We usually associate the term ‘curation’ with museums and galleries. The curator is the person who researches, sources, archives and interprets content for exhibitions. Digital content curation is similar. As social media account holders we curate content all the time, every time we share a link on Twitter or Facebook we are in a sense curating. Done well curation can be a hugely effective part of your social media campaign, it can enhance your brand, it can help establish your expertise, it builds relationships and it helps keep you informed about your industry and customer. It’s a massive time saver, sharing great content from others is far less time consuming that creating it all yourself. Having said that content curation shouldn’t replace creation but should complement it.
You’re probably aware of more content curation than you realise. As I mentioned above the sharing of links, images, photos etc on Twitter or Facebook is curating. Networks like Pinterest are almost exclusively content curation centres. Repinning and pinning from websites is far more prevalent than the uploading of unique images. Some Tumblr’s are excellent examples of curation. The most talked about at the moment being ‘Rich Kids Of Instagram‘. The site simply shares Instagram shots of wealthy youngsters enjoying their privileged lifestyle
As curators we are presented with a problem. There is so much content out there, how do we find the right content and how do we filter it so that we are only sharing the very best content that is relevant to our target market?
Here are three of my favourite content discovery tools
1. Google Alerts – This is a powerful tool from Google that scours the Internet and returns results based on a search term. It sends the results via email or you can choose to subscribe to them in Google Reader. I recommend Google Reader as alerts emails can soon start to clog up your inbox. For tutorials on how to set up Google Alerts and Reader click here.
Once you have been using Google Alerts for a while you will soon begin to recognise some key publications that consistently produce good content. You should subscribe to the feeds of these blogs in your Google reader also.
2. Technorati – Technorati is a fantastic site full of blogs on every topic imaginable. It’s a good start for finding blogs to subscribe to. If you find a good one see if they have a blogroll, this will lead you to other gems.
3. Google+ – For me the strongest part of Google+ from a user perspective is the ability to discover content. Use the search bar to find topics and it will return search results both from the web and Google+ users. Not only will you find new content but you’ll also find people with similar interests to connect with.
There are plenty of other services that can help you find great stuff but these three are my top picks. If you’ve any recommendations do leave me a link in the comments section.
Examples of curation
Laughing Squid are a cloud hosting company but their blog is quirky and always full of fantastic and amazing content. When you visit the sight there is a call to action on the right hand side asking you to support the site by hosting your WordPress blog on their Cloud hosting. Targeting WordPress users with this sort of content seems a good fit. They are one of my favourite Twitter and G+ follows.
Sony Electronics on Pinterest share a variety of their own content and the content of others. This board shares self portraits taken by Sony users featuring the camera, they have gathered together content from all over the place.
Wchingya on Twitter, Ching curates a huge amount of links every day, there’s some great stuff there, I for one am envious and wonder where she finds it all!
I’m loving the ‘Awkward Stock Photos‘ on Tumblr. Not a commercial enterprise but it will make you smile as you scroll through some of the most bizarre stock photos around.
Did you spot my bit of content curation? Of course by sharing those links I’m curating the curators. The four examples above are hardcore curators, as a small business owner you should be looking to mix up great curated content that is of interest to your customers and your own content, and don’t forget the conversation!
If you would like Spiderworking.com to help you put together a social media strategy give us a call.
A really useful post Amanda as I think a lot of people share content without thinking of it as curation. So what makes sharing different from curation? Well I suppose it is having a theme or thread among collections of content that you share and being selective in the content that you share and examining it before you share it to be sure it is of good quality and adding your own introduction or assessment of that content for your readers. I really like the museum analogy. I like to think that some content curation can become more than sharing, keeping with the arts analogy, that it can become content commissioning, so in the same way you could commission a piece of art, you can commission a piece of content from someone i.e. ask them to do a guest post on a specific topic or with a specific goal in mind. Now if only I could get the authors of the great posts that I share to do a guest post for me!
Ally Greer says
This is one of the most diverse pieces on content curation that I’ve seen. I love the use of everything from Twitter profiles to Laughing Squid to funny Tumblr blogs to demonstrate that curation really is everywhere. I love to think that curation is the future of social media strategy (naturally, since I work for Scoop.it, a curation company) and I love how you put it so simply here.
I agree with @beatricewhelan:disqus that it’s important to distinguish between sharing and curation. It’s so important to add context and in turn value to the content that is being curated.
Have you checked out Scoop.it? I’d love to hear both of your thoughts on it or simply to further talk about curation 🙂