Content curation: look at the bigger picture

October 22, 2015

Author: Barbara Ward

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When were you last in a museum? Don’t worry, you don’t need to answer that question. And you don’t have to set foot in a museum, either, to do content marketing. Although you would certainly get a great deal of inspiration in doing so.

What it all comes down to is this: an art exhibition is made up of many works. These works are not created by the museum director. An exhibition includes a selection of the works by a certain artist. Or pieces by several artists are shown together. With that, though, there is a theme. The museum is just the platform.

What is so special about all that? The museum specifically chooses the pieces to show. Visitors get tremendous added value in that. They get to see works of art that are normally far away or in private hands. In addition, the selection functions like a high-quality filter. Only the highlights are presented.

The biggest fish from the content flood

One can make use of this principle in content marketing: as a content curator, you collect top content in your subject areas and publish it through your media channels. Again, it is not about brazen copying, of course. The content used needs to be edited, so that value is added through the curating.

You don’t just collect – you filter, analyse, systematise and organise. For example, you could present the most effective research tools for content producers in a blog. Through the editorial selection, you filter a vast amount of tools and content for your users. In your blog, you give them just the essentials. Such articles are worth their weight in gold with the flood of content around these days. For the user, it is very time-consuming or simply impossible to find the best content. As a content curator, you take this work from your users and like an experienced guide, cut a comfortable and interesting path through the jungle. Although you are the one doing the sweaty preliminary work, you gain their trust.

Expand your pioneering role! Many companies have a hard time trying to publish content that does not bear their logo. But content curation by no means jeopardises a company’s image, as long as it is done well. By tracking down trends and outstanding noteworthy content by others, you underpin your position as an expert. You appear confident and competent.

A good example is IBM’s Twitter account. The IT enterprise indeed links many of its own articles, but also external content. The information is always relevant and is of great value to the target audience. IBM thus strategically expands its pioneering role. In the end, it’s all part of observing the scene and knowing what others are doing. IBM provides proof of this daily on Twitter.

Sharing this knowledge – including the reach gained, is content marketing at its best. Moreover, curators have the big advantage in that they obtain good content for their channels with very little effort.

The authors also win

In content curation, it is a matter of course that all input is linked and sources are expressly named. This benefits the producer since more reach and backlinks for the curated content are generated. Reference from another expert is always a nice kudo that will please most content producers. Good content curation provides an overview and depth. Many successful blogs have regular news round-ups: they collect the most important news and reports on a certain topic. The articles are usually short, presented with the first paragraph or a relevant quote. The blogger summarises the message of each article and comments. This combination gives the user more value because, thanks to the condensed summary, an overview can be quickly gained.
Users who find a curated article particularly interesting need only click on it to read more. Good content curation also provides depth of information, likewise through linking. A curator’s comment also triggers dialogue, which may very well be exciting.

Deutsche Post AG run their own website, into which all the news from the logistic branch flows. According to them, the Logistics Newsroom is not to be just for bundling news, trends and opinions, but also to be a research tool for journalists, bloggers and those interested in logistics. Mercedes Benz takes a very similar approach with their Social Publish platform.

Tools make it easy

Starting out with a whole website is not always called for by any means. A simple and free content curation tool is Storify. Here news and articles from online magazines, blogs, videos and social network posts are arranged one after the other on a website. Text can be inserted between the individual elements and the articles can be commented on or classified. This results in thematic newsfeeds similar to a press review. This is an excellent way particularly for companies in B2B marketing, associations and non-profit organisations to combine professional discussion and industry buzz. By simply adding new content, Storify is always up-to-date, while offering an overview of developments.

Some online media such as Spiegel Online are already successfully using Storify. In doing so, the news portal focuses primarily on Tweets, though. The German Evangelical Church Assembly uses Storify for digital live-event coverage. The German Federal Agency for Civic Education used Storify to collect votes on the German World Cup championship in 2014. applied the same principle for its service. The curated content even appeared automatically designed as an online newspaper.

Content curation with Pinterest and newsletters

The Pinterest network is also based on content curation. The community, however, gathers primarily visual content. The Dr. Oetker recipe boards fit in very well visually. Even Audi’s Pinterest contributions look quite nice. By the way, it can be seen that many users add content to the boards of automobile manufacturers.

The renaissance of the newsletter in the last two years can also be explained by the advantages of content curation: basically, a newsletter is nothing more than a very efficient content curation tool. Make your newsletter, for example a ‘best of’ the content of the past month. You can use either your own or third-party content for that.

Rules for good content curation

The following principles are to be observed: no content curation without sources! And they must be really good. Always draw from serious sources. Multiplicators and innovators are always rich places to access. Foreign-language sources especially are exciting in many topic areas because certain technologies or developments are much further advanced in other countries than in Germany. On the content marketing scene, it is known that everyone has their eye on America, in the fashion industry on France. If you curate foreign-language content, comment or break down the language barriers with a German summary, this creates tangible added value for many users.

Tracking down pearls of content

The best thing is to make a list of relevant websites, blogs, YouTubers, etc., where top content is regularly found. Make contact with opinion leaders for your newsletter, if you have one. A classic is Google Alerts. Google automatically notifies by e-mail whenever there is something new in the Web related to a certain search query.

Try to aggregate your content from many different channels. You enhance your profile as a pro by tracking down good content that has not yet made it into all the other blogs and media. However, don’t be afraid to add your own thoughts and opinions. What is it particularly that you value in that article? Why did you choose the content? Your expertise is valuable to the user. Make content curation a good habit. Man is a creature of habit, which is why content curation works well as a regular part of the editorial plan. A fixed cycle with a reliable publication date provides orientation. Users are happy when they have found a competent place to go to and no longer have to hunt through the Web. They will return gladly, if they again find quality curated content from you.

And finally again, to be perfectly clear: be open and name your sources. Links to the content mentioned are mandatory. Copying is not allowed!

Author: Barbara Ward