What is curation and how to do it correctly
Curation is a procedure that is often misunderstood. How it is used, whether for content or marketing, can vary greatly depending upon what you originally want it for.
So this post is my attempt to clarify what curation is and how you can curate correctly for your business in the most effective way.
If you want to create a good impression to your readers and potential clients for your business, you may have to show them:
- Your extensive knowledge
- What you're good at (your expertise)
- That you read widely and are willing to share what you find if you think others will benefit from it too
The third option is one that is not readily done, both the reading and the sharing.
Ideally, if you're going to keep on top of what is happening online, you need to be constantly learning. And that means reading the latest content on a regular basis.
A time-poor world
We do so much nowadays. Who has the time to do all that reading I have suggested when there is so much else to do?
As it happens, I'm constantly reading. It is something that can be done in between your other tasks. I receive hundreds of emails a day, and in them are links and feeds to new content that becomes available.
And I have to sift through it all and decide which needs action now, what can be put away for later (I have a wonderful tool called Pocket for this) and what can be trashed. And I'm pretty ruthless, I can tell you.
I used to regularly curate
About a couple of years ago, when I wasn't so busy, I spent time every morning going through various websites and checking various news feeds to find posts and articles I thought would be useful to me and then share with my readers and followers.
I would then allocate these to Buffer and select some to add onto SocialOomph. These were my methods of delivering the posts onto social media. My preferred platform was Twitter back then, and I used to schedule them at times when my readers were most likely to be online.
I only bothered with good quality posts. I searched syndicated websites such as News360.com and SocialMediaToday.com for posts within my chosen niche or subject. (Syndicated means reproduced or republished content elsewhere that doesn't offend the search engines.)
I used to take the post's URL with the headline and add this as an entry in my curation schedule. It was up to the post's headline to attract attention from my followers. Sometimes these were retweeted, which was a bonus.
Why bother curating?
The reason why I did this was to add value to what I posted on Twitter and other social media platforms. It showed I was actively learning and reading valuable and relevant articles. It also varied the content of my tweets.
I'm afraid nowadays, due to lack of time, the main content of my tweets are from syndicated feeds from my blogs. This is not good practice.
To successfully engage on social media, you need to follow the rule of thirds:
- The first third of your updates should be about promoting your business
- The next third is sharing content you've found that would be of interest or value to your followers
- The final third is the natural engagement and repartee that comes if you are regularly following and responding to conversations online
So you can see why how to curate correctly can be beneficial. It stops you being an online bore.
I bet you're already curating
Every time you come across an article or post that you like and you have a yearning desire to share it with your friends or followers, you are curating without realising it. This is how to curate correctly in its simplest form.
However, actively going out to find or research into high quality information, both to educate yourself as well as your audience, takes curation up to another level.
I know somebody who curates extensively every day. His social online reach has increased dramatically, into tens of thousands. He is now taking advantage of this to sell his first book, which has already been listed and ranked highly even before its official publication day.
Curation best practice
If you learn how to curate correctly, it can benefit you extensively. Become known as a resource for excellent content, as your social media contributions will be taken more seriously and sought after. People are far more likely to follow you.
However, bear these points in mind while curating content:
- Make sure the topic or subject is what your readers are interested in
- Draw from reliable sources: feeders, blogging platforms and syndicated websites
- Set up an automated distribution system, such as Buffer or HootSuite
- Use assisted methods of delivery, such as Storify, Paper.li or Scoop.it
- Be mindful of frequency when sharing on different social media platforms
- Include trending keywords or hashtags to assist with search and awareness
- Write more clickable headlines where you can to increase reader attraction
- If you can, acknowledge the source, even if its only a link back to the original
- Check the link is not broken before you share it, to avoid disappointment
Remember to curate with excellence, relevant and professional sources. It might be a good idea to quickly scan your source before you schedule it. Badly written content will dampen your credibility as a curator, as whatever you share will reflect back on you.