Content Curation 101

Curating content isn’t about put together your list of top ten YouTube videos. Ok, maybe it is a little, but there is much more to it. Simply posting content everyone else is already posting won’t make you a top notch content curator. The real key is finding, sifting, sorting and publishing content your readers and followers will learn from and share. A content curator hand picks the best content relevant to their particular online community.

Think about it like a you would a themed exhibit at a museum. A good exhibit about some ancient cultures weapons would include those weapons and supporting information. You wouldn’t include information on how that culture built shelters and the same applies to content curation. Only include what is relevant and important.

Why is content curation important?

Everyone shares everything on social media. Granted much of it is what they are having for dinner or a funny cat video, but they are sharing nonetheless. People, companies and organizations have seen the value in sharing as well.

The only problems are people. The average Facebook user creates at least 100 or so posts per month. Multiply that by the millions of Facebook users and the amount of content gets crazy fast. The same goes for YouTube, Twitter, Tumblr and so on. Information is great and having the information you need right in front of you is also great. But having so much information flying around all the time makes finding it hard.

Content curators reduce the clutter. They find and organize content to prevent you from spending hours looking for the recipe, guide or other information you’re seeking. Google and keywords are a good way to find information, but there is no organization in those results. Sure, there are lots of things that make the top ten in any Google search, but those things are based on SEO techniques employed by the content’s producer. You can cheat at SEO.

Content curators remove the cheating and the mystery because they view the content and organize it. All you have to do is want information and find a content curation specialist that keeps up with the information you are after.

So why become a content curator?

Companies and organizations are hiring content curators for one. Content curation is one of the fastest growing online markets for writers. You can turn content curation into a money making opportunity if that’s what you’re after. There are other advantages such as growing your audience and building relationships with your readers and followers. Become a leader in your niche and building a trustable foundation to attract new readers and followers. Whatever your reasons might be, there are many good reasons to become a content curator.

Content curation in simple steps.

Step one, find the information. Sounds easy right? Considering the huge amount of data floating around the internet, I would call it anything but easy. There are ways to lighten the load:

  • Decide on a topic or topics
  • Begin scanning search results
  • Find other content curators that share the same topic or topics
  • Only collect data that is high quality

Step two, organize the data you collect. Avoid lumping everything into big umbrella groups. Be specific with your topics and only collect and organize information that fits the topic and is of the highest quality. Test your curated content and don’t develop or system for organizing:

  • Will the content work in a presentation
  • Archive and make notes on content
  • Ensure the content will add value to your topics

Step three, try to credit your sources because everyone loves linkbacks. Set up a regular schedule for posting or otherwise sharing the content you are curating. Don’t fall into the trap of believing the myth about posting daily. Posting weekly will result in better content because you have a week to find and distill the content. Don’t shy away from conversations about the content with your followers and readers. Good conversation is just as important as high quality content.

Now you need some tool to make content curation easier

My personal favorite is bagtheweb. It’s user friendly and will do some of the work for you. A few others to look over before you decide:

Scoop.it – it has all the features you’d expect plus free and paid versions.

Google Alerts – while not a tool so to speak, you can set up as many alerts as you want on any topic. The best search results for your keywords will be emailed to you daily.

Paper.li – again, not a tool but a great way to find things to curate or share your own. It’s the internet’s version of a newspaper.

Storify – it lets you tell a story via social media content.

A quick Google search will net a ton of other tools. It’s up to you to find the one that works best for you. I prefer tools that offer the most options and least amount of automation. It makes it easier for me to use them my way instead of conforming to another’s idea of how I should do it.

Content curation offers so many benefits it would be hard to list and talk about them all without writing a book. Hopefully this guide will help you on your way to content curation. Share your tips and the tools you use in the comments.

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John McDuffie is a writer and blogger that specializes in marketing, graphic design and the freelance lifestyle. He works hard to stay on top of the latest trends in freelancing, marketing and graphic design.

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