Content curation has been a HOT topic and over the last year or so; as Internet content has grown, its popularity has trended drastically. For a lot of companies, understanding content curation lies at the heart of the future success of their online entrepreneurial enterprises. For others it provides a handy way to keep content coming in and keep the things that show up one's blog fresh. Content curation is the art of gathering relevant ideas and content about a topic or niche and housing them in a simply navigated repository that gives users, at a glance, the usefulness and viability of the content as well as where the content can be located on the Internet.
To many bloggers, content curation represents the next logical step in the evolution of content production. There's a saying that goes, "There is nothing that is new under the sun," and as far as content creators have realized it's a sad reality.
Coming up with fresh new ideas for content gets to be tedious and tiring as time goes by. Content curation provides an injection of fresh content while at the same time allowing for the establishment of backlinks to well-respected sites thereby increasing the authoritative value of your site (as well as your search ranking for certain keywords). Content curation is the direction that a business-minded site would move towards since it provides a lot of benefits with a minimum amount of drawbacks.
Important! Do Not Confuse Curation with Copying
Content curators collect information from sites and catalog them, then go through the catalog and pick out the ones that provide the best information then review their findings for the readers. It is an ongoing process and curators usually spend hours trawling the Internet looking for viable links that they can use in their work.
Although curators may extract certain parts of a bit of content to underscore the value of the entire work to their audience, they should NEVER copy content completely from another site. Curators are ethically minded people that aim to promote the useful information in sites that are not their own while giving value to their readers by condensing a tedious Internet search into a single page containing the most useful links for a particular niche.
Confusing curation with copying can lead to some serious fallout such as losing your page rank in Google for hosting duplicate content. As a curator you should be wary of finding yourself in such a position.
4 Ways To Plan Your Content Curation
Just like anything that has to do with a long-term business solution, you need a roadmap for your content curation. Developing a step-wise plan as to how to achieve the end result of a content curation site that content managers would be proud to operate is relatively simple. It can be broken down into three major sub-steps, each logically placed so as to enhance the step that comes after it. When planning your content curation you should be looking at doing these things in order:
- Collect Content: Looking through the Internet to discover sites that best fit your audience interest and cataloging them with the appropriate utilities. This is the most important first step in order to create a database of valid links. These should be high-impact sites that cater to the basic needs of your audience. Arranging them by tags in an understandable format is where your journey into content curation begins.
- Share the Best: Although your original pile of article links may number into the thousands, you're going to have to do some reading and sifting. Content curation is a time-intensive job and the wider the niche you're covering the more work is involved in getting your content curation to a point where it's usable. In order to be considered seriously in your niche the quality of your shares should be very high based on their value to your readers.
- Audit your Content: The feedback mechanism that separates good content curators from run-of-the-mill ones is auditing of your content. Your shared content may fall short in reaching your target audience and the only way you can figure that out is by doing regular audits and replacing the non-performing shares with those that are more likely to generate better leads. Audits also allow you to fix the technical aspects of your content (such as SEO details and keyword placement) so as to make the share more search engine friendly.
- Schedule your Shares: Just like blogging, the aim with content curation is to ensure that you have fresh content regularly and on demand. To do so consistently, you should queue up your content shares so that they go live at regular intervals. These don't need to be within any set time period, but consistent posting keeps your content curation site fresh and ensures that you don't lose your search rank position through abandonment.
There are quite a number of online content production companies that offer content auditing and curation as separate packages or as a combination of both of these important aspects of running a site that is aiming to be an authority in the topic area. Because of the intensive nature of content curation, if you intend to go this route, hiring an external company to do your curation for you is definitely a good idea.
5 Ways Content Curation Can Generate Ideas
Curating usually inspires you to build on the content you have or to create brand new content. Just like a muse tends to awaken the creative spirit in an artist, so too does content curation give you a chance to explore different points of view for the same topic. You need to keep an open mind when putting together content via curation since it's likely that sites that may not align with your point of view have some points that are just as valid as your own. Being objective is very important. Coming up with and curating new content ideas can be a relatively pain-free process, and may or may not include the following:
1) Utilizing your Experience. In many niches there are people who make up the user base that are very skilled in what they do. As a site seeking to be one of the authority sites for the niche, your content should incorporate the things you have discovered while writing for the niche. This can be done in any number of ways that attract both interest and feedback from the community. Coming up with new content using this method allows you to tap into a plethora of utilities such as:
- User Generated Questions and Answers: In any community there will be a large amount of users that have back-and-forth discussions over topics of interest. The questions generated from these topics are very useful when coming up with ideas for new content. Ideally, when trawling the Internet for content links for curation, you should make note of these forum discussions as they provide great fuel for creating brand new content.
