What is Content Curation?

Nov 30, 2011

What is Content Curation?

Content Curation is the act of discovering, gathering, and presenting digital content that surrounds specific subject matter. Though it is still considered a "buzz word" by many in the content world, content curation is now becoming a marketing staple for many companies with a successful online presence.

Unlike content marketing, content curation does not include generating content, but instead, amassing content from a variety of sources, and delivering it in an organized fashion. For instance, a content curator is not necessarily responsible for creating new content, but instead, for finding relevant content pertaining to a specific category and funneling this information to readers in a mash-up style.

Who Are the Content Curators?

Content curation is all around us. It can take the form of an RSS feed, links posted on blogs, social media feeds, or an online news mashup like the ECDaily. There are no limits when it comes to the types of content either. Videos, articles, pictures, songs, or any piece of online digital content that can be shared can be curated.

Many of us have been participating in content curation for years without even knowing it. Anyone with a Facebook feed or Twitter stream has seen content curation first hand. Other examples include popular online destinations like Delicious and Digg, both social bookmarking sites that allow users to share content and vote on whether it is interesting or not, Alltop.com, a site which collects headlines of the latest stories from the best sites and blogs by topic, or even your local news site, which more often than not, pulls stories from other sources and displays them in a "Top News" fashion.

What are the Secrets of Successful Content Curation?

It is no secret that there is a lot of information on the internet. Therefore, to be successful with content curation in a business setting, it is important to display only the best, most relevant content possible. The process of content curation is similar to making a mixed tape for your highschool sweetheart, where you want to choose only the best songs to share. Not all content is created equal. Most readers are turning to content curation to help them sift through the information overload, and are only looking for the top pieces of content surrounding a particular subject, and will side step additional, erroneous information if it doesn't stack up.

For most companies, content curation is being used to drive Search Engine Optimization (SEO). A company that links multiple pieces of content about a specific subject increases its exposure when that topic is searched. In his article "Winning The SEO Battle Through Content Curation," Eric Savitz, Forbes staff writer, notes that "many are turning to content curation tools that help find, organize and share content online to ensure that their site is constantly delivering updated, highly topical, keyword-rich content -- making it a natural winner in the battle of Search Engine Optimization." Sites that use content curation usually update rather frequently, and search engines tend to reward these up-to-date sites by indexing them more often. In addition, "The content you curate for your chosen topic will automatically include the most popular search terms within your area of interest," writes Savitz, which can boost search result rankings.

 To get the most out of content curation, tools such as Paper.li, Redux, and BagTheWeb, among many others, all assist in helping businesses sort through the abundance of online content to find the most pertinent information that fits their needs. In addition, some of these tools will even allow for creating original content and curating content at the same time.

What are Some Helpful Content Curation Tips?

While content curation may seem like an information free-for-all, there are some key rules that a content curator must follow to be successful. RightMixMarketing notes that not giving credit or linking to the source, using automated curation, or content aggregation, which sometimes leads to poor quality curating, and similarly focusing on quantity over quality, can lead to content curation failure.

There is also a danger in relying only on content curation instead of mixing this marketing tool with creating new content. As Eric Savitz writes, "Content curation tools that allow for both curation and original content, however, are imperative for the SEO success formula." Forbes.com recommends mixing original content with curated content to have the most success when using content curation to drive SEO.

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