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The No Nonsense Guide to Content Curation

by David Masters · 5 comments

Isn’t Curation what Museums do?

Curation is a long word for collecting stuff and sharing it.

Yes, curation is what museums do. They collect interesting stuff from the olden days, and put it on display. Art galleries do it as well, except they collect paintings.

It’s all about finding and sharing good stuff that other people made, so you become the person (or business) people automatically go to for good stuff.

As Adrian Weckler helpfully explains:

“If you don’t have much to say yourself, don’t worry: copy and paste what others are saying. This is a new, valuable service all on its own called ‘curation’. It’s easy to do (but is highly skillful also, got that?).”

Why Curate

Curation sets you up as an expert in your field.

Why do people go online? To find information, watch videos, view images and talk to other people who are interesting to them.

Curation is a helpful service to all the people who follow you. You find interesting stuff for them. And voilà, because you’ve helped them find interesting stuff they assume you’re fun to hang out with and an expert in your field.

Think of it another way. The Internet is massive. It’s a vast place with billions of pages. Even Wikipedia is growing so fast that a super-speedreading champion would struggle to read all the new content.

Curation means instead of adding to the cacophony of content, you’re helping people find the good stuff that’s already there.

You’re a tour guide to the Internet.

Wait, there’s more. Let’s say you’re tempted to write a blog post or shoot a YouTube video. With all that content you’ve curated, you have a huge bank of ideas for your article or video. And if you’ve been monitoring which content attracts the most clicks, you’ll know exactly what your audience wants.

Convinced yet? One final point. Curating content gets you noticed by the movers and shakers in your industry. If you consistently share someone’s content, they’ll pick up on that. Targeting a particular person and sharing the content they produce is a sneaky (and effective) networking strategy.

How to Curate

Base Camp Rules

Before you go off leading your magical mystery tours of internets and cyberspaces, you need to set your base camp rules. Here are a few you might find helpful:

1. Keep it relevant. Everything you share must be something your followers will be interested in. That doesn’t mean super-gluing yourself to your niche; the best curators have a wide range and an intuitive sense for what’s relevant. It does mean having a clear sense of your niche and the topics you share it.

2. Add your own two cents. Giving a comment on the article, even one or two words, shows you’ve read it and adds value to the original headline. Even better, rewrite the headline (for example, use a quote from the article instead of the headline) to make it even more relevant to your followers.

3. Only share content you found valuable. When you’re curating hundreds of articles and videos every week, it’s tempting to share based only on a shocking headline or an attention-grabbing opener. If you do that, you risk sharing shoddy or irrelevant content. Avoid that temptation, and only share articles you’ve fully engaged with.

4. Create a habit or ritual. Curating takes time, and you’ll need at least an hour a day to do it well. Some companies have a curation team several people strong

5. Images and videos…images and videos…images and videos… (make it your mantra). Your followers are looking for a quick, easy fix, and that’s exactly what images and videos provide.

The ABC-Simple Curation System

When it comes to curation, Google is your best friend. A Google search for keywords in your niche is a great place to start.

But to share content every day, you need a system for finding the web’s best content.

Step 1: Create an email address that’s just for your subscriptions. That way, you won’t clog up your main inbox with updates from all the blogs you’re subscribed to. I recommend GMail, because it lets you log into multiple email accounts simultaneously.

Step 2: Set up Google Alerts for keywords in your niche. Keywords can include the names of thought leaders and top businesses.

Step 3: Subscribe to the blogs and email newsletters of thought leaders in your field. Most bloggers nowadays post email updates, but if you prefer RSS updates, Google Reader is a nice compliment to GMail.

Step 4: Seek out the best curators in your niche, and follow them. They’ll help you find a ton of gold content, and you can pick out the best of what they share. I recommend creating a Twitter list of the top curators, so you can easily check their updates and ignore the rest of the noise.

Step 5: Use Tweetdeck to set up Twitter search streams for hashtags and keywords. This is an easy way to find Twitter’s hidden gems.

Step 6: Follow the news in your industry. You can add value to news by commenting on the impact you think it will have to businesses in your sector.

Step 7: Get more eyeballs on the job by crowdsourcing your curating. Ask your followers and fans to help you find great content.

How to Share the Content You’ve Created

Now you’ve got all this content to share, what should you do with it?

Share it!

The best place to share it is in your social media streams. Use Buffer App to schedule your updates.

You can also content through links in your blog posts. This adds value to your posts, and gets you noticed by other bloggers (and by Google!).

Keep a list of very special finds to share with your contacts through email. Sharing content your contacts will like is a great way to stay in touch without coming across as sales-y.

Start Sharing!

Now you’ve got a solid, no nonsense curation strategy, you’ve no excuses. Curating content is good for you, your followers and your business.

David Masters

David Masters is Social Caffeine’s lead writer, idea spinner and super-blogger. You’ll find his inky fingerprints all over the web at blogs from ProBlogger to Men with Pens to The Change Blog. He’s British, and he lives in Wales, but we don’t hold that against him.

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