Is Content Curation Just Reinventing the Wheel?

Content is still king, even when it’s repackaged. In this case, it’s content curation, a word too new to be found in any dictionary. Yet, content curation continues to rise in popularity, considered an art by Internet marketing strategists.

Like an executive in charge of selecting art for a gallery, the content curator’s mission is to discover, showcase and share a “best of the Internet” collection in a niche. I like where the strategy’s going these days. Perhaps you do (or will), too.

Top brands and digital marketers who champion content curation consider it the future of the Web. It’s a response to the glut of content online, thanks to Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, a billion websites, and more.

Not even Google can prune the overgrowth of articles, videos, and links. For that, we still need a taste-discriminating human.

 

Content Curation: A New Art or Copycat?

Content Curation ExamplesServing “the best of” to a captive audience isn’t exactly new. That’s the goal of most bloggers, for example.

And if you’re sharing links via social media, aren’t you curating? One might also ask, aren’t these sites similar to Seth Godin’s popular Squidoo lenses? I certainly think so. Everything old is new again.

But admittedly, the look and feel is different now. There are many new-ish services competing to offer digital publishers a cooler looking site on which to curate niche news. The energy is different from Squidoo in terms of reach, design, relevance, and presentation.

Scoop.It, Storify, Tumblr, and Pinterest are among the popular platforms for publishing curated content. Some seem more supportive than others in terms of helping you find great videos, podcasts, tweets, etc. to quickly add.

Some are free, others charge a small monthly fee. Services such as Curata charge about $1,300 per month because of the top-shelf tools and support they provide.

 

Curating Content – It’s Similar to Newspaper Publishing

Like publishing a newspaper, content curation involves consistently gathering what’s hot and presenting it in one place.

Travel, fine art, bokeh photography, search engine optimization, social media, immigration — you name the topic, there’s likely someone curating quality content around it. It’s a great alternative to blogging, or an addition to build upon an existing blog.

If you’re marketing a business online, content curation may be worth exploring. Here’s how you can benefit from it. You can:

  • Save time as opposed to blogging (creating most content yourself)
  • Gain recognition as an industry or niche leader
  • Occasionally post your own, self-created content, blended within all the rest
  • Become more discoverable by target customers, prospects and influencers
  • Keep prospects engaged with fresh, daily content
  • Potentially monetize your site, via private memberships, sponsorships, and/or great opportunities

 

Great Content Curation Examples

  • Cultural curator Maria Popova publishes Brain Pickings, a smorgasbord of creative ideas, insights, and inspirations. With an archive dating back to 2007, Brain Pickings has perfected a storytelling formula for every topic examined. The common thread is always culture, but from a million fascinating angles.
  • Robin Good publishes several curation sites using Scoop.it. I subscribe to this excellent one, Google Farmer Panda Update. I gain enormous value from each piece that Robin includes.
  • With over 11,000 followers, Andrew Hsu runs 15 “virtual pinboards” at Pinterest.com. My favorite is his Graphics pinboard.

 

Best Practices for Curating Content

The March 2011 issue of Psychology Today published an excellent article about this marketing trend, asking Is Content Curation the New Black? Here’s what seems to be the secret sauce for success:

Impeccable, quality content. Leverage your natural expertise to discern and re-post only the best content. Successful digital curators perpetuate a certain “vibe”— one that entices people to subscribe to their feed for updates. The best at it exude an air of cool.

Give context to what you’re sharing. Again, part of the point is to save time versus full-on blogging. But a best practice is to include a few intro paragraphs about what you’re sharing, who’s behind it, or some other interesting tidbit. Create a brief narrative of some sort to accompany each piece, even if it’s only a few sentences.

A well-curated niche or industry site tells a story. Every piece you clip and share should be an essential component in the story. This gives a curated site resonance and high value. Approach content curation as if perfecting a novel.

Stay focused on your theme. Proponents of curating content warn against simply reposting content you like. Which is what I do on Tumblr, when updating What Is Content Marketing? If I see a wonderful but non-related video or photo, I post it! Still, I have 300 subscribers and growing.

Are you curating content? If so, which platform are you publishing on? What’s your technique for finding great content to aggregate and share?