter users and industry leaders.
- Use Facebook and Google+. Both of these social networks enable you to join groups dedicated to a particular industry. Apart from giving you excellent content curation suggestions, these groups will also let you know which individuals to follow. There are active group participants and experienced professionals who share interesting curated content, as well as their original pieces. Being an active member of such groups will also let you know what industry reps are interested in, what the newest trends are and how to diversify your content. Apart from text, these groups often feature engaging multimedia like videos and infographics.
- Use Social Influence Metric Tools. How can you recognize a true industry leader? Social influence metric tools assess the “social influence” of each company and individual that uses social media. The social media authority and the audience’s response are both used to determine the relevance of content shared via particular profiles. Klout is probably the most popular tool of this kind. It relies on more than 400 metrics to evaluate the social influence of Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and even WordPress accounts. Using its algorithm, Klout gives each influencer a score ranging from 1 to 100. This score can give you strategic advantage when it comes to discovering prominent industry representatives and getting access to their content.
- Don’t be Overly Dependent on Automated Services. We’ve already talked about the tools that will make content curation easier, but you should never become excessively dependent on such algorithms. Curation is all about a human being (rather than an engine) going through the dozens of articles, discovering little gems and presenting those to an audience. Your personal touch matters and it will set you apart from the competition. Trust your instinct when looking for interesting pieces to share. Do you find a particular article interesting? Even if it’s written by a top industry rep, it could still be boring. Understand the needs of your audience, use your common sense, and be a true online curator.
- Build a Community. The ultimate goal of content curation is building a community. Once you get your loyal followers, you’ll find it much easier to do targeting and boost engagement. Moreover, these individuals will help you with the challenging task of discovering and curating interesting content. You can use their feedback to do better targeting and you’ll even get valuable pieces shared by followers on your pages. Think about these individuals and ask them questions about what they’re truly interested in. Polls and surveys can be valuable. Pay attention to audience comments (or the lack of such). Once you identify this audience niche and familiarize yourself with its preferences, you’ll find it much easier to share the right content.
Content Curation May Be Hard Work, But It’s All Worth It
Content curation requires hard work. It’s a daily effort and chances are that you won’t see results in the beginning. But, it’s worth it, since your online reputation and social media presence will be even more important.
Though many new tools are appearing on a daily basis and making the job of content curation experts simpler, human involvement is still the most important factor for success. Building a relationship with the audience, assessing content individually and finding the right mix between creation and curation will determine the popularity of your online presence and your ability to turn into an industry influencer yourself.
It is time to be successful with the work you put into content this year.
How do you feel about content curation, or how do you curate? I’d love to listen.