Sifting Through the Content
Every minute an unimaginable amount of data is created. Every 60 seconds 277,000 tweets are produced, 216,000 new photos are posted on Instagram, Yelp users post 26,380 reviews, Pinterest users pin 3,472 images, and 72 hours of new video is uploaded to YouTube. How do we manage this avalanche of new content? In just one minute Google receives over 4,000,000 search queries as individuals sift through this constantly multiplying collection of information. In a sea of endless data, content curation has become essential for brands looking to build a relationship with their audience and help them find relevant information.
The term “curation” often conjures images of museum staff arranging artefacts or art historians collecting pieces for display in a museum or gallery. However, today the term “curation” is evolving and new forms of collecting and arranging content are emerging, specifically in the digital realm.
In fact, it’s likely that you’re already a curator or have utilized curated content. If you listen to music on Songza, subscribe to a subreddit, use Pinterest, or maintain a Tumblr page, you’ve encountered or participated in some form of content curation. The term “curation” has now been appropriated to discuss the process of finding, organizing, and contextualizing content in the form of blogs, lists, infographics, and videos. Rather than adding new content to the already overcrowded online community, curators discover and compile existing content and share it with their audience, whether that includes a small group of fellow Tumblr users, or millions of followers.
What is content curation?
In the marketing sphere, content curation is not synonymous with sharing or copying. The goal is not to add more content to the social world, but rather to group, organize and present the most relevant content in one place. “In a world of nearly infinite content, consumers are looking for a one-stop shop” observes Mike Kaput. The curator’s job is therefore to contextualize the information and add value to this collection through commentary. Curated content can then be shared via blog posts, email, and social media profiles.
What is the value?
Consistently creating original content can be difficult. Content curation gives brands the opportunity to produce “new” content by collecting and organizing existing content. Not only with this help you to gain exposure by linking your brand to another brand’s content, but it will also show your audience that you are both collaborative and a reliable source of information. Content curation therefore gives you the opportunity to link to thought leaders and respected individuals, while also boosting the authority of your site and fostering greater trust with your audience.
As Kristina Cisnero of Hootsuite notes, content curation has become more important as brands realize that they can build a relationship with customers by taking on the task of sifting through the endless content on the internet, and presenting on the most interesting and relevant to their audience. These relationships can’t be fostered overnight and industry thought leaders including Jay Baer stress that content curation is a long-term social media strategy. In order to gain trust amongst your audience, curators must to be consistent, diligent, and patient.
The Killer Curated Content Checklist:
How do you begin the process of curating content? Here are a few simple rules to keep next to your computer while curating:
Know Who You’re Talking To
The first step is simple – identify your audience. What demographics are you trying to attract? What topics interest your audience? What medium is the most appealing to this niche? Some groups are more likely to be found on twitter, while others may gravitate to Pinterest or standard blog posts. Knowing who your audience is, what they’re looking for, and where they can be found will help you target them effectively.
Carve Out Your Territory
Now that you’ve identified the audience, it’s important to clearly define what territory your curation efforts will cover. Choosing a specific topic will help guide your search for content and keep you on point. Once you’ve determined what your topic, you can start looking at the blogs and influencers in that field for both inspiration and content to curate. Remember, curation isn’t stealing – you should always be linking back to original content and continually adding your own spin on the topic. Defining a clear and focused topic will also help you identify the gaps in your competitor’s coverage, and help you cater to these underrepresented themes.
Curate Quality Content, Not Crap
“Don’t hoard” advises Moz, “instead focus on trustworthy sources and information that matters.” Essentially, keep things short and sweet and related to your topic. Jay Baer stresses the need for quality over quantity when curating content. For Baer, “quality is a differentiator as a curator” and will help to build a relationship with your audience by filtering out the useless information and providing your audience with only the highest quality nuggets of information. Good quality information will also improve your search engine ranking over time.
No matter how excellent your curation skills are, you won’t be heard unless you share on a regular basis. Consistent curation does not only mean regular and timely publication, but also applies to the type of content you’re curating. Make sure that you regularly refer back to the first and second checkpoints, the audience and the topic, to ensure you consistently provide content that speaks to their interests, needs, and desires.
Curate to Cultivate Your SEO
Though SEO is essential to getting your content noticed on the web, simply stuffing your curated content with SEO terms and linking to the same source repeatedly will get you nowhere. Search engines are crawling the endless waves of data for valuable information, so make sure that your blog is linking to a variety of sites to let Google know that your content is credible. When linking, make sure that links open in a new tab or window so that readers don’t wander away from your site. Curata also warns against reposting too much of the original article within your curated content – this will only confuse search engines attempting to index and rank query results.
Learn from the Content Curation Experts
It’s easy to say “curate some killer content” but as you just learned, it’s not just about making lists and posting them on the internet. There are a variety of ways to curate content effectively. Sometimes the best way to learn is to take a look at what the experts are doing.
Random House has carved out a small niche on Pinterest, and uses clever literary-themed and book-related boards (Bookshelf Styling, Your Next Great Read, Book Party) to collect and distribute content related to books and booklovers.
Intel recently launched iQ, a stream of content curated by Intel’s own employees on a range of topics including the latest tech news, sports, gaming, and health. “In a nutshell, our core objective is to share and source content that inspires, educates, entertains and helps all of us to better understand our modern world,” explains Managing Editor Luke Kintigh. The site facilitates a conversation between Intel’s employee’s and the brand’s audience.
Curating Content With Rock Content
Over here at Rock Content we’re also helping brands to curate content in real time. We’ve got a number of tools available to help you “spice up a real-time story” with engaging content from around the web.
Sport Chek’s #MyNorth campaign uses a pinboard to collect and display basketball-related content from fans using the #MyNorth hashtag. The pinboard highlights content a number of local basketball teams and players from the Greater Toronto Area. Sport Chek used the pinboard to collect user-generated photos and tweets, and awarded the best submission a brand new community basketball court. The pinboard feature helps the Raptors create more than just a fan base, but also a community of people sharing their passion for basketball.
Similarly, Gretzky’s Fantasy Camp uses the pinboard feature to raise awareness for Wayne Gretzky’s annual charity event. For one weekend fans get the unique opportunity to replicate the pro-hockey experience and share the ice with some of the NHL’s top players. Gretzky.com used the pinboards to collect and curate an archive of the event, displaying behind-the-scenes coverage of the Fantasy Camp weekend. The curated content was so popular that the Fantasy Camp now has a waiting list for next year!
The Grammys have also been using Rock Content’s software to curate second screen experiences that give viewers a glimpse of the red carpet and backstage activities. They used a white lable to curate both professional and user-generated content throughout the 2015 award show. The live stream featured content from photographers and journalists, as well as updates on award winners throughout the night. The screen also displayed a stream of moderated user comments, giving viewers the opportunity to see their tweets on screen, while allowing moderators to guide the conversation.
The Oscars also used this tool to curate content from Instagram, Twitter, and celebrity accounts during their annual event. This content curation strategy helped the both the Grammys and the Oscars retain their audience during commercial breaks by providing an engaging second-screen experience. The site also allows the event to exist as an archive, serving as a great recap that showcases the best moments of the night.