Thursday, 10 February 2011

Content Curation

My last blog post focused on a rather excellent set of predictions for 2011 by Ashley Friedlein CEO of the mighty econsultancy. One of things he mentioned briefly was content curation and it's growing importance.

So in this post I am going to focus on content curation: what it is, why it's important, and some things to think about.

What is content curation?

Content curation is about displaying and presenting content so it can be seen and engaged with. It's what you actually do with content, once it's been produced; in the same way a museum curator decides what to display and where. However, I'd argue that content curation must start right at the very beginning, before the content has actually been produced. To continue the museum anology: it is much easier to decide which artefact goes in which display cabinet, if your exhibition has lots of really great, relevant, interesting artefacts to start with.

If you are responsible for content curation, then it's important you're involved from the start. Make suggestions about what content is produced based on your knowledge of the market, and of course always keep in mind the basic rules about content creation: be useful, be relevant, be interesting.

Examples of content curation

  • Turning a white paper into a press release and distributing it
  • Retweeting your CEO
  • Making internal PDF documents available to an external audience via the corporate website
  • Submitting content to a content aggregator.

Why is content curation important?

The web is noisy and becoming ever more crowded every day, so content curation is about ensuring your content is found and read. And it's important that content is found and read because it takes money and time to produce content, so that content needs to show return on investment (ROI) and page views are a popular way of measuring ROI.

However, I would advise against overstating the importance of content curation, after all, you can't curate without content, and there is no point curating bad content.

Content curation advice

Another way to look at content curation is to think of it as "making your content work harder." If you, a colleague or a partner/agency has gone to the trouble of creating some great content, you need to make sure you're getting the most from it.  So what should you be doing?

  • Use your evergreen and in-depth content in a variety of different ways.  I've touched upon this above, with the example of turning a white paper into a press release ,and using that as a way to "promote" the original content. When you go to the trouble of producing a significant piece of content, divide it up and spread it around the web, to make it easier to digest and easier to find.
  • Engage with your community. Find your community, find your fans and the people who support and like what you do, and then work with this community to promote and highlight your content.
  • Look at producing slippery content.  Content that draws people into your website and keeps them there, known by some as sticky content, is important, I go back again to the whole ROI issue.  But it's also important to get some of your content out there, to make it slippery. Don't let people duplicate or rip off your content (that'll have a negative SEO impact), but do share and give your content generously where you feel it provides a benefit.  A benefit such as: helping your brand to be seen as a thought leader or helping people to perceive your brand in a certain way.
  • Submit your content to aggregators, for example: Google news. This only applies if your site contains geninue regularly updated news content (otherwise it won't be accepted). We see blended SERPs (search engine results pages) much more regularly now, including news on the first page of Google, this can prove a valuable way of encouraging people to visit your site.
Any other content curation ideas?  Let me know your thought below.

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