While starting a website with WordPress is relatively easy, creating content on an ongoing basis is part of a constant struggle and what often divides successful websites from those that come and go. Unlike a business website, a personal website is often more subject to ongoing challenges from daily life. Content curation offers a way to connect with other people while also providing ongoing relevant material for your website. This is of course as long as you remember, it is meant to compliment original content, not replace it. The following content curation guide along provides basic ideas and tools to get started with the being an effective content curator.
Content Curation Guide: What is a Content Curator?
A well-rounded definition of what a content curator is comes from Social Brite,
“I think of a good curator as someone who is knowledgeable about the sector and who provides consistently trustworthy content. Mai Overton has a good addition: that a good curator is ‘someone who consistently provides valuable insight.’”
Content curators consistently take content from articles related to their interests and re-post it. Good curators mingle their own insights based on their experience or professional knowledge. This last step is critical to the process as it differentiates the curators who just copy and paste from the curators that add value. Here are some examples of good content curators from 12 Most.
Benefits of Content Curation
Some benefits of content curation include:
• Having content for your site without writing from scratch;
• Enhancing your profile as a go-to person for having a thumb on what is relevant within a niche;
• Connecting and supporting other like-minded people in your niche.
On the flip side there are some who may look down upon the process because if you have your own website you should write your own content. Before you nod in agreement consider that content curation aligns you with many other experts in or parallel to your niche. This alignment supports both their expertise alongside your own. The attribution you give is recognition that may be reciprocated or help towards a collaborative dialogue on future projects.
Some even argue that computers curate content automatically so why would you need a person? Steven Rosenbaum author of Curation Nation puts it this way,
“While computers can aggregate content, information, or any shape or size of data, aggregation without curation is just a big pile of stuff that seems related but lacks a qualitative organization.”
It is the human ability for qualitative assessment and original insights that continues to differentiate content curation from computer aggregation.
Content curation should be considered as an enhancement of your regular posts written from scratch. Content curation doesn’t replace writing original posts. This doesn’t mean there isn’t work involved. As noted from Cendrine Marrouat it does take time and commitment,
“Curation is different from aggregation and content stealing. Curators spend hours reading and filtering content, only to select what is relevant and useful to their audiences. It is not an automatic process. It takes a lot of work and commitment.”
It can however be a fun process that gives you a “break” from writing because it engages a different part of the brain.
Content Curation Tools and Phases
There are many tools available for content curation. Some of them, like Twitter, you might use already. Others, like Hootsuite, may be a little more complicated. Regardless all of these tools are useful for getting ideas and making connections on the Internet. Mark Carrigan who writes about how curation can enhance academic practice puts it this way,
“At the heart of all these tools are the same core practical tasks which anyone working in an information rich environment faces: collecting, sorting, evaluating and sharing information.”
Each tool has different strengths for each part of the curation process.
Content collection is the discovery phase. Some tools like Zite or Trap.it learn from your preferences within a category and respond by finding similar articles for you. Other tools like Scoop.it or Reddit rely upon a community of like-minded curators or those in a particular niche to post content.
Either way the discovery phase is one of the more time-consuming not only for the volume but also for the distraction. It can be hard to not read articles right on the spot. The key is being able to skim and then read it later for a more in-depth analysis.
Sorting and Evaluating Content
Depending on how much you have gathered, this part of the process is both mundane and fun at the same time. Some online tools like Evernote allow you to sort as you go which saves loads of time better used in the evaluation process.
Evaluation is very subjective, tied directly to your own goals, your niche, and your audience within that niche. Does a piece resonate with you? Would it have value to those who read your regular posts? Are you dying to share it with others? Are there a couple of good quotes to pull and use alongside your own comments? These are just some of many questions to ask when deciding what pieces to use and what to discard. This is also where your own knowledge and expertise come into play giving reasons for people to follow what you do.
Content Curation Tools
Here is a short list of tools to use for content curation along with links for further details.
Google Alerts: No tool list would be complete without mentioning Google Alerts whose tagline says it all, “Monitoring the web for interesting and new content.” Use this essential basic guide to Google Alerts, play and refine your initial inputs until the results are addicting.
Twitter: Twitter is best for up-to-the-minute news and links. Check out this comprehensive article on using social media in newsgathering from Journalism.co.uk. It offers a great introduction to using lists, searches, keywords, hashtags and more.
Paper.li: If you use Twitter at all then you should be using Paper.li. This turns your Facebook, Twitter, and RSS feed into an online magazine. Use it to catch up and share it with others.
Scoop.it: “Share Ideas that Matter” is the tagline for Scoop.it. Even if you don’t have time to participate you can take advantage and use what others have found under particular topics.
Trap.it: An online tool that learns and gives you more from what you choose, Trap.it also provides quick and easy share buttons.
Instapaper: Want to save articles to read later the Instapaper is a solid choice. The best part is you take a break from your computer screen and read it from your Kindle.
Evernote: Not really considered in most content curation tool lists, Evernote is supreme for capturing and using information across multiple devices allowing for access anywhere you are. Even if you don’t curate you should be using this tool for all of your online research.
Hootsuite: When using social media it is essential to monitor and maintain without going insane. That is exactly what Hootsuite does, provides a compact perspective across your social media platforms keeping your thumb on the pulse of it all.
There are tons of content curation tools available. The key is to find a couple that slip seamlessly into your current workflow and ignore the rest. Staying with a couple of solid tools ensures you don’t risk “shiny new gadget” syndrome. Good luck and remember The Curator’s Code by always providing attribution. If you are into SEO and link building this SEOMoz content curation article will give you more to chew on.