The art of curating like a PRO, part 1

I’ve been experimenting with a content curation for sometime now. It’s been a hit and miss mostly. Some of my friends like it, while others hate it. Clearly, there’s much more appreciation for what’s original than content that’s curated.

In fact, a few months ago one of my friends mentioned that she misses the original posts that I used to put up on Facebook. She felt the content that I’m putting on now is mostly “curated” with an expression that clearly said “it sucks!” or a variant of “well that isn’t original.”

She may have meant well. (Just didn’t come across as something she would ever appreciate… at least not then.) And guess what? She’s just one of them. There are many who think curation is just sharing content for (a) the heck of it; or (b) to make it go viral (with your fingers crossed).

I believe both the approaches are wrong. And no, there’s much more to curation than just sharing content.

Curation is the new creation. Think about it. There’s hardly anything new under the sun. A different angle or perspective perhaps, but mostly the same stuff. It’s the different perspective that makes content unique.

What is Curation?

Some would say, “Curation is the art and science of finding and sharing content that is specific and meaningful to an audience.” Close to 80-85% of content shared on Twitter is curated. Almost all major newsletters (and they’re back in vogue by the way — I’m even thinking of starting one myself!) and listicles are curated.

The idea is to find a few things, put them together and share it with people who’ll appreciate it. Sure you’ve got an opinion on that. But who cares? Someone else might appreciate that and that should be enough.

Some even think of content curators as a librarian or perhaps a museum curator! Picture this — librarians organise books and periodicals and place them in a way that’s easy for people/members to search for. Likewise, Museums put the best works to please their patrons, customers and fans. (And you’d spent a $100 to visit the latest exhibition, won’t you?)

What it’s not?

Curation is not aggregation. Kevin Lee of Buffer explained this beautifully, “aggregation is algorithmic. Curation is handpicked.” I think aggregated content doesn’t have a soul. It doesn’t focus on quality but quantity. And I don’t have time to sift through the 10 useless links that you’ve shared with me unless I’m absolutely sure they’re the best. And that’s where curation makes the entry.

Curation is all about quality.

Why do you even have to consider it?

A great question. But have you ever wondered “gee, what do I write about?” Or worse, “I’ve been posting like crazy thrice every week for the past three months… and I’m still hearing crickets!”

Worry not my friend. Curation not only helps you supplement your content calendar with rock solid content but also helps you build an audience. Chances are, your audience will appreciate you taking out the time to discover, gather, organise and share content with them. It’s the fastest way to spread the word and establish your online authority.

Curating quality content adds immense value to your audience. You essentially become their go-to person for finding the best stuff at one place. Who wouldn’t want that?

Confession: I’m still not sorted with my own content calendar. However, I do plan to put out one curated post a week.

Marketing Strategy

Besides saving time, bear in mind that content curation is a long-term strategy. You may not become a Dave Pell overnight, but stay at it and you will soon become a trusted authority in the niche that you’re focusing on.

How can YOU start curating content?

Keep it simple. There are many ways but I think the following three methods work the best.

  • Social Networks
    • I might be biased but I think your original content belongs to your home base — your blog. If that is your home base. I know many entrepreneurs who just swear by creating original content on YouTube or Facebook. It works for them. Not for me.
    • Social media does one thing very well — share content. So, logically, that’s the best place to start curating content. Keep it relevant to the audience that you’re following or follows you. In no time you’ll see a spike in the number of followers because for them, you know your stuff. And that makes you an authority.
    • Sharing others’ content also makes you look confident in your own brand (personal or professional). And not everyone is comfortable doing that.
    • Curating in your socials also gives you an exposure to another brand’s audience or an online community that may benefit you.
  • Weekly editorial email newsletters
    • My brain has been incubating this idea for quite sometime now. A weekly newsletter that brings you the best of the internet in your niche right into your inbox. Take that! If you’re like me, you must be drooling.
    • This isn’t easy. You may end up subscribing to a lot of newsletters yourself to hunt for the gems, organise them in a way that’s appealing to your audience and finally share them via email. A no-brainer in my opinion for folks with a huge base of subscribers.
    • And this shouldn’t be just about other people’s content but a great opportunity for you to promote a post or two of your own.

Alright, that’s it for now. I’ll be back with parts 2 and 3 soon. Stay tuned!

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