You’ve heard the buzz word — curation — being thrown around like it’s a gadget we all know how to work. In reality, good content curation isn’t as simple as pushing a share button. It’s actually a combination of finding great content and following some simple best practices on how to successfully share that content.
If you’re a curator looking for some boundaries in what feels like the Wild West, here are five best practices to consider.
1. Be Part of the Content Ecosystem
Be part of the content ecosystem, not just a re-packager of it. Often, people think of themselves as either creators or curators as if these two things are mutually exclusive. What a curator really should do is embrace content as both a maker and an organizer. The most successful curators include sites like The Huffington Post, that embrace the three-legged-stool philosophy of creating some content, inviting visitors to contribute some content, and gathering links and articles from the web. Created, contributed, and collected — the three ‘c’s is a strong content mix that has a measurable impact. Why? Because your visitors don’t want to hunt around the web for related material. Once they find a quality, curated collection, they’ll stay for related offerings.
2. Follow a Schedule
Audiences expect some regularity, and they’ll reward you for it. It doesn’t need to be a schedule that you can’t keep up with. If you want to curate three new links a day, and write one big post a week, that’s a schedule. Make sure to post at the same time each week. This is so readers know when to expect new material from you. Consistency and regularity will also bring you new users, and help you grow a loyal base of members who appreciate your work. A good example of someone who gets why a schedule makes a difference is Jason Hirschhorn via his MediaReDEF newsletter. He never misses a publish date.
3. Embrace Multiple Platforms
It used to be that your audience came to you. Not anymore. Today content consumers get their information on the platform of their choosing. That means you should consider posting short bursts on Tumblr, images on Pinterest, video on YouTube, and community conversations on Facebook. And don’t leave out established sites and publishers. If your audience hangs out on a blog, you may want to offer that publication some guest posts or even a regular column. Essentially, you have to bring your content contributions to wherever your readers may be.
4. Engage and Participate
Having a voice as a curator means more than creating and curating your own work. Make sure you’re giving back by reading others and commenting on their posts. A re-tweet is one of the easiest ways to help build relationships with fellow bloggers and curators. And your followers will appreciate that you’ve pointed them to good content. One word here, I never hit an RT without clicking through to read what I’m recommending. You can also lose followers if you don’t put in the effort to recommend material that you really think merits their attention.
5. Share. Don’t Steal.
Take the time to give attribution, links back, and credit. The sharing economy works because we’re each sharing our audiences, and providing the value of our endorsements. If you pick up someone’s work and put it on your blog, or mention a fact without crediting the source, you’re not building shared credibility. You’re just abusing someone else’s effort.
The important thing to realize is that we’re increasingly living in a world of information overload. So when people choose to listen to you it’s because you’re able to separate signal from noise. You provide a clear, contextually relevant voice within the topic or topics that you create and curate.
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