Last week, I provided a basic overview of content curation: what it is, why you might want to do it, and how to get started correctly.
This week, I’m going to explore the “how to” aspect of content creation in greater depth. Because, as with most things in life, there’s the easy way and there’s the right way. And (surprise!), as with most things in life, the right way is going to yield better results.
My tips for curating content the RIGHT WAY:
Know your audience and only share relevant curated content. To be an excellent content curator, you must be tuned in completely to your audience’s needs and wants. You know that “a-ha” moment when you find a great website you can’t wait to bookmark? You want your curated content to generate that same experience for your readers. For that reason, you shouldn’t try to curate content on a topic you’re not an expert in yourself.
Only share the best quality content. The interwebs is loaded down with information – the good, the bad, and the really bad. Your readers are relying on YOU to sift through all the “ick” and get to the good stuff. The whole idea behind content curation is to establish yourself (or your site) as a thought leader on a given topic. A good example of this is Alltop, Guy Kawasaki’s site of curated blogs organized by topic. Only top blogs make the cut:
Provide context. Always add your own thoughts as to why you selected the content you did. Maybe an article is a great resource to bookmark. Maybe it provides a contrasting viewpoint. Maybe you don’t agree with it, but you think it’s still worth sharing. Whatever the reason, let your readers know why you’re sharing it.
Contribute your own content. A good content curator will add his/her own voice to the mix. This is absolutely key to good content curation. As an expert in your field you should be able to share your own viewpoint with relative ease. Not only are readers going to want to hear your perspective, but it helps establish your voice as a thought leader AND adds legitimacy to your blog/website.
Curate more than just the written word. Content no longer translates to strictly copywriting. Yes, the written word is going to make up the bulk of what you curate, but there are plenty of other forms of curated content, too. Visual content such as video, infographics, slide shows and images add interest and variation.
What to AVOID when curating content:
Don’t be a lazy content curator! It’s only going to disappoint your readers (and ultimately drive them elsewhere). Put these on your “don’t do” list:
Use content automation or content curation software. This is a huge no-no if you’re serious about content curation. Using automated content curation software strips all the “value add” from your content. Good content curation ALWAYS includes a human element. Your readers are relying on your expert opinion and judgment.
Speaking of automation, if you’re on Twitter, you may have noticed those automated daily “newspapers” in your feed. They usually say something like, “The So-and-So Daily is Out! Top stories via @xyz.” Yeah, not a fan. This is a type of automated (or semi-automated, at best) content that allows you to select sources from your Twitter feed and let automated software such as paper.li do the rest. Yes, you can choose a degree of human involvement if you so choose, such as your sources, stories to include, and on-page positioning, but it’s still a far cry from true content curation.
Over-Curate. I think I just made up a new term. What I mean by over-curate is to include too many articles or pieces of information. If you’re providing a lot (like A LOT) of info, it’s hard for it to all be top quality. Give readers only the very best pieces of information on your topic. They’ll appreciate it.
Get into a content curation rut. Keep your content fresh and interesting by providing your readers with varied information from varied sources. A good content curator will always be on the lookout for new information sources and diverse perspectives. Keep it mixed up with video, images, blog posts, web content, and infographics.
Up next? My (carefully curated) resources for curating content. Tune in next week!