I’ve become a big fan of content curation in the last year or two. It’s one way that site or business owners can build a community around their brands as well as develop a reputation as a “thought leader” on a subject. Many people, however, aren’t familiar with it. When people ask, I tell them, with so much information on the web these days, people want to see content about a topic, but curated by someone whose opinion they respect. Content curation sites allow for this.
A large group of these sites has popped into existence in recent years. One way or another, they allow people or businesses to gather all their favorite blog posts, news stories, pictures or videos in one topic and store them in one place on an ongoing basis. I like to use one called Scoop.it for the majority of my content curation. I manage topics on startups, cities, the future and other subjects.
One question I am asked often about curation is, “How is this any different from Facebook or my bookmarks list?” Once you dive into a curation platform more deeply, you see it has some of the features of Facebook or a bookmark list, but with added functionality. The best curation sites will place all your stories, videos or pictures in an easy-to-view format of some kind. They should allow you the chance to share any of your posts at any time to a large number of social networks or blog platforms, all at once if wanted. There are many ways that this separate platform can benefit you or your business. Here are some of them:
Curate a Personal or Business Hub of Favorite Subjects
As someone who has worked as a TV/Radio/Newspaper news reporter from 1994 to 2011 (and now in tech), it is important for me to have a central place where I can keep track of certain topics and news stories I am interested in. It’s also a place I can keep going back to to refer to a specific post I want to show people again and again. For business use, this can be a great place to store content that you want to show to customers later, or to get a discussion going among followers.
Social Sharing Made More Relevant and Intersection
For people or company brands that try to keep a continuous stream of content flowing for their friends or followers, it is very helpful to have a curation service that not only lets you store your stuff, but easily sends it out via various social platforms. At minimum, the curation service should allow you to share via Twitter, Facebook, any FB page, Linkedin, any Linkedin page/group, or Tumblr. This allows the curator to not only enhance his/her following on the curation service itself, but their company following on the individual networks.
Helps Establish Curator as a Thought Leader
This is without a doubt a primary business function of curation sites. In this day and age, when almost any company has to be a digital company, it is important that you help make it an expert in its space. The goal with curation is to drive traffic and engagement that can hopefully lead to conversions and ROI. For instance, with my social media topic on curation site Scoop.it, I am able to share items of general social media interest the majority of the time, but when the SEO/Content Marketing company I work for has news or data it wants to share, I can add those into the stream. This gives my company the added benefit of appearing before an audience that is already somewhat interested in the subject matter. It also raises buzz for my company, earns it respect and new followers over time as well as possible conversions.
Meet Like-Minded Folks, Find a Community
If you’re looking to find others who share your interests (a community), curation is a great way to do it. In my time working with social media, I have found that the best way to work at creating a following or getting to know people, is by continuing to engage other people, consistently over a long period of time. Curation enables this by allowing you to send an ongoing stream of content that all parties enjoy. It is hard work contacting people and talking to them day after day, but these are the trenches that digital marketers fight their battles in.
There is of course much more that you can to build community other than curation, from participating in forums or commenting on blogs to Google hangouts or Skype groups. However, curation is a viable method and deserves attention too. Your marketing strategy is a many layered thing and curation should be one of those layers.