Ok, we admit it. We are slightly nerdy when it comes to content curation. When we are not curating content, we spend most of our time reading about curation and seeking to improve what we do. We have read literally hundreds of articles this year seeking out tips and ideas. Here is our take on the top 23 posts of 2016.
Why content curation?
Before you start curating content, you need to know why you’re doing it. Here are some posts from 2016 that weren’t short on good reasons to curate.
Aaron Orendorff is right when he says “you are not the only source of information about a given topic, so helping to curate related content is valuable and useful to readers.” He highlights a number of key curation benefits including:
- thought leadership
- gaining traffic
- building influencer relationships
- building trust
This balanced article points out the pros and cons of content curation including time and cost saving (pro), legal issues if you’re not careful (uh, con). The article finishes with five great examples of content curation.
Good one here from inc.com. Taking a content marketing angle, this post highlights the importance of using content from multiple sources to improve social media interactions and to increase search engine traffic. Over 50 percent of respondents in a survey referenced by the post said that curated content increased their search rankings as well as web traffic.
There is a growing pressure to produce more and more content, and to produce this content faster than ever before. This article explores how content curation can help scale content activities to meet these demands: “curation scales when you can’t”. They use a DJ analogy for the content curator: remixing content and adding something new. So now you can be more like Skrillex when you work, which we know is your life’s ambition.
We always appreciate practical guides that dig into the detail. Here are three content curation guides published this year.
If you are new to content curation this is the place to start. This definitive guide by Robin Good is organised into different chapters, many of which will also appeal to experienced curators. The chapters cover issues such as the rise of trusted guides to useful content curation tools. Really worth a close read.
Kevan Lee at Buffer wrote this very useful guide to content curation which is also available as an ebook. It’s full of practical tips on how to create good daily curation habits for content discovery, reading and sharing. Lots of good tool tips in there too.
We really like this Adespresso guide to content curation. The guide covers practical aspects such as the curation process and how to distribute and promote your curations. It’s particularly good on understanding your audience – vital before you start curating.
Role of the algorithm and the human
One of the big debates taking place in the world of curation is the role of automation and algorithms. These posts explore some of the issues and ideas.
The knowledge discovery phase is where automation and tools can be incredibly helpful. Most of us don’t have the time to find and scan all the content that is published each day. Tools can help us by filtering content to make our task more manageable.
This popular Guardian article argued that “human curation and sensibilities have a new value in the age of algorithms.” Yes, we need automation and algorithms to help us manage and filter vast volumes of content. “But we also increasingly want informed and idiosyncratic selections. Humans are back.” Take that, robots.
The author wanted to see if they could fully automate their social media curation and publishing. They connected a content curation service to their Twitter/Buffer account. They then selected some topics and the curation service automatically curated and shared content with their Twitter audience. The results surprised the author, they increased their Twitter followers, Klout score and impressions.
The big danger with this type of publishing automation is that few people are reading anything. It is like the people who auto share everything from a particular site or author without looking at it. The danger is bots curating, bots sharing and bots resharing with no human involvement at all. We think you need that human touch if you’re really adding value. We really don’t like automated sharing but it was an interesting article.
Content Curation Tips
Tip lists are always a popular article format. Here are the best curation tip posts we read this year.
This is a helpful practical step by step guide which covers a range of topics including distribution and generating awareness of your content curations. According to the Sumo Me team “41% of marketers that curate content indicate it has increased the number and/or quality of their sales-ready leads.”
Michael Gerard from outlines five factors that should guide your curation, namely:
- relevance to your target audience
- credibility, is the source one you trust
- diversity, capture a range of perspectives and viewpoints
- validate, does your curation validate existing thinking and prompt new learning
- unique, are you adding value and a unique curation
Ross Hudgens argues the most effective curation strategies are:
- discover and share content your audience hasn’t seen before
- add value with commentary, even on a retweet
- impress and build relationships with the content creators
We really liked this post by Kelsey Libert on using Reddit to find unique and interesting content that helps you stand out from the crowd. Reddit is a great resource for content, and sometimes overlooked for curation.
This is the second post in our list from Aaron Orendorff. This one focuses on how to get staff to help you curate and distribute content. In our experience this is very difficult but if you can engage your staff then you can significantly increase your research and your distribution.
Barry Feldman starts with a quote from LinkedIn’s Jason Miller on the power of curation and third party validation. Barry then provides 14 practical ways you can curate content from roundups to customer stories. For Barry, a curator has to be more than just someone who auto-shares content: “Content curation has to include creating new content, or it’s just noise”. It’s all about the value you add with your opinion, reasons for sharing and so on.
One of the most powerful things we took away from the post was the role curation plays in social networking, something that can be often overlooked.
Heidi Cohen provides some practical advice on how you can use content curation to support your content marketing. She covers different types of curation approaches such as regular columns and epic content. She also highlights some great examples such as Michele Linn’s collection of essential editorial content templates.
Pam Neely in this Scoop.it article focuses on using content curation to gain leads. She specifically looks at:
- Curated email newsletters
- Landing pages and content hubs
- Curated blog posts
Alright, so this was one of ours – but it was one of our own most shared posts of the year. In this article we set out 23 practical tips from content curation experts across the world. It is an article we refer back to again and again for inspiration and ideas – so a big shout out to all the experts who we curated from here.
Curation and social media marketing
We liked this audio interview with Rand Fishkin on the Buffer blog. Rand shares his thoughts on curating content for social media, including this sage advice:
“Don’t make the mistake of thinking that content is a short-term investment with a short-term payoff. It is absolutely not.”
He’s also great on process. Rand’s view is that content curation works best when you have specific guidelines and process – don’t just aim to share “good stuff” but aim to curate and share 5 articles this week that are specifically about topic X that you know will resonate with your audience, because you’ve done your research. That can work especially well when you have tools where you can set rules for the type of content and domains and create an automated feed for you.
Jessica Davis shares five tips for social media curation:
- curate insights and resources shared by influencers
- use discovery tools to support you
- use visuals in your curation
- curate data and case studies
- produce comprehensive roundup newsletters
One of the top strategies we liked in this post from Ron Sela is involving your social network in curation. You can ask questions via Twitter chats or ask questions on Facebook and LinkedIn. Gather your contributions from a wide audience and give them credit in your curation.
We’re grateful to all the authors of these great posts. And we’re sure we missed loads from our list. What would you add?