If you are involved in social media, chances are that you have heard of content curation. The phrase has amassed a huge amount of publicity, as well as strong advocates and ennemies. The latter often contend that curation violates copyright laws and provides curators with an unethical way to draw attention to their own content.
I would say that nothing is farther from the truth. Curation is different from aggregation and content stealing. Curators spend hours reading and filtering content, only to select what is relevant and useful to their audiences. It is not an automatic process. It takes a lot of work and commitment.
I jumped on the content curation bandwagon almost two years ago, and have not looked back since. I enjoy being a curator, mostly because it allows me to establish my expertise in a very competitive niche (social media marketing and branding). Actually, it has been been one of the most effective promotional tools in my entire professional career!
There are tons of great curation tools that make a curator’s work easier. In this article, I want to share seven of my favorite ones.
Paper.li aggregates content from Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and RSS feeds, and organizes everything into an appealing, newspaper-like format.
I love Paper.li because it automatically sends a daily tweet to my followers. People can also subscribe to my papers by email.
I use Paper.li in several ways:
- To keep an eye on conversations on specific topics. Every day, I check out all the papers I am subscribed to, read the articles with the most appealing titles, and share the best on Scoop.it, Pinterest and Google+.
- To declutter my Twitter stream. My “Cendrine’s Favorite Tweeps Daily” allows me to stay in the know about what the people I really like share on Twitter — and curate the most interesting content.
- To allow my Twitter audience to read my articles in one convenient spot, the “Cendrine Marrouat Daily“, instead of having to visit all the websites I write for every day.
- To reach a new audience or reconnect with my current readers. The daily tweets Paper.li sends to my followers to announce the new editions of my papers always mention the names of those who share “top stories”. A lot of people send me “thank yous” as a result, and I take this opportunity to respond, read what they have shared and check out their Twitter streams.
Paper.li newspapers also feature an Editor’s Note section. Use it to enter some information about your papers, and include relevant links (your website, blog, etc.).
Scoop.it is the first content curation tool that I have ever used. It is also my all-time favorite. I love the layout and how easy it is to set up. A free account lets you create five curated topics that each have their own dedicated magazine-like page.
With Scoop.it, you can share your “scoops” on Facebook (profile and page), Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, as well as Tumblr and your WordPress blog. Your followers can also easily rescoop your curations and leave comments. And the sources of the articles you curate are always included.
Scoop.it is the tool that I use the most as a curator and reader. I follow more than 40 topics and the platform sends me a daily email with highlights from the previous day. I always find some great content to rescoop and share on Twitter, Paper.li, Google+ and Internet Billboards.
I also receive an email every time someone rescoops my curations. I always leave comments to the curators who have taken the time to share the articles I write, take a glance at their topics, and usually end up following one or two.
I now have about 240 followers. Scoop.it has helped drive major traffic to my blog and website.
With Storify, you can create news stories by gathering content from Twitter, Facebook, Google, Flickr and more. It’s an excellent tool to build a narrative, and you can edit and update your stories as often as you want.
I do not use Storify much, but I follow some great users. An example would be Katrina Moody and her story on Autism Awareness. She has done an excellent job of pulling relevant content and adding her own thoughts to the mix. The result is an article that is both easy to read and very educational.
Storify stories are also indexed in search engines. When I released my latest eBook, titled The Little Big eBook on Blogging: 40 Traffic Generation Tips, I created a Storify page that I used to gather all the information about the book: reviews, interviews, videos, etc. A few of my readers actually found me through it.
Pinterest is a social bookmarking site where users “pin” and organize their favourite pictures and videos into specific collections called boards. It is all about visual content there.
The trick to be found on Pinterest is to pay attention to the names and descriptions of your boards. Make sure you use relevant keywords. If you do a great job, your boards will even be indexed in search engines!
When I pin items, I try to use descriptive words and phrases, as well as hashtags (i.e. #socialmedia). They help people find my stuff more easily.
With that said, to have a positive impact on Pinterest, you must also show your human side. Fill in your profile: Upload a picture of you, and add a short but targeted bio and the link to your website or blog.
Also, connect your profile to your Facebook and Twitter accounts. And most importantly, interact with others:
- Re-pin other users’ items
- Leave comments
- Be grateful when others share your content
- And be active: pin and re-pin items to your boards daily
Google+ is much more than a social network. It’s a community full of passionate users who are really interested in building relationships with others. I like what Guy Kawasaki has to say about it: “For me, Facebook is for friends and family and Google+ is for people who share your passion that you don’t know yet.”
I use Google+ pretty much in the same way as Paper.li and Scoop.it, except that the topics I curate are much broader. I don’t limit myself to social media marketing and branding. I also share articles and videos that raise awareness of important issues, as well as music and quotes.
Google+ happens to be an excellent monitoring tool, as well. I visit my saved searches once or twice a week and have a quick look at the streams to find great content to curate.
Since Google+ profiles are indexed in Google, make sure that your bio section is filled with great information. Include a detailed biography and links to your social media profiles, website, and products to create backlinking. And don’t forget to upload a picture of you.
6. Internet Billboards
When Tom George invited me to visit Internet Billboards, I joined right away. This site is full of passionate curators who interact with one another.
There are three things I like about Internet Billboards:
- The curated content is always of great quality.
- Each curator’s bio is displayed prominently under the articles they curate, and includes links to their social networking profiles and websites. A neat way to create backlinking and build your credibility.
- The curated content appears in search engines like Google.
If you have a blog, why not use it as a content curation platform? I know I do.
Every Monday, I highlight the five best articles on social media marketing and branding that I read the week before. I only mention the titles, the names of the authors and their blogs, and link everything to the original articles.
Why do I do it? Because I believe that it is important to acknowledge the great minds in my field. My goal is not to only get exposure for my work. I also want to connect and engage with insightful individuals. Including them on my blog is part of my commitment towards building relationships that matter — and ultimately creating a community of unique thinkers.
Have you used the content curation tools in this article? If so, what do you think? And do you use others? If so, share your thoughts in the comment section.