There seems to be a buzz around the phrase “content curation” these days (I don’t know about you, but I’m getting bombarded with webinar invites and products that will teach me the latest thing in curation)…
But what does content curation, or being a content curator really mean?
Let’s define what a “content curator” does…
Back in 2009, Rohmit Bhargava (Senior VP, Global Strategy & Marketing of Ogilvy), wrote a blog post about content curation (and how it was going to be the “next big thing”), and in this post he defined what a content curator does pretty succintly:
Now I would probably go a step further than this, and say that a content curator would also want to make sense of this information that you dig up.
In some ways I look at a curator as being a DJ (disc-jockey)… I mean would you rather have someone put on a ‘mixed tape’ or would you rather have someone go with the flow and throw the music on live?
…I know I would choose the latter.
But why is Curation such a big deal these days?
It’s because of the rate of new content being added to the internet every single day.
People are experiencing “Filter Failure” (as opposed to information overflow), a term coined by Clay Shirky (shirky.com):
You can probably think of a few trusted websites that you visit on a regular basis as well that will give you the most relevant, reliable, high quality information about your specific interest(s).
Because of this “Filter Failure”, there’s a growing need for people to curate content and put some context and a BS filter (spam filter, call it what you want) around the growing amount of content out there.
Great… but how do you go about setting this up?
So you now understand what a curator does, and why we need it… but what are the steps to get started with this?
The first step is of course finding the topic you want to create a content curation site around.
And this is where I will advise AGAINST what I generally teach in most of my other courses… For your first site, pick a topic that you either like, are curious about or something that you are flat out passionate about.
Because you will be spending a lot of time on this site (you should strive to post on a daily basis), so if you’re writing about a topic you don’t like or aren’t interested in then your interest in keeping up with the blog will wane as wel.
So what type of content do you create?
In another article, Rohit Bhargava describes five different “models” for content curation.
Distillation – the act of curating information into a more simplistic format where only the most important or relevant ideas are shared.
Elevation – curation with a mission of identifying a larger trend or insight from smaller daily musings posted online.
Mashup – uniquely curated justapositions where merging existing content is used to create a new point of view.
Chronology – brings together historical information organized based on time to show an evolving understanding of a particular topic.
You could of course mix and match some of these and there are probably other models out there, but I think he gives a pretty good overview of the type of curator that you may want to become.
Once you’ve chosen the type of curated blog you’re looking to create, you need to “collect your sources”. Places where you can gather some information about your topic on an on-going basis, such as: topical blogs, video channels (on YouTube); Facebook / Twitter personalities and brands; Facebook fanpages; relevant forums etc.
Then it’s your job to bring these sources together.
Now I use Google Reader to bring in these sorts of things… but I’ve also recently started experimenting with a new service called Scoop.it (this is still a new service, and you have to submit for an invite to get in. So, it may take a few days for them to get back to you). This free service actually allows you to create a content curation site without knowing html or anything in a very simple to use format.
But the strength of this service to me is to use it as a research tool to aggregate, filter, search and collate information from all of the sources mentioned above in an easy to use interface… (and you can publish some of the content on your Scoop.it site as well!)
And there are some interesting things you can pick up from Scoop.it CEO, Guillaume Decugis about Scoop.it and content curation in this video:
So, are you starting to see the potential here?
You can then tie all of this together with a Facebook page, Twitter perhaps another one of your blogs etc. And really start getting exposure as the “go to guy” on your topic.
PS – you can create curated pieces of content quite easily. This post was a curated post… and took me very little time to write because I had already watched the videos above a while back (and bookmarked them for future reference).
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