Content curation sounds simple enough. We’ve covered the basics: You find content your readers would like and share it with them, either summarizing it or just adding your opinions somewhere in the post. The more you personalise it, the better the post becomes.
But once you start gathering content to share, you begin to realize it’s a bit more complicated than you thought. It takes a bit of focus and creativity to find good content and then organise it. So I thought I’d share my content curation plan with you, let me know what you’d add to the list.
Scheduling Your Content Search
The best way to find content is to work it into your regular routine for me that means checking Google Reader and adding feeds to the reader. For me this works out better than spending a whole day Googling the right content. It works because when you spend a little time each day, you find fresh content that’s up to date and that in turn inspires your own creativity.
You also keep yourself from burning out searching the Web for things to share. There’s nothing worse than writing to a deadline and not having any of the right resources in place.
Choose a time to set aside each day. Try to find a time when you’re most likely to enjoy the search. For example, first thing in the morning before your workday gets started, it might be fun to scan the Web looking for news. This may be a better time than late at night when your tired and not focused on the task at hand.
Searching for content is also a great activity to do when you’re killing time waiting for something or in my case, someone. You might have ten spare minutes before the kids come home, 20 minutes while waiting for a swimming lesson to finish, or a half hour while waiting on hold with tech support. These little nooks and crannies of time aren’t able to be used for serious, focused work, but you can use them to find content. Try to select and save content using your mobile so that you can do it anytime. I use the G-Whizz app on my iphone and the Google reader app on my Galaxy Note.
Resisting Shiny Object Syndrome
The Web is full of shiny objects that can distract you and lead you astray. When you’re looking for content, it’s easier than ever to get distracted. You’ll find something of interest to you and start reading, even though you have no intention of sharing it or adding it to your curating list. As I mentioned earlier, curating can spark a lot of creativity.
First of all, set aside your content search time and designate it for only searching and curating. During that time, tell yourself, ‘I’m looking for content to share.’ Every time you stop on a site and begin reading, ask yourself if it’s something you might share. If it’s not, save the link so that you can read it later in your spare time.
Search with an Open Mind
You need to stick to the task at hand, but don’t get stuck in a rut. When you ask yourself whether the content in question is sharable, be open-minded. Try to see if there’s a way you can tie it into your niche. I recently curated a post about Misogyny for Birds on the Blog. I started with Seth Macfarlane’s Oscars gaffe then moved onto other misogynistic posts and then then manouvred back into how Quvenzhané Wallis was treated on Twitter during the Oscar’s ceremony.
Look for creative ideas from other industries or news that impacts your marketplace. If you can do this successfully, you’ll come up with unique content your competition wouldn’t find and your readers will love you for it
For example, if you have a blog on marketing, you may share an article on the public’s obsession with zombies (help me out here, why are the public obsessed with zombies???). Why? Because as marketers, it’s good to know why something is popular. It shows you understand how marketing works and how it relates to your marketplace.
If you write a blog on working at home, you might choose to share an article on nutrition tips. Your readers may sit all day at a computer and not eat well. When you tailor the article to their needs and it’s filled with awesome curated content your post becomes a powerful resource. Think outside the box and remember that you can also share content you disagree with. This often gets the best reaction from readers.
Watch your audience’s response to your content and judge whether or not it was a good find based on that response. Don’t make the mistake of choosing content you like; always choose content your readers engage with – you’ll learn more about your audience and your content curation plans will serve them better.
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