10 Tips For Effective Content Curation
Content curation - finding the most relevant, useful, and informative pieces of content on the Web and sharing them with your readers - is one of the major themes in content marketing these days.
Instead of trying to produce all of your own marketing content, why not strive, as well, to make your website a venue that your audience will trust as a great, if not the very best, source of information on your chosen topic, issue, subject area?
Curating content “is a way to make yourself known as the Steady Eddy source of information,” says Larry Chase, editor in chief of Web Digest for Marketers (WDFM), a weekly newsletter. “You want people to think, ‘This guy knows what I need to know.’”
Content curation famously helped made The Huffington Post a big hit, and it can do wonders for your marketing efforts, too, but only if you go about it properly. Here are some ideas for making your content curation efforts more effective:
1) Go for the Best of the Best - Remember, you’re trying to make your site the go-to source for content and information about your chosen topic. Quality, not quantity, will be the main draw. Chances are, there exists far more content touching on your topic than people can deal with, so your value-add is skimming the cream so that others don’t have to.
2) Use Yourself as a Proxy for Your Audience - Ask yourself what you don’t know about your topic and then go find the content that best fills in the gaps. Says WDFM’s Chase: “Look for questions that haven’t been answered.” In fact, you may not find content with all the answers, but in that case, you’ve identified a perfect opportunity to create and publish some powerful new content yourself.
3) Consult Google Insights - This tool makes it easy to explore search patterns by geographic region, by category (entertainment, sports, etc.), by time period, and by Google “property” (Web pages, images, products, etc.) We just looked up “content marketing” and back came an intriguing graph for that search term showing a huge spike as 2006 ended. Why? We’re not sure, but we do know that Google Insight also tries to forecast the popularity of search terms based on historical patterns and other factors.
4) Stay on Topic - Remember, your goal is to be recognized as a trusted expert, and that means maintaining your focus on a single issue or topic. You can’t be an expert on everything, and you shouldn’t risk diluting your perceived expertise by pointing to content that’s off-topic, no matter how interesting or entertaining you figure it may be. To make a pre-“content” analogy: People browsing the sports pages don’t expect or want to be presented with financial stories, obituaries, or world news.
5) Stay Fresh - If you show readers you’re always on top of your topic, that you’re plugged in and keeping up with the best content out there, you’re doing the right thing. But you can't slack off or else you risk losing their attention. It's worth the effort to keep your content curation inventory as fresh as possible.
6) Curate the Curators - There’s nothing wrong with re-posting items that others may have identified as compelling content. Make a point of keeping up with other curators, as it were, including your competitors. It’s good to know where you stand.
7) Have Your Say - Just listing a lot of links to good content won’t cut it. Once you’ve found the best of the best, it’s incumbent upon you to add commentary and context - more value, that is, that will help readers to appreciate both the content you’re citing and, in turn, you as a source of same. Just don’t go overboard: Sometimes, just a few words of wisdom is all that’s needed, not long-winded paragraphs that only show off your knowledge.
8) Get the Word Out: Don’t be bashful about promoting your content curation, whether that’s through comments on others’ blogs, Facebook, Twitter, or other social media, or email. Your curation is, in fact, another piece of unique content.
9) Organize Organize Organize - Just finding content and sharing it is not enough. Thoughtful curation will lead to a stockpile of stuff, and anything you can do to help readers find items - tagging, sorting, will be helpful and much appreciated.
10) Be Prepared to Do the Work - Truly effective content curation requires a heavy dose of human intelligence, not only the artificial kind as supplied by the likes of search engines such as Google and Bing or the various services that aim to organize Web content by topic: Alltop, StumbleUpon, delicious, etc. You know best what will truly interest others like you.