Content curation is a concept that has been on the rise over the last couple of years. Curation, derived from the Latin word ‘cura’ which essentially means to care of or oversee something, basically means the collection and presentation of content in a way that is interesting and useful to the end user. A recent survey revealed that each Facebook user created about 90 pieces of content each month. There are currently more than a billion people using Facebook as of July of this year. Do the math and you’ll realize that people love finding, creating and sharing content. With the explosion of the internet and social media, people all over the world are looking to make sense of content and are wanting to have a platform where someone has already done the hard work so they can simply congregate on a forum and take what is meaningful to them, served up in bite-size information that’s easy to take in.
Content curators are thus tasked with the responsibility of collecting links, resources and posts from all over the internet and coming up with interest portals (think Pinterest, but with text) that people can use in the here and now. You might be tempted to think of this system as being an automated one (much like Google news). Content curation is far from being automated as people expect something that has a human element, as well as something that is interactive whereby they can leave responses and get answers to the same.
Content curation is especially important for organizations that want to be recognizable brands as it gives them a platform to establish thought leadership and stand out from the millions of competing companies. One such media company that has been able to do this is Huffington Post, whose blog currently tops the Alexa Global Traffic Rank. This means that people trust and access the HuffPost webpage and series of blogs to get up-to-date information regarding current news and affairs. Some people may point out that HuffPost is just a vacuous media company with inane stories about celebrities and random animals doing funny things, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that web users gravitate towards the website to glean valuable information as it breaks.
A great way of visualizing the process of content curation would be to think back to your childhood and remembering those years when you spent time cutting up photos and putting them in a scrapbook. If you never did that, I’m sure you at least had photos of your favorite celebrities or bands on your bedroom wall. As your interests changed, so did the media on your bedroom wall and scrapbook. This means that even before the advent of social media, people were content hunters and gatherers in the simplest form of the word. In 2013, the same people who did this in during their childhood and in their teens are wanting an easier way of curating content, and this is where you come in as a content curator.
There are three tenets governing content curation, and they are:
Seeking information involves doing some research on the topics you want to cover and organizing your sources. You can spend half an hour doing this on a daily basis, spending 15 minutes in the morning and the remainder late in the afternoon or evening. You want to scan information, blog posts and web content and capture only high quality links in preparation for the second stage of the curation process.
Making sense of it all requires you to have a keen eye regarding what works and what doesn’t, as well as how all this information fits together in the bigger scheme of things. For example, you may write a post and include links leading out to other articles and news pieces that expound on the topic that you’re covering. You may also need to know how to annotate links and archive the information you’re presenting for future access. This should you anywhere between 30 minutes to a full hour each day.
Sharing is the last part of the process, and it involves sharing the best bits of information and posts in a way that adds value to your reader. You can do this via social media, as well as via email and influential websites such as LinkedIn.
The most important aspect of content curation has to be consistency. You want to develop a relationship with your readers or followers and have a reputation for providing them with insightful content that can enrich their lives on a daily basis. This is especially important for web-based businesses that are wanting to convert followers into customers. The truth is that once you earn the trust of your audience, they’ll be more willing to purchase whatever physical or digital items you have to offer.
Here’s a list of content curation tools to help you tell your story to a waiting audience:
Please leave your thoughts and comments in the text box below and share with us your content curation strategies.