- Opposing Points of View: Not all content you curate will be from the same point of view that you have. You are going to have to be objective in your choices and give air to the other side of the debate. Having other writers challenge your point of view is something that is as old as writing itself. Embracing this age-old tradition allows you to counter and rebut their arguments logically (or accept them if they have more evidence than you do to disprove them). This leads to creation of brand new content from older posts and can lead to quite a lot of community approval since it is seen as the mark of a great thinker to entertain ideas that do not officially fall within his or her world view.
- Writing from Knowledge: Learning things from the Internet is something that many people depend upon. The most resourceful searchers tend to find information through their research. Content creation is about bringing value in the form of new information to your readers. Presenting information you have uncovered in your searching to them is probably the best motivation for creating new content that a writer can have. Your knowledge in the field is valuable to an everyday reader.
2) Personal Knowledge of the Field. This in itself can come from years of working in the field or from reading the pertinent literature and being able to apply it to the field in a satisfactory manner. This is usually garnered through a long-term interaction with the topic on a personal level. Although many bloggers have the benefit of writing from an isolated standpoint, there are few that really have a grasp of the actual, physical nuances of the topic they write on. Personal knowledge comes in very handy when presenting information to your audience that would be based on prior knowledge, but expands upon this by giving them a logical and legitimate stepping stone to your subject. A good example would be scientific news blogs. These impart knowledge to the layman by digesting information and applying their knowledge of the field itself to break down the overall results and jargon of a published work into an understandable post. Content curation aids in this process by giving you added exposure gained through reading the personal encounters of individuals in the field.
3) Review Existing Content from Other Users. This is at the heart of using curation to develop new content for your site. Ideally, a content curation site serves as an online museum where readers can explore the usefulness and details that a site may offer to them before going through the site itself. This saves time for users since it gives them only the most relevant sites to their interest In order to be considered a more valuable curation site, you should take time to review some of the shares that you have in a detailed format. This review doesn't necessarily have to be exhaustive, but should give the reader a full idea of the content contained on the page so that when they go there, they already have an idea of what they're liable to find. Content created in this way must be wary of giving too many excerpts from the main site since it could register as duplicate content, forcing search engines to penalize you for it.
4) Generate Titles based on the Most Popular Topics. Not all topics are equal, especially in certain fields. Understanding which topics are more popular than others gives you something to work with as far as getting a title and a direction to write in. Curation of sites will allow you to get a feel for the topics of discussion that work best in the community and those that don't have so much interest. Remember that you have to keep your audience in mind both with your curation and your creation. Understanding what topics your audience values gives you a very good idea of what they would look for in created content. From there it's just a matter of following up your research and condensing the points from multiple high-value articles into your own. Giving the source documents links within your writing also helps promote your site a source of traffic for the source articles and gives you good backlink karma with Google.
5) Think like your Readers. Your writing should reflect what your readers enjoy reading. This should be an obvious statement but there have been times in the past where writers have decided to opt for topics within their own interest alienating the readers that they need. Doing a content audit on your site will allow you to see the topics that perform below expected levels so that you can avoid those when creating new content. You can also spruce up those bits of old content or remove them altogether, making your site more in tune with what readers would expect from you. As a content curation device, auditing also allows you to get a feel for what works as far as interest generated by readers. Remember, once you start linking to other sites, it is very likely that they will start linking to yours as an authority site and drive traffic to your door. You have to cater for the influx of these readers while still maintaining your own voice.
Content Creation & You
Developing new content isn't as easy as it once was. Even the 'news' is just a rehash of old events with new players. If you're writing content, coming up with ideas is one of the hardest parts of the brainstorming process. There's simply only so much you can say about a particular topic.
However, if you're exploring the other things that have been written by authors on the topic, it's not too hard to start collecting and critiquing their links, making your site an invaluable resource to users all around the community. These even help you come up with your own ideas and fuel your imagination.
When you get to that level, you'll know that your foray into content curation was well worth it.
